“Citizens against Governments”

This one is interesting because it’s what a lot of people are thinking, in one form or another:

[…] Everywhere we look, citizens are chipping away at the power of government. And behind much of it is the Internet. […]

The basic idea is that politicians play politics, at the expense of those they’re supposed to be serving. There’s no way to eliminate that without eliminating politicians, which (for the moment, at least) we’re not ready to do. But the Internet has the potential to both inform citizens on the important issues and give them a way to make their voices heard.

The British government recently opened a website where people can submit petitions and sign them. The promise is that any petition that gets more than a certain number of signatures will be debated in Parliament. It isn’t working, as far as I can tell — last I saw, there were at least a couple petitions that had gotten the required signatures, but Parliament claims to be too busy to deal with them — but it will. The people will eventually find a way to make it work, likely through junior politicians with no entrenched power to lose from it.

That’s the future of government. It has to be, if we’re going to survive.

Democracies are a vital feedback system for nations of people, designed to make decisions and do things for the common good of all citizens. The nature of the current system ensures that small groups of people will sometimes be able to seize the reins and try to drive the entire system off a cliff for the small group’s gain. So far, in the US, no such group has been able to completely crash the system, but it swerves closer to the edge every time they try. The only way to prevent this is to spread the power out, so it’s not concentrated in a small area that can be hijacked by those with malicious intent.

To make it really work, we’ll need some way to blunt the effects of ignorance, prejudice, and spin, but if we can find a way to do that, we can finally get closer to the ideal stated by Lincoln in the Gettysburg Address: a “government of the people, by the people, for the people”.


  1. Wow.

    I must admit, I never expected any Republican-leaning person, let alone a potential Presidential candidate, to say such a thing. And Sarah Palin?!

    If only a more credible candidate could adopt her ideas. Hm… maybe that’s why she uttered them. If they’re branded as her ideas, the Democrats have to distance themselves from it. 😉

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