15 February 2011

Civil Resistance less needed in Direct Democracy

The current debate in Austria about ending the national service required by all men has led one leading national newspaper to give the impression that it might have made a call to evade the call to service. In a week when the events on Cairo's Tahrir Square are fresh in our minds this raises the interesting question: is civil disobedience a proper tool to promote one's political aims? We would tend to argue yes as the current democratic systems are at best a pseudo-democratic regime where the will of the people as a whole is regularly subordinated to the wishes of the political class and their acolytes in the lobbies of special interest groups. On the other hand, direct democracy would allow to settle controversial issues quickly as all minds are focused on the particular question and not diluted by the usual political infighting between parties and personalities. Of course, the problem of military (or national) service for men only raises the question why this sort of discrimination should be allowed in the first place. This brings us to the question of where the limits to the will of the people are and what precautions are taken to make sure that basic rights are not subjugated to a dictat of the masses.

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