Monday, April 14, 2008

Fixing the country in 4 easy steps

This is true pie-in-the-sky fantasy, here, folks.

  1. Form community assemblies. This is a pretty common request from the Left, and I should hope it is pretty self-explanatory. They're called communes, councils, assemblies, but they're all the same: direct democracy on the local level. There is absolutely no reason why a neighborhood can't be self-determining, making decisions that affect nobody but themselves. These assemblies need not be miniscule; based on every time direct democracy has been implemented in the past, the majority of citizens won't care to attend every meeting, and some may not really care at all. Somewhere in the vicinity of 400-600 adults members would probably work out well. In the modern world, of course, many decisions affect more than one community. At the very least, it would be necessary to confederate with other communities for economic reasons, as resources are not magically divided such that all communities can be self-sufficient.
  2. Dissolve the states. As it turns out, we have a fairly well-divided system of confederal government in place, but we really only use it every two years: congressional districts. Correcting some of the more egregious acts of gerrymandering, we note that there are between 400-600 congressional districts in the country, arranged by geographic proximity and population, proportionate to the scale of the assemblies that make them up. If each community in a district elected a delegate to a district council, we'd have confederated democracy for regional policy and administration ready to go. At that point, there would be no need for state governments as we know them now. Each district council would be composed of delegates who are themselves members of community assemblies, recallable by these assemblies, and the right to initiative and referendum by the members of the community assemblies would be universal. Policy decisions would be made directly, face-to-face, at the community level and passed upward to district councils for coordination, not made at the state or national level and orders sent down.
  3. Abolish the Senate.Without states crying for "state's rights," and rejecting the idea of hierarchy on principle, the idea of an upper house becomes redundant. A unicameral national council would take its place -- essentially, the House of Representatives. Of course, these delegates would be integrally tied to the district council whose policy directives they carry to the national level for coordination, and to their own 500-member community assembly whose interests they still represent. Recall, initiative, and referendum would again be universal and easy to call for, making the delegates accountable.
  4. Eliminate the presidency. That's right. We need an administrative branch of the political system to enact policy democratically decided in community assemblies and coordinated through district and national councils. We do not need a king. The idea of a singular chief executive is a throwback to an era in which state was vested in a person.

And "poof," all is well.

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