A Proposal For The Improvement of Democracy

(preliminary draft)

I am apolitical. I do not engage in the political process as it is. I do not vote. I do not participate in political dialogue, for much the same reason I do not gamble: it's a rigged process where only the house wins. Of course, I favor Democracy over Anarchy or Theocracy or Monarchy and other forms of government. However, Democracy as we know it has such elemental flaws that have evolved into the process that it is crumbling at an increasing rate. Let's consider an improved form of Democracy. Let's call this new, improved Democracy D2 and the current form we can call D1.

D1 has not evolved with the realities of the world, and therefore is sorely lacking in its design of a "government of the people, by the people, for the people". Our current form of Democracy was established well over 200 years ago, long before the modern miracles of electronic communications such as radio, telephone, television, computers, internet, email, bio-informatics, encryption, and so on. In those olden days, Democracy (D1) had us vote for "representatives" of the local communities and states to physically meet with each other in the same room to discuss and agree on compromises and establish laws that would be in the best interests of the nation, the states, and the local communities. The representatives were necessary because all of the rest of us normal people were too busy with our farms, jobs, and families to be in those far away central government places to debate each and every issue and to vote on the bills as they came up. This scheme essentially places the Fox inside the hen house.

D2 is essentially the same concept, except that the Fox is removed from the system completely. We get to vote directly on any or all laws we want, any time we want, simply by using the currently available technology (website/email/telephone, etc).

D2 would completely eliminate the process of "Vote For Me" election campaigns, because with D2, every candidate is unnecessary, all become equal in their irrelevance. They are useless, and could eventually be eliminated from the system.

Consider how responsive government would be if we could simply use the computers we have to register our will as quickly as we felt it important to do so. Would we really go to war so quickly? Would we have so much waste and corruption of government individuals? I suggest that D2 would be an order-of-magnitude improvement, a paradigm shift.

You may say that there are many in our nation who have no computer, and would be left out of the process of self government. The obvious solution is to give them all computers. The cost would certainly be a small fraction of what it costs now to run D1. And, it would have the added benefit of improving literacy and education and reducing poverty by giving those disadvantaged people one of the greatest tools for self improvement the world has ever seen. There is a historical precedent to this concept of computer power to all the people. It happened in France, in the early 80's, and it was named Minitel. Another, although abortive, attempt to move in this direction was attempted here in the San Diego, in the late Seventies, by this author, and was named PAL.

To minimize the cost of giving computers to those who don't yet have them, the first could represent those communities having a high density of computer users. Wouldn't some giant computer company (Dell, IBM, HP) donate a number of computers to some poor community as an experiment in Democracy?

You may say that there are many government issues that are so technical or complex that each of us ordinary citizens would be hard pressed to understand all of them in order to make informed voting decisions. True enough, and we are faced with these same issues every day in all areas of human existence. And we find ways to reduce the complexity based on common sense and what we learn from other people who study these issues in more depth. Imagine: if instead of representatives who owned our vote for everything for several years, we could vote, or not, based on the feedback we could get on the internet from distinguished writers, college professors, business people, and lots of other people just like us (in discussion forums, blogs, etc.). And we could make up our own minds as to whether these people had their own self interest involved in their point of view. If it was subsequently learned that a deal had been done out of self interest, we could reverse our vote on that same issue. Corruption would be dramatically reduced. Government would be much more responsive. Billions could be saved, and put to better use. People would be empowered as never before in History.

There is much discussion about electronic voting machines, and how there is the potential for hacking into the machines, and somehow stealing the vote. What is missing from these voting machines is a way of accurately identifying the voter and yet retaining the anonymity that is demanded by the Australian (Secret) Balloting system. Today, computers are being made that can be operated only if the proper fingerprint identification is used, and when coupled with other identification such as password, and subsequent email encrypted positive identification techniques (none of which are used in current e-voting schemes), the system of voting can be made much more bullet proof.

To begin with, the idea is to present a candidate for election on the platform that the platform will be determined by the people! The candidate will do exactly what the people want done, nothing more, nothing less. This representative will offer a website that can be used by the people he represents to log on and voice opinion, ask questions, get answers, and vote. The candidate's job is to offer information on the choices, and supply a voting mechanism that is open to instant analysis. For example, you would know immediately how various types of people (not their actual identities) were voting on the issues, at any time. We certainly have the technology to perform instant analysis of huge amounts of constantly changing data (Google, Amazon, Yahoo, etc.).

The candidate will get elected because it is the first real opportunity for the people to change The System at a fundamental level. The beautiful thing about it is that the people get to decide their own form and process government as well as the content of government. The Speed and Leverage it provides is the icing on the cake.

This ability to get instantly updated analysis will eliminate the current process of polling companies asking rigged questions and giving reports that are meant to inform us but only confuse, or worse, distort the truth. With D2, you get the ability to ask your own questions, and even see what other questions are being asked, and their answers.

D2 is highly effective, quick acting, much less costly and corruption-proof.

We can start this at any level, from the local mayor of a small town, state or federal representative, or Independent Party candidate for President.

Initial funding would build a website, do some startup programming, and start the legal process to register for elections. Visitors to the website would be presented with the entire Proposal, instant access to the analysis software, demonstrations, and a discussion forum for all to participate and learn.

The Calls to Action are: Vote on the idea, Sign Up for the Newsletter, Volunteer time and computer resources to help spread the word, and to Donate, what ever amount they feel comfortable with, as a personal investment in a New Form of Democracy.

Will you support this initiative?

To reply, click this link: http://www.MichaelMcCafferty.com/contact.htm

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers:

1. Does this mean that you are getting into politics? (from Michael Lappen, Australia)

            I am not trying to GET INTO politics. I am trying to GET RID OF politics and and replace it with a system that truly represents the Will of the People, in real time. I have absolutely no intention of running for any office. In the words of William Sherman: "If nominated, I will not run. If elected, I will not serve." This is a job for a younger generation. My hammock calls me. I must be doing more thinking, more writing.

2. If you don't vote, you have no right to complain. (from my daughter Kendra)

            Quite true. However, I am not complaining. I am doing something about it. I am proposing a superior alternative to a system that was invented more than 200 years ago, and is in serious need of updating to reflect the tools we have to make it work. D1 was invented before electricity and computers. Isn't it totally obvious that if our Founding Fathers had such tools, they would have used them? When will we recognize the reality of a system that is Obsolete?

3. Okay, I read it, but I am not sure what exactly you are proposing with D2. No representatives? No governing body? Just a computer system by which people vote on issues? Is that it? Carol, Encinitas CA

            That's the ultimate goal, but that will be many years into the future, because it will take a long time to implement and for people to learn about, to try, to use, and trust, the new system. Until that day far in the future, we will continue to elect representatives, according to the ways of D1. Some of these representatives will be D2 candidates, and they will eventually replace all of the D1 candidates, in the Fullness of Time. There is no urgency for this to happen, it will happen when and as the People want it to happen.

4. If I understand correctly, you donít vote now because the D1 system is flawed but with D2 you would vote? Carol, Encinitas CA

            Exactly. I suggest that there are many other people who feel likewise. Only a small percentage of eligible voters actually register to vote, and even fewer actually do vote. And even of those who do, many are cynical about the effectiveness of their vote. D2 allows you to vote when and where it is convenient for you. And you can change your vote at any time. And you can do that as often as you want. And you can learn what other people think and how they vote at any time. You will not be limited by a single candidate's personal interests, you will be able to directly express your opinion, your demands. Why should our Democracy be limited by 200 year old thinking, and 200 year old technology? Wouldn't all this lead to a greatly increased voter registration and actual participation in Democracy? How could this be a bad thing?

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