Is our political system outdated?

For some time now I’ve felt that our system of government should be replaced with one that allows our home computers to implement the will of the people as the waste, corruption and cynicism stemming from the current one is truly frightening.

I’ll admit that don’t know much about anything, and so I ask you smart Dopers why there isn’t any movement towards doing this (as it seems so obvious to simple me)?

All the dough, energy and time wasted with the human element with respect to elections alone is in itself enough to blow the mind. And so to my way of thinking brilliant computer programmers should hook up with Constitutional scholars and philosophers and hammer out a technological system that has at its heart the Constitution and Bill of Rights and which one could easily call pretty much all the shots at the local, state and national level as well as deal with matters pertaining to foreign policy and the military – everything!

It makes me sick every time I hear how politician x says s/he needs x billions of dollars to “run a successful presidential campaign” when I can easily think of a million other things where the money could be better spent.

I’m certain that if one were to create a ledger showing on one side the good such a system would have and list on the other side those things that would either be problematic or outright bad, the pluses would FAR out weigh what we’ve got now.

I think about those brilliant men and women that actually put machines on far away Mars and how they gave them commands … and how they worked so flawlessly and so I don’t get why people can’t be able to simply turn on their computers and – via a slick and easy to understand means involving graphs and pie charts and concise up-to-the-minute news input and the like – enter their votes and feel good about knowing that they have a meaningful input on the daily and long-term issues that concern them.

As I think of it, the most important thing for such a system to work would be to have serious and quick punishment for anyone caught messing with it; as it would be far too sacrosanct to the security and welfare of the nation to let anyone for a moment think otherwise. (Of course I’m talking about the death penalty.)

Am I nuts for thinking a way better system is staring us right in the face via a few mouse clicks (versus some two-face scallywag doing back-room deals and thinking more about making millions of dollars giving political speeches…)?

I thank you in advance for your time and any inputs.:slight_smile:


There is no discussion here. There will be as soon as it’s moved to another forum, but the answer will stay the same.

Nobody in 200+ years of angry arguments over politics has ever come up with a better system. Nobody can figure out a way to implement one even if one magically appeared.

Democracy is messy because it’s people. Without people you don’t have democracy. Sorry.

People and their opinions are evolving too slowly to keep up with the important issues of the day, so I don’t think they should be allowed to vote without having first completed a dual philosophy/psychology degree and having demonstrated an IQ above average. Also, if they watch TV or read tabloids, they should also be disqualified from voting.

We should abolish political parties. Every candidate should run purely on their own ideals. Partisanship is ruining democracy.

Do you really think most people are going to bother to vote on every single policy issue that comes up for a decision? Heck, I’d be surprised if even a small fraction of people end up doing it.

What would your computerized government decide about allowing same-sex marriage?

More of a debate than a General Question. Moved.

samclem moderator

Your proposal seems like a very bad idea. I need many more details before I can be sure just how bad of an idea it is.

Sorry, Dave. I can’t do that.

Sorry, Dibbs. They did not work flawlessly.

The basic idea of the first US Constitution, the Articles of Confederation was better: Responsible government, where the legislature elects the a weak executive. The main defect was lack of taxing power.

What about Canada’s system? I think that’s better.

This is true. Although I think the parliamentary system, in broad outline, is a little better than presidential systems, the great majority of problems facing the United States would persist even with my constitutional ideal.

I can’t really tell from the OP, but under this proposal does the technology itself make decisions or simply allow people a “better” way to make decisions?

Are you actually favoring direct democracy?

What if the people vote for both lower taxes and high spending? That’s what happens in California, where they do have direct democracy. But a US state is quite limited in its deficit spending. On a national scale, there could be much greater irresponsibility.

By the way, the irresponsibility could go the other way. When there is a recession, we need to increase spending and decrease taxes to end it. But fearful votes are quite likely to become fiscally responsible at exactly the wrong time.

There are two basic principles I would look for in a form of government.

One is democracy. Your proposal is outstanding there.

But the other is responsible government, where the decision makers have an incentive to adopt policies that actually work, for fear of being thrown out of office. That’s where the current US government is mediocre, because, when branches of government are split between parties, each is tempted to adopt popular but unworkable policies. Then they can blame the other party’s policies when it is their own that failed. But, while the US constitution is mediocre when it comes to government responsibility, it’s not a complete zero. There still is some possibility the voters will blame the responsible party for bad policy outcomes, and thus some incentive to do what is right even if it is momentarily unpopular. By contrast, direct democracy means there is absolutely no one who can be held accountable for bad policies. So, except, sometimes, in the smallest communities, its a terrible form of government.

Skipping some of the issues with direct democracy, let’s look at two hypotheticals.

  • New federal infrastructure law passes committing money and even raising taxes to pay for it. Who implements it? The President we got rid of is the chief executive that manages all the employees that would collect, manage, and disburse the funds. There’s still going to be a need for those people to implement the new law. Who’s there boss and how do they get that job? If we all are part of the decision isn’t that de facto electing a President just in a different manner?
  • Someone violates a law and ends up in court. All our judges are either elected or appointed by elected officials. We got rid of the elections that either directly or indirectly select our judges that interpret and apply the laws. Where do we get judges under the new system?

Only one of our branches of government focuses on creating laws. The other two would be pretty hard to replace with a phone app gathering public opinion.

I respect the parliamentary system, and think its benefits outweigh what our system has become. Computer mob voting on individuals issues? Please. That would be terrible.

Also, working democracies are divided against themselves. Separate branches, each jealous of the others, always watching them, pouncing on corruption.

What means would a pure popular democracy have to guard against corruption? Where are the inspectors, the auditors, the internal affairs investigators, the oversight committees, and all of the other “sunlight” apparati? (Apparatuses?)

We already suffer from the unanswerable question, “Who watches the watchmen?” But a system with no watchmen at all is going to be heaven on earth for embezzlers. Yeah! Just trust me, man, I’ll spend your money wisely!

You have to give credit where it’s due; I’ve spelled the general idea out. Also, people have been having political arguments far longer than 200 years, but people haven’t had our wonderful world of electronic technology for very long, thus my idea has arrived.:rolleyes:

But most of the issues are people created, and with how I’ve laid out the means of attacking matters, with a few mouse clicks…, they’ll be resolved waay faster than any politician could ever dream of. (And an $18.2-trillions national debt makes that clear.)

Harnessing the will of the people with lightening speed electrons cannot be topped.

It’s all polarized and there’s little good will. My plan if implemented would take a sledgehammer to the awful brick.

Most people feel disenfranchised yet they care and would feel more embolden with my idea. Also, the Philosophers input into what I envision would make sure that issues and concerns would be prioritized and, besides, with the way things are now people don’t “vote on every single policy.”

My idea would be fine tuned as time passes due to it being so dynamic and open to every issue under the sun.

The will of the people … but the computer program that citizens would be using would for sure allow for framing the issues and questions smartly and fairly and thus wouldn’t be limited to blunt yes or no as in “Sir, yes or no. Have you stopped beating your wife?”