7. The Fix for Our Political System

Myth: democracy is dangerous, be very afraid

As we promote our Collaborative Democracy, we must expect opposition from some political science experts and politicians. Their first attack will be to convince us that true democracy is dangerous. This is a prominent, universally accepted, indoctrinated myth. This falsehood was promoted through a propaganda campaign by elites in defense of their control over the masses.

Many researchers and authors on the history of the Constitution have documented the fear of democracy and the anti-democratic rhetoric by the elite founders of the Constitution. [2] Throughout history including during colonial America, conflict existed between the wealthy elite ruling class and the masses. The hope of the people during the Revolutionary War was to obtain the same power in government as their wealthy elite rulers had. [3] After the war, the people complained that the same elite ruled America in the same way as they had before. People began to exert their will in some states through democracy, generating fear in the elite. Engels explained the class conflict and how the Constitution appears to encourage self-government but actually frustrates it. [4]

In Philadelphia on June 6, 1787, Madison… expressed his persistent, all-encompassing worry, that "in all cases where a majority are united by a common interest or passion, the rights of the minority are in danger." … The conflicting interests between the rich and the poor were central to how the founders of the United States imagined politics. …

Hamilton echoed Madison’s thoughts in his fiery address of June 18, 1787. He observed, "All communities divide themselves into the few and the many. The first are the rich and well born, the other the mass of the people. … The people are turbulent and changing; they seldom judge or determine right." … The lesson for Hamilton was to balance out the pernicious influence of the poor by increasing the power of the rich, specifically by giving them a "permanent" interest in government (via an aristocratic senate with long terms in office). He hoped that the new Constitution would place its faith in the rich rather than the people. … The Constitution acts like an "invisible fence," encouraging self-government but frustrating its actualization.

The minority the elite feared for was themselves

The minority that Madison referred to was the tiny wealthy elite class, not any racial or other minority. The minority rights that both Madison and Hamilton were worried about being in danger from the majority were the power and ruling privileges of the wealthy elite.

Defending their Constitutional rule over the people

Once the Constitution was drafted, it had to be ratified by the states to take effect. The people broadly favored a democratic government, not a representative government with no say whatsoever by the people as the Constitution described. Engels explained how the people wanted democracy and how the Constitution was undemocratic. Note how he reveals that the elite are the minority who suffer "oppressions & injustices" due to democracy. [5]

As George Mason observed at the Constitutional Convention, "notwithstanding the oppressions & injustices experienced among us from democracy; the genius of the people is in favor of it, and the genius of the people must be consulted." The writers justifying the Constitution to Americans faced a number of challenging rhetorical tasks—not the least of which was that they had to defend an anti-democratic document to an American audience that valued democracy as a means for the majority of poor citizens to check the influence of rich elites.

The propaganda papers

The primary propaganda against democracy to defend the anti-democratic Constitution was written by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay in 85 essays published in newspapers in New York. After the Constitution was completed in Sept. 1787, the trio published one of these essays in the paper every few days from Oct. through the following May. They were later published together in a bound volume and were known as The Federalist, though many now call them The Federalist Papers. [6] The sheer volume of words published so rapidly without allowing time for any rebuttal was an effective propaganda technique, overwhelming any opposition.

Democracy is a dangerous disease

In the essays, Madison railed against democracy, characterizing it as a disease and concluded that democracy had no place except in small, face-to-face groups. He claimed that citizens in such democratic groups automatically aligned into factions. Due to passion, their united interests, and an irrational "common impulse," they would lose all self-control and unite as factions against the political community (which is to say against the elite in control of the government). Factions were what Madison feared most, a division among the people that he claimed inevitably led to violence and uprisings. Madison's solution to such divisions was to prohibit democracy so that people could not meet together in person to arouse their passions. Therefore, representation was the cure for the disease. [7]

Generalized fear and misunderstanding of democracy

The centuries of propaganda and indoctrination in schools against true democracy have resulted in a generalized fear of true democracy in the US. Another result is a gross misunderstanding on the part of most people and many writers regarding what democracy means. For example, one writer recently wrote that a "democracy is run by people and a republic is run by the laws of constitution." [8]

For many writers, a true democracy is viewed as a group of people shouting at each other in a town square. It is seen as anarchy without laws. To the contrary, a democracy would naturally have a constitution with citizen rights, minority protections, and constitutional law. However, the people would be in charge of amending the constitution and determining new laws, not representatives chosen by and serving the elite and their political parties.

What about abusing minorities and creating division?

The classic argument that democracies abuse minorities relies on the erroneous assumption that a democracy must use simple majority voting by all citizens. The argument fails under our democratic solution process that outperforms majority voting. Democratic processes that are blind to race and gender that unify the people to work together to develop governing solutions would give minorities a greater voice and influence, not less.

However, I'll be honest. The founders' fear of true democracy was legitimate in that it would disempower them. Instead, a true democracy could empower the people to make decisions that favor the people. As a result, the minority that both Madison and Hamilton were worried about, the tiny wealthy elite ruling class, would hopefully lose their power to rule the rest of us. Ideally, government outcomes would be more balanced in the future.

However, their citizen "rights" would not be trampled by the majority as they claimed because the elite will have the same rights as the rest of us for the first time. The "rights" they have always felt entitled to that they are afraid of losing are their self-appointed rights to rule us and to financially take advantage of us. A democracy would lessen their ability to prey on the rest of society through government. However, they would each have a voice just as the rest of us would as we work together to solve each issue.

When someone opposes our Collaborative Democracy, ask a better question. What about the 99.99% who have been exploited by the tiny elite class throughout the history of America? Why would anyone except the elite class want that to continue?

It is ironic that many "political experts" continue to condemn democracy as divisional per the propaganda from Madison and Hamilton without addressing the elephant in the room. Today, the political divide is at its peak due to political parties combined with our representative form of government. We must pay attention to the real outcomes, not to what they say.

How could democracy scale to a federal level?

The limit of democracy to scale to a federal level has been its most legitimate weakness until now. The US representative republic, despite its limitations, has been the only governing option that could scale to a national level other than a dictatorship or a monarchy.

Fortunately, internet technology has finally reached a state that would allow democratic solution scaling to a national level. Citizen Governance Websites could be scaled to handle the collaboration of millions of citizen users on an issue, resolving thousands of such issues at all levels of the federal government every few months. How this would work will be demonstrated later in this book.

Faster and more efficient decisions as well

Bringing together the masses to solve major issues using internet technology would allow faster issue resolution than has ever been possible. Congress is actually a serious bottleneck to solving national issues at any volume, which is why most Presidential decrees through the Federal Register have been necessary, not just political.

Our new "citizen-sourced" democratic processes would create a sort of "open-sourced" or "crowd-sourced" government, allowing our country to progress much faster. Rather than a law or policy decision standing for hundreds of years, it could be continually refined and improved, honing in on what works best. As people experienced the results of their decisions, they would learn to make better group decisions. Laws could evolve rapidly to keep pace with advancements in technology, business, international relations, and the evolution of society. Our decision process could even be refined as needed to improve it where possible.

 


 
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