A Road to Direct Democracy

It may not be easy to find convincing explanations on how precisely ”representative democracy” and some other prevailing ”political”, ”economic”, ”social” etc. systems might be expected to avoid some of their predictable consequences of persistent wealth and power centralization and institutionalized concealment of the mechanisms or technologies behind such de facto segregation. It may also not be easy to find convincing and widely available evidence of mechanisms that might allow institutional reform of ”representative democracy”. Voters can rarely vote for any specific substantive policy issue directly. In the absence of a sufficient number of candidates who are willing and able to provide binding and legally enforceable contracts to voters with sufficient sanctions for any potential breaches, nothing that the candidates or ”representatives” may or may not say or otherwise communicate changes the fact that the voters often have no technical mechanisms available to vote for specific policy issues. Were such candidates to emerge, they might effectively have to centralize power to themselves, potentially give up some of their personal privacy as candidates and subsequently representatives and expose themselves to the corruptive impact of participating in, for instance, the parliament’s operational practices for the entire duration of their term in case no sufficient majority for the proponents of direct democracy could be achieved in a single election. In other words, according to one potential interpretation, a proponent of direct democracy would be required adopt the precise opposite of his/her substantive political objective – centralization of power to him-/herself – as a precondition for being able to promote such a political objective. Similarly, a proponent of personal privacy, for instance, would have to adopt the precise opposite of his/her substantive political objective – at least some degree of loss of personal privacy as a candidate and subsequently representative – as a precondition for being able to promote such a political objective. Structurally requiring candidates to act in ways that are diametrically opposed to their political views or objectives even before being elected places potential candidates in an unequal position. Even if some potential candidates were willing and able to endure the personal consequences of acting against their convictions, candidates who are structurally required to blatantly and continuously breach their central promises to potential voters before being elected merely due to the substantive content of such political objectives or convictions are not in an equal position with other candidates who do not have to constantly and blatantly violate their actual or alleged substantive political views as a precondition for being actually or allegedly able to promote such objectives after being elected.

Below is one potential tentative technical solution to the aforementioned dilemma – a series of technical steps that might be taken in order to move from ”representative democracy” to direct democracy. Irrespective of the features or relative merits or demerits of different types of (”)political(”) systems, it could be argued that (“)political(“) systems that structurally exclude the expression or ”representation” of certain political views or alternatives due to their substantive content should not be called democracies. It may thus be quite reasonable to expect even any potential normative proponents of some of the predictable consequences of ”representative democracies” and some other prevailing ”political”, ”economic”, ”social” etc. systems to go through the following list of potential technical steps on a road to direct democracy and/or to provide alternative explanations on how different political positions may be equally, credibly and consistently expressed and implemented in a ”democracy” – whether “representative” or direct – regardless of their substantive content.

The Steps

2. [sic, see 1. below] A candidate – whether a natural person, voters’ co-operative or something else – makes a binding commitment to vote according to the majority preference of his/her/its voters in each and every voting opportunity.

3. Each voter records his/her entire voting process from writing down the candidate’s number in the voting slip to putting the voting slip into the ballot box. If the candidate is elected, the candidate asks those voters who wish to participate in decision-making during the candidate’s term to submit recordings of their voting processes as a proof for voting the candidate.

4. The candidate sets up a technical platform for collecting and recording voter preferences before each voting opportunity of the candidate during his/her/its term. The candidate might, for instance, create a closed internet group for his/her/its voters, whereby the voters would have the opportunity to vote on how the candidate should vote in each voting opportunity during his/her/its term. While disclosing the voters’ identities to each other may not be technically necessary, disclosing the names and all voting decisions to everyone within the closed internet group might make the group’s voting system more transparent and reliable. In case the candidate is, for instance, the voters’ co-operative itself rather than a natural person, members of the voters’ co-operative could also vote on who might physically have to go, for instance, to the parliament to press the appropriate button in each voting opportunity according to the group’s preferences, participate in parliamentary debates etc. As a result, no single individual would have to expose him-/herself continuously to the potentially corruptive impact of participating in the parliament’s operational practices for the entire duration of the candidate’s term.

5. In case whoever it is that is supposed to press the button in the parliament in each voting opportunity does not follow the voting co-operative’s pre-selected majority preference in any given voting opportunity, the person intentionally pressing the wrong button or failing to press the correct button could be fired, excluded from the voters’ co-operative and/or prosecuted for, for instance, breach of contract immediately and replaced with another individual who might be more likely to press the correct button in the next parliamentary voting opportunity according to the voters’ co-operative’s prior internal voting results.

6. Each member of the voters’ co-operative would be free to select the most appropriate internal voting method for him-/herself. While some might wish to personally cast their votes in the closed internet group for each issue, others might use intermediaries for such purposes or authorize other members of the voters’ co-operative or external parties to vote on their behalf in specific predefined issues or periods. Potential sanctions for not respecting voter preferences might vary from non-existent (e.g. between friends who might have agreed to vote on each other’s behalf in issues or periods in which each of such voters individually might be unable or unwilling to personally exercise their voting rights) to immediate dismissal and/or prosecution following non-compliance with a specific voting instruction for a specific voting opportunity. Technically it might also be possible for members of the voters’ co-operative to trade voting opportunities with each other. Someone who, for instance, might have a relatively clear view on the most significant, important or urgent issue for political debate and/or decision-making might announce his/her preference for, for instance, arranging one political debate in the parliament on a specific issue through the voters’ co-operative’s representative in the parliament and/or offer all of his/her other voting opportunities to other members of the voters’ co-operative in exchange for having the maximum number of votes to cast in the member’s preferred issue. In case the candidate is the voters’ co-operative itself rather than a natural person, all funding that is typically available to members of parliament through salary payments, cost reimbursements, payments to the member’s political group etc. would be directed to the voters’ co-operative, which could use such funding to, for instance, develop and operate the closed internet group or distribute the payments to its members as a compensation for the political and professional functions that they would be performing on behalf of individual members of parliament, political parties etc.

7. Once candidates following some variants of the aforementioned principles have achieved the required majority in the parliament, the entire political system could be converted to direct democracy following similar principles but with no need for candidates, voters’ co-operatives or other types of institutional intermediaries between each individual voter and, for instance, a national technological platform that transparently aggregates each voter’s voting decisions. Whatever institutions might or might not emerge – or however the technological platform used for aggregating and displaying the electorate’s directly expressed preferences might or might not evolve – could be completely up to the voters themselves.

8. As the potential content or existence of any type of a constitution, declaration of human rights etc. might also be completely up to the electorate’s preferences, some of the functions of such documents might or might not be fulfilled by, for instance, declarations of intent drafted prior to establishing, for instance, nationwide technological platforms for direct democracy. One potential declaration of intent might involve, for instance, outlawing the exclusive pursuit of self-interest in all areas of life – including ”politics” – by the citizens of the nation in question everywhere in the universe. Were, for instance, the majority of the electorate – in the presence of perfect information, for the sake of the argument – to select some individuals – whether citizens of the nation in question or foreigners – for, for instance, enslavement, torture, experimentation, non-consensual mind- and bodily modeling etc. merely due to its expected economic benefits for perhaps everyone else expect the victims themselves and to modify any and all potentially relevant laws, constitutions, transformable declarations etc. accordingly, the original declaration of intent outlawing the exclusive pursuit of self-interest might still provide a perpetual case for the victims and any other potentially interested parties against the perpetrators and any and all forms or manifestations of non-consensually extracted personal information or aspects of personhood that might continue to exist in the universe irrespective of the amount of time that might have passed since the victims’ demise. In other words, the basis for such a declaration of intent would be substantive rather than utilitarian: a single victim could legitimately demand, for instance, the execution of everyone else – or the destruction of the entire world and/or humanity, if necessary – as the least extensive remedy to remove all non-consensually extracted thoughts or other forms of personal information from the universe regardless of their potential economic utility to potentially everyone else in the universe as long as the same remedy is available to any victim who might at any point in time be voted into such a position by everyone else in the universe. In theory such declarations of intent might achieve a lesser degree of inconsistency or mutual incompatibility or include more detailed specifications for the requisite economic, political, social etc. conditions than most – if not all – existing declarations of human rights, constitutions etc. As there might, however, be no more objective mechanisms available for drafting the appropriate declarations of intent than direct democracy or the institutional mechanisms it would replace, such declarations of intent might also be no more institutionally authoritative than any potential injustices that might be committed through, for instance, direct democracy in the presence of perfect information.

The extent to which at least some variants of the aforementioned sample technical road to direct democracy may be legally implementable may to some degree correlate with the extent to which institutional reform – as opposed to replacement – or perhaps also the principle of legality itself – if still within humanity’s reach – may be implementable. To the extent that ”representative democracy” and some other prevailing ”political”, ”economic”, ”social” etc. systems may already have led to some of their predictable consequences of persistent wealth and power centralization and institutionalized concealment of the mechanisms or technologies behind such de facto segregation, other steps may also be technically necessary on some – if not all – potential roads to direct democracy. In some of the circumstances outlined in section 2.10 on pages 57 – 125 of Rescuing Academism (available at https://academism.wordpress.com/2016/06/14/rescuing-academism-by-tero-auvinen), for instance, the following step, for instance, may also be necessary:

1. The execution of everyone who has willingly and knowingly engaged in non-consensual mind-reading or -influencing or been aware of such practices but not publicly opposed them (and thus exposed him-/herself to non-consensually extracted thoughts of others through, for instance, the media or the internet without publicly objecting to such ongoing non-consensual exposure) and the destruction of any and all artificial intelligence systems or other types of designs or expressions which include non-consensually extracted thoughts or bodily or personal information of living or deceased victims. In other words, the victims’ right to privacy, bodily integrity, ownership of all aspects of their personhood – exclusive access to their thoughts, for instance – and right to die – the right to erase any and all thoughts or other forms of non-consensually extracted personal information from the universe upon their physical death – would be regarded as more important than the perpetrators’ right to life or a public trial, for instance. Any nation or other potentially relevant entity that claims to defend the human rights of its citizens and/or others might seem to be free – if not forced – to take military action also beyond its own borders to eliminate perpetrators whom their own jurisdictions might be unwilling or unable to execute and to ensure that any and all artificial intelligence systems and other designs or expressions involving, for instance, non-consensually extracted thoughts are destroyed. There are at least two different approaches to justify the potential extent of the required executions and destruction. In case virtually all institutions are under the control of the perpetrators, it is quite possible to view the execution of, for instance, every member or representative of the parliament, media, police, army, “the scientific community”, business and religious leadership etc. as a lesser evil than the alternative of potentially having to defend oneself against some perpetrators operating under whatever residual authority such institutions might continue to have while attempting to conceive and implement their institutional replacements. Alternatively, it is quite possible – if not necessary – to view the execution of every perpetrator and the destruction of every machine or artifact that to some extent relies on non-consensually extracted thoughts or other types of private information as the most appropriate solution irrespective of the consequences – in other words, not to abstain from implementing solutions or punishments that might be seen as appropriate for individual offenders merely because the group of perpetrators may involve the holders of virtually every position of authority in the society. Without the implementation of this step there might be no autonomous individuals who could freely and privately form and communicate their voting decisions and whatever forms of life might allegedly continue to exist might be relatively freely copied, cloned, modeled, mirrored, mimicked, reproduced, re-engineered etc. by powerful actors in a perhaps permanently segregated world. Under such circumstances any potential implementation of technical platforms for direct democracy may well be counterproductive, as the existence of such platforms might further conceal the true level – or absence – of democratic freedoms in a given society.

To the extent the aforementioned step in any potential road to direct democracy has any practical significance, it may well be the most important and urgent step to take, without with any further progress – or autonomous human existence, for that matter – may be impossible. To the extent it has no practical significance, it may be irrelevant. As the step may be either necessary or irrelevant, it is ranked number one in the above list of potential technical steps on a road to direct democracy. The step may not, however, be inherently “political” in nature or linked exclusively to any potential pursuit of the appropriate technical preconditions for a direct democracy. To the extent that the existing legislation – or what the legislation would have been likely to be or become without non-consensual mind-reading or -control of the voters or subjects and torture or worse of potential dissidents who might have been in a position to inform the public about their on-going mind-control, servitude, experimentation and potentially permanent expropriation of their thoughts and other aspects of their humanness – for instance, prohibits non-consensual mind-reading or -control, the step might more accurately be described, for instance, as law enforcement that may ultimately have to be rewarded rather than suppressed by states if any semblance of legality – if possible even in theory – is to be restored in case the step turns out to be anything else except entirely irrelevant.