Ming the Mechanic:
Representative Democracy

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Representative Democracy2003-03-08 22:25
23 comments
picture by Flemming Funch

Joi Ito has an emergent democracy brainstorm with John Vasconcellos and friends.
"The discussion was quite fascinating. We started talking about the republic and representative democracy. It was pointed out (sorry, I took notes, but not always about who said what....) that the republic was not formed for the sake of efficiency but out of a more elitist attitude that certain people were more fit to govern and that it would be impossible for an uneducated mob to rule. In that sense, it really wasn't just a more efficient democracy. I asked John what he thought about the current representative democracy and he said, 'not functioning well, but functioning barely'. He said the people are 'so busy, distracted and spoiled'. I agreed with them that a direct democracy in our current environment was not feasible, but that maybe our thoughts on emergent democracy might, in the short term, be a great tool for supporting a the 'not functioning well, but functioning barely' representative democracy that we have today."
Very interesting point there about representative democracy in the form of a republic, like in the U.S. It isn't to allow the people to decide. It is to remove the mob from deciding. However brilliant and freedom minded the fathers of the U.S. Constitution were, it wasn't direct democracy they had in mind. So, it is time for something altogether new.


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23 comments

8 Mar 2003 @ 23:03 by jazzolog : That Darned Ol' Mob
The key in the above is the word "uneducated." There have been elitist private property believers among our elected officials---and obviously everywhere among entrepreneurs and money worshippers. But the Founding Fathers of the United States believed the mob becomes a worthy citizenry through open access to and opportunity of education. Over the last 50 years, unfortunately, everybody and his brother and sister have been tinkering around with what was a basically sound school system. We went overboard with social and curriculum reforms---and end up now with few high school graduates who have any idea how our system works. It appears that the people have opted for consumerism rather than democracy. And of course that puts everybody in the pocket of entrepreneurs. "Busy, distracted and spoiled."  


9 Mar 2003 @ 01:14 by shawa : Right on, Jazzolog.
:-) I remember Vaxen pointing out over and over the differences between a republic and a "mob-ruled" (direct?) democracy. Now maybe would be the time that the spoiled, busy and DISTRACTED mob ...should wake up. Don´t you think ?  


9 Mar 2003 @ 02:52 by jazzolog : Sleep Or Coma
Those of us who have feared fascism in the US, or a renewal of the nazionalistic tantrums always rippling along the human animal spinal column, have done so by watching our friends and neighbors here. War fever is visceral and you can see it in the curling lips of your associate when you mention---for instance---the word "Arab." A growl is starting, just as you see in a dog. The brain is no longer hooked up. American brains have been lulled by consumerism lullabies for at least 50 years---and we know it's not just a sleep. It's subliminal learning tied directly to appetite. Now just add rage and stir.  


9 Mar 2003 @ 06:51 by catana : Good distinctions
We're dealing with the differences between the educated masses that our founding fathers envisioned, mob rule, and "smart mobs." At the risk of seeming to blame TV for everything, we have to understand that TV has effectively become America's culture and education. It not only fills in the gaps of our current failing educational system, it, along with other factors, such as perceived powerlessness, is creating a populace that is both informed and ignorant, credulous and cynical.

"Smart mobs" may very well be evolving on the internet, but the inert masses aren't being moved, and that needs changing.  



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