Real, Direct Democracy and its Underlying Principles
Advancing democracy past its current limited basis is essential if the desecration of the West is to be stopped, and the harm already done reversed. Much of this book’s content (Referring to Against Our Night – see PDF download) depends on getting democracy onto a more sophisticated plane that takes it past the party political and one person one vote fixation that plays self-interested constituencies off against each other. Democracy must be tied to matters of principle that minimises the polarisation caused by partisan party politics. Democracy is not a guarantor of freedom and rights. It can simply be a different path to tyranny. The NAZI party and Hitler proved that. The pervasive lack of people power in the West today is a further indicator that democracy has to be much more than an elected government.
At its core democracy with free speech works to prevent disorder by allowing competing interests to work openly through their differences and arrive at something close to what is true or real for any given issue. The rank partisanship of both corporatism and liberalism, with their intolerance of free debate and individual self-determination wars against freedom and promotes conflict. We are seeing this growing rapidly as liberals insist on polarising opinion around issues like abortion, gender identity, the role of the state and Islam. The thrust of this book can be traced from this section to the concept of human potential and then on to real democracy in Part Four.
The universal franchise, the right to vote and constitutional checks and balances are important, but only as stepping stones to real direct democracy. The right to vote is akin to the carburettor in an internal combustion engine; essential but by no means the whole story. The Swiss are perhaps the only nation in the world to have come closest to true democracy, using a binding referendum and citizen initiative system. The word democracy, from its original Greek derivation, means power of the people. The western peoples are not empowered by their democracies. More often than not they are frustrated and angered by policies that seem to make no practical sense and even cause a great deal of harm. The Swiss system allows the people to be the final arbiters of government decision-making.
This book rests on what the American Declaration of Independence calls ‘unalienable rights’. Those rights find their practical expression in some foundational principles which I have gleaned directly or indirectly from the writings of G.K. Chesterton, Alexis de Tocqueville, Thomas Paine, Winthrop and Montesquieu. While these great thinkers on matters democratic may be unfamiliar to you they are the grand-guardians of modern democracy. They had some very wise things to say about the nature of free societies. Having done my best to distil the principles they advocated I have compiled this list of democracy’s essentials. We will return to them later:
· No citizen should live in fear of another.
· Truth and freedom must never be sacrificed for safety.
· People should be left in final control of the most important things in their lives.
· Equality must never triumph over liberty.
· Liberty exists to do only what is just and good.
· Central government must not do what local communities can do for themselves.
· Power should be equally shared by all the people.
These principles are the bedrock of democracy and human rights, but they do not find adherents amongst those wedded ideologically to state paternalism and neo-liberal corporatism. A re-paganised world does not embrace freedom, it seeks to suppress it – as it always has done. Liberals hypocritically acclaim freedom, just as Stalinist and Maoist communists did, but then deny it with their addiction to state-ism, identity politics and political correctness. Corporatists don’t like to think of people as self-governing, autonomous citizens either. Both groups prefer to box us all up as mere producers (workers), consumers and the grateful recipients of tax-funded dependence. The EU has taken this to the next level with unelected rulers and higher levels of regulation.
Every hour of every day communities engage in all sorts of interactions, economically, socially, intellectually and emotionally. These interactions are the drivers of human society. They direct, engineer decision-making, drive motivation, encourage entrepreneurship, respond to welfare needs and perform all the tasks needed to keep societies functioning. Sophisticated social governance, operating according to the seven essential principles, listed above maximise the occurrence and effectiveness of these interactions and mould the direction society takes. It follows, therefore, that the democratic reforms recommended later must work hand in glove with the restoration of local regional or community autonomy (also included in the later reforms). When this happens, freedom, individual human potential, democracy and productive enterprise can flourish organically and blunt force liberal-corporatist dominance is unwelcome. Freedom, the rule of law, private property rights, community empowerment and certainty of contract are the engines of healthy societies. Without them any society cannot flourish.
The reforms found in Part Four will fulfil the requirements set by the seven principles for real democracy. Centralised controls only serve to restrain and derail social life. They can only ever impose artificial constraints and cumbersome controls on human societies that should more properly rely on natural interactions by people in dynamic community-centred life. Rather than set simple boundary rules, like the Mosaic covenant found in the Bible, the political class gridlock human endeavour with largely unnecessary regulation and statutory control. This is tyranny masquerading as ‘the rule of law’. People are not treated as rational actors (provided they have the right information) but units of production and herd animals needing the constant guidance and ankle nips of the shepherds and their dogs. Americans are slowly waking up to the fact that their much vaunted federalism, separation of powers, constitutional rights and republicanism are failing to keep government limited, or prevent the hegemony of elites.
The democratic reforms, disclosed later, work to reinstate the organic processes of daily human interaction, by embracing the seven principles and re-emphasising the importance of local, district and regional communities. They elevate and magnify responsibility, virtue, altruism and endeavour. Liberal inspired state-ism makes people their prey. The predator bureaucrats are always looking for ways to sanction, corral, chastise and take. This produces a poverty of soul and social degradation. A society that relies instead on the naturally occurring myriad of human interactions, under the seven principles, guarantees dynamic civilisation and freedom. All the state should exist to do is preserve social order, through easy access to the machinery of justice that maintains traditional, culturally accepted, standards. It has a few other ‘regal’ functions like foreign policy and defence. This was once part of the Judeo-Christian tradition and was regarded as common sense by Thomas Paine in his famous treatise with the same title.
 Professors M. Gilens and B. Page demonstrate through scientific analysis that economic elites and other special interest groups have usurped the democratic influence of ordinary citizens. See their findings in: Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups and Average Citizens, American Political Science Association, September 2014, Volume 12, No.3, p.565.