While reading comments posted at http://www.realdemocracy.com/index.html (See Direct Democracy Center link at right), I came across this anti-democracy gem:
“Democracy can only last as a form of government until the people discover that they can vote themselves largess from the Public Coffers.”
I ask, if a true democracy means that all people share equally in the decision-making, and if the public coffers are filled with the people’s money, why would the people simply redistribute it back to themselves? That would be an exercise in pointlessness (similar to a day in the US Army). Why would they have gathered it into the public coffers in the first place if not to use for some public purpose? This same person spends much time, through several communiques with the website’s host, trying to defend the idea that protecting states’ rights, especially through the repeal of the 17th Amendment to the US Constitution (which changed the selection of US Senators to be done by statewide general election from the previous method of having them chosen by the various states’ legislatures), will somehow preserve the rights of individuals. The host (whom I have contacted, and will hopefully make some contributions here) points out that the Senate “would likely turn into an open, deal-making ‘pork market’ for the states.”
I am inclined to agree with that, but I actually want to use this post to pick a bone with the entire concept of states’ rights. In the earliest days of the United States, the various states which were contemplating uniting under the Constitution were sovereign states, more like nations themselves, so the delegates who were sent to advocate their states’ positions were concerned that their states would retain some degree of autonomy. However, in today’s USA, states are little more than arbitrarily drawn lines on a map. If we are going to create semi-autonomous regions, the old lines that mark the boundaries of the states should be discarded, and we should look at a variety of demographics. Or better yet, make it a truly democratic process. We could create a comprehensive political and economic questionnaire, with questions designed to blur the lines of distinction that have been drawn by our current partisan system, and instead address matters of human concern in a more direct fashion. Then we could analyze those questionnaires’ results geographically, and draw lines that indicate distinct areas of common viewpoints. These could then be our “states,” and they could decide democratically whether to remain united to the other states, to secede and operate as an entirely sovereign state, or to join together with other seceding states to form an alternate union. There is no logical reason I can see why the United States should not be several distinct nations, divided into several semi-autonomous states, but unified under a treaty of mutual protection and trade agreements, but I am open to discussion.