Originally Posted by HMenke
I didn't say that. But to not acknowledge the very serious problems with pure democracy is to invite tyranny. Yet liberty does not prosper under anarchy.
Limited government is necessary to promote individual liberty, but there must be built-in protections for individual rights and strong restraints on the scope and power of government. This is the essential problem of good government: how shall a government be established so that liberty is preserved/protected/maximized?
I don't see it that way. Government is one of the few organisations where people actually have some, albeit limited, control of the persons in charge. One could leave more to the market, but I hardly see how that's going to prevent tyranny. All people are inclined to egocentrism and further along the line to egoism. Both in government and in the private sector. It's for that reason that communism or any form of socialism is doomed to fail; they just exhanged political equality and economical inequality for political inequality and economical equality. It's also why powerful private sector actors should be kept in check.
I don't really see the tyranny from more democracy. I've been a member of a city council for a while and I was absolutely disgusted by the way my fellow councilors proceeded with politics. There's a lot of conventional wisdom, street knowledge that common people possess - but instead of going in a dialogue and collaborative process with them to produce a better policy, most energy went into shutting them up and estranging people from the political process. That doesn't mean that the politics there were bad; we kept our budget (although a lot of it went down the drain to some of the old boys network friends of the magistrates - you can never quite put your finger on it) and the happiness was on a reasonable level, but it is a missed chance.
By arguing for more democracy I do not propose that people can vote in more referendums; I believe California is the best counterexample for that
, but that people are more involved in dialogues on how to formulate policy. When your town decides to remove the park, because they don't want to maintain it - would it not be better to know what citizens are willing to do for the park in the first place? Perhaps that way the park can be saved.
So no, no referendums, but more dialogue between and among citizens, government and NGO's.