tisdag 15 december 2009

Direct or representative democracy? Part 2

Dear Rory

I believe that when you say "court", you are closer to solving the problem then when discussing different "democracies".
The thing is that direct democracy tends to be as manipulated as representative democracy, it not even more.
So what is needed is a HOLISTIC approach to democracy.
Wherever democracy works, it is precisely because rule of law is at work. In addition, there are many voices in such a society, many media competing with each other, operating according to freedom of speech, PROTECTED by a constitution exactly by the courts AGAINST corrupt polticians. But there are also brave politicians who are courageous and act AGAINST other less courageous politicans and against special interests precisely because THEY are also protected by the rule of law.
And education does not solve problems, it is WISDOM that is needed. Jacob Zuma is a whole lot better for South Africa than Thabo Mbeki was. Even if it was Mbeki who had the impressive formal education.
It is not education that guarantees democracy, it is freedom of speech, courts that uphold such freedom through a rule of law, where also politicans are held accountable before the courts, plus active PLURALISM, that's what makes democracy work.
And here is my point: You can take representatives of democarcy to court, you can't do the same with people who vote duirectly for this or that. It is just becomes a terror of the majority against any and every minority there is. Rule of law is what hinders that from occuring.


2009/12/15 Rory

Dear Alexander,

Perhaps I do, but I don't think "vanilla" representative democracy is always the answer. The point I have been trying to get across is that we need to use the best system for the place and situation. Whilst it may not have been the right choice for Scandinavian countries or California that doesn't mean it is not the most PRAGMATIC solution in other places. Africa is the best example of what I am saying. Look at the Sudan, Namibia and even South Africa. The problem we have is that leaders abuse their power not occasionally but 90% of the time! Our biggest need is a means of holding them in check. Africans usually choose the most charismatic leader regardless of his/her abilities (Jacob Zuma is barely literate and Robert Mugabe's most likely successor Rex Nongu never received ANY education) but usually take the time to understand a specific problem when asked to make a decision on it and generally surprise everybody. Rwanda's courts dealing with the perpertrators of the genocide are very close to a direct democracy system, yet they work because they are the most pragmatic system due of the situation.


--- In Ushta@yahoogroups.com, Alexander Bard wrote:
> Dear Rory
> I believe you have a rather naive idea of direct democracy.
> It might have helped temporarily to get Robert Mugabe out of power in
> Zimbabwe. But taht's about it. And you still have the problem of a far too
> low level of education and a plurality of opinions to make democracy work as
> intended anyway.
> Looking at how much conservatism and shortsightedness direct democracy
> generates in many countries where it is in use, it is no model and certainly
> not any better than representative democracy.
> Scandinavaians have been offered direct democracy many times but always
> opted for representative democracy instead. They firmly believe that
> politics is too complicated for people to decide on every issue themselves
> all the time. better then to outsource politics to trusted experts, in other
> words: Representative democracy is superior! The more educated we are as a
> people, the more we realize who complex the world really is!
> Switzerland is an exception from this rule, being a country speaking four
> official languages and with a strong historical need for decentralization.
> But most countries are not like Switzerland.
> Please take your time to study the current massive financial and legal mess
> in California and I believe your rosy ideas of direct democracy will go out
> the window. That's my ten cents on the issue.
> Ushta
> Alexander
> 2009/12/14 Rory
> >
> > Dear Dino,
> >
> > Amazing. One would expect people to become more appreciative of education
> > the more ducated they become. What is causing it? Is there strong populist
> > propoganda being used by poiticians?
> >
> >
> > Ushta,
> > Rory
> >
> > --- In Ushta@yahoogroups.com , Special Kain

> > wrote:
> > >
> > > Dear Rory
> > >
> > > I know that it's a fairly pretty picture, but it's quite exhausting.
> > There's way too much anti-intellectualism amongst Swiss people. University
> > students are constantly being dissed and discriminated against: to the vast
> > majority of people university students are theorists only that have spent
> > too much time in their ivory towers, being completely detached from «the
> > real world».

> > > I've recently graduated, but I still get same rejection. University
> > equals bullshit, that's how people see me. Anti-intellectualism as a problem
> > in democratic societies is as long as the notion of democracy itself, see
> > Plato. All opinions and whims are treated as equal, as if the political
> > equality of all people would justify such nonsense. But there's
> > anti-intellectualism anywhere, simply because both dictatorships and
> > democracies live in fear of a bright mind's smart conclusions.
> > > It's really tiring. I wonder if it's resentment. Anyone who's different
> > and has a strong desire to stand out is discriminated against. That's why
> > there's no praise of plurality in Switzerland. And what are democracies
> > without pluralism - or with pluralism «on the paper», but not in their

> > thick heads? It's nothing. But Switzerland is famous for its xenophobia and
> > dismissal of individualism. You can't help but becoming a cultural radical
> > when living in Zurich. ;-)
> > >
> > > Ushta, Dino

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