21 December 2010

Masses incapable of democratic participation?

A popular argument against the introduction of comprehensive Direct Democracy is that the average citizen is neither capable nor willing to participate in this form of real democratic decision-making. This may well be the case in the present form of 'box-ticking' half-democracy. But when the citizens are regularly asked to vote in a large number of referendums - and on different levels of government (local, regional, national) - they will quickly develop a much higher interest in the issues. There will always have to be a prolonged period of public discussion and this will give the opportunity as well as the incentive to be much better informed before going to cast one's vote. There will always be a part of the electorate that is unwilling or incapable of participating in the discussion of the issues but it will be sufficient that a large-enough part of the electorate is willing to take part in the formation of a democratic decision.

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