Linked by David Adams on Mon 27th Apr 2009 22:59 UTC
Web 2.0 The internet has heralded in a whole new era of citizen engagement and the latest innovations in social networking have just intensified the enthusiasm for creating a "virtual town square" where people can speak up, join together, and make things happen. And that's really happening! We're using the net to organize politically, communicate with other people who share our interests, and connect with long lost friends. But what about when people use the strengths of the network to undermine the collaborative process? You get tyranny of the minority. Update: Read below for an update on the bike-naming contest.
Order by: Score:
Obligatory
by bornagainenguin on Mon 27th Apr 2009 23:10 UTC
bornagainenguin
Member since:
2005-08-07
RE: Obligatory
by David on Mon 27th Apr 2009 23:22 UTC in reply to "Obligatory"
David Member since:
1997-10-01

That's funny. I just re-read that XKCD comic last night. It inspired me!

Reply Score: 1

umccullough
Member since:
2006-01-26

BTW, It would be interesting to keep track of how quickly the percentages change on that bike name poll over the course of minutes/hours/whatever since you posted the article ;)

Might be worth keeping some metrics so you can graph it!

edit: Typo

Edited 2009-04-27 23:48 UTC

Reply Score: 2

bibe Member since:
2005-07-09

Yes but that can go both ways, as I voted for the name i like the most, not necessarily for Cadabra...

Reply Score: 1

umccullough Member since:
2006-01-26

Yes but that can go both ways, as I voted for the name i like the most, not necessarily for Cadabra...


Sure, and that's the nice thing about it. David has brought awareness to something that wasn't otherwise known to most OSNews readers.

However, as he predicted, there was some effect, as I have now watched the Cadabra percentage grow from 37% to 44%, while the Tanuki percentage has shrunk from 51% to 45%. And if I'm not mistaken, there have been ~200 new votes cast since yesterday...

So, I'd say the experiment results are interesting for sure.

Reply Score: 2

The article was better than I expected...
by Tuishimi on Tue 28th Apr 2009 00:49 UTC
Tuishimi
Member since:
2005-07-06

...I don't know why, but I expected some kind of crazy rant.

Reply Score: 4

Comment by eksasol
by eksasol on Tue 28th Apr 2009 00:59 UTC
eksasol
Member since:
2009-04-05

This is an insightful article and I agreed with you. Although I don't really mind of Stephen Colbert wins anything, as it won't be a seat in the higher government because the corrupt political power won't let him advance even if he does get enough votes.

We are still lucky that the internet is not overly censored, yet, but they are working on it. There was a bill proposed by Lehman that tried to ban all videos and material uploads that contains terrorism or any criticism of the government at all, good thing I don't think it got anywhere.

The problem with the internet is the anonymity that persuade people to do these destructive prank things, but there are room for good and bad. It is a double edge sword, personally I am more on the pessimistic side as the internet tend to bring out the worse and harshest in individuals, also the most idiotic. For more good to come out out of it, education and responsibility still have to precede the internet, and the lack of it is the real threat of democracy today.

Edited 2009-04-28 01:03 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by eksasol
by beosguy@gmail.com on Tue 28th Apr 2009 01:36 UTC in reply to "Comment by eksasol"
beosguy@gmail.com Member since:
2008-07-17

I doubt Cobert can even add two numbers together much less run a goverment. Cobert is just another Perot wanna be less the charts plus humor. Comics like Cobert do not have any real understanding of the world, ecomonics, or goverment. They are brainless high school drop outs.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by eksasol
by Soulbender on Tue 28th Apr 2009 01:46 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by eksasol"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Comics like Cobert do not have any real understanding of the world, ecomonics, or goverment. They are brainless high school drop outs.


Since when has that stopped anyone from becoming a politician or even president?

Reply Score: 7

RE[2]: Comment by eksasol
by asgard on Tue 28th Apr 2009 03:04 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by eksasol"
asgard Member since:
2008-06-07

Actually, one could say if they connect so well with the audience by humour, they have an excellent understanding of the world. But I agree that "having an understanding" and "being able to solve political problems" (whatever that means) is a different matter.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by eksasol
by DigitalAxis on Tue 28th Apr 2009 03:10 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by eksasol"
DigitalAxis Member since:
2005-08-28

I dunno, behind the bluster and the blatant stupidities of Stephen Colbert's act, there's a spark of wit and intelligence (and at least someone on his writing staff is a huge nerd). Enough of a spark? Well, probably not. I'm sure he'd rather let himself and his writers mock the government than try to figure out how to fix it, anyway. But to say he's just as stupid as the bigot he portrays is probably wrong.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by eksasol
by tyrione on Tue 28th Apr 2009 09:09 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by eksasol"
tyrione Member since:
2005-11-21

I doubt Cobert can even add two numbers together much less run a goverment. Cobert is just another Perot wanna be less the charts plus humor. Comics like Cobert do not have any real understanding of the world, ecomonics, or goverment. They are brainless high school drop outs.


Republicans/Theocrats lost. Get over it.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by eksasol
by ssa2204 on Tue 28th Apr 2009 11:45 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by eksasol"
ssa2204 Member since:
2006-04-22


Republicans/Theocrats lost. Get over it.


Need proof that Republicans are idiots?

http://hij.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/14/2/212

Additionally, there was no significant difference between the groups in thinking Colbert was funny, but conservatives were more likely to report that Colbert only pretends to be joking and genuinely meant what he said while liberals were more likely to report that Colbert used satire and was not serious when offering political statements. Conservatism also significantly predicted perceptions that Colbert disliked liberalism.


Too stupid too even know when someone is mocking them. Can't wait for Palin 2012, should be a whole lot of humor.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Comment by eksasol
by diskinetic on Tue 28th Apr 2009 14:16 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by eksasol"
diskinetic Member since:
2005-12-09

Maybe all the conservatives were just kidding and the pollsters missed the joke. It happens.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by eksasol
by BluenoseJake on Tue 28th Apr 2009 15:42 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by eksasol"
BluenoseJake Member since:
2005-08-11

Nice way to generalize, I'm glad you're there to put every peg in it's hole.

Reply Score: 2

Colbert for World Czar!
by Kasi on Tue 28th Apr 2009 01:04 UTC
Kasi
Member since:
2008-07-12

I don't see a problem with placing Colbert in office, he would probably just as effective as any one if not more entertaining.

Reply Score: 2

Online polls are not exactly polls...
by dimosd on Tue 28th Apr 2009 07:01 UTC
dimosd
Member since:
2006-02-10

I think the crux of your article was that online polls are so unreliable they are basically garbage. So, if you really want to know what people think (or want), I suggest you trust an experienced statistician more than a web designer!

Everytime I hear about an "online poll" I know it's either a misguided attempt or plain propaganda. Real statistics are hard and obsessed about little details.

The other part, about some people being more influential than they would deserve otherwise due to their popularity... I think this is the way things have been for better or worse since antiquity, at least in (semi)free societies.

Reply Score: 3

EsoX Member since:
2005-08-21

Hmm, I don't know if I agree with that. In Sweden where (some) banks are in league with the government and responsible for issuing electronic "identity cards" I would argue that statistics from polls where the participants sign with their "electronic identity card" is reliable, given that all other parameters are identical (or adjusted) to match a "real world poll". The only major source of error would be that a certain group of people tend to acquire an electronic "id". However given Swedish GINI and literacy coefficients that would not be very relevant.

-----
As an explanatory note everyone in Sweden (from birth) has a "personnummer" (think "social security number" in US) that follows the person through his/her whole life. Opening a bank account requires valid identification complete with "personnummer". Getting a electronic "identity card" requires an bank account.

Reply Score: 1

the third wave
by bob_bipbip on Tue 28th Apr 2009 07:51 UTC
bob_bipbip
Member since:
2009-04-28

quite funny since i see this movie yesterday:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wave_(2008_film)
now, when it's about "anon", i think it's about being part of it, or not being part of it.

http://encyclopediadramatica.com/Anon

they are legion, and they will dominate internet

Reply Score: 0

Well
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 28th Apr 2009 08:37 UTC
Thom_Holwerda
Member since:
2005-06-29

I've always seen democracy as a necessary evil, and I am diametrically opposed to what we call "direct" democracy. Let me explain both of those statements.

Democracy is not a good way to run a country. It's extremely expensive, inefficient, and incredibly time-consuming. A better statement would be that democracy is the least crappy way to run a country. If someone ever invents something as fair as democracy but without all the waste I'd sign up immediately.

Flowing from that is my objection towards "direct" democracy. My country is a parliamentary monarchy with a representative democracy. This means that we, the people, vote a bunch of people into the lower house to take care of running the country for us.

In The Netherlands, we do not directly elect any of our leaders. All of them are appointed by the lower house - be it the actual lower house in The Hague, or the "local" lower houses in municipalities and provinces (which we also vote on). We don't elect a major, we don't elect our prime minister, and we obviously don't elect our head of state (being a monarchy and all).

There's a huge benefit here. In my country, it has always been custom to vote on a party, an ideology, and not on a person. You voted for the greens, the socialists, labour, the liberals (liberals=right wing in my country), and you could choose whether or not religion was important to you by voting for a Christian party. Since we are a very pluriform society with a low voting threshold, we always have a high degree of self-cleansing, with parties disappearing and appearing all the time. At any given moment, we have like 7 or 8 parties in parliament.

The benefit here is that we used to focus on the ideas, and not the people. I have an inherent distrust towards people close to or in power, because power corrupts, as sure as water is wet. As such, I like the idea of voting for ideas, and not people. "We shouldn't focus on the puppets" is an oft-heard Dutch phrase during election time.

The last ~10 years or so, this has changed. Dutch democracy has shifted away from voting on ideas towards voting on people. And with that shift comes the biggest evil of democracy: populism. Populism is what can tear a country apart, and we should fight it whenever we can.

Democracy is not about what the people want. Democracy is about what is best for the country. Those two goals more often than not clash. Populism is a movement where we think that every Sjonnie and Anita out on the street are somehow capable of running one of the richest countries in the world. "The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter." - Churchill. These days, politicians stumble over one another to explain extremely complicated matters of state to normal people - which is stupid and pointless, because RUNNING A COUNTRY IS COMPLICATED.

How does all this tie in with the article at hand? Well, the things that you see exemplified on the internet are powered by the same lower-level processes that power actual, real-world democracy.

We have to be vigilant against direct democracy. Democracy is about voting people in office that have the brains to run the country - democracy is not about doing whatever the people want.

Edited 2009-04-28 08:40 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Well
by EsoX on Tue 28th Apr 2009 10:06 UTC in reply to "Well"
EsoX Member since:
2005-08-21

Agreed

Reply Score: 1

RE: Well
by dimosd on Tue 28th Apr 2009 13:28 UTC in reply to "Well"
dimosd Member since:
2006-02-10

"The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter." - Churchill


I see "freedom" and "democracy" as two seperate things, at least in theory. You could in principle have a "benevolent dictator/monarch" that would care for the people's needs and desires, or at least be able to guess them. But this wouldn't last for long I think, because a power's first obligation to itself is to keep itself in power.

Then you have democracy, which is simply a way to give feedback to government. Is the government still in touch with reality? If not, down with its head! It doesn't mean that the people "know best" what's good for them, that's populism. It's more like asking e.g. a small child if it liked the food and would like some more vs. stuffing the child's mouth with the food "you know" is good for it. Even if it cries and pukes.

What would be the opposite of letting these fools decide for their futures? Letting an elite (e.g. educated, rich, intelligent, wise, good intenting, perfect DNA etc) decide for the fools' future. Might sound good at first. But as I said, it wouldn't be long before the elite's self-presevation and own interests came before anything else.

Anyway, I think our diffrent oppinions are shaped by different domestic politics. As much as I dislike populism I see it as something to live with like the seasonal flu (eventually, you develop immunity to *a* kind of flu).

"Let me be wrong, don't try to play God" goes an old song here in Greece

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Well
by DrillSgt on Tue 28th Apr 2009 20:08 UTC in reply to "RE: Well"
DrillSgt Member since:
2005-12-02

"What would be the opposite of letting these fools decide for their futures? Letting an elite (e.g. educated, rich, intelligent, wise, good intenting, perfect DNA etc) decide for the fools' future."

We already had this happen in Germany in the 1930's. We all know how well that turned out...

Reply Score: 2

RE: Well
by bibe on Tue 28th Apr 2009 14:05 UTC in reply to "Well"
bibe Member since:
2005-07-09

I've always seen democracy as a necessary evil, and I am diametrically opposed to what we call "direct" democracy.


The Swiss have a so called "half-direct" democracy, which doesn't have much to do with how leaders/politicians get elected.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Switzerland#Direct_democracy

As I learned here in school the direct democracy would be voting for every law, we Swiss however don't vote for single federal laws or presidents, but a vote is required for changes to the constitution. One can also change the constitution with an initiative(gather 50000 signatures within 100 days). The people use this power often(every year there are referendums), and one can make whatever initiative one likes.

So there is some stuff in the constitution that doesn't really belong there like no new nuclear power plant and stuff, but it works great and every politician get's screwed by the people from time to time and has to accept it.

Reply Score: 2

Online Voting = Surveys
by Leroy on Tue 28th Apr 2009 12:21 UTC
Leroy
Member since:
2006-07-06

First of all, I enjoyed your well thought out article. Hope your friend wins!

As an IT professional who subscribes to a lot of magazines, I'm frequently having to fill out surveys about how I would purchase this or that. Online voting to me has become another survey. There is nothing substantial to clicking on buttons. I find myself just picking anything to relieve the burden. A person needs to slow down the decision process; the brain needs time to think.

There is an interaction that you get with people standing inline waiting to vote. I meet people I would not ordinarily have the opportunity to. When I sign my name to the voter registration book, there is a responsibility to make a deciding vote.

Reply Score: 1

You get tyranny of the minority.
by troy.w.banther on Tue 28th Apr 2009 13:33 UTC
troy.w.banther
Member since:
2008-06-28

Since humans are nothing more than angry little primates clawing at the surface of a mud ball in space, then you will have the alphas always trying to impose their will onto the betas.

Please, no angry e-mails from irate religious nutters. All faith in me died on 09.11.01.

Tyranny of the minority is something well ingrained into our genetic code. Do I believe we have the capability of fighting these base impulse? Yes. I do.

The internet, in my opinion, is among the best inventions or mind tools to ever grace humanity. It has, in its short history, allowed human beings to move forward a bit as-well-as break down hegemonies and very powerful oligarchies here in the US and elsewhere on the globe.

Getting the word out has reverted to the hands of the people and back from the mediums of television, radio and newspapers.

It's almost humorous to watch the outlets relying on the internet for their sources.

Forward looking, these hegemonic corporations and businesses will shrink to the point of near oblivion as people produce their own content and people are more interested in what other people produce.

As far as Thom's comment that power corrupts.

I'm not sure that is an absolute truth.

I take it one step beyond that.

For example, and this is only an example, depending on Thom's personality and mentality, if he was given the job of running a major media company for years and then the stockholders or private management changed their minds on Thom's performance and job status.

Then Thom would either act like a gentleman and adapt according to the needs of the organization or he would act out in fear that his position as an alpha in the organization was threatened. The 'fear' produces the tyranny of the one or minority.

So, it is not power which corrupts absolutely but it is the 'fear' of loosing a perceived power which can potentially corrupt absolutely.

I am a Green politically with strong Democratic Socialist leanings. So, you can understand my distaste for a 'two-party only system' here in the U.S. Power should be left to the individual communities with states and the federal providing help to the communities. The internet is re-democratizing the people.

I cannot speak for constitutional monarchies or other political regimes.

There is no perfect human political system. That is true for the U.S. as-well-as other governments. But I can say there was some wisdom in the founders vision of the U.S. republic. Separation of Powers, indirect representation, electoral college ( yes, it actually makes sense if you study it ), bicameral representation, Bill of Rights, etc.

Specifically, I believe the internet falls under the First Amendment of our federal constitution and mirrored in the state-level ones.

I also hold the belief that people will produce the best operating system using either direct or indirect participation.

Reply Score: 1

I disagree
by daste on Tue 28th Apr 2009 16:44 UTC
daste
Member since:
2008-01-14

Maybe it's just that I'm dumb or (inconsciously?) indoctrinated, but the discussion about democracy taking place here makes me think that either people here have no clue what they are talking about (philosophic/political studies, anyone?) or that here in Italy things work in a tremendously different way.

Now mod me down if you want, but what you call "tyranny of the majority" never ever happened as far as I can tell in representative democracies, but the opposite instead: at least recent Italian history is made of many organized minorities imposing their views to the unorganized majority (mafias, freemasonry, secret socities, Vatican, corporations). And that is just what representative democracy is: a masked oligarchy.

I read a comment where a guy says that voting an idea is good and voting people is bad... now, come here and see how it works: hundreds and hundreds of people we never voted for who would be clearly inelegible anywhere else (criminals, people who was found guilty of helping mafias, of fraudulent bankruptcy, etc.) is now making laws. And they will stay there forever until the elective law allows people to vote for a specific candidate (which on the other hand is also bad, since there is serious risk of political patronage).

You say countries don't practice direct democracy because of this tyranny of majority, while it is clear to me they didn't practice it in the past because it would have costed too much (a single referendum/election costs hundreds of millions of euros), but this could have changed with the Internet if politicians really wanted (see for example this site: http://www.internetcrazia.com/ic/ - Italian only, sorry), but it's impossible to expect them to replace the system which gave them the power they have.

The fact is our fablious "democracies" are slowly becoming fascist-like dictatorships, rapidly infiltrated by criminal organizations, which in these days are mostly the military and/or illegal side of corporations.

And I don't even want to talk about the reason why laws exist at all... yes I'm a bit anarchic lately, but if you want to reply, don't use this as an excuse to avoid arguing on what I'm saying.

Reply Score: 4

Democracy
by spiderman on Tue 28th Apr 2009 17:53 UTC
spiderman
Member since:
2008-10-23

Democracy is not just about voting, this is an over simplification. Democracy is a state of government where the citizens govern themselves. It involves a lot of things. The first thing is about education and information. You can let people vote and don't tell them what they are voting about, or you can exclude the people who don't agree with you from the voting but that is not democracy. People are voting for things then don't understand and that is not democracy.

Some people call the US a democracy but that is still not one. I would call it an oligarchy instead. Indeed, people are electing their leaders but the market is the market. Their leaders always tell them that they can't do this or that because of the global crysis. They tell them that this can't be done because the money would not come if they did this, or because that would upset the people in other countries. And they are right. Nowadays, the government is global and it is not elected. Are we all governed by the global market? I think so.

The internet enhances democracy. Not because of stupid online voting, but because it enpowers many people with knowledge. Of course there are still people who can't afford the internet, who can't read or write and who don't benefit, but a lot of people have access to knowledge thanks to the internet and they can spread it to the people who don't have it.

Now is democracy a good thing or a bad thing? According to Plato, this is a bad thing. In his book, The Republic, he states that you don't want all the people govern everything. Instead, he says that you want the best people govern what they are best at. For instance, you don't want the bakers to tell the mechanics how to build a car but you want the mechanics themselve to know how to build cars. I agree with him and I believe the internet is good for the global republic as well.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Democracy
by daste on Tue 28th Apr 2009 19:43 UTC in reply to "Democracy"
daste Member since:
2008-01-14

Democracy is a state of government where the citizens govern themselves.


Actually, it's all about interpretation. For me democracy is a state of government where everybody should have the right to partecipate to the making of decisions which affect the collectivity.

In practice there are people who don't have right to decide (minors, criminals too?), and among the people who have this right, the decisions taken by the majority rule over the minorities.

The first thing is about education and information. You can let people vote and don't tell them what they are voting about, or you can exclude the people who don't agree with you from the voting but that is not democracy. People are voting for things then don't understand and that is not democracy.


Understanding, education, information are quite relative concepts after all. There's no single scale to measure this stuff. If I know A and don't know B and you know B and don't know A, who knows more? And what if A or B is wrong or partial information?

Some people call the US a democracy but that is still not one. I would call it an oligarchy instead.


There is no such thing as a democracy on this planet, and maybe never was.

Indeed, people are electing their leaders but the market is the market. Their leaders always tell them that they can't do this or that because of the global crysis. They tell them that this can't be done because the money would not come if they did this, or because that would upset the people in other countries. And they are right. Nowadays, the government is global and it is not elected. Are we all governed by the global market? I think so.


Never asked yourself why you can only vote for the red or the blue one, when what they purpose is so similar? Something like a democracy should allow and maybe even promote different point of views, I think, but that does not happen these days.

The internet enhances democracy. Not because of stupid online voting, but because it enpowers many people with knowledge. Of course there are still people who can't afford the internet, who can't read or write and who don't benefit, but a lot of people have access to knowledge thanks to the internet and they can spread it to the people who don't have it.


According to me: Internet gives access to knowledge: yes. Internet enhances democracy: no. Internet is specular to real world: in so many ways.

Now is democracy a good thing or a bad thing? According to Plato, this is a bad thing. In his book, The Republic, he states that you don't want all the people govern everything. Instead, he says that you want the best people govern what they are best at. For instance, you don't want the bakers to tell the mechanics how to build a car but you want the mechanics themselve to know how to build cars. I agree with him and I believe the internet is good for the global republic as well.


I agree with Plato as well, and he showed very soon another limit of (practical) democracy: which decisions should be taken by the whole community, and which should belong to particular groups of people?

Reply Score: 1

why democracy...?
by Yamin on Tue 28th Apr 2009 18:16 UTC
Yamin
Member since:
2006-01-10

This is a serious question. Since when did we come to the conclusion that the WILL of the majority should rule.

I would argue most of the success of the Western world has NOT been due to democracy but due to rights and a doctorine of 'fairness'. Rights have nothing to do with voting... they are given.

The right to free spech
The right to be free to start your own business
The right to your own religion
The right to be treated fairly regardless of what family/tribe you belong too...
...

I fear that 'democracy' has become synonymous with being right. In the same way as a religious leader could say 'I am right and you will obey me, because God has spoken to me', democracy allows people to say 'this action is right because the majority have voted for me/it'.

This has actually thrown out the values that made the western world successful in returning to the conflicts that have plagued other societies.

Some call it partisan politics, I call it gangs. Gangs no different from street gangs. They lead to the detriment of the community as a whole, but when living in such a neighborhood, you have to join one or be a victim. The gangs form voting blocks and you no longer matter.

We see it in Iraq and Afghanistan right now. Democracy is being used to advance tribal groups. Of its all legit as its the will of the majority. The talk of rights and fairness sinks to the background.

So while we talk about the internet bringing transparency or public involvement to democracy, I am not excited. I am in fact dismayed that our society is centralizing itself to its own destruction. The fact that the central government is going to be transparent (yeah right) or democratic about its actions doesn't bode well for us.

Reply Score: 3

slashdot?
by umccullough on Wed 29th Apr 2009 06:32 UTC
umccullough
Member since:
2006-01-26

This should be interesting ;)

Reply Score: 2

I voted for the other guy
by unclefester on Wed 29th Apr 2009 08:12 UTC
unclefester
Member since:
2007-01-13

I deliberately voted for the other guy. I suppose you would call it subversion.

Reply Score: 2

Collaborative Voting...
by reticle on Wed 29th Apr 2009 15:28 UTC
reticle
Member since:
2009-04-29

I'm not sure that voting can be thought of as collaborative activity. Our democratic republic does have a collaborative governmental subset, but it's not present when using the deterministic function called, "voting." Each ballot is supposed represent the binary assessment of a unique individual respecting a particular proposal. At least that's theory.

Furthermore, even in America, the ideal notion of legislative collaboration is subverted by those with editorial power. I've never been able to figure out why anyone thinks secretly editing a Bill, behind the scenes, after the floor debate and before the final vote, is moral, ethical or legal. But we are all led to belivee that it must be constitutional, other wise how could "Earmarking" happen so ubiquitously? (I've often wondered whether that phrase comes from the stockyards where hogs are tagged on the ear when they are sold. Hey Joe! Where is that porker headed, anyway! Dunno, Bubba, check his earmark!)

At any rate, I wouldn't trust my so-called "representatives" to know a bit from a byte anyway. And, by the way, why would electronic communication of anything over the InterWeb be treated as if it were immune from fiddling, let alone hacking? I mean, if we are supposed to believe that net crimes cost us billions (in tax losses) from banks, the DoD is not safe from the Chinese, and that our "intelligence communities" have their fingers in every piece of electronic communication from email to tweets, then why would anyone, EVER, accept the notion that our secret ballot system should be designed by our electable, corruptible oafficials or implemented over such an unsecure network. Why would we even stop to ponder wether web apps should be used to determine whether or how we use the internet to choose who wields the big stick during a G20 meeting or sits in on the U.N. Security Council meetings?

India uses electronic voting successfully, for an electorate of greater magnitude, but they don't do it over the World Wide Worm bin.

http://techaos.blogspot.com/2004/05/indian-evm-compared-with-diebol...

Reply Score: 1

Democracy
by howiem on Thu 30th Apr 2009 12:08 UTC
howiem
Member since:
2009-04-30

Democracy is not an end in itself, rather the means to preserve freedom of the individual from the control of the state. It is correct that pure democracy has its weaknesses (Note, though that Churchill also said that democracy was the worst system of government, except for all the others). In a republic, which is what the USA has been (at least until now), the people vote for representatives who represent the majority of their local constituents, which is nit necessarily the national majority. Pure democracy can usually only be successful at the local levels, the small towns, etc., where each individual can be involved in the process. For those who want to get an in-depth understanding of democracy and freedom, I suggest "The Constitution of Liberty", by F.A. Hayek, a classic liberal (who believes in freedom of the individual, free markets, free trade and minimum government.

he relevance to this article is that the Internet should be used in freedom, and not restricted in any way by government. As an example, a new information czar in the cirrent U.S. administration is proposing that the government implement filters to ensure that Internet users are exposed to a "balance of information" in the interests of "fairness". To me this can only lead to government control of information, you might believe otherwise. hus while I agree with the author of this article, I think his headline should be changed from "Enhance Democracy" to "Enhance Freedom".

Edited 2009-04-30 12:15 UTC

Reply Score: 1