Monday, September 1, 2014
Climate march and Actual Democracy
I went to Climate march's wesite, to see what it's all about. I don't get around much. There are roughly 600 organizations and associations registered to support this march. The first thing that stuck me is "That's a lot of loosely organized people disgruntled with the 'decision makers' of the nation and the world. Of coursse the march to stop our polluting the air and affecting the climate is necessary, and I'll be there. But it bothers me, in many ways, that the people of the United States have to take to the streets to , effectively, beg our representatives to use the power we gave them for our benefit. And then I realized that that fact underlies the losoe tie between all those cooperating groups. They all, us included, are acting on the assumption that we must influence the powerful to use their power, the power we gave them by voting them into office, to use it in a manner we want them to. This thinking came about partly because I've been angry with the government and more generally because I had concluded that revolutions put 'good men' into power who were soon corrupted by the power which then, in turn required another revolution. And this pattern was stamped broadly over history. Anyway, I thought that a possible solution was to alter our Representative Democracy and replace it with Actual Democracy, where the people vote directly on the laws under which they live. It's a step forward in the evolution of Democracy, I thought. A little research turned up that it was the very first intended form of Democracy, see Pericles Funeral Oration in Thucydides, where he says the laws of Athens are made by the many. Of course the many didn't include slaves or women. But the intent was universal suffrage on legislature, direct voting on their laws. The research further turned up Rousseau, Thomas Paine, Jefferson, J.S. Mill, Bertrand Russell, even John Kennedy, in his "Outlines in Courage" all concluding that the best form of democracy was the people voting directly on the laws: an Actual Democracy. They also all concluded that a compromise was needed because we could not all fit in the market place and openly debate issues, propose laws, and vote on them. So representative government, which Rousseau called 'elected Aristocracy' was the compromise. Certainly better than kings, dictators and oligarchies. Churchill said democracy was the worst form of government except for all the others. But I realized that the internet, telephony, the geo-sychronous communication satellites enabled us to argue, openly debate, raucously debate, lie, propagandize, spread the truth, every minute of everyday. Further we were voting everyday on who the best singers, entertainers, talented people were on various television shows: American Idol, The Voice, America has Talent. We are debating and we are voting. Seems a perfect entry point to we should debate the laws and vote on the laws, live in Actual Democracy. There is a website for the Association for the Advancement of Actual Democracy, which I also recently joined, advocating this position: http://www.assosactualdemocracy.com. I believe the idea of changing the Constitution so people take responsibility for voting on the laws they will live under is a major step forward, a necessary evolutionary step in democracy, and what is the real, but unrecognized, driving force behind the 600 organizations about to march, which I very unkindly see ad 'beg', their representatives to protect man's future by stopping the level of suicidal polluting we do.