Democracy 2.0

A simple, legal way to put power in the hands of the people.

Tag: libertarian

Explaining Hacking Democracy to Libertarians

If you believe the power of the federal government should be severely limited, you should be a proponent of democracy 2.0. For some reason this is difficult to explain to people: democracy 2.0 is not a new form of government, and it’s not merely direct democracy. It can be eventually but as of right now, it’s a technique, a strategy, to decentralize decision making power.

Let’s look at an example: when legislation was passed in the 1800s strengthening the power of the federal government, those decisions, or legislation, were drafted and voted into law by the elected leaders at the time. These changes in how the government worked were proposed and voted for by citizens, albeit elected citizens. Democracy 2.0 would just give even more citizens a say.

I personally agree that federal government should be toned down, if not entirely eliminated. I think enough other people would agree that legislation could be proposed and voted on using democracy 2.0 & executed by injecting democracy 2.0 that reduced the power of national government. But then again, real democracy has never really been tried at the national level. It would certainly work for some legislation, such as funding a national army or making murder illegal. But more nuanced topics such gun rights or abortion probably are best left to different states.

Democracy 2.0 would even allow states to secede peacefully. As uncomfortable as it might make me to admit, the only thing preventing any state from seceding is the threat of violence brought on by the armed forces of the federal government. Any law that was written against secession can be repealed or amended. There’s nothing inherently special about those particular pieces of legislation. Hypothetically, let’s say a D-2.0 representative was elected to the office of President. If some citizen proposed and received enough support for secession legislation, the hacking democracy representative/commander in chief would have the authority to tell the US armed forces to stand down. Nothing would be preventing states from seceding other than the will of the people.

What do politicians physically do that influences the course of society? They write and vote for laws that dictate the flow of societal funds and energy. They could write legislation banning plants that grow naturally (and they did). They could write legislation that puts taxpayers money in the hands of bankers to gamble with (and they did). They could write legislation strengthening the power of the federal government (and they did). They could write legislation criminalizing alcohol (and they did). They could write legislation undoing the criminalization of alcohol (and they did).

There’s no reason why they couldn’t also write and pass legislation that does the opposite of any of these things. Or why they couldn’t write and pass legislation that does anything else. The point of democracy 2.0 is to give this ability to everyone in society, instead of just the upper echelons with enough money and connections to run for office. Most other movements want you to sign petitions to influence politicians. Signing your name and providing evidence for your claims unfortunately cannot compete with cold hard cash or the allure of acquiring even more power. Instead of trying to alter the minds of existing politicians, we need to start electing a confederate of D-2.0 to office.

It doesn’t matter how much or how little government we have. The people being governed and funding government just need to have the ability to control their lives and where their money is going. This is something every libertarian can agree on. And this is what democracy 2.0 is all about.

Why Hacking Democracy has mass appeal

People are clearly frustrated with the existing system. Sure, many are placated with smartphones, a non-stop stream of addictive media, and freely available drugs but the number of people who are starting to question societal structure is increasing exponentially as existing governments consolidate their power. Just look at your facebook feed. Anyone who followed the 2012 election period is well aware that the existing system is pretty much a farce at this point. Republicans were claiming women couldn’t be raped and democrats are defending the Obama administration selling guns to Mexican drug cartels.

The economic crash of 2008, and the subsequent bailout of “too big to fail” banks is what set off many people questioning the status quo. Obama’s first presidential term proved to the world that it was possible to have a president worse than Bush. This shook up the few paying attention even more. The technology motivated, Arab Spring was the first clear expression of this growing tide of dissent. Then Occupy Wall Street. Now there’s riots in Egypt again. It’s gotten to the point where many die-hard liberals have started questioning societal structure. Die-hard conservatives aren’t even really taken seriously anymore. The congressional approval rating is at an all-time low, and for good reason. Congress keeps putting off resolving the budget crisis due to partisan politics, while bills that strip US citizens of our rights get passed unanimously. All news media and many top government officials worldwide seem pretty certain World War III is imminent. No wants a war though other than power-hungry politicians and corporations that are part of the military industrial complex.

People want a solution to the cancerous system taking over the planet but don’t know how to direct their energy, or their votes. Most rational people think that public servants should serve the public, not the other way around. Democracy 2.0 is an elegant solution anyone can wrap their head around. There’s little risk, as nothing about democracy 2.0 is illegal, difficult, or dangerous. It’s just a more efficient version of the system we claim to have that utilizes a ubiquitous technology roughly a third of the entire world (including children and tribal societies) have access to.

Probably the best part about democracy 2.0, is that other than the elected representative, no one has to even leave their house to participate in this plan. Posting links, drafting legislation, and upvoting good ideas can all be done from the safety of your own home. This is even easier than peaceful protest, let alone violent protest. Democracy 2.0 is the first revolution that actually appeals to people’s laziness. For the first time, “liking this post” will actually have a tangible effect on society.

Another revolutionary component of democracy 2.0 is that it integrates completely with the existing system. For instance, a strategy that can be implemented for the acquisition of mainstream support is getting the D-2.0 representative to run as a democrat or republican. Many people don’t vote for a third party out of fear that the “enemy party” will win the election. There’s no reason why a D-2.0 representative shouldn’t run as a member of the two-party system. People who can’t see past the two-party system will vote for the D-2.0 rep so the other “team” doesn’t win the election and because they think it will maintain the status quo. Hopefully they will also see the D-2.0 rep, accurately, as a democrat/republican who has a closer tie to his constituents than any preceding politician. Why would anyone in their right mind not want that? Every politician in history claims to know what his constituents want. For the D-2.0 rep this would be literally true. Unlike the failed direct democracy party of Australia, any citizen can participate in this system, not merely members of an obscure minor party. Democracy 2.0 is the first revolution your complacent parents can get behind.

And don’t forget that anyone can use the D-2.0 system. Once democracy 2..0 gains enough momentum, citizens can begin publicly pressuring politicians to use this system in conjunction with traditional legislation methods. Instead of interns in the Obama administration providing “official” responses to some petitions, Obama himself could propose legislation using this system and connect more directly with the people who elected him. Why shouldn’t our leaders have some accountability? Why should our government be hiding the legislation they want to pass from the people? Why should it refuse input from any citizen? If our existing leaders have any credibility and good ideas, the D-2.0 system would actually give them more power. Keep in mind that the D-2.0 system gives power to popular, useful ideas, not individuals. There’s no reason why our existing representatives couldn’t be full of good ideas. But the truth is, they probably don’t have many more good ideas for improving society than the average citizen. Wearing a suit doesn’t make you smarter, it just makes you look smarter.

Democracy 2.0 will also appeal to the many individuals who think they know the best way to run society. D-2.0 gives everyone the freedom to change the existing system to something better. Don’t like taxation? It can be removed and a crowdfunding system can be used in it’s place to fund specific government projects. Don’t like being part of the United States? Now you can secede if you get enough support. Want to ban all weapons or give every man, woman, and child mandatory firearm training? Either way, it’s quite possible using D-2.0, unlike the current system that has so much red-tape and bureaucracy many politicians have difficulty navigating it.

Everyone gets a little power instead of a few having all of it. Decentralized systems work. Decentralized leadership will happen. And it all starts with posting links from the comfort of your office chair.

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