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Re: CA online legislative database access
Lance Dettweiler writes:
> cypherfolks, do you have any idea what these efforts are the faint
> glimmers of? Imagine a future society where *anyone* can propose law
> not just the elite few called Legislators and identified in an
Actually, this is my worst nightmare of what this country could
become: a direct democracy of the most populist sort.
Agreed. Let me put the issue in technical terms: you want a government
with hysteresis. Call hysteresis the antidote to hysteria.
The concept, if not the word, was well known to Jefferson et al.
In fact, that was the reason that Senators serve six-year terms, and
are elected at staggered intervals.
Why? Well, there was an Op-Ed column in the NY Times recently that
explained it quite well -- the instantaneous reaction of the public
to certain kinds of events (like shooting up Iraqi missle batteries,
or starting a war) is quite noticeable. Was George Bush really doing
a much better job the day after Desert Storm started than the day before?
A substantial portion of the American people seemed to think so.
No, I'll pass. Our current system of government is far from perfect.
But a switch to direct democracy (the technical term for what you Lance
Dettweiler proposes) is not the answer. (Want more evidence -- look
at the effects of the referendum and initiative process, especially
in California. While it can -- and has -- acted as a check on government,
a vast number of propositions have been passed that reflect either
well-financed advertising campaigns or a desire to decree magic.)