[ExI] democracy sucks

Stefano Vaj stefano.vaj at gmail.com
Tue Mar 1 12:34:39 UTC 2011

On 25 February 2011 02:55, Anders Sandberg <anders at aleph.se> wrote:
> Jeff Davis wrote:
>> Can we identify the pros and cons re governance in general, and
>> democracy in particular, and come up with something better, or some
>> suggestions, or at least get pointed in the right direction?
> Hmm, from reading your post I think your problem is with the complex
> representative democracy systems we have today. Not so much with

Neverending arguments may be raised as to the mechanisms deemed to reflect,
one way or another, popular will. It has been argued, e.g., that such will
is poorly reflected by the election in a blocked system of one or another
member of the same political class by a minority of registered but poorly
informed voters, in comparison, say, with a revolutionary government
supported by a large consensus; that the rule "one head, one vote" implies
an egalitarian bias; that indirect democracy is only a ritual aimed at
perpetuating the power of a self-referental oligarchy; and so forth.

But the real point is, IMHO, what sense such a debate has in the first
place. If one believes that "democracy" is only a tentative method to ensure
the "best" (according to which criteria?) possible governance and/or to
prevent "tiranny" by a check-and-balance and accountability system, one is
certainly exposed to factual counterproofs.

If one, on the other hand, *considers self-determination as a fundamental
value*, the relative "quality" of decisions is as immaterial to a debate on
popular sovereignty as the relative quality of individual choices is
immaterial to that on personal freedom for a libertarian. And I suspect that
self-determination is itself the ultimate ground of the principle that we
should be allowed to evolve, transhumanistically, in whichever direction we

Here, the real difference with libertarians is that usually they do not
really conceive the very idea of collective freedom and self-determination.
They see instead just some people affecting the freedom of other people
belonging to the same group; and are willing to impose by whatever means a
fixed and universal set of legal rules - about which the people, any people,
would not have any say in any form whatsoever, perhaps not even through
unanimity - in view of the protection of the alleged "freedom" of its

My personal view is instead that such view of freedom positively risks to
lead to the end of history, and has too much to do with that of gas
molecules which move in any conceivable direction while at the end not going
anywhere, preventing on the contrary the continued ability of communities to
opt for different destinies, structures and goals, including as to the rules
pertaining to their internal functioning and their value sets.

After all, since societies and civilisations unavoidably compete with one
another, pseudo-Darwinian mechanisms already take care of pruning with time
the "experiments" that many of us would consider especially aberrant. On the
other hands, such mechanism can only continue operating only insofar the
world is going to remain the arena of diverse collective projects. No Brave
New World, no matter how "well" governed" can guarantee any such
"evolutionary" developments.

Stefano Vaj
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