Direct democracy using technology - Page 4 - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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The solving of mankind’s problems and abolition of government via technological solutions alone.

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#13897056
The public should at least decide what is in the purview of legitimate "secret operations" (e.g., assassination of citizens/foreigners, for example).


Trouble is there's an enforcement problem. If the decision is only made by the US President, what are the bets the Congress would rise to the occasion & impeach him?
#13897062
I dunno, we kind of know a lot about what the U.S. government is up to secretly and not-so-secretly these days (via WikiLeaks and regular reporting), including lots of stuff which has never been authorized by Congress (secret war, drones).
#13897073
But what is a natl. legislature supposed to do even after finding out? I doubt the US Pres. would face impeachment for illegal special ops.
#13897083
Well, in my Neo-Athenian direct-democracy scenario, elections of the chief executive would be relatively frequent and there'd be some kind of recall mechanism, not through the captured legislature, but directly by citizens.
#13897084
So you're saying that before that happens, there'd be committee hearings or something to fully chronicle what happened & how?
#13897090
Possibly if there are sympathetic legislators. At the very least they the alleged crimes/malfeasance would be described and debated by various online media and fora. There would also be participation of traditional print/broadcast media, but ideally we will get to a place where these institutions - which often symbiotically collaborate with the ruling class's crimes - will simply no longer be needed.
#13897190
This debate is completely distorted.

Here we are, speculating about a (highly realistic) scenario in which the chief executive is engaged in acts of murder. Rather than be abhorred by the suggestion that a person acting on behalf of the public could stay out of jail, we are concerned about whether he will get impeached or not.

The double moral standard - one for private and a different one for public action is at the root of state corruption. As long as it is allowed, no cosmetic change in political procedure will make much of a difference.
#13897198
Eran - Impeachment could then entail jail time. Nixon, who resigned to not be impeached, would have probably been behind bars were it not for Gerald Ford's pardon. I agree wholly with your sentiment.
#13897208
In that case, let's join forces and call for removal of the doctrine of functional immunity.

Without that doctrine, a president wouldn't have to be impeached - he could simply be prosecuted (or sued by those harmed by his actions).
#13897216
Eran wrote:This debate is completely distorted...

Well you're partly right about the moral double standard. The double moral standard is just one manifestation of the problems inherent with the current government system. The actual root is that we allow too much diffusion of responsibility, and don't encourage enough direct responsibility.

The government is split up in such a way that everyone in it, all the way up to the president can deny responsibility for anything. They can claim that they didn't "cause" the problems, "someone else" did, and it's "not my job" to fix it. In theory though diffusion of responsibility wouldn't be enough to cause so much corruption because most people in government have a sense of civic responsibility.

However, at the same time, national governments are hardly directly responsible to the people they rule over. Corruption is pretty much guaranteed, because the people in government have more direct responsibility to campaign financiers than to the actual voters, because those with money have the power to influence public perception. Thus, government has a direct responsibility to corporate interest groups and financial institutions, and only an indirect responsibility to citizens.

That doesn't necessarily mean we should resort to anarchy in my opinion. We could start by removing private money from campaigns.
#13897221
That doesn't necessarily mean we should resort to anarchy in my opinion. We could start by removing private money from campaigns.

You can never remove corruption from government. Government embodies power, and power attracts corruption like s*** attracts flies.

If you removed private money, you might, instead, have the corruption of civil servants pushing policy for their benefit. Or perhaps the corruption of large "vote brokers" like powerful labour unions. Or merely the corruption of incumbents who enjoy the free publicity that always comes with office, but whose challengers are unable to finance themselves.

And how campaign finance can do anything about shifting of responsibility amongst government actors is completely beyond me.

If you are afraid of jumping into anarchy (and it is hard to blame you, given the culture in which we all grew up), start by (1) minimizing the role of government in our lives, (2) giving people more choice by localizing government functions, and (3) adopt my suggestion above of removing functional immunity from government officials.
#13897232
I've lived in a few different anarchistic communities over the past 3 months, so I KNOW how it works, from experience. And, from what I've seen, even small communities work much better with a strong leader, as long as he is DIRECTLY responsible to the people in the community (I.E. by living with them), and reasonable rules that everyone can understand and are enforced when they need to be (that's another problem with the U.S. government, the legal code is so complex and overdone, NO ONE knows all the rules). A government can only do its job well if it strives to work WITH people instead of against them.

You can never remove corruption from government. Government embodies power, and power attracts corruption like s*** attracts flies.
Why do you think government employees are corrupt? Do they run for office because they want to live the corrupt hedonistic lifestyle we associate with a lot of them, or do you think most of them are idealistic people who think they know how to run the system better than it's already run and are trying to better society. I think it's mostly the latter, because most people have good intentions.

"Power attracts corruption" isn't logical, it's just a mantra you keep repeating to yourself until you believe it. The fact is, government employees are people too, with human nature, and people respond to the stick and carrot. They will always do what's best for their own good first, then the people they are directly responsible to, and THEN their constituents (at least we rank higher than the people getting murdered in the "war on terror", but I digress). In the current system, they believe it is in their best interest to do whatever it takes to stay in office for as long as possible, stay respected, and have a high paying job (usually lobbying) when they do leave office. Usually, this requires them to act somewhat corrupt.

I can see two possible solutions. We can either remove the possibility of any of these incentives from happening, or we can ensure that they are a reward for a good job in government instead of a reward for corruption. Unfortunately, I don't see a way to implement these solutions without tearing down the whole system first.

edit: rewrote parts of the post
#13897249
I've lived in a few different anarchistic communities over the past 3 months, so I KNOW how it works, from experience.
...
A government can only do its job well if it strives to work WITH people instead of against them.

Please don't confuse your community-level experience with what works at a national level.

Anarchy doesn't necessarily mean lack of leadership, structure, rules or hierarchy. It literally merely means lack of government. A strong community leader is perfectly consistent with anarchy, provided only that membership in the community is voluntary, and the community doesn't assert control over assets that don't belong to its voluntary members.

It is a mistake to think that at the national level, government is required for rules to be created, obeyed and enforced.

Why do you think government employees are corrupt? Do they run for office because they want to live the corrupt hedonistic lifestyle we associate with a lot of them, or do you think most of them are idealistic people who think they know how to run the system better than it's already run and are trying to better society. I think it's mostly the latter, because most people have good intentions.

There is more than one way to be corrupt. Some people crave money and hedonistic lifestyles. Others crave power. Government officials (as opposed to run-of-the-mill employees) invariably crave power.

In liberal democracies, we have a particular type of corruption - that of using government coercion to impose your personal values on others. It is tempting to do, as people tell themselves their actions are moral. It is tempting to approve when your values match those of the officials in question. Regardless, it is corrupt.

"Power attracts corruption" isn't logical

It is not true as a matter of logical necessity. It is empirically true as a matter of experience. Please note the concept of Bootleggers and Baptists describing a phenomenon whereby public policy is presented in terms of its moral, noble purpose, while hiding the true interests behind it.

I can see two possible solutions. We can either remove the possibility of any of these incentives from happening, or we can ensure that they are a reward for a good job in government instead of a reward for corruption.

The problem is inherent in the nature of government as government. No attempts at reform could work.
First, government is inherently corrupt in the sense of being based on aggression.
Second, the nature of government operations (in contrast with voluntary activities) is that performance cannot be quantified. In the private sector, you do well when your company is profitable. It means that people freely choose to value your products (your revenue) more dearly than they value the inputs into your production process (your costs).
In government, since people are not given individual, credible choice between alternatives as to whether and to what extent they value your services, there is no objective way of measuring the quality of your work.
#13897437
Eran wrote:It is a mistake to think that at the national level, government is required for rules to be created, obeyed and enforced.

Temporarily stipulating - for the sake of argument only - that rules can and will be "created" and "obeyed" (though that is far from obvious), where Anarchism always hits the wall is the "enforced" part of it. No Anarchist has ever been able to explain satisfactorily who will assume the task of enforcing and why the populace will accept their enforcement as legitimate.

First, government is inherently corrupt in the sense of being based on aggression.

If this is the case, how is the situation ameliorated by having multiple aggressors competing with each other for who can provide the best service - when the service provided is aggression? How do you envision your enforcers providing their service (enforcement of rules) in a non-aggressive manner?



Phred
Last edited by Phred on 16 Feb 2012 22:16, edited 1 time in total.
#13897648
How is special operations 'murder' anyway? It's not murder anymore than lawful combat between conventional forces between nations.
#13898078
Phred wrote:No Anarchist has ever been able to explain satisfactorily who will assume the task of enforcing and why the populace will accept their enforcement as legitimate.

I have often explained, and will be happy to continue to do so until I meet with your satisfaction.

Briefly, the populace will accept as legitimate any enforcement done following procedure the populace considers legitimate. That is what happens today.

The change is that while today, the democratic constitution together with its derivative legal institutions are considered legitimizing, a future anarcho-capitalist (hence "ancap") society would identify a different set of institutions as providing legitimization to enforcement action.

Today, police enforces state court order ("state" in the general sense, including local and federal).

In an ancap society, private enforcement organizations would enforce orders issued by credible, acceptable, legitimate private courts.

There are many areas in life (language and science, for example) in which the community has a fairly unified and coherent conception of legitimate authority, without the need for a central, monopoly authority to exist.

Phred wrote:If this is the case, how is the situation ameliorated by having multiple aggressors competing with each other for who can provide the best service - when the service provided is aggression? How do you envision your enforcers providing their service (enforcement of rules) in a non-aggressive manner?

Aggression is not synonymous with "force", but rather with "initiation of force". Government inherently initiate force against innocents, at the very least through both taxation and forced exclusion of competitors.

Competing enforcement agencies in an ancap society would never (legitimately) initiate force (i.e. engage in aggression). Their use of force would be restricted to defence or restitution. That rule would be checked through lack of functional immunity. In other words, an enforcement agency is as vulnerable to legal action as is any other person or organization in an ancap society.

If you believe you have been a victim of aggression by an enforcement agency, you can sue them, retaining the services of your own (competing) insurance/enforcement agency in the process. If you are deemed to have been thus harmed (by an independent court which you agreed to), you will be compensated by the aggressor. This restitution mechanism will ensure that those who do use force do not use it aggressively.

redcarpet wrote:How is special operations 'murder' anyway? It's not murder anymore than lawful combat between conventional forces between nations.

Setting aside positive legal questions (I am not expert on international law, but I am fairly certain there are differences between so-called "lawful" combat between conventional forces and special-operations executions), I am focusing on the moral dimension.

Both so-called "lawful" combat operations and special operation executions are morally equivalent to murder when the people being killed are innocent. As there is no mechanism in either case of ensuring that the people in question are not, in fact, innocent, I make the sweeping assumption that, at least in some cases, innocents are being harmed (a determination that is often abundantly obvious, as when children and babies are killed).

In other words, there is no contradiction between an operation being "lawful" based on international or domestic law, and it being morally equivalent to murder.
#14120541
This would be a ridiculous system to promote in practice for many reasons already mentioned. It seems to me that democracy is a system that promotes everybody having a voice or place in the governing process of a polity. I disagree with this, the vast majority are not fit to govern. Then among them, the majority is not even interested in governing.

Representative democracy is thus a compromise, but still a destructive one in the long term because too many colliding interests tear a country's foundations and future apart.

The most critical policies should be technology and scientific inquiry driven, in today's fast paced world. Thus the leadership should reflect these disciplines. Keep artists and lawyers far away from the vestiges of power and sure as hell keep the average guy even further away.
#14120861
the vast majority are not fit to govern
It doesn't matter if people are fit to govern. If they want to mis-govern then they will have to live with the results. The point is it's OUR LIVES we govern, and anarchy is a given even if we play-act hierarchy.

If Thomas Jefferson were alive I would ask him how I should best govern myself. I'm not above putting someone else's competence over mine - but Rice, Rove, Cheney..? These are people I wouldn't even want to have dinner with.
#14126015
Suska wrote:It doesn't matter if people are fit to govern. If they want to mis-govern then they will have to live with the results.

The problem is that when people mis-govern, it isn't just they who have to live with the results - it is everybody.

Contrast that with the libertarian alternative in which fewer functions are being governed at all. Rather than participate in making decisions on behalf of others, people make decisions for themselves only.
#14126111
If what you're saying is that when governance is counter productive less government is preferred I agree. That's common sense. If its some ideological thing, I don't care at all about any isms, and I don't care about my birth country if it's a stupid collection of idiots (no system will save us). I don't need the language of a polisci degree to know whats right and pleasing. The bottom line is I don't believe in government by itself, it's just a pagan deity without the capes and crowns. Where it concerns my interests I insist on having a say. If there's too many people for that then I insist on a smaller nation. If the folks in Washington think they can go to war in my name and I can't do anything about it this isn't a Democracy and I want out. If the issues are two contentious and the nation too divided to perform the actions that it MUST, then for God's sake DIVIDE! Fuck Lincoln, fuck the Union, fuck what you imagine America is, I am real and it is just a name. If you have a better idea then sell it to me, if you can't then you have no mandate to do anything to me or for me and if you use force then it's clear we're on different sides of a war. I'm not here stating a preference about style of government, if it doesn't care what I think but it won't let me go that's tyranny, it's war not governance.
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