Who makes the decisions in your life?
In every aspect of social life, you rely on someone else to make decisions for you. Not just in national, regional, and local government, but also in every other community you belong to: schools, unions, professional societies, clubs, condominiums, and so on. In all of these communities, you cede your decision-making power to other people and hope they will do the right thing.
| …it is said that man can not be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others?
— Thomas Jefferson, 1816.
Those people don't always represent you
The people in charge don't necessarily care about your internets. In large organizations, they have little incentive to represent you personally, and they may not even represent a political view anything near yours. In smaller organizations, sometimes you have a voice, but sometimes control is firmly rooted in an entrenched individual who is not open to input from you or others.
This can lead to apathy
When looking at all the different decisions being made for you, and how little control you have over the process, it is difficult to imagine anything that you could do. The common result is that people just give up: we are really busy and have to pick our battles.
Apathy lets the leaders get away with anything
The more apathetic we get, the more the leaders feel free to do whatever they want. And what they want is not necessarily what you want.
Now there is a way to break the cycle of apathy
In the past few years, the internet has opened up new ways for communities to organize. We have discovered that collective decision-making, if combined with good technology, can result in much better decisions.
Governance can be open and free
This is not your fathers' direct democracy
This is not like a referendum system where everybody votes on one issue, and the majority wins. Collaborative governance is much more nuanced, sophisticated, and solutions-oriented. People work on issues they care about, and if they can build a consensus, then a policy is made.
Before you criticize
Before you think about all the potential failings of this system, first consider what you are defending. In representative democracy, we have rampant corruption and cronyism among the politicians, and pervasive apathy and disillusionment among the citizens. Can a system which opens up governance to everyone possibly be any worse?
The potential is limitless
Instead of relying on politicians to make all the important decisions in your life, there is a real and feasible way for you to take control. THis is the true promise of democracy; something which could never be achieved in previous eras when people were not able to communicate and coordinate instantaneously around the world. The combination of internet communications and advanced computer software open up the possibility of a world where everyone can participate in governance and where governance is more effective and less prone to failure.