On Pure Democracy

The only government which is not “evil,” or doesn’t produce trends to act in malign and ethically unsupportable ways, is pure democracy. The key word in this statement is “pure.” The only pure democracy in history that I know of is the ancient Greeks, most notably Athens. Pure democracy is where the only unit of power is the individual’s vote. There are no elections, there are no positions of power, and there is certainly no executive branch. There is also no legislative branch per se, except that the entire population is the legislative branch… And the judicial branch…

Anyway, it is in so many ways the perfect system. Unfortunately it has some very exacting prerequisites. The general population has to be well enmeshed, and able to connect with one another. They have to be willing to listen to those in a position to know, and ascertain the credibility of the speaker instead of taking their statements cold. A certain amount of independence and intelligence are demanded. But, most problematic, it has to be practical to obtain the opinions of so many. The only functional examples were small city-states of only a few thousand individuals.

In a large country with millions of people a pure democracy is to put it softly, impractical. However, why have a single state be the prime decision-making unit of the country? Since a direct pure democracy is impossible, perhaps an abstracted pure democracy could work. Possibility 1) Cut the country up into little pieces, each containing perhaps 3,000 individuals who are geographically close to one another. This community would convene on a regular basis to decide matters immediately within their jurisdiction by voting. Attendance would not be required, but if you wanted to get things done then speaking in front of the group would be the most direct and effective way to go about it. For matters of larger consequence, communities would send a single representative to an assembly of perhaps 3,000 representatives. It is important that these representatives are not elected to term, but simply chosen for the occasion. One person goes to one meeting, perhaps a different person to the next one. These form a few assemblies (the US has 300 million citizens, therefore about 33 assemblies with these numbers), and this is the highest level of government. To get something done at the national level, all the assemblies have to agree. As an aside, in the US it might be prudent to alter the numbers in such a way to produce 50 assemblies, one for each state, such as 3000 citizens per community and 2000 representatives per assembly as an approximation.

The other possibility is to utilize the full power of the internet to create a pure democracy. Though now that I mention it, that topic is fairly exhaustive. It deserves more thought, and should have a post of its own.


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