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View Poll Results: Is direct democracy the proper direction?

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  • No, it would turn into ochlocracy

    1 50.00%
  • No, it would greatly slow decision making process

    0 0%
  • No, it is practically unrealistic

    0 0%
  • Yes, but politicians will successfully prevent it

    0 0%
  • Yes, it can and should be done

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Thread: National Discussion Forum – "discuss then vote" direct democracy using electronic signature

  1. #1 National Discussion Forum – "discuss then vote" direct democracy using electronic signature 
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    The World’s situation is far from being perfect and it doesn’t seem to have perspective to repair itself(?). So there are growing in strength on one side e.g.
    - idealistic utopian visions, like Zeitgeist movement/Venus project expecting that the system will itself transform into resource-based, or
    - rage movements on the other side, like occupy movements or Anonymous which doesn’t seem to have realistic alternatives to what they oppose to.
    Let us think here about reasonable constructive possibilities which are both achievable in this moment and giving hope for the real improvement for our future.

    The general feeling is that the main problem is that the power corrupts – not only the rich/politicians/lobbyists should decide about the future of our world, but the power should be somehow shifted toward the ones it directly applies to. On national level it is generally called direct democracy and is already included in constitution of many countries. However, in only a few of them it has some real influence, like in Switzerland or e.g. recent writing constitution of Iceland by its citizens .
    Fortunately we have Internet now, which could make direct democracy quite realistic.
    There remain conjugated questions: how should it look like and how to make it accepted on national/world level?
    Many countries accept electronic signatures as the real ones, making such signature perfect tool of direct democracy - to sign below initiatives and then use constitutional direct democracy. The problem is to organize these hundreds of thousands of willing people – create the place to gather them and find initiatives people would indeed agree to. The best would be if they could identify with it … believe in it – if they could take a part in its carving …
    Very promising example is recent initiative of creating Free Internet Act as counterattack on SOPA/PIPA/ACTA, which could wake people up from political apathy and make them believe that their action may indeed improve situation ... which literally translates into real organizing.
    But there is extremely important danger of direct democracy - it looks similar to ochlocracy ... it cannot be just mob shouting to e.g. lower taxes, but there is essential discussion phase before: on which there are considered realistic alternatives, basing on reasonable arguments. It should formulate a few possible compromises and then the people could choose one in pure democratic act.

    The main question is who should be involved in these discussions.
    I believe the priority is to shift this "discussion phase" of e.g. legislation toward the people.
    For this purpose, there would be extremely useful some specialized place designed for this purpose, e.g. National Discussion Forums – an open source project of forums for serious discussions of potentially millions of citizens, which could be then applied as the single additional discussion place on given level: state/country/union/world. For example to collectively work on legislations, then collect signatures there after finding the compromise.
    It should be discussion place without anonymity - in which all statements would be electronically signed and the whole history would be stored forever – everybody could express his opinion, but one should think a few times if he can indeed identify with what he is saying and want this information to be accessible. Alternatively he could ask someone braver to represent his point, for example by linking to the statement in an anonymous forum and commenting it.
    It would be a place where the politicians/government would be expected to express their transparency and discuss with citizens. In such a place new politicians would be born, by consequently building trust and support thanks of social work they have made and presented in this place. With time it could be officially accepted by government and among others became a place for referendums or even take some part of government’s role.
    It is extremely difficult to imagine discussions of millions of people on important for them matters, so it would require really well thought-out system of sorting/searching/(signed!)marks … also with required marks of marks and so on.
    It should be completely transparent, open source but still extremely safe. It shouldn't have some native moderators (to take care of e.g. legislation wiki-like pages), but some could acquire such status thanks of high marks from other citizens - but still all their actions would be traceable by everyone.

    Can a place for serious discussions of millions of interested people be realistic?
    How to design such a place to improve the level of discussion by the construction itself?
    If the system is not going to repair itself, is directed democracy a good direction for repairing it?
    If so, how should it look like and how to make the world to go in this direction?


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  3. #2  
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    I think direct democrasy for many of our representatives and leaders is fine.

    I think it's a terrible idea for complex problems, that required expert examination and often Hobbian choices between the best of bad choices.

    It's also a bad idea for most rights issues which should be well insulated from the tyranny of the masses.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    I think direct democrasy for many of our representatives and leaders is fine.
    The question is if they tell it because it's popular, or they really would like to shift their power toward the people?
    I think it's a terrible idea for complex problems, that required expert examination and often Hobbian choices between the best of bad choices.
    The question is if the group of expert understand well enough the problem ... which often concerns very different people?
    Shouldn't the ones who live with it, take part in the discussion, show how they see it?
    Another question is objectivity - can we be sure that narrow group of experts would not be affected by lobbyists, sponsors?
    It's also a bad idea for most rights issues which should be well insulated from the tyranny of the masses.
    Indeed ochlocracy is essential danger here - it's why I emphasized "discuss then vote" - what I believe we mainly need is a better way of presenting and evaluating arguments in rational discussion with politicians - improve the interface between the government and the people.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------

    Let me briefly write how I imagine such forum for really serious discussions – shifting people’s energy from fb and rage in current political apathy age, toward organizing in social work for our better future.

    A basic unit should be a ‘statement’, which
    - always has a text and one main link it refers to,
    - eventually ‘judge’ of what its main link points to and a few additional links.
    The link can refer to the whole/part of the site on given topic or a statement. If the purpose of the statement was to make judgment, the text should be only the justification. These judging statements can also be judged, for example because of poor justification. The marks of statements affect the mark of its author and weight of its judging.
    Finally, there is required some kind of page-rank algorithm to evaluate final marks of statements/persons and use them while sorting search results - in one of many ways, customized by the user.
    Everybody would get e.g. 10 points/day, which can be spent on marks in different categories, for example a statement could be “+1 patriotism, -1 realism” and explanation.
    Points in category given person has higher marks would have larger influence.

    Example of list of categories of marks (to discuss):
    - Morality / empathy (as external evaluation of situation)
    - Altruism/hard work (as own sacrifice/work, minus for selfishness, lazy distributing points)
    - Justice/objectiveness (e.g. unjustified marks)
    - Realism (awareness of the broader situation)
    - Patriotism (good for the nation)
    - Originality / innovativeness (minus for obviousness, plus for interesting idea)
    - ... ?
    Some may have subcategories - like realism in politics, economics, physics ...
    More controversial examples:
    - Coherence / consistency / transparency - minus for lies, frequent change of opinion (have to be distinguished from the legitimate evolution), plus for mature defense of an idea, the internal consistency, honesty in a difficult situations,
    - Openness / flexibility - minus for not adapting to changing realities, ignoring strong arguments, blind fanaticism ... plus for openness to different views, evolution of own thinking.

    Besides statements, there would be:
    - Profiles of persons/institutions/organizations/companies (with part edited by this subject and part everyone can discuss),
    - voting sites - secret (e.g. for final vote) or open (e.g. while choosing between alternatives),
    - sites for working on given petition, bill, referendum requests – with planed deadline to stop working and start gathering signatures,
    - wiki-like pages on different subjects (e.g. euthanasia, nuclear power ...) and different specific topics for discussion, briefly introducing to the problem and results of discussions – with statistics and lots of links.
    ?
    Last edited by Jarek Duda; February 12th, 2012 at 09:45 AM.
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    The question is if they tell it because it's popular, or they really would like to shift their power toward the people?
    Not sure what you mean. The people always have the power. And this is one of my touchy subjects. The 99%ers for example, if they want things to change just need leaders to come forward with their views, a organization, and to turn out to vote. Instead it's made up of many people who won't even bother to get a photo Id, register and cast a vote. It's one thing to complain about a system, it's another when you don't even engage in the mechanisms that have worked pretty well over the past 230+ years.

    The question is if the group of expert understand well enough the problem .
    If they don't than they aren't experts. Experts come in teams and provide the minutia for many decisions handled by comities and teams of experts--a simple task like building a bridge takes hydrologist, geologist, engineers and many others just to get at the cost. Should states pay millions to get their detailed hundred page reports out to the public to let the most people who don't have time or decide? Or as now distill it in a series of briefing and summations until it's balanced against a hundred other budget priorities by a legislature. I think the answer is obvious--in most cases it's better to use the representative system to sort it out.

    Indeed ochlocracy is essential danger here - it's why I emphasized "discuss then vote" -
    Discussion often doesn't' change fundamental ideas. If the masses had been allowed to decide rights decisions, there are still vast stretched of the US where blacks would be forced to ride at the backs of buses, drink from their own water fountain, or get a job or apartment inside many cities. Today they might not be allowed Internet access. If you look at the First Amendment, public schools, if they existed at all, would not be allowed to teach biology (about a 3rd of biology teachers already hamstring their teaching from community pressure). The last example is the Morman church spending tens of millions in advertising to oppress California gays, a state that's less than 2% Mormon creating the worse possible combination of externally financed tyranny of the masses.
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    I see you have a lot of faith in the system, but not everybody has this luck. In my country (Poland) people voted for one party only because the other was even more scary, all promises are forgotten just after the election, casual people has no way to influence politicians and we only worry what they will spoil in succeeding legislation...
    USA is also not perfect - e.g. bank crisis, dept is growing - both of country and of citizens, what created your 99%ers - you can say that it's their fault, but I don't think it's so simple. Unfortunately politicians are not always perfect idealists, but they make mistakes, many of them have own agenda - there is corruption involved.
    It is why there is huge need for transparency and for a way for people to be able to intervene - to show their perspective, ideas, problems, inconsistencies they see ... a place both sides are expected to use for high level transparent discussions - to jointly build mutual trust and belief in the system.
    Not to shout at each other, but to exchange arguments and find compromises ... especially with people who didn't have so much luck and it wasn't entirely their fault...
    And the only place I mentioned voting is between possible solutions the discussion has lead to - between reasonable compromises. I see rational discussion as the base - exchange and evaluation of arguments.
    Last edited by Jarek Duda; February 12th, 2012 at 12:56 PM.
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    And the only place I mentioned voting is between possible solutions the discussion has lead to - between reasonable compromises. I see rational discussion as the base - exchange and evaluation of arguments.
    Ow dont' get me wrong, I think so to, because when the people happen to decide to protect peoples right, for example, it's much less likely to be contended in the future. Unfortunately some issues just never get that far. In the US civil rights hadnt' moved in over five generations before a combination of minirity activism and the courts finnally shoved it down the legilatures throut. Abrortioni rights is similar. Gay rights will probably be the next major move in the US--and given time it will be done by popular vote. The question we shoudl have, is it fair for another generation of gay Americans to be oppressed by the majority while the youth, who overwelmingly support gay-rights, finally outnumber the bigots? Or will the courts once again decide for the nation, get accused of activism and wait for the nation to catch up?

    None of this is easy.
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    Indeed none of these is easy.
    There is required not just popular vote like in pure E-democracy, but mainly discussion - searching for compromises. Not only among experts, but discussion which should be transparent and everyone should have a feeling of being able to participate in it.
    Their arguments can bring new light on the problem and the possibility itself would make that they could identify with the legislation ... not only shout later that it was made behind their back.
    The majority is not ready for too much power (what is conjugated with weakening identification with the system), but for being citizens and taxes they pay, they deserve for transparency and the feeling that they can show their perspective in discussions.

    There are required experts to make legislation, but what percent of country's experts on given topic really takes part in it?
    The legislation's role is not just to be pushed, but to solve some problem - full-time legislators may have their own agenda, confirmation biases, they are often theoreticians very distant from lower living people they decide about ...
    What I'm thinking about is a tool to allow all experts in the country (and e.g. people who knows the situation directly...) to participate in the discussions - show new arguments, missed perspectives, lacks of reasoning, weaknesses ...
    To combine the potential of all citizens to make better legislations.

    Sounds impossible? Many of what surrounds us today would sound impossible a few decades ago ...
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  9. #8  
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    Ow. And I'm not crazy about e-signatures, as I've seen them used by the military and too the end of my career used my hand written signature whenever I had the option. Why I did it was simple. For one it was a personal connection to the pen and paper and ability to affirm years later that it was indeed my signature at a glance. The e-signature, would simply look like my typed name with what appeared to be a random number after it--something I NEVER would have testified as my signature unless I had specific recollection, and a signature it would take an army of technicians to an technology smart jury to ever prove.
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    Digital signature can generally be much safer than written (which can be relatively simply counterfitted), but the most important advantage is that it can be used remotely - e.g. for voting or discussions on national level.
    Of course there can remain possibility of additional standard voting like in Estonia, but discussion on national level requires electronic one. But (in opposite to voting) your argument in discussion can always be sent by someone else, or there still could be some free internet points for such purposes in local government offices with persons which can help.

    Of course it is not ultimately safe, but it is issue for e-voting rather than discussion - let us leave this problem now and focus on how to build a place for important discussions of millions of people?
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    The 99%ers for example, if they want things to change just need leaders to come forward with their views, a organization, and to turn out to vote.
    Is that all.

    Outcompete the wealthy at getting "leaders" to "come forward" with their views, in some unspecified manner; at having informed views, in the first place.

    Outcompete the wealthy at creating and funding organizations, publicizing and establishing coherent views, and turning out not only a vote but a prior registration and subsequent count.

    Outcompete the wealthy at creating and disseminating influential advertisements on the media these wealthy own and and pay for, at funding and supporting the careers of a cadre of intellectuals who can muster the influence of reason and argument.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx
    Instead it's made up of many people who won't even bother to get a photo Id, register and cast a vote.
    And Acorn never happened, in wingnut world. Birth certificates arrived free in one's secure mail, and one keeps them in a safe deposit box with the other valuables. Nice place.

    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    It's one thing to complain about a system, it's another when you don't even engage in the mechanisms that have worked pretty well over the past 230+ years.
    You seem to think poorly of many of those mechanisms - mass marches and quasi-riots, defiance of the police and military authorities, organized civil disobedience, legal and illegal strikes and work stoppages, the disruption of the control over wealth-owned media, that kind of traditional stuff.

    On topic: direct discussion and democracy over the internet would be flipping mess. Journalism, information analysis and provision, and the details of governance and decision making, are difficult and skilled and full time occupations for professionals. We hire people to do that stuff, for the very good reason that we haven't the time, interest, or ability.
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    Please let us not argue about current politics here, but try to think about general improvements - for example a place for discussions and systemaitzed joint work on legislations - for transparency to give people more feith in the system and allow them to be able to help creating better legislations.
    How such a tool should be constructed to improve its level of discussions?
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    Please let us not argue about current politics here, but try to think about general improvements
    If your general "improvements" won't work under current politics, they won't work.

    for transparency to give people more feith in the system and allow them to be able to help creating better legislations.
    There is no way to involve a million people in creating better legislations. There is no way for a discussion involving a million people to be "transparent", or for a million people to "jointly work" on anything. Creating "better legislation" is a full time job for a crew of professionals - a relatively small crew, not too big for discussion and improvements and the advantages of mutual aid, hired for the purpose.

    The most direct way to improve things would be to curb and cripple the most obvious forces working to make things worse, and let things improve as they will without interference. That way, you don't have to impose your utopia on the unwilling.
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    I think Jerek they already exist in the huge number of avenues to get and exchange information about just about anything. Do we really need another framework? Government could be more transparent, but increasingly reports and information get picked apart and cherry picked by political sensitive groups on both sides only interested in presenting one position which erodes the whole process.
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    iceaura, But these millions of tax paying citizens are affected by this legislation - why they shouldn't have a way to express their point of view?

    A century ago it was no way of imagining to access to the knowledge of our civilization from a device in a pocket ...
    It looks extremely difficult, but technically such a tool doesn't have to be more complicated than web search engine.
    The real problem is socio-politics: politicians doesn't like if someone is looking at their hands and make suggestions, while people doesn't really belief that their personal view can be taken into consideration in national level discussions. But internet many time has promoted highly rated voices of single common citizens - this tool would allow to use such process in more systematic way.
    Politicians may don't like it, but it can be developed and get popularity from the people without asking for permition ... and while it evolves, politicians would be expected to participate in this tool ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    I think Jerek they already exist in the huge number of avenues to get and exchange information about just about anything
    There exists and people waste a lot of time and energy there ... my point is to direct this energy into more productive ways, like to help improving legislations - by the way learning a lot of useful things and identifying better with the system ... and maybe become a wise politican in the future.
    Not believing that one's actions could change something leads to (political) apathy - such place could change it and make that people instead of wasting time or going to e.g. occupy movements, they will understand the situation better and constructively try to improve it.
    Beside many places of casual discussions, there should be a single one for serious ones - not only pure talk, but literally translating into how our world will work in our future...
    Last edited by Jarek Duda; February 13th, 2012 at 02:52 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by duda
    iceaura, But these millions of tax paying citizens are affected by this legislation - why they shouldn't have a way to express their point of view?
    Because that is impossible, physically - there isn't enough time for a million people to listen to a million people's expressions of their point of view. Life is too short.
    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    Government could be more transparent, but increasingly reports and information get picked apart and cherry picked by political sensitive groups on both sides
    The problem is not "both sides" doing anything. That description capitulates to the Fox framing that is doing worse and enabling the worst. It is part of what anyone attempting to slow the mudslide has to fight against.
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  17. #16  
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    There exists and people waste a lot of time and energy there ... my point is to direct this energy into more productive ways, like to help improving legislations - by the way learning a lot of useful things and identifying better with the system ... and maybe become a wise politican in the future.
    That's certainly part of it. But some portion of it is the increased ability to get notified of things happening that your representatives are working on and opportunities to express your opinions for or against those activities. To take a simple example, I'm in the feed of about a half a dozen watch groups and get emails from them. Several times a month, I write one or all my representatives about various issues or bills coming before them to express my opinion. Before entering the Army I was also active and wrote letters, but it was much slower process. and none of us had nearly the same level of visibility on what our representative were doing or could be voting on soon.

    Even the availability of news that effected many decisions is much better now-- we don't need to look back a century. Just go back before cable TV or the Internet. There were three or four major TV news outlets, all getting the majority of news from AP telegraphs or faxes from around the world. Usually without pictures or video. The stories across all those stations were almost the same, vulnerable to what ever came in the telegraph than anything else. Weeks later you might get a more accurate version or better take on the events when you saw it on public TV or read it in one of the few prominent news journals. For a simple example compare and contrast the day-to-day happening from the Korean War, Vietnam War and what's happening in Afghanistan from a U.S. soldiers perspective. During the Korean War, what little news you got was highly distilled and fragmented with the "soldier's" view weeks to months behind the major news outlets. Vietnam was still fragmented but the tech allowed less distillation and more independent news from reported near soldiers and for the first time to see the horror almost real time. Today, much to the US military's chagrin, a soldier can post that they found Iranian made rocket on patrol, or his buddy is collecting ears, on facebook or via email before even his squad leader has got a chance to shape the information and way before any news outlets has gotten a chance to shape the story.
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    - - - Today, much to the US military's chagrin, a soldier can post that they found Iranian made rocket on patrol, or his buddy is collecting ears, on facebook or via email before even his squad leader has got a chance to shape the information and way before any news outlets has gotten a chance to shape the story.
    And after all that people know less about the Iraq war than they did about Vietnam while it was happening, and less about Vietnam than before there was an internet.

    Because the internet, like the bar gossip of old, is dominated in the long run by the framing imposed by the actual news sources - the professional journalists and authors who don't chase every ear collection story in circles, but instead provide context and meaning - and there are many fewer and lesser of them now, employed by a much narrower range of interests, dependent for their concessions and access to audience on the whims of the scum of the earth.
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    And after all that people know less about the Iraq war than they did about Vietnam while it was happening, and less about Vietnam than before there was an internet.
    More idol speculation of based on something? And even if true, shouldn't it have been this way, given the Vietnam killed 10 times more Americans against a backdrop of a smaller nation in the middle of the Cold War?

    People who want the news, get the news; today there are many more options than there have ever been before.

    --
    why they shouldn't have a way to express their point of view?
    That's the part I dont' get. It's almostly trivially simple to research issues, find your representative's contact information and email or snail mail them to express your view. It's likewise very easy to look at your representatives positions and voting records. Technology has made it much simpler than it has ever been.
    Last edited by Lynx_Fox; February 13th, 2012 at 09:27 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    People who want the news, get the news; today there are many more options than there have ever been before
    Very few people have the time, interest, or ability, to do the journalist's job day in and day out for years.

    For example:
    - - -given the Vietnam killed 10 times more Americans against a backdrop of a smaller nation in the middle of the Cold War?
    How do you imagine people would generate an interest and discover all that - that Vietnam killed ten times more Americans (a large part of that multiple being superior trauma care and soldier experience - the total casualty rate multiple among first deployments was not nearly that big a multiple), that Vietnam was a smaller country in some senses, that the Cold War was less fictional than the Terror War?
    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    It's almostly trivially simple to research issues
    No, it isn't. It's beyond the time, resources, and capabilities of any but a small minority.
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    How do you imagine people would generate an interest and discover all that
    Perhaps people have a hard time imagining a time life before the Internet when folk actuall went outside, talked to their neighbors after church, during town picnics, and between bingo games at the American legion hall. When they'd drive by a large side walk oak trees covered in wide yellow ribbons, and associate it with a black dressed widow weeks later. Or hear the sounds of a 21 gun salute on a still frosty morning as another of their young men was put in the ground. Or when a letter would be passes around through gossip circles about last years high school quarterback who was coming home early only to find out their horror than their local harrow was never to make it back. Or the quick string of fearfull phone calls full of speculation about who'd diead seconds after an Army Captain and chaplain checked into the only hotel in town. Or the shattered news that your son's draft number would change his plans from marrying that cute girl across the street and running the corner store because he had to join the infantry. People had many reasons to know about the Vietnam war just from the share size and number of dead who didn't return and crippled they could talk to who did make it back. That's how people knew in small towns like the one I grow up in, and in ten thousand tightly knit communities much like it spread from sea to shining sea.

    Even without the extremely narrow media views of the time (which were actually even better than the Korean war), they couldn't help but know about the war from the close and personal lmpact to their families and friends.
    Last edited by Lynx_Fox; February 14th, 2012 at 12:01 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    Because that is impossible, physically - there isn't enough time for a million people to listen to a million people's expressions of their point of view. Life is too short.
    It is not about that everybody would have to spend whole life on it, but about being able to access information on issues directly concerning given person and to express their perspective on the subject he experience directly (in opposite to full-time legislators).
    And there are places where millions of people listens to other millions of people like reddit, which is a bit similar to tool for transparent joint work on legislations I'm thinking about - where highly judged comments are well seen and so should be taken into considerations.

    I see I have chosen a wrong forum - you can continue arguing here why it is impossible to improve situation, while I'm taking discussion how to do it to computer science forum:
    How to design a place for massive joint work like creating standards, legislations?
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    The newspaper is slowly becoming extinct since most obtain their news from the internet, now is a good time to come up with new ideas for a massive joint work in creating standards, legislations.
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    "- idealistic utopian visions, like Zeitgeist movement/Venus project expecting that the system will itself transform into resource-based, or"
    Only utopian from our current perspective, much like "phones without an actual wire" was sci-fi but only from a 60s perspective. If you walked in a supermarket with a caveman strolling by a wall of fresh meat from which you only take a few pieces because the same abundance will be there tomorrow and the day after and the day after that, the cave man would think we live in a idealistic pipedream utopia, with drinking water magically appear at the turn of a tab and hot water at the turn of another tab and cool air at the push of a button. According to this progression I guarantee that with a little luck people in the future Will see our current early 21st century behavior and social system as retarded and barbaric.


    "The general feeling is that the main problem is that the power corrupts"
    Money is power, concentration of money is concentration of power. Plus Hierarchic organisations also concentrate power byond the strict context of government (agencies, corporations, etc). Concentration of money and hierarchies facilitate the concentration of media ownership and message, all western media is Propaganda, that is a problem that must be remedied along with universal access to the best education available, in order for democracy to express itself in a beneficial manner more often(as opposed to parrot to various degrees the spin that favors the Elite).


    This being said direct democracy has good aspects to it.


    I agree a shift to a better system requires NOT to expect the change to be made by an institution but to be part of a paralell process.


    I think direct democrasy for many of our representatives and leaders is fine.
    No not for Greece remember? Its fine for choosing between irrelevant alternatives (coke vs pepsi) but when it comes to potentially undermining the criminal racket of the elite then its usually not fine. Or if it is the Elite will in practice not implement the people's decision (ex: EU countries that have voted AGAINST the EU were swindled by the corrupt elected government and note that in France, the two main parties are corrupt globalist elite pandering lackeys).




    "tyranny of the masses."
    Elitist, Im sure thats what King Louis XVI thought too, Tyrants usually fear the "tyranny" of the unwashed masses, they prefer the tyrany of the few and the sheepish servility of the majority. Dont forget to limit access to education and control the media to ensure a self-fulling prophecy that the masses arent educated enough.
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    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    How do you imagine people would generate an interest and discover all that ?

    Perhaps people have a hard time imagining a time life before the Internet - - - - People had many reasons to know about the Vietnam war just from the share size and number of dead who didn't return and crippled they could talk to who did make it back. That's how people knew in small towns like the one I grow up in, and in ten thousand tightly knit communities much like it spread from sea to shining sea.
    Exactly. And not to forget: all this connected to dozens of newspapers and radio stations etc, thousands of professional journalists, a wide base of information.

    All of this is gone or going, and not found on the internet without great and fairly sophisticated and never-ending effort.

    Thus my point - which you somehow seem to be disagreeing with, after supporting it at length?

    Quote Originally Posted by duda
    It is not about that everybody would have to spend whole life on it,
    Yes, it is.
    but about being able to access information on issues directly concerning given person and to express their perspective on the subject he experience directly (in opposite to full-time legislators).
    Very few people have the time, interest, or ability, to do that. It's a full time job for a skilled pro, and without that skilled pro it isn't going to get done.
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    I give bunches of personal examples and you somehow think they needed to read that their neighbor lost his boy in a newspaper. Get outside more and talk to your neighbor. People used to actually do that to learn things.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi
    The newspaper is slowly becoming extinct since most obtain their news from the internet,
    The internet has, so far, been parasitic on a shrinking base of professional journalism paid for by newspapers and magazines and book publishers. So has the TV and radio and other major media.

    If and when that disappears, the consequences are uncertain. Some of the online folks have been talking about various ways to throw some money at the sources of their news content, and some newspapers have tried cornering some sources of money on line, but no one knows if that will be enough.

    Gathering and organizing and writing "news" is hard work, and difficult. Stop paying for it, and it will stop getting done.
    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    I give bunches of personal examples and you somehow think they needed to read that their neighbor lost his boy in a newspaper.
    Now what do you think you've read this time? Bizarre. I'm not going to bother tracing that one.

    You need to just quit replying to my posts.
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    The main problem with the internet is that disinformation is easier to find than real information. If you're wealthy and there's a story about you that you want to suppress, you can just create 200 false versions of the story, seed them out into the internet, and people will be unable to tell which one's true. It's like reading one of those "Where's Waldo" books. The truth is staring you in the face, but you can't see it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    The question is if they tell it because it's popular, or they really would like to shift their power toward the people?
    Not sure what you mean. The people always have the power. And this is one of my touchy subjects. The 99%ers for example, if they want things to change just need leaders to come forward with their views, a organization, and to turn out to vote. Instead it's made up of many people who won't even bother to get a photo Id, register and cast a vote. It's one thing to complain about a system, it's another when you don't even engage in the mechanisms that have worked pretty well over the past 230+ years.
    No matter how much official control they have over government, inability to control the flow of information renders it all meaningless. When the government had more control over what was allowed to be put on the air, the fact the people owned the government meant they also had the ability to choose what they wanted to see on TV, but then corporate personhood emerged in 1978 and changed all of that.

    If fraud is considered a form of theft (ie. a way of coercing a person into parting with wealth by giving them false information), then the inability of the people to prevent themselves from being defrauded amounts to total powerlessness in every meaningful way. The only control the 99% have over the broadcast press is by watching or not watching TV shows, and since they collectively wield only 50% of the nation's purchasing power, they make fewer of the buying decisions than they used to, so it stands to reason that that aspect of their control has gotten smaller.

    The question is if the group of expert understand well enough the problem .
    If they don't than they aren't experts. Experts come in teams and provide the minutia for many decisions handled by comities and teams of experts--a simple task like building a bridge takes hydrologist, geologist, engineers and many others just to get at the cost. Should states pay millions to get their detailed hundred page reports out to the public to let the most people who don't have time or decide? Or as now distill it in a series of briefing and summations until it's balanced against a hundred other budget priorities by a legislature. I think the answer is obvious--in most cases it's better to use the representative system to sort it out.
    [/quote]

    They also need to make a living, and know full well what the odds are of continuing to find work if they say the wrong things. Success at any task requires two things.

    1) - Ability
    2) - Desire

    Even possessing an infinite amount of #1 won't help if a person doesn't have #2 to go with it. That's the problem I have with "experts". They're assumed both to know what is best, and be honest enough to say it. But only the knowing part is guaranteed to be true.
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    control the flow of information renders it all meaningless.
    People largely control that as well, by their choices. Inspite of the difficults of finding information expressed here and on the related thread, it's much easier now than it has ever been. Over a hundred million Americans google, use that strange MS search engine, feed there favorite blogs or news papers such as Huffington Post or the New York Times, get it directly from their friends and relatives, representatives and organizations they belong to, or hit any more news agency they want as simply as typing in their letter names ranging including CNN, MSNBC, PBS , BBC, Al Jazeera and dozens more--and no one is in control of any of those choices you make. In fact one of the great frustrations of news agencies is they can't figure out how to control what you see like they could when your options were three blurry TV stations, an occasional letter from someone you might know overseas, and a local newspaper if you were lucky. I think we forget how hard it was to get information and news even a couple decades ago. Well I sure haven't. Last week I wrote two letters to my congressmen while in my bathrobe on web-based forms THEY sent me after some earlier email correspondence. I had quotes from actual bills before them and specifci pieces I didnt' like as well as the day they'd likely see it come up--all from easy to find resources ment to empower the poeple. (often the bill language is also sent to you from organizations you might below to). It just doesn't get any easier than that.

    For a glimpse of where we're going look at the graph below where young people are getting their news:


    I do like your comparison between ability and desire. If Americans are stupid about news, it's a matter of desire, not ability--the ability crutch has been kicked out by the Internet, email and social networking tools.
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    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    Over a hundred million Americans google, use that strange MS search engine, feed there favorite blogs or news papers such as Huffington Post or the New York Times, get it directly from their friends and relatives, representatives and organizations they belong to, or hit any more news agency they want as simply as typing in their letter names ranging including CNN, MSNBC, PBS , BBC, Al Jazeera and dozens more--and no one is in control of any of those choices you make.
    The cadre of journalists and organizers and aggregators of content actually contributing to that buffet remains the issue.

    The question of how many actual sources of content are supplying this buffet can be estimated (you mention Huffington and the NYT in the same sentence - the one is parasitic on the other, and together count as one, say). If we look at how many independent frames of discussion we can find in the public arena, we get nothing like that variety. In fact, we can find specific and detailed errors and misframings and corrupt issues - fictions, lies, deceptions monopolizing bandwidth and public consciousness - common to whole swaths of these sources and tens of millions of these supposedly news-foraging Americans.

    That indicates they are duplicates, the alternative being levels of improbability in coincidence no sensible person can accept. Most are drinking the same koolaid, from the same one or two suppliers, then.

    We can also find, by actually doing the kinds of search and investigation all these Americans are supposedly doing, for hours at a time, week in week out, that we run into several quite significant frames and bodies of content are not common in the larger public arena. Leftwing stuff, for example, is very rare beyond a few dedicated websites. One must recruit and discover and dig hard for that perspective, all the while wading neck deep in repetitions of just one or two other frames and bodies of content rolling from every TV station, radio station, and mass market source. Since we notice that most people seem completely unfamiliar with this stuff, not rejecting but oblivious, we can hardly help bu conclude - and a reasonable person would have presumed in the first place - that most people are not in fact getting their news from such searching and evaluation.
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    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo View Post
    "- idealistic utopian visions, like Zeitgeist movement/Venus project expecting that the system will itself transform into resource-based, or"
    Only utopian from our current perspective, much like "phones without an actual wire" was sci-fi but only from a 60s perspective. If you walked in a supermarket with a caveman strolling by a wall of fresh meat from which you only take a few pieces because the same abundance will be there tomorrow and the day after and the day after that, the cave man would think we live in a idealistic pipedream utopia, with drinking water magically appear at the turn of a tab and hot water at the turn of another tab and cool air at the push of a button. According to this progression I guarantee that with a little luck people in the future Will see our current early 21st century behavior and social system as retarded and barbaric.
    I know that "utopia" word in our culture has hidden negative meaning, but honestly I personally disagree with the general feeling that the situation just cannot be too good.
    The problem of our world very clearly visualize e.g. this site: Stop the Hunger - world hunger statistics updated in real time
    It is unimaginably huge disproportion in resource distribution with "more gathers even more" instability property ... driven by the cult of materialism - that happiness requires gathering as many needless things as you can...
    ... while in fact happiness is not having what you want, but appreciating what you have ... if only you don't have to constantly worry about survival ...
    I completely agree with the Zeitgeist movement that there is already completely enough resources and technical possibilities to make all people in the world live in happiness ... but only living in such vision is not enough - the "only" problem is to get to such situation and I don't see TZM plans to do it as realistic, like to tell the people to burn all money...
    Instead of believing in drastic unrealistic revolution, we need to help the world consequently evolve in the proper direction - like toward globalization not under the rule of corporations and money, but of the people - the direction of direct democracy spreading to world level ... to join efforts not to increase contrasts, but for the wealth of the whole society.

    And also not just jumping to direct democracy in one moment - people are not yet mature enough for it.
    But the more people feel that they have real influence on the system, the more likely they will try to intervene/organize when needed and the more aware of the situation they want to be - the more political maturity they generally have.
    So maturity and the strength of democracy are conjugated properties - we shouldn't focus on "complete direct democracy" now, but just consequently sustain conjugated evolution in the proper direction of these two properties.

    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    The main problem with the internet is that disinformation is easier to find than real information.
    It is why there is required transparency - for example using not anonymous sources, but signed ones.
    Their authors usually base on long term strategy of building own authority - really want to build trust of readers.
    Last edited by Jarek Duda; February 15th, 2012 at 10:55 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by duda
    The main problem with the internet is that disinformation is easier to find than real information.


    It is why there is required transparency - for example using not anonymous sources, but signed ones.
    Their authors usually base on long term strategy of building own authority - really want to build trust of readers.
    The disinformation sources are happy to sign their stuff - to the point of marketing themselves as celebrities, and filling the bandwidth with their names and output. The trust of the misinformed and disinformed is easily gained, and the rewards of celebrity are attractive to them.

    Transparency does not solve the problem - the ocean is transparent, and full of fish as well as debris, but finding those fish is a job for pros. Finding the debris is a walk on the beach.
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    Instead of believing in drastic unrealistic revolution, we need to help the world consequently evolve in the proper direction - like toward globalization not under the rule of corporations and money, but of the people - the direction of direct democracy spreading to world level ... to join efforts not to increase contrasts, but for the wealth of the whole society.

    And also not just jumping to direct democracy in one moment - people are not yet mature enough for it.
    But the more people feel that they have real influence on the system, the more likely they will try to intervene/organize when needed and the more aware of the situation they want to be - the more political maturity they generally have.
    So maturity and the strength of democracy are conjugated properties - we shouldn't focus on "complete direct democracy" now, but just consequently sustain conjugated evolution in the proper direction of these two properties.
    It does sound untopian to me and unrealistic. What evidence do you have that people could ever know enough to make intelligent direct democrasy decisions even if we had perfect information? People can't be experts at everything--and many decisions required expertise--often only really understanding a subject after a decade or more of study. People are also selfish and short sighted, more often than not, prefering the quick, easy, cheap but possibly long-term disasterous over the long, hard, expensive but solution that's likely to work for generations. Do we want incendescent lights or flourescents--most Americans prefer the incendenscents regardless how short thier lives or unncessary the electrical load for their homes in for our electrical power infrastructure. Can you argue there's not enough crebible information about the different kinds of bulbs--hell no--most of what you need is right on the package.

    I like the overall ideas your have about building more formal ways to share crebilble information, and agree it might make things better for those actually willing to learn about issues. But like I said much of that already exist, especially if you already know a little bit. I also think it won't come anywhere close to making directly democracy anything but a nightmare of short sighted impulse decisions--much as its becoming in referendum states such as California.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura
    The disinformation sources are happy to sign their stuff - to the point of marketing themselves as celebrities, and filling the bandwidth with their names and output. The trust of the misinformed and disinformed is easily gained, and the rewards of celebrity are attractive to them.

    Transparency does not solve the problem - the ocean is transparent, and full of fish as well as debris, but finding those fish is a job for pros. Finding the debris is a walk on the beach.
    Lying is not real transparency I'm talking about. Are there ways to improve the situation?
    I believe the tool I'm thinking about should do it:
    - score system - while spreading disinformation you get minus for consistency with explanation like link to your signed contradictory statement. Judgments are also signed and can be judged, so people will make them carefully. Finally clicking on consistency score of politician, you automatically get sorted list of his worst lies with links. I think it should motivate people who want to be elected to be more careful.
    - "decelebrization" - the most important value of person there is not position he has, but how wisely he speak - due to signed judgments. And so current bloggers can build larger value there (in signed judgments) than current politican ... and maybe became future politican - in extremely transparent way this time everybody can trace.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    It does sound untopian to me and unrealistic. What evidence do you have that people could ever know enough to make intelligent direct democrasy decisions even if we had perfect information?
    Voting in Switzerland - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    People can't be experts at everything
    I totally agree ... but full-time legislators are expected to be ... I'm talking about giving all experts in given topic of the country/world opportunity to take part in discussion - e.g. to reduce probability of missing something essential, look at the whole spectrum of possibilities ...
    People are also selfish and short sighted, more often than not, prefering the quick, easy, cheap but possibly long-term disasterous over the long, hard, expensive but solution that's likely to work for generations.
    If you consider politicians as people, above sentence (I completely agree with) also applies to them ... I'm also talking about preventing disasters caused by weaknesses of small non-representative group on top - by making discussions transparent and allowing others to show e.g. problems with proposed solutions and alternatives ...
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    but full-time legislators are expected to be
    Not at all, other than in politics and law. They are expected to assemble the right experts to brief them or be part of the numerous subcommittees where members, who are strong on some areas can take a more informed look at matters.

    I'll take a look at Switzerland's system though. It's pretty interesting. Not sure how well it's tiny system, smaller in population than some US cities would translate at the national level.
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    Quote Originally Posted by duda
    People can't be experts at everything I totally agree ... but full-time legislators are expected to be ... I'm talking about giving all experts in given topic of the country/world opportunity to take part in discussion - e.g. to reduce probability of missing something essential, look at the whole spectrum of possibilities ...
    That's how full time legislators are supposed to be making decisions. That's why they are full time - it takes a lot fo time and access and effort to gather information, it takes a lot of ability to evaluate competing "experts", it takes a cadre of advisors to formulate positions, and so we hire the job.

    Regular people, with lives, can't do it.
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    Fox, Iceaura,
    I'm not talking about replacing full-time legislators, but about helping them - spreading the heavy burden of creating perfect legislation to all citizens, to produce better ones and improve people's understanding/identification with the law and generally the whole system.
    For example millions of current seeing no hope full-time unemployed - to transform them from given up e.g. full-time facebookers into people who see some hope for real results of their action - motivated to find good understanding of what's going on with the system and instead of e.g. joining occupy movement, focus their strength to act using well thought out arguments - which would be highly judged in such forum.
    The expert's opinions would usually also be made public and there would be discussion about each of them, like emphasizing important arguments and pointing out lacks. And there would appear additional large number of opinions by experts who are not paid for it, but just want to show their perspective to improve situation in their fields.
    Of course there is a question of e.g. objectivity and this is what marking system is for - giving motivation to write only well thought out statements/expertises - which will be highly judged.
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    A Wikivote system or something isn't a bad idea and probably couldn't hurt.

    I refer to wiki because it does a pretty good of both adding credible links, gets lot of volunteer help from experts, and it's pretty easy to ID the wackos or those simply intent on vandalism.
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    Yes, something wiki-like, but designed to be able to handle and improve level of serious discussions of people whose life this time often depends on it ...
    More dangerous than vandallism would be lobbying (...also in current system) - every action, judgement there should be digitally signed (legal status similar to journalist signing article) and be prepared to take further comments/judgements ...
    The first question we should think about is how should it look like?
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    Here is great lecture of Tom Atlee with examples about direct democracy I'm talking about - mainly discussion of the people to find a consensus:
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    I'm still not sold on this.

    There are for examples many policies, if left to the people, would send us in the wrong direction. For example, take evolution in schools. There's more than enough information about evolution, it is in fact overwhelming and available just about everywhere. Those that don't believe are complete ideological religious idiots(and I'm holding back), yet many still refuse and activity trying to remove or dramatically water down the teaching of biology in schools. Direct democracy would result in changes to laws that are the only thing protecting the teaching of biology in public schools. Warwick had some good points but is he's using example of low hanging fruit, that aren't deeply based in superstitions.
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    But if in representative democracy irrational orthodox thinking is in majority, it will have more representatives and so they will also fight with rational thinking - I don't see how making legislation process more transparent and allowing people to realistically present their arguments would make the situation worse?

    I think it's just oppositely - politicians is a group having rather stronger characters than average, what often comes with strong personal beliefs (subjectivity) - this group is not only non-representative, but also more prone to pathologies ...
    Not only power corrupts, but also extremely dangerous corruption is naturally being pulled by power - here for example is a part of interesting article about dictators and psychopaths: The Mind of a Dictator | Psychology Today
    "So, what binds dictators across history and geography? What traits do they share? To begin with, let's examine the general characteristics of psychopaths. They are usually charming, charismatic, and intelligent. They brim with self-confidence and independence, and exude sexual energy. They are also extremely self-absorbed, masterful liars, compassionless, often sadistic, and possess a boundless appetite for power. These are just a few of the character traits present in a genuine psychopath."
    In USA or EU there is rather no longer place for dictators (Hungary?), but still this kind of persons are in our society (2% are psychopaths according to above article) ... doesn't they have larger tendency to power?

    My point is: concentration of power is fertile soil for pathologies ...
    Last edited by Jarek Duda; February 22nd, 2012 at 01:51 PM.
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    My point is: concentration of power by the masses is fertile soil for tryrany by those masses.
    --
    How well would such an issue work when it comes to deciding tough issues, or make the best of two or more bad choices. The pattern of referendums in the US has been disastrous. People don't have the time to really look at the issue, not matter how much information is out there, and seldom make even the right choice when it cost them personally. California is a financial basket case because of direct democracy.
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    First of all, in opposite to a single psychopath, your "masses" is the majority of the society and so they should define what norm is - what you call tyranny, the other would call democracy ... if e.g. the majority doesn't want "parents" of non-biological sexual preference to raise children, it shouldn't be allowed.
    Secondly, politicians are also seldom and the power they concentrate is very prone to corruption - the point is to protect/distribute these single links the society hangs on - for example by improving transparency.

    But most importantly, once again: I'm not talking about referendums, Tom Atlee above also warn about them - what we are talking about is improving discussion between the non-representative representatives and the people - transparency and realistic exchange of opinions/ideas/concerns ... to make better decisions and make the society better understand/identify with them.
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    what you call tyranny, the other would call democracy ... if e.g. the majority doesn't want "parents" of non-biological sexual preference to raise children, it shouldn't be allowed.
    Then we are miles apart on what we think government should be about. The more important aspect of the US Constution; what made it tremendously powerful; what made it revolutionary; what made it a document worth putting ones life on the line to protect time and time again (as I have) is the whole idea that we can't let the masses impose their will. The American and European experience has been about defining boundaries where the masses had ABSOLUTE no say and moving towards the ideals of protecting what we regard as basic freedoms which all humans should have. The advancement of those freedoms, regardless of the opinion of the masses includes women's rights, interracial marriage, right to breast feed in public, right to run for office or take an oath to serve as an military officer without swearing on a bible, right for a black, or Chinese immigrant to ride anywhere on a bus they care to, or get an apartment or job--and a thousand other issues.

    I support your ideas of transparcy of ideas, perhaps they'd help get better laws written by representatives---I'm strongly opposed to referendums in general--especially those that ask questions about rights.
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    I think you overestimate the role of US constitution itself - there was still e.g. slavery after introducing it. What abolished it or e.g. emancipated women was democracy (I'm talking about) - that the majority has matured to think that it is the proper direction. Without democracy, would slave owners (the rich) decide themselves to free them?
    I don't believe there is an universal set of norms - I'm not saying that e.g. homosexual parenting is just wrong, but that the society has to mature for such decision - the majority has to agree with it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarek Duda View Post
    I think you overestimate the role of US constitution itself - there was still e.g. slavery after introducing it. What abolished it or e.g. emancipated women was democracy (I'm talking about) - that the majority has matured to think that it is the proper direction. Without democracy, would slave owners (the rich) decide themselves to free them?
    I think if you review the history of women's emacipation you'll find that popular votes ....aka direct democracy had virtually no role what so ever and when they did pass almost certainly would have been defeated by a national vote by the masses--the same could be said of civil rights.


    the majority has to agree with it.
    I completely disagree with you. When it comes to rights--the masses don't matter--that's the whole point of the bill of rights and everything that's developed since.
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  48. #47  
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    Over a hundred million Americans google, use that strange MS search engine, feed there favorite blogs or news papers such as Huffington Post or the New York Times, get it directly from their friends and relatives, representatives and organizations they belong to, or hit any more news agency they want as simply as typing in their letter names ranging including CNN, MSNBC, PBS , BBC, Al Jazeera and dozens more--and no one is in control of any of those choices you make.
    The cadre of journalists and organizers and aggregators of content actually contributing to that buffet remains the issue.

    The question of how many actual sources of content are supplying this buffet can be estimated (you mention Huffington and the NYT in the same sentence - the one is parasitic on the other, and together count as one, say). If we look at how many independent frames of discussion we can find in the public arena, we get nothing like that variety. In fact, we can find specific and detailed errors and misframings and corrupt issues - fictions, lies, deceptions monopolizing bandwidth and public consciousness - common to whole swaths of these sources and tens of millions of these supposedly news-foraging Americans.

    That indicates they are duplicates, the alternative being levels of improbability in coincidence no sensible person can accept. Most are drinking the same koolaid, from the same one or two suppliers, then.

    We can also find, by actually doing the kinds of search and investigation all these Americans are supposedly doing, for hours at a time, week in week out, that we run into several quite significant frames and bodies of content are not common in the larger public arena. Leftwing stuff, for example, is very rare beyond a few dedicated websites. One must recruit and discover and dig hard for that perspective, all the while wading neck deep in repetitions of just one or two other frames and bodies of content rolling from every TV station, radio station, and mass market source. Since we notice that most people seem completely unfamiliar with this stuff, not rejecting but oblivious, we can hardly help bu conclude - and a reasonable person would have presumed in the first place - that most people are not in fact getting their news from such searching and evaluation.

    Yup. The internet provides people a forum to say stuff, but credible news requires investigative journalism. That is to say a human being (preferably well funded, with a crew of people supporting them) has to go out and personally interview key witnesses or public figures.... etc. Otherwise all those bloggers can really do is just regurgitate the same information the Networks already gave us.

    5000 web sites dedicated to Obama's latest policy decision are no better than one website if he's ultimately only going to interview one reporter. If the blogs just start guessing, then....the Republican side of the fence is going to have a tremendous advantage. Once real news starts to get replaced with blind speculation, their crowd will eat that blind speculation up as though it were coming out of peer reviewed a scientific journal. How do you think the whole Obama birth certificate debacle ever got off the ground? Rush Limbaugh is a marketing genius, but not in a way that benefits the public consciousness very much.
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    How do you think the whole Obama birth certificate debacle ever got off the ground?
    A rather bad example, because it was a prominent conspiracy theorist democrat that started the mess by filling a law suit against Obama about his birth. It was taken up by the Hillery camp where it faded after it was clear he'd win. It of course lingers in Republican nuts camps because they'll pretty much use anything to get back into the White House--such is politics.
    Democrat sues Sen. Obama over ‘fraudulent candidacy’
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    Such is blog politics, anyway.

    There's a reason Conservative talk radio dominates over Liberal talk radio. Conservatives are content to listen to, discuss, rehash, and then call in to discuss rumors all day long. It's something a lifetime of attending church conditions a person to accept. Sure the rumor might get started by someone else, but it would die pretty quickly if the majority of listeners cared enough about the truth to try and check the rumor against credible sources before they write 100 angry letters to their senator.
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    I think Americans in general are very, very frustrated by their legislature. What Congress does seems so disconnected from what people want congress to do. The electoral process seems broken, despite consistently terrible approval ratings, election after election 90% of congressional incumbents get returned to office.

    People have no faith in their representatives. To a lot of people, ditching elected representatives in favor of direct democracy seems attractive. I think Lynx_Fox's position that direct democracy will lead to terrible problems, ochlocracy, has some merit. But people are so fed up with the current mess almost anything seems better.

    I think the best way out of this mess is simply to reform our election system. Get rid of this awful winner take all election system that forces us into a horribly polarized two party system with no practical chance of a third party making its views heard. Seriously reform political advertising rules so we go back to something resembling one person one vote rather than one dollar one vote. We could even impose congressional term limits to make sure some new blood gets into congress periodically.

    It is my view that the pressure is building to a point that change of some sort WILL happen. If the resentment is not channelled into some program of productive improvement, most likely some opportunist will ride the coming wave of anger and violence into a totalitarian dictatorship. Which will result in things being a heck of a lot worse for everyone.
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