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Gypsy & Willy - The Original Libertarian Bloggers

How Can You Laugh at a Time Like This?

Gypsy & Willy

No. 417

Separation of Powers

February 14, 2005

This is the fourth in our series of essays on a revolution based upon extended democracy. In the first, Revolution, we discussed why a revolution is necessary. The second defined what we mean by extended democracy, Direct Democracy. The third, A Constitution, dealt with writing a constitution. Today, we spell out what we mean by separation of powers and how the other two branches...we have already defined the legislative branch as the people themselves...might be formed.

We have already suggested that, since the executive and judicial branches must function 100% of the time, that 50% be the threshold for election and that "instant runoff" be used to ensure a winner each election...that is, multiple choice voting. We would also suggest that the recall be instituted, with perhaps a higher threshold, to remove an already elected official.

We think it would also be necessary to create a notion of "states rights," to ease the transition from the many existing forms of government to a truly democratic form. That is, existing political units would retain a goodly amount of power to guide their own citizenry, as long as what they do did not violate the constitution. Again, we are using the model of the U.S. Constitution's Bill of Rights as a guideline.

The executive and judicial branches would operate much as they do today in democratic nations, but with much strengthened separation of powers. The situation that has occurred in the United States, where the "imperial" presidency can behave like a monarch must be avoided. There is little doubt that war would be much less often used as a political alternative if the people's branch, the legislative branch, retained absolute power to do so. Allowing the military, or a small militaristic clique to determine matters of peace and war is simply insane. It is often said that, to a carpenter, everything looks like a nail. So it seems that to a general all political opposition needs to be "hammered" into submission, the only restraint being whether or not it is deemed "possible" to do so!

War is only one of the many problems that human race must solve in order to survive as a species. Global warming, pollution, poverty and inequality are not only major problems in their own right, but also tend to drive desperate populations toward war as a problem "solver" when things go wrong. We believe that a people-driven government would be much more likely to attend to these issues than our current aristocracy-driven models.

We would also suggest that all executive and judicial positions be filled by election. The existence of a "proxy" vote system, where specialists who have successfully lobbied their fellow citizens cast the vast majority of the votes...but, where any citizen can reclaim his or her vote at any time merely by casting it personally...such a system would ensure that people of talent are elected without placing an undue information burden on the average citizen.

Indeed, the single most often quoted disadvantage of democracy is the tendency of the average person to have little interest in the day-to-day business of government. Yet it is clear, in conditions of crisis, most people want their voices, or the voices of those to whom they have designated their proxy, to be heard. Such a system would require that, when needed. information would be nearly instantly available to all seeking it. Enter the Internet. Despite the already enormous volume of information routinely passed over the Net, there remains an even larger unused bandwidth just waiting to be turned into useful communication. To what better use can it be put than into broadening and strengthening democracy to incorporate the entire world?

Despite the rather obvious possibilities to revolutionizing democratic government by incorporating the Internet, a huge amount of work would be necessary to accomplish this. The rules and standards would have to be translated into all major languages, security...to prevent vote fraud...would have to be ironclad...universal voter access would have to be provided to the poorer nations, etc., etc. Still, to this pair of Internet citizens, all this seems very doable. Furthermore, we don't think we will have to wait until the vast majority of people agree with us. With a little help from our friends on the Net, we believe that a test "government" can begin to be constructed on the World Wide Web. Near the end of this series of essays, we will begin to discuss the details of how this might be done. However, we welcome input from any quarter on the subject.

Talk to you later...

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To contact Willy or Gypsy and comment on what they have written...or anything else...write to willy@dreamagic.com or gypsy@dreamagic.com.

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