What this boils down to is a quiet but very real constitutional crisis hidden behind the noise of collapsing traditional forms. We hover between support for conventional representative democracy we no longer trust, and direct democracy for which we lack the tools and preconditions. We do not have a culture of critical analysis and information-seeking that would allow our polity to make sound decisions based on evidence — and certainly our press does not provide us with an informed and reliable public sphere. At the same time, we register — correctly — that our politicians do not make decisions on that basis…
Has Direct Democracy Already Failed?
This is well stated (well boiled?). I would say we have the technical tools for direct democracy and that is a major part of the problem. The unprepared move into an online world encourages the desire for direct control but begins to raise a more fundamental question about the practical limits of representational government. As you note all representational government assumes a reasonably and actively informed population. At critical stages we are plagued with popular rejection of facts in favor of mindless belief actively abetted by a radical capitalist and neoliberal media. It doesn’t take much thinking to realize that these combined problems certainly calls into question the most fundamental of our 18th century Enlightenment rights. This is very depressing. Are we up against an evolutionary limitation? Are we even able to work at a planetary scale with what we know to be the Truth of representational political rule? We can understand and articulate more direct representational government as an ideal but perhaps that is unreachable. Is it still a valid ideal or delusion dooming us to periodic brutal collapse?