What a killjoy. Always looking for an indoctrinal moment there, eh Al?
I find that last remark more snide, than jovial.
But regardless, I'm certainly not going to apologise for taking our political situation seriously. In fact, I find the sorry state of our electoral system depressing.
Now, in actual seriousness, "pray tell" what exactly do you see as the most moral and feasible government option available to mankind? Since pure "pick a type of government" only exists in a textbook anyway, what's your pick?
What would be both feasible and moral? That's easy to answer. It's nothing very revolutionary, Tot. Just a roughly functional democracy.
To divine what we need to change about our systems to make them democratic, we first need to define exactly what is PREVENTING our systems from being democratic. Well, in no particular order, here's a list of some major things:
1. Electoral college (US, although frankly the UK system results in similar effects)
2. Schumpeterian "Representative Democracy" - misnomer (both US & UK)
3. First-past-the-post voting systems (both)
4. PR culture in politics (both)
5. Broadly centralised regimes (both)
6. Major Party affiliations (both)
1. The least radical, most effective change we could make in the US would be to scrap the electoral college system. It's utterly warped, totally undemocratic and there is absolutely no excuse for it. It's laughable. It totally devalues people's votes. People's votes mean almost nothing
under this system.
By scrapping it, the US moves a huge step closer to democracy.
2. Schumpeterian "democracies" (like ours) are really nothing of the kind. In Schumpeterian systems, the people may elect representatives... but the representatives they elect don't then have to do what the people wanted them to, they don't have to follow through on pre-election promises and they don't have to abide by the results of a public referendum, etcetera. It's like elected monarchy.
By bringing in legislation forcing individual representatives to enact policy directly based on public voting, (effectively changing our abhorrent Schumpeterian system into a far more moral "Direct Democracy") we would move a step closer to democracy.
3. First-past-the-post voting systems (FPTP) like ours, are systems in which representatives are chosen based on who "got the most votes." Which sounds fine, until you realise that the person who gets the most votes isn't necessarily the most popular with the most people
For instance, if 100 people vote, and 50 of them vote for a leftist guy, 40 vote for a rightist guy and 10 vote for a middle guy, under our system, the leftist guy gets in. Okay. But suppose the fifty people who voted for other people really hate
this leftist guy. Then half the electorate isn't happy, and NONE of the candidates had the overall majority of electoral votes. (51 or above.)
How can we try to make this situation better? Here we bring in "alternative voting" systems, which are already being employed to some degree in certain UK elections. There are many types, and arguably most of these types are superior in the democratic sense than FPTP systems are.
- Not a bad list.
So by changing to an alternative system, we could move closer to democracy.
4. PR culture in politics: As stated above, the PR culture in politics contributes vastly to the influence of the wealthy on the political scene. By outlawing party-political advertising and purely PR-related appearances (national talk shows, etcetera), we would cut the amount of cash that goes into advertising a candidate, and thus make the election less dependent on who has the money to advertise.
Candidates would then be forced to travel around their prospective constituency more, have more public debates with their opponents, engage more with local people, etcetera.
Thus the people would get to know candidates and their policies better, the culture of pure personality would be crippled, and we would move a step closer to democracy.
5. Broadly centralised regimes are a problem, as they rarely reflect the will of the people that they are so disconnected from. We should further de-centralise most of the day-to-day running of our nations. Local government should have far more power, and local government representatives should be the ones to get together and decide national policy. The overriding national executive should be reduced to performing a purely administrative role, in other words, devoted purely to keeping local-level government running smoothly.
Then, we'd be a step closer to democracy, as local representatives would have more leeway to perform the will of their local electorate.
6. Major party affiliations are a canker on democracy. Both our nations define themselves by party affiliations to some extent, but whenever I've been in the US I've been shocked at how strongly the line between "democrat" and "republican" is drawn.
Of course, in reality both major parties in both our nations are merely two arms of the "business party". So defining yourself as "left" or "right" is meaningless and counter-productive.
Furthermore, parties have to have "leaders", and leaders focus attention onto one individual, and away from the party. This is a bad thing, as it gets the people looking at one man with limited power, when they should be looking at a party
with a great deal of power. So we have a "culture of individuals" in politics, which merely functions as a distraction from the truth.
By totally abolishing party affiliations, individual local representatives would no longer be forced to go along with the will of their party, but would instead go along with the will of their people
. A fully independent system of representation might well be more expensive and time-consuming to run than a major-party system, but expense is hardly an issue when you're striving for such an important thing: democracy.
So any one of these changes would move us closer to democracy. All of these changes at once would result in quite a democratic system, with people involved with their politicians at a local level, with politicians elected in a more fair and balanced way, with politicians performing the will of their constituents and ONLY the will of their constituents, with the will of each district combining to form the will of the nation, and would result in a nation which really WOULD have a moral right to lecture the rest of the world on freedom and democracy. We currently have no such right.
Could we make it work? We'd have to try to find out. But our current system doesn't "work", unless you happen to be one of the financial elite. Which, judging by the fact that we're all on the internet... we probably are. However, the fact that I do pretty well out of a corrupt system doesn't mean I want it to continue. I have morals, after all.