Representation Is No Democracy

Imposing Representation Is Not Real Democracy

In 1789 the USA settled on a Constitution of “We The People” that set-up a “Congress” elected by the rich of the right color and religion. The president was elected by a few representatives (something that allowed to select the plutocrat G.W. Bush instead of the one who had won the election, by a few million votes, Gore).

A few people, easily bought, selected for their vainglorious greed, and anxiety to please, are in charge of the planet. This is not the rule of the People, it’s the rule of a few (=”oligarchy”). Can we do better? Yes.

Elevate Yourself With Towering Examples

Elevate Yourself With Towering Examples

Simultaneously, in 1789, France distinguished herself by the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen“. Although those Rights looked a product of the enlightenment, that Enlightenment was an outgrowth, a renaissance, of the spirit of the empire of the Franks (Imperium Francorum), that started around 300 CE with the “Lex Salica” (that went later through dozens of revisions, as it quickly grew to 65 chapters).

An example of this rediscovery of old values: the slave trade was made unlawful again, nearly 12 centuries after the Franks had done it the first time around.

The Rights of Man more or less grew into the Charter of the United Nations. The European Union made mandatory the “democratic” form of governance to belong to the EU.

Yet the problem is: what does democracy mean? The last law forbidding marriages of “mixed races” was outlawed in the 2000s.

The USA outlawed slavery only in December 1865. One cannot say the USA was a democracy before that. It was just the democracy of a particular We The People, before that.

How did the Athenian system work? Well, everybody had the same right of vote, and… speech. Mandates were widely spread (more than a thousand judges sometimes), and short. The Roman Republic used similar tricks (Consuls were elected in pair, but had full power alternatively, for a month, during just a year!).

The Athenian Assembly was open to the entire population. It had a quorum of 6,000 for some decisions.

Athens’ Democratic Index was ONE: one man, one vote, one voice.

The democratic index of the USA is roughly 600/200,000,000. 600 representatives (Congress plus Senate plus President), 200 million adults. That’s roughly one three divided by one million. In other words: ZERO, for the democratic index of the USA. No wonder the long faces.

Could we establish a democracy such as Athens’ nowadays?

Of course. It exists to some extent already: Confederatio Helveticae  (CH), Switzerland. The Swiss suggest, and vote on all the big decisions. Then elected representatives are in charge of enacting the decisions of the People. In Switzerland, the government officials of the seven members governing councils are really servants of the People, not big masters (by the way, the four most popular such officers are women).

Switzerland has more than eight million inhabitants, thus of the order of one hundred times the population of Athens. Modern telecommunications allow to conduct national debates before the “votations”. The results are often unexpected, as when a recent referendum prevented the further sprouting of speculative secondary residences for the rich in the magnificent landscapes.

Land speculators, especially in scenic Valais (see Matterhorn/Cervin above), were disgusted. They wasted big money fighting the measure. But, whereas in the USA, it’s easy to buy a big fat Clinton, or two, how do you buy six million Swiss voters?

So why is the rest of the so called “democracies” deprived of this direct, real democracy? The answer is obvious. Recently, the Swiss People voted systematically for anti-plutocratic measures. In the next referendum, in November, a proposed law would limit salaries to one million Francs (roughly one million dollars).

Representative democracy is not democracy. It’s a parody of democracy, perfect for the enormous buying power of the plutocrats, who can easily afford to buy body and soul a few hundred representatives.

The Dark Side’s secret will, is not the will to power. Nietzsche was naïve that way. The Dark Side’s secret will is the will to extermination. Ignore at your own risk. Or subjugate with real democracy: one person, one vote, one voice.


Patrice Ayme


P/S: The Salic Law born in 300 CE, broke the back of Greco-Roman self-destructive inhuman madness, that had ended devouring itself. The Salic Law replaced very systematically the death penalty by fines, and outlawing the slave trade. The law also re-established total religious tolerance, allowing Jews, Pagans, Atheists, and even Muslims to worship whichever way they wanted.

(I say “even Muslims” because the Muslims came in through violent full scale military invasions, starting around 715 CE until the end of the Tenth century. Yet, Muslim inhabitants were left alone, after the armies were thrown out; they were absorbed, leaving only African and Arab genetic markers behind.)

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19 Responses to “Representation Is No Democracy”

  1. Paul Handover Says:

    Modern internet communications could make some form of direct democracy work, in a technological sense. But it is inconceivable that it would be implemented in the USA. Do you not agree?


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      There is a need for very strong laws making clear if people are paid to write what they do. I have seen clear patterns of paid commenters, say on the New York Times, who get tremendous advantages (early copies of editorials, apparently). The last case of censorship was Thursday, BTW. I was going to make an essay around what happened.

      Krugman, in the main editorial, said there was no “economic apocalypse”… But, well, there is, precisely. So I dared to point at the facts, and i was censored…

      I have been barred from countless sites. In one of them, before 2008, a (French!) banker first wrote he wanted to kill me, and then had me barred… That was a European site, BTW. The Hufftington post posted me 8 times before realizing I was poison in a huff… And so on.

      There is a lot of work to be done. The European privacy laws, strongest in France, ought to be enforced in the USA. France is an extremely interventionist military power, clearly the most in the world. I don’t see the French security services looking handicapped. Just, to act, they need to have cause they can evoke later. But it’s not what the NSA is doing.

      The left in the USA has been sleeping, singing the praises of Obama’s brown skin. Meanwhile Obama has fantasized himself as the brown Reagan. Abysmal.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Switzerland has fundamentally direct democracy, without any Internet involved. Internet is useful, as it provides with more interactivity for information gathering than simple TV. But it’s by no means necessary. France has started to implement Internet voting… although there have been bugs.

      A problem with having a child in the Celtic tradition is that today is Halloween, in this case requiring to travel and feast for hours… I am supposed to be disguised in explorer while the princess has been promoted to Pharaoh Cleopatra…


      • Paul Handover Says:

        Enjoy your day. Undoubtedly your little daughter is, in Celtic words, your anam cara.


        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          BTW, Descartes was intensely attached to his little daughter. After she died at age 4, he said that was the most intense pain he suffered in his life. He thus accepted finally Sweden’s queen Cristina invite, who made her go up early in the morning in winter, and died a few months later of pneumonia…
          Descartes’ greatest contribution was probably the invention of analytic geometry.


    • Joseph Furtenbacher Says:

      Paul Handover: A man of honour – and tact…


  2. Patrice Ayme Says:

    Meditate this. The Athenian notion of democracy included equal speech (isogoria). What happened to that?

    Athens: one man, one vote, one voice.

    Instead what we have now is a parody, so called representative democracy. Right now the president of the USA is elected by a few individuals: contemplate Bush versus Gore.

    Now, even in the New York Times, obviously paid shills are ruling some of the comments, and get priority (!). Watch a PR firm publishing “Putin” there.

    And there is plenty of evidence that Assad used large payments to dominate the debate a few months ago.

    Individuals have been barred from many sites, just for sedate discourse incompatible with Goldman-Sachs’ prosperity.

    Poetry is what one has sometimes to use when reality is off limits.


  3. TomAlex Says:

    the truth is that democracy, and direct democrasy at that, only works for societies that have reached a high standard of education and have the ability to make informed decisions. Muslim countries such as Egypt or even Ibsen’s “Enemy of the people” play are a prime example. So while I completely agree with you on representative (indirect) democracy being too easy to hijack by people with power, direct democracy also shares the same danger unless a) the flow of information is free and not controlled and b)the voters have an adequate level of knowledge and ability to think.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Tom: I agree with you. That essay targetted only the most developped countries. Say USA, France, Britain versus Switzerland. Germany, by the way, is more democratic in some sense than the French Republic, at this point. However, of course, the more fascist French system allows France to react quasi instantaneously in case of war (see Mali, where the French airborn counter-strike against Al Qaeda (AQMI) started within a couple of hours).

      But I observe that the Swiss are cracking down against the bankers and plutocrats more effectively than the rest of the West, thanks to a whole series of “votations”. So we clearly need more direct democracy.

      Now, as far as the theocratic countries are concerned (from Burma to all those silly Muslims), they are in their own hell. I mean, even calling them feudal would be too much of a compliment. 15 centuries ago, the Franks enjoyed more religious freedom than present day Saudis. If they can’t get rid of their superstition, well, we will have to do it for them, whenever they cross the thin red line.


  4. TomAlex Says:

    even for the developped countries, there are people who demonstrably do not have the ability to think -say the US creationist talibans, and various otherwise quite successful(I think the guignols papiniade/staloniade was a good parody) characters who, by being successful set the tone: You don’t need to have an education to be successful. Hence, by pure Darwinian mechanics, these people get a following and this represents a significant threat to the quality of democracy.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Tom: Agreed. And, because plutocrats rule best over the ignorant, the more people seem in need of democracy, the less they can handle it… being so ignorant.
      So, once again, my proposal is not for bringing direct democracy to China, but rather to the EU and USA. Instead, the tendency, at this point, in the USA, CLEARLY, and under Obama, is the other way. See my article yesterday on the TPP, and 3 politicians in the USA knowing what’s inside (on stuff like that, all of Suisse votes!)


  5. Patrice Ayme Says:

    In a democracy, The People can hire executives to execute its decisions. The People does not need a “decider” as GW Bush called himself.


  6. Plutocracy Rising, Demos Sinking | Some of Patrice Ayme's Thoughts Says:

    […] Oligarchy: the rule of the few. What we have.  Democracy: the rule of the People. What Switzerland has, legislatively speaking. […]


  7. Obama’s Dog Wishes | Some of Patrice Ayme's Thoughts Says:

    […] I explained, in “Representation Is No Democracy”, Switzerland is legislatively democratic: the People decides the laws. But not so in the other […]


  8. picard578 Says:

    And guess what? Croatia became “independent, democratic country” after first people-instigated referendum in 1990. Second one happened in 2013, and it was about definition of marriage. I’m not going to comment on minority rights (which referendum did not really infringe), but all “peoples representatives” went out of their way to call that referendum “undemocratic”, “attack on democracy”, “return to totalitarism”, “fascistic” etc.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      There is indeed a total contradiction between the numerous little dictators of representative so-called democracy and real, We The People democracy.

      Switzerland has a continual flow of “votations” (about every 6 months). Interestingly, recently every single one has a proposed law of an anti-plutocratic nature. Although 4/5 of proposed laws fail to pass, some of the anti-Pluto ones have passed. And more are coming.

      There is no reason to suppose “minority rights” would be more victimized under direct democracy. Quite the opposite. Historically, it’s tyrants who violated the rights (say Philippe-Auguste and the Jews, soon imitated by his English vassal…)


  9. Patrice Ayme Says:

    [Sent to The Conversation

    Athens had a direct democracy. We do not. Decisions in Athens required a quorum of 6,000 voters in support (out of 80,000 citizens, out of which half of them could not vote regularly, as they lived a day of walking away). The equivalent in the present day USA would mean twenty million people voting for the proposition (by Internet!)

    Instead, in the major so-called democracies, less than 2,000 people, elected, or in the judiciary or the “Deep State” take all the decisions.

    Athens Democratic Index was one (one person, one vote). Our democratic index is rather like one person, 1/500,000 of one vote. This can remedied now, thanks to the Internet.


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