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COMMUNET Home

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COMMUNET  November 1994, Week 2

COMMUNET November 1994, Week 2

Subject:

Re: Getting the Direct Democracy Thing Rolling

From:

Charles Stewart <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Communet: Community and Civic Network Discussion List

Date:

Sun, 13 Nov 1994 03:13:18 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (78 lines)

Brent Wall said:
 
>       It seems to me that the opening of discourse needs a democratic
> morality to contain the parameters of discussion.
 
        I agree Brent, process is everything. The collective
consciousness of the community (the moral standards of the community)
should always be our foundation in any newly developed democratic
process. I don't really see a need though to "contain the parameters
of the discussion" as you put it. We can all quickly pick up on who
is credible and just ignore the rest. Those who compromise their
credibility would quickly receive less votes in any democratic
credibility rating mechanisms which could voluntarily develop.
 
>       These values, which in my view make democratic discourse
> possible are those of openness, tolerance, and the like, plus the
> inclination to accept a consensus, a compromise,
 
        Certainly, openness and tolerance are attributes to be highly
prized, but if one of us is unwilling to accept the consensus of the
others, then we dont have consensus. And we need to be religious in
respecting the right of that lone individual to break that consensus.
If we resort to unmerciful peer pressure to force an honestly
dissenting opinion into submission, then we are compromising those
exact ideals which give true democracy its energizing and innovative
potential to out preform those in  the authoritarian camp of mindless
obedience to the mandates of the central planners. That "openness and
"tolerance" you so beautifully advocate, I see as having a tenancy to
conflict with your apparent inclination to place a high priority on
consensus and compromise. While praiseworthy, consensus and
compromise are way lower on my priority scale than that of
maintaining a forum in which dissents can express their views without
fear of ostracism.
 
>       For example, Newt will cooperate but not compromise--where does
> this leave all of us?
 
        If we "get the democracy thing rolling", Newt will probably be
opportunistic enough to compromise. If not, we can do it without
him.
 
>       If we as a culture cannot reach a working consensus on dialogue,
> tolerance, and the remaining values of civil discourse, then, as you
> may fear, we are lost. Anarchy and unmitigateable dispute result.
> Woe unto us.
 
        Very true. So lets get the democracy thing rolling so we can
avoid this unpleasant option.
 
>       I am writing a book about this, but its galleys are a difficult
> sell, since there are so many of us who KNOW THEY ARE RIGHT,  and
> all of the rest of us are  wrong. This attitude, carried to the end,
> will be the end of us all.
 
        Some people are quite justified in knowing they are right. The
Wright brothers and Edison were told hundreds of times that they were
wrong, but they knew they were right and they persevered in spite of
the naysayers and doom and gloomers. True there are a lot of idiots
out there who think they are right and the rest of us are wrong. But
we must remain committed to the democratic forum and let the people
at large decide, and trust that the collective decision-making
process (in the educational light of free and open debate) will work
out these problems to the greatest advantage. Anything less will
revert us back to the bankrupt systems which I presume the majority
of readers of this maillist wish to improve upon.
 
                                Respectfully,
                                                        Chuck...
 
 
        Charles Stewart in Sandy Oregon; ph-503-668-5091.
        [log in to unmask] ; Producer of the MCTV cable access show:
                        the "Participatory Democracy Project".
        "I know of no safe depository of the powers of society but
        the people themselves; and if we think they will not
        exercise control with discretion, the remedy is not to take
        it from them, but to educate them. ***"  T. Jefferson, 1821

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