Re: Legislation

From: Ross A. Finlayson (
Date: Wed Jun 07 2000 - 18:18:02 MDT

Zero Powers wrote:

> >From: "Ross A. Finlayson" <>
> >In this age of modern technology, we should use some of it to enable
> >cyber-grassroots mobilization. What has come to mind is a web interface
> >to a wwide variety of proposed legislation, a clearinghouse for it, as
> >it were. Say that as a U.S. citizen you can write suggested legislation
> >on any of a variety of topics that are legislatable. Then, legislation
> >is organized so that different topics and causes will have compromises
> >hammered, or separate proposals if they are incompatible. Then, as
> >legislation is developed in this virtual town hall federally and for
> >each region, separately or as one, then as legislation passes through a
> >public peer-review process and reaches the point where credible
> >volunteers vouch for its Consitutionality and value depending on other
> >merits, then the legislation is fast-tracked into the requisite forms
> >for each jurisdiction, ie, from electronic community, communication,
> >discussion, review, and mobilization, then the real world requirements
> >for placement in the processes of legislation are fulfilled, and the
> >virtual communities' mobilization is used locally and extra-locally to
> >satisfy any requirements, where some of the first legislation might be
> >to enable electronic satisfaction of the requirements.
> Ahh, sweet Utopia, once again you raise your pretty little head.
> I think the tech underlying your suggestion is definitely doable. After
> all, its not all that much different from what sites like are
> doing. Problem is it would take a supreme amount of "social engineering" to
> bring about. Primarily because the lawyers and politicians are calling the
> shots, and they are not likely to legislate themselves out of business
> anytime soon.

Well, politicians are politicians, with some of them lawyers, yet discounting
them, I do not see it that all lawyers would be against more of an Athenian
democracy, in fact, many lawyers might be for this kind of thing, it doesn't put
them out of business.

> But such democratizing alternatives to the creation of law should be
> pursued. One thing I'll be watching with great interest, for instance, is
> to see how the "Engines of Creation 2000" Project comes out.
> If they can get a book written by an entire community, I don't see it as
> much of a stretch to get some legislation written the same way. But if you
> really want to see something as revolutionary as your proposal put to use in
> real life anytime soon, you'd better take the advice of Dick The Butcher,
> and kill all the lawyers first.

I don't see that as necessary, as many lawyers are skilled and many lawyers are
honest. Besides, the economy would produce more lawyers as many lawyers are
useful. While that sentiment exists since Shakespearean times, it is not
realistic. ("Sue everything!")

> -Zero
> "I like dreams of the future better than the history of the past"
> --Thomas Jefferson
> ________________________________________________________________________
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The technology and technological aspect of the re-Atheniazation of democracy is
interesting and these factors are those that our culture finds more available
and present every day.

The issue is resolving the disconnect between what is the will of the people and
what happens in the halls of congress. It's great if a bunch of polls say this
or that, yet if the governing rules and laws of our culture are either a) not
reflective of the public will, or b) broken by those in government, then there
is a problem in gaining some ideal goal of true democracy.

The government must always be reminded that it exists by the grace of the
people. When the government is flawed, then if it can not correct itself then
it must be corrected.

The website you note takes polls of its readers (viewers, browsers?), where the
questions are of the type that appear to be for a jury to decide, and the
results supposedly forwarded somewhere. What I have stated would be good would
be a website as a frontend to community authored by the general public, thus
that the participants are largely the authors, community posts such as that site
has are one example of this kind of interaction, but I envision moreso some
formalized and egalitarian rules so that the contributors define legislation.
The issue is not only how to make it so that authors as citizens representing
the citizenry can define popular legislation that the status quo political
machine will not, but how to enact this kind of legislation, and even to bring
to bear the judiciary to enforce it. The key contrast here is not to decide
specificities of cases but rather to extend as much of the citizenry as could be
reached that their true voice be heard.

Many different groups have their ideas about what should be law, and there is
certainly the primary method of addressing the elected political legislators and
expressing your arguments, or paying them which appears to quite effective. The
issue is that there are some laws that majority of the public does or does not
want which do not or do exist on the books, for those fractional freedoms stolen
and injustices served that the politburo has inflicted on the citizens, these
should be retrieved and returned.

Ross Finlayson

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