I know how difficult it is to initiate political change. When I talk about politics people roll their eyes indicating I am just another nutcase and I find it impossible to communicate. I like to think of politics as a stately old house. Activists get some support by pointing out that the visible part of the structure like the roof is leaking and in desperate need of repair. It seems I am the only one who has braved the spiders in the crawl space and noticed the foundation is crumbling. And then there are the ones in charge of the purse strings, the politicians, who shore up the sloping floors with libraries of useless laws and surreptitiously hang pictures of themselves on the walls of the redecorated entrance hall. I know if we fix the foundation the stress pulling apart the structural integrity of the roof will end, making it much easier to repair, and our politicians will be more efficient and effective in a building with level floors and vertical walls.
Even if I had the resources I know to repair the damage will take engineers and specialists who understand the stresses put on the structure. Unfortunately our universities for ethical or whatever reasons don't produce political engineers. My project is to convince Academia that we need political engineers if we want to upgrade and save our beautiful stately old building of politics. I think saving the building is possible and a much better idea than what I increasingly hear from the right that we should burn the Reichstag and start over with the likes of Donald Trump. Forgive me for talking in metaphors but I find the English language deficient when it comes to describing political ideas.
In 1968 I was eighteen and part of the counter-culture revolution. We were aware that we shouldn't trust anyone over thirty because they were indoctrinated with nineteenth century Machiavellian political ideals. The concept of peace, love and political equality filled me and I think my contemporaries with an absolute knowledge that within a decade or two this understanding would end war, poverty, corruption and we would be able to live in a new world of peace and happiness. For the last five decades I have searched for people or groups who haven't given up on the ideals of political equality. As so many have said, we all want it but there is no political will to change.
I am a technophile and can't help but see the answer to political will is staring us in the face. In my lifetime I have seen success. Bill Gates is a lousy programmer but he was intelligent enough to become aware that thousands of common citizens (like me) were the answer to improving his DOS platform. He sent out beta versions and invited good programmers to submit content to be adapted to his platform. With ruthless determination he was exceptionally successful by acquiring content from the general public and rarely used his own. Mark Zuckerberg is a good programmer. He built an open platform with connectivity, providing a social service. He was so successful that for a decade he put all his effort into finding enough servers to handle the demand. He didn't post his own content but relied on the general public. Since then dozens of companies have followed this lead; Instagram, Linkedin, Twitter etc., and for the most part very successful. And then there are many commercial companies like Amazon and eBay that rely on the general public to post content. In contrast Governments tend to post their own content, in a top down process with questionable success.
Politics is the art of making law. The first activity when making something is to determine the ingredients needed to produce the product. As an example, the essential ingredient in making wine is fruit. The best wine is made using the essential ingredient of grapes. In politics the making of law requires the essential ingredient of a source of authority (ocracy, examples are autocracy, theocracy, plutocracy etc.). In western society we use democracy which can be divided into two broad categories: participatory and participative. Representative democracy salted with referendums, initiatives and recall is a form of participatory democracy. In a nutshell, we use democratic legitimacy to elect our governments, but use things like parliamentary legitimacy or the legitimacy of the crown in British jurisdictions and congressional, executive or judicial legitimacy in republics like the US. We all know that without democratic legitimacy we expose our laws to potential corruption, privilege and inefficiencies.
Participative democracy on the other hand uses democratic legitimacy not only to elect governments but also make law. The only nation that uses a type of participative democracy is Switzerland; the first nation to have an international aid organization (Red Cross), managed to maintain their sovereignty without conflict through two world wars, managed to corner the watch making and banking industry in the nineteenth and twentieth century, has the highest per-capita income in the world, managed to build the Large Hadron Collider, and all this in a mountainous land with no natural resources, with three distinct cultures and four official languages. How is this possible?
Simple, Switzerland uses its citizens as a source of authority to make law.
I won't bore you with another hundred pages of reasons, because you already know how important it is to use the amazing resource of humanity as a source of authority to make law. Instead I would like to explain how to find the political will to change. Firstly we don't need approval or permission from government at this time to be successful. Build it and they will come. There are hundreds of undiscovered ways to make law using consensus and thus democratic legitimacy from citizens. There is potential fame and fortune for first comers in this field.
I know of three synchronistic attempts from lay people, however without resources and credentials we may be waiting for a few more life times if it happens at all.
Participative democracy, www.politicalhappiness.com
David Ernst's Liquid democracy, https://united.vote,
Karel Kosman's Real Democracy, https://arealdemocracy.org.
The solution to the most important problem the world is facing today is enlightened academics who are not indoctrinated with nineteenth century political ideology. (Voting, what an out of date nineteenth century idea! Yuck.)What does voting mean to you? Do you feel you are being manipulated? Do you vote because you feel threatened? When was the last time you voted for something rather than a desperate need to get rid of bad government? Do you feel betrayed when half way through a mandate the guy with good hair does an about face and invests your money in a project to send dirty oil to a third world country where the oil can be processed unrestrained by environmental law. Is voting a popularity contest? Do you have enough information to vote for the best government? Does voting polarize society?
In the future citizens will be aware of their political equality and will control their own personal piece of political authority.
Imagine political scientists from SFU or UBC or a group from the WOSK center become aware of; a need to find consensus from the body of citizens in jurisdictions, a crying need for a group of men and women who understand the art of politics and can engineer systems to find legitimacy in law through consensus without prejudice.
The faculty of political engineering begins with a half dozen students who have computer science, behavioral science, and history backgrounds. Recognizing the political will to make this counter-cultural shift will not come from government or people over thirty who have been indoctrinated with nineteenth century political ideas they endeavor to copy contemporary success scenarios.
Using history as a foundation they become aware that the most stable political system generating the best quality of life is an ocracy know as democracy. With the awareness that democracy can be divided into two broad categories; participatory and participative they decide to engineer a system using a form of participative democracy. Based on fundamental principles discovered from their historical research they engineer a platform that fulfills the principle where in a participative democracy each citizen controls exactly the same amount of political authority from the age of consent until the end of life. They use the moniker POPA (piece of political authority) to represent the ownership and responsibility each citizen possesses.
In the process they discover dozens of systems that would work but decide to concentrate on the one they think will work best because it doesn't involve government in any way. They call it Lead Democracy. The platform they build will provide a service. It can be loaded onto any device and will be known as the GOV app. To create an account a citizen need only provide a GPS location or their home address. A name would be nice but not necessary because the brilliant political engineers develop system-security based on biometrics, like finger print, iris scans or facial recognition giving each living citizen a unique signature with no connection to personal information. The service generated is a political account. Like a bank account when a citizen logs on they will find who is using their POPA on a municipal, provincial or state, federal and UN level. On each level of government they will be able to see all the politicians on the same level. On the provincial level in BC they will see a list of 87 members of the legislative assembly. Politicians can post what they like on the platform and citizens can see what they post by clicking on the politician's name. Citizens if they don't approve of who is using their POPA to make law can simply move their POPA to a politician on the same level. The system is based on overlaying electoral maps provided by governments all over the world, identifying which politician is representing the citizens in the jurisdiction and giving citizens control of who is using their political authority 24/7 365 days a year. With time citizens will become aware they possess POPA which will build a sense of ownership and responsibility and then a tidal wave of political will in the laws made by politicians. When a citizen moves their POPA they will receive details of their move on the service which they can forward to their selected politician or political party as a citizen auditing or scrutinizing process. Each piece of legislation passed by all levels of government will come with a number from the service known as (POC) percentage of consensus. With time POC will become more important in deciding which laws have been made with democratic legitimacy. Imagine the media questioning the legitimacy of a law passed with say only twelve percent consensus even though eighty percent of the politicians voted for it?
The political engineers also become aware of a need to drive out misinformation. Again, using history as a foundation they develop methods to control misinformation. By selecting ISSUES on the GOV app all citizens are given an opportunity to submit their needs or concerns with the knowledge that they will get their issue on the agenda more readily if many citizens submit the same issue or need. The engineers produce an agenda and schedule interactive events to be live streamed on the GOV app between 4 PM and 8 PM on week nights. For example: the opioid crisis is scheduled for Thursday. Eight groups, representing social workers, affected members of the public, paramedics, pharmacists, politicians, law enforcement, an aboriginal group and commercial drug manufacturers, come bearing ideas on how to end the crisis. Amazingly at the end of the first round the commercial drug manufacturers have the most support because they want all recreational drugs legalized and regulated. The engineers have designed a debate system where groups can amalgamate at the end of each of three sessions depending on their support. The number of groups goes to four on the second round and on the final round only two groups remain, one representing law enforcement and politicians and the six other groups joining with a recommendation to treat substance abuse as a health issue and that all old drug related laws made in the past using questionable legitimacy should be re-submitted to the rigors of the legislative assembly to measure democratic legitimacy with the hope that citizens will see fit to remove most of the responsibility government and law enforcement agencies now carry. Effectively leaders and specialist on both sides of the political spectrum have informed the citizens by exposing the problem and through a competitive struggle eliminated prejudice, shame and misunderstanding. After the enlightening open and free debate politicians from all political stripes join forces in an effort to draft legislation and solicit and gain support from citizens (an ongoing responsibility for politicians in a participative democracy).
With time problems with open and free debates surface because there is no penalty for misleading or obstructing. An open and free debate is scheduled to find solutions. This time a political engineering group wins by suggesting an ostracon system similar to the one used in ancient Greece where citizens found guilty would be restricted for a period of time from participating. Instead of incarceration, loss of status, shame and ostracism is used to control tyranny generated by the human condition of avarice and hubris. Over the years constant citizen approved changes build a dynamic law making mechanism.
OK, you can see holes and problems with this nonsense; however that is why we have engineers. The Port-Man Bridge is a beautiful thing that is effective and efficient at moving traffic over the Fraser River. Most academic disciplines have practical outlets that have embraced technology. Imagine mathematicians and physicists sitting back and recording how the wood bridge made by a bunch of good old boys floated away again with the spring flood because mathematicians and physicists, for whatever reason, refuse to have engineers (the present job of political scientists). Our universities have a lot to be proud of but when academia smiles there is a glaring missing tooth of engineering under political science.
Unexpected benefits of participative democracy will span the spectrum of all our lives. People working together to make the best law will build a body of noble citizens (decreasing need for law enforcement). Laws with teeth will slow the degradation of our environment. Laws to redistribute wealth will stabilize our economies. Vancouver will be a center of political engineering and with time the platform engineered here will be used over the entire planet to find consensus. The UN will use the distribution of POPA in their members to make strong international laws and resolve conflict. With strong international law, borders will dissolve into welcome centers with signs asking visitors to respect and enhance the culture they find putting the onus on the visitor not the occupant of the country they are traveling in. For the first time in history women, because of their numbers and diligence, will be the source of authority to make law. Population growth will stabilize, as it has in women of European origin after they became aware of their political franchise through early twentieth century suffrage.
In conclusion political will is all around us. Today there is one thing that is consistent; the frustration, resignation and downright anger at government. The solution is to engineer a GOV app that will channel this negative energy into positive growth and political happiness.
A huge job but the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
If you read this thanks. I hope I can find someone to follow into theAge of Awareness. I only have perhaps another decade and it would be nice to see a beginning in my life t