History is littered with the bones of failed nations, some were dictatorships, some were kingdoms, some were democracies, some were communist, some were based on free enterprise and some were even republics. But it must be noted that the republic style of government was created with the hopes of being a better form of government than all the others; but their bones are also littered among all the other failed attempts of government.
So, it is my opinion that the human race has never had a workable form of government, despite the fact that massive advances have been made in science and technology.
But there were two times when the human race came very close to having a workable government. One was the democracy of the Ancient City State of Greek Athens, the second one was the Republic established by the American Constitution in 1789. But Athens collapsed into chaos and America is now collapsing into corruption and scandals.
America now has a debt of over 19 trillion dollars that is so high that there is little hope of ever paying it off, and so future generations will be stuck with it, so America is technically bankrupt. It now fits the pattern of a collapsing republic; being that it is well over 200 years old (the average age limit of a republic), corrupt and in deep economic trouble. Also, there is a clash of ideas about America becoming more like Europe’s socialist model (a historically proven failure), or remaining a republic based on individual rights and free enterprise.
There are many reasons for this, one being that Congress just can not give up on it’s wild spending habit. It is clear that our Congress people are spending our tax money to buy votes to get re-elected. They reached the spending cap and instead of reducing spending, which is what the spending cap was designed to do, they instead raised the limit on spending. This will surely bring America to bankruptcy. Term limits may be a solution for this; but new congressmen will only fall into the Washington D.C. trap of special interest groups with a lot of money to buy influence that will perpetuate the problem.
It may very well be that the main problem with America is that old enemy of democracy; the professional politician. There will always be people who love to control everything they see around them, they are often called control freaks. Government is a natural attraction to them because it puts them in a position of control. These people often don’t know what they are doing, but that does not matter to them, as long as they are in control, everything is great; but all the people suffer because of them.
But (as stated) since historians say the death of a republic is common, maybe the people of America should look for a different solution. A return to the principles in the American Constitution as advocated by Conservative groups may be a solution, but then what will prevent Congress from ignoring the Constitution again? Yes, the Constitution certainly worked for a long time and caused a rise in prosperity the world does not see often. But if the government ignores the Constitution, the only solution is for the people to restore it and fix the problem that caused this.
Is an “Electronic Democracy” a solution that should be considered as a way to restore the Constitution?
Is the search for the magic man president proving to be a waste of time?
Consider this– if you add up all the people on the decision making level of government, it will add up to about one hundredth of one percent of the population, that is 0.01% of the population. This is a very small percentage of the population and so can be easily influenced by rich and powerful corporations. This is certainly a big part of the problem.
On the other hand, if an electronic democracy is established, that gives the people decision making power and as is typical, if only half the people vote; this is about 150,000,000 people. As rich as some people and corporations are, they certainly do not have the money to buy off 150,000,000 people. It will be a government immune from the effect that money has on politics. This can be good thing.
Some people say that this will be mob rule that will harm small minority groups. But look at the South from just after the Civil War to around the year 1960, it had the Jim Crow laws that denied African Americans many rights that are established in the Constitution. It will be pointed out that this abuse was committed in a Republic form of government and this only stopped when a majority of citizens rose up and fought for the rights of minority people. So, this proves that a republic can and often does harm small groups of citizens and that the majority fought for and protected the rights of small groups of abused citizens.
Other people say that if a majority rules a nation, that the nation will quickly go bankrupt because they will all vote to spend so much money that this will quickly lead to a nations bankruptcy. The first argument against this is the fact that the American Republic is already doing this with its reckless spending. Another argument against this is the example that Ancient Greece gives us. In Ancient Greece the majority of citizens made all decisions for the nation state that Greece was. They decided on all spending issues, social issues, roads and bridges, temples– even on going to war or not, but Greece did not go bankrupt like America is going bankrupt today. Why? Look at it this way; YES the citizens of Athens were in control of government spending, but the difference with them is that they were spending THEIR own money. Not at all like America today where one group of citizens wants to spend other citizens money. Since the Greeks were in control of their own money they made sure that it was well spent. Their city was clean, their schools effectively gave real education to the children of Greece, their army and navy were the finest the world had seen up to that time. Yes, they spent their own money, but since they were in control of it, it was WELL SPENT; not wasted like today in bankrupt America.
It must be remembered that Greece became one of histories greatest nations, a nation that it is remembered even today as the cradle of civilization and as a nation that made great advances in the sciences, engineering, art, mathematics, astronomy and architecture. This is what having a real democracy did for the people of Greece. It gave them a sense of power, they knew that they were the masters of their own fate and this released in them such powers of creativity that they remain one of the most honored civilizations that history has ever known.
Some people criticize Ancient Athens because it collapsed into chaos, never to rise up again. But this was not a result of a failure of its democratic system that had lasted for centuries. What happened was that it was hit with a devastating plague epidemic that killed over one third of the population, and at the same time its enemies were attacking its farmlands that surrounded it. Athens then collapsed into lawless mob riots. Why the Athenian democracy was never re-built is open to debate; but I think it was taken over by warlords who would not allow for democracy to challenge their privileged positions.
Still another argument against Direct Democracy is that it has already been tried with electronic voting machines and they didn’t work. Consider this, most banks use electronic ATM machines to do a lot of their banking business. Now if these electronic machines work for banks that will not tolerate any financial loss at all, why then don’t these ATM machines work in electronic voting. The answer to this is that the people that installed them are the people who do not want to loose their privileged positions in government. I mean, the last thing they need is for the public to realize that they can make their own decisions and they do not need the government to make these decisions for them. This can certainly be trouble for the powers that be. Or to look at this another way, consider that any individual making decisions will make decisions that favor himself, but when you have 150,000,000 people making decisions, the decisions made will favor the group, not the individual.
Also, remember that the first words on the American Constitution are:
“We The People”.
Clearly this hints of democracy, but yet the word “Democracy” does not appear anywhere in the Constitution. What does appear in the Constitution is in the Tenth Amendment where it states that:
“Powers not given to the government are reserved to the people”
This is certainly a reference to democracy. But yet it is the government that has a forum to debate issues and pass laws, the people only have a personal selection power that is used only every two to four years in elections, then there is only a rare referendum that is sometimes over-ridden by judges or otherwise ignored.
It has to be realized that the Constitution was written in a low technology society where there was no mass communication ability. Today we have radio, TV, cell phones and the Internet. This has possibilities that never existed in colonial America. I sometimes wonder if the founders of American had our mass communication ability, would we today have a Congress, or would we have a forum on television where citizens debate issues and all the citizens voted on the issues by cell phone or email?
In fact, I believe that it is only a matter of time before people realize that humanity has evolve to the level where we just do not need a government anymore. Think about it, what does government do anyway besides make decisions with special interest money in their pockets. When will people realize that they can make their own decisions without the special interest money. It’s just a question of logistics of how and where to vote, debates are no problem, they can be done on TV.
Remember, that it was an agreed principle shared by all the founders of America that:
“Government at its best, is but a necessary evil”.
Or, today it would be:
“You can’t fight City Hall”
Don’t take my word for this, read the newspapers of today to find out the mess America is in, then read the history of Ancient Greece, the American Revolution and the founding documents and compare. Then you decide if an electronic democracy is the answer. Then watch and read different news sources, watch MSNBC, CNN and FOX News– compare, learn to think, and make up your own mind. Then leave a comment here.
Jose Lugo, founder ddtv.org