[MG] Discussion and democracy

Ed Pastore epastore at metagovernment.org
Sat Jun 26 12:53:26 EDT 2010

On Jun 25, 2010, at 10:48 PM, Michael Allan wrote:

> We might take it as a windfall.  Ever since the word "democracy" was
> popularized (an innovation of Robespierre's they say [1]), politicians
> have been waving it around and wrapping themselves in it.  That should
> tell us something: people want democracy.  So imagine what happens
> when they actually attain it.  All those politicians will fall (neatly
> wrapped) into their hands, unable to say a word in protest.[2]
> But if we call it something other than "democracy" ("collaborative
> governance" or whatever) then people will wonder, "What are they
> talking about?"  And those who are opposed will be quick to tell them,
> "It is not democracy."

You make an excellent point. But there is still the great potential  
for confusion when using the word e-democracy. We can hope that we can  
overtake the other meanings simply because our idea is brighter. But  
at the moment, there are a *lot* of people interested in the  
conventional meaning of e-democracy. There is a tremendous slope to  
climb. S when you ask others what can be done to make e-democracy  
happen, I imagine that most of them are not thinking what you are  

But again, your point about using "democracy" is reasonable. That  
still leaves many other possibilities:

Open democracy
Collaborative democracy
Internet democracy
iDemocracy ;)
Democratic governance
Universal democracy
Direct e-democracy
Inclusive democracy
Electronic direct democracy (in Wikipedia)

I'm sure others can think of more.

> It is also a technical prerequisite for *e*-democracy.  The tools of
> e-democracy cannot conjure discussion/dialogue out of thin air (we see
> no examples of that).  So they can only be effective (it appears) when
> they are used by healthy communities, already engaged with political
> issues, and so forth.

But doesn't that apply to communities of interest about anything other  
than democracy? That is, wouldn't we have better traction in an  
existing online community where people have a deep interest in their  
core topic area, but no way to govern themselves other than through  
the actions of an individual or a few representatives.

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