Dirk Jan Buter's
Aspiring Innovators Magazine

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Real democracy: Voting on issues instead of people

Democracy is an excellent means of giving a country direction and taking different interests into account. When I first heard about this topic as a kid, I thought, Wow, that's amazing!But I also had my doubts. Why can you only vote for a person and not a subject? This could be so much better!

Nasty political games

I get a bad feeling when I hear the word politics. Don't get me wrong: the topic is super important! Too often I see abuse and wrong and personal interests taking precedence. I see through these dirty political games and it makes me sick.

Back to the Essence

This year I learned about direct democracy from Switzerland, which made me think about this topic again! These thoughts brought back the old ideas from my childhood, which were good thoughts after all!

Direct democracy in Switzerland is a political system in which citizens are directly involved in decision-making and legislation through referenda and popular initiatives. This means that they regularly vote on national and local issues and can submit proposals for new laws and constitutional changes.

The Swiss system is similar to the idea we discuss in this article, but goes many steps further than direct democracy. That's why I call it a "True Democracy" here, for convenience.

Benefits of True Democracy

In a real democracy everyone counts. People are involved and can vote on topics. So instead of people electing a representative to make decisions on their behalf, people can vote on specific issues, laws and policies. There is then no longer a representative. In this way, everyone can participate in the decision-making process, so that people's decisions are based on the will of all people.

Learn from mistakes

You may be wondering: is it a good idea to let 'the common people' decide big things? Don't people think too simply, too short-sighted or too selfish for that? For example, aren't people too easily influenced by populism? Do we learn from mistakes?

Think of past mistakes and wrong decisions made through a referendum. An example of this could be the referendums on Great Britain's departure from the European Union, the so-called Brexit. The question is of course whether it was right or wrong, but it was the wish of everyone who voted for it.

Advantages

A true democracy has many benefits for everyone! There is more attention for the general interest and people are much more involved. It teaches people to work better together instead of everyone for themselves. It contributes to a feeling of solidarity. We are all in the same boat! I also think it helps in the fight against corruption, wrong interests and abuse.

Responsibility

People are very capable of making choices for their environment. By looking at what is going wrong in your environment, you can contribute to the bigger picture. Intelligence or level of education are not important. It is essential to take all interests into account!

Populism only arises because representatives want to win over voters, but those representatives do not exist in a real democracy. It is obviously not true that people do not learn from their mistakes. People learn by making mistakes. Making mistakes is essential for progress. In a real democracy, mistakes will also be made, and we will learn from them.

Expertise and Specialization

Knowing other things, such as domestic and foreign policy or other complex issues, is essential. You have to know what you're talking about! For example, groups should be created per specialty to provide advice on specific choices. An expected consequence is outlined for each option.

Education, information and expertise

Education is essential! What is the history? Why are things the way they are? What are the past experiences? What is happening? Where are the dangers? You can only make a good choice if you delve deeper into the subject. Through information we can prevent people from choosing based on vague gut feelings. It shouldn't be a multiple choice gambling game.

Vote on topics you know a lot about. If you are a carpenter, there is no point in voting on fishing. It's a good idea to register for topics you know a lot about and can vote for. You will only be asked questions about your professional knowledge and general matters.

Technology

The Internet is an extremely suitable means of communication for a true democracy. For example, you can create a platform or multiple platforms where people can vote per topic.

I understand that true democracy without the Internet is impossible, so it is likely that democracy was initially structured this way. We must realize that we are deep in a digitalization process and that politics must catch up.

Implementation

I support the idea of a true democracy, where people can vote on issues, laws and policies. It has many advantages. It focuses on the general interest and involves people better in decision-making. It contributes to cooperation and a sense of belonging and helps prevent corruption and abuse. It is essential that people have knowledge of the issues they are voting on, and education is necessary. The Internet is an ideal means of communication for a true democracy. The digital age we live in makes it possible to realize this form of democracy.

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