Comments on Towards A New Democracy
Looking back at this work 35 years after I wrote it, I still feel very pleased with it. It emphasized the systems approach to making government work, so that sound administration of policies was just as important as effective citizen control. Also, the idea that American democracy would be at considerable risk by 2030 unless major changes were made in our democratic structure seems, regrettably, to be accurate.
But I have changed my mind about some parts of the book.
- Chapter 5 proposes that “sample voting” be used to replace the way we currently vote. I soon rejected this idea as impractical, given how used the public has become to voting for elected officials. It was not until the late 1980s that the Jefferson Center started using the Citizens Jury process to evaluate the policy stands of candidates in order to help the public vote more wisely. In some future democracy, the public may see the wisdom of sample voting, but this is probably a long way off.
- Chapters 6 and 7 do not represent my current thinking about “public interest”, but sorting out the differences between it and my current thinking is a low priority for me.
Overall, the work stands as a decent model for the kind of democracy that should be considered. It is vital that all democratic nations start major planning efforts for new democratic systems. The proposal for “Citocracy” in this book can serve as an interesting example for those who undertake this effort in a professional way.
My more recent thinking on new democratic systems can be found in “A New American Democracy” from 2007 and Essay #3028, both of which are posted on this site.