Direct Democracy

April 25, 2006

I had an interesting chat with a friend on AIM this morning... Here is the log:

Friend: morning
Julian: Morning! :)
Friend: ever heard of Direct Democracy?
Julian: Yup.
Julian: Ran into them a few times.
Friend: its an interesting idea
Julian: Why?
Friend: saw a flier of theirs for the first time yesterday
Julian: Ah.
Julian: What do you think?
Friend: its an interesting idea, but it might well scare 'big business' away from nz
Julian: Why?
Friend: I would imagine they're the ones who's tax bills would increase
Julian: Any other qualms?
Friend: referenda to make every decision would soon become cumbersome
Julian: But presumably, internet voting could ease that...
Friend: true
Julian: No fundamental objections?
Friend: I wouldn't say I have made my mind up based on 1 flier
Julian: :)
Julian: I haven't seen the flier...
Friend: I was wondering if they have many similarities with the libz
Julian: Not really...
Julian: It is a very tempting idea... But very dangerous.
Julian: And there are some people who know it... And support it, because of it...
Julian: See
Julian: Quote: The extreme right-wing National Front says it is backing New Zealand First in the election campaign. "National and Labour are Tweedledum and Tweedledee. We are backing the policies of New Zealand First or the Direct Democracy Party (DDP)," new national director Sid Wilson said today. The DDP is a fringe party which is contesting the election with 32 candidates on its list.
Julian: Now why would hard-core racists support direct democracy?
Julian: :)
Friend: I'm not sure?
Julian: You can figure it out... :)
Julian: Found some more info here...
Friend: Immigration
Julian: Yup.
Julian: There are a few select groups who think their agendas would be well-served by popular voting.
Julian: Pure democracy is a scary thing...
Friend: politics in general really
Julian: That's why the US has never been one... They decided that right in the beginning.
Julian: If there is not sufficient protection of individual rights, you can imagine the horrors that would happen. Mob rule, basically. 60% of people don't like Chinese? - out they go. Raise the drinking age to 35? - sure (Easy with our aging population ;) Also people could vote themselves special favours, or into other people's wallets.
Friend: I hadn't thought of that
Julian: If there is a strong constitution, protecting individual rights, and severely constraining what government can legally do, then it really doesn't matter how you run the country. Direct Democracy would be as good as anything else, really. But until people realise what freedom and individual rights actually mean, Direct Democracy would be very dangerous. Even a constitution could be perverted, if most people don't understand what its purpose is (see the USA). So, you can see, it's a long road. :)
Julian: There are no shortcuts. We have to change the mindset of almost all New Zealanders.
Julian: So I'll be busy for a few decades yet... :)

PS. I tried to track down any official policies of Direct Democracy, other than the ones on the NZVotes website. In particular, I wanted to know whether they respect individual rights, whether they know what individual rights are, and whether they support a constitution which safeguards those rights. There doesn't seem to be any official position on any of those issues.

See here for what real rights are:

Direct Democracy:

NZ Herald - National Front says it backs NZ First:

NZVotes - Direct Democracy profile:

The Free Radical - Constitution for New Freeland:

Not-PC - Cue Card Libertarianism -- Rights:


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