[EM] Seized by an idea - my changed views

James Gilmour jgilmour at globalnet.co.uk
Sun Jul 28 05:58:30 PDT 2002

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Joe Weinstein [mailto:jweins123 at hotmail.com]
>      First of all, true democracy does not and should not mean that all of
> us ordinary citizens are equal, but that some of us - namely elected
> officers or their key appointees - are 'more equal'. True democracy means
> that each of us participates equally and directly in making actual legal
> public decisions - laws and policies.
> Having equal power in indirectly choosing an oligarchic elite who make the
> decisions does not equal democracy.  Instead, we ordinary citizens must
> share in DIRECTLY making the decisions.

By what right can you insist that I "MUST share in directly making the decisions"?
(My change of emphasis.)

My experience of "democracy" at many levels here in the UK leads me to suspect that I and my fellow citizens (actually, still the
monarch's subjects!!), do not all want to participate in this way.  Some wish to be informed;  some wish to be consulted;  some wish
to take part in the decision-making;  some want (or would accept) continuing responsibility;  but some just want to left alone and
are quite content to leave all the decision-making to those others in their society who do want to get involved.

You and I may agree that our local society would be "better" (whatever "better" might mean) if EVERYONE was involved, and as
directly as possible.  But if you believe in a democratic society, you must also accept the decision of those who do not want to
take any part in decision-making, even when they will be affected by the decisions that are being made.


Much of the rest that you wrote reads to me like a case for subsidiarity, ie making decisions at the "lowest" possible level.  To be
properly effective, this has to go beyond just decision-making - responsibility has to placed at the "lowest" possible level too,
and responsibility involves more than just making the decisions.

You almost certainly have more subsidiarity operating in the USA than we do here in the UK.  Real power in the UK is highly
centralised, whatever the levels of decision-making you consider.

James Gilmour

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