I just had a thought, and this may strike some as intensely naive, but hear me out and if you like, let’s please discuss further in the comments section.
I was sitting here thinking about the U.S. Government.
Now, from what I understand, our government is there to provide a myriad of services and fulfill many needs. Its primary function, one could argue, is the aggregation of the needs and wishes of us, the citizenry. As in, we want to see something happen, we tell our Senators and House Representatives, and they work to craft those wishes into laws and statutes.
Admittedly, this is not a perfect system, as a lot of filler and fluff get in the way of our wishes and the eventual laws and statutes they become. That is because our Senators, Representatives and elected officials are all humans, with disparate motives and ideas of what is right, what should be allowed, what might offend, etc.
So the equation, radically simplified, seems to be: We want X and say so, the government takes X and adds it own spices and seasonings, and eventually the entire “wish cake” is put into the “Democracy oven” to cook.
As is quite obvious, sometimes we the citizenry disagree entirely with the seasonings and spices added to the wish cake, which can change and alter the very nature of the wish cake to the point where it is no longer recognizable to the original wishers.
Which leads us to my question: Why not get a computer program to do it?
This is hardly a novel thought, but one that should be seriously considered. If the human element is throwing our cooking process out of whack, resulting in strange and unsavory baked goods, then it seems pretty obvious that the human element must be removed from the equation.
If our elected officials job is ostensibly to act as a “wish-aggregator,” turning our hopes and desires into laws, then truly we have more efficient ways of aggregating wishes, ones that don’t need to add their own spices to an otherwise perfectly good mix.
It is easy to call “foul” on this line of thinking, as it rests on the idea that every citizen has access to a computer. But that’s exactly my point: Every citizen should have access to a computer and the internet.
(I would love to see a map of the U.S. that plots approximately every states level of internet access. Then I would love to see those numbers compared to a whole host of other data: voting trends, literacy rates, quality of life indexes, etc. I think the results would be profoundly interesting, and probably pretty unsurprising.)
Getting the entirety of the U.S. online is a very important goal, one that I will happily work to support and nourish. Because once we are all online, or have easy access to the internet, it is inevitable that the role of “wish aggregator” will be taken out of human hands and given to more efficient, less easily swayed systems.
The inevitability of this move is grounded in the U.S. Government’s justifying its existence using an equation of scarcity. This scarcity comes from: It is hard to find men and women who are capable of governing, (i.e. listening to the populace and turning desires into laws.) Or at least, it used to be.
Now, one could simply set up a program to do it.
This would allow any wish or desire (fill in the hole on Main street, more tax incentives for clean energy programs, end a war, start a war, end a genocide) to become law simply by accruing the necessary critical mass, vote wise. If enough citizens want something to be so, it is so, with nothing lost in transition.
What then will be the role of centralized government? If our wishes and desires are aggregated and made into law by a computer program, accessible by anyone, why would we still need a centralized government? Tradition?
My main point is this: Centralization in any way, shape or form is unhealthy to the growth of a system. That is because any damage or breakdown of the central system affects all that rely upon it. Blackouts are a perfect example. The grid gets overloaded and shuts down, and everyone loses power.
That’s a silly way to do things, now that we have the capability and technology necessary to decentralize our power production. If every building has a solar array, there is no such thing as a blackout.
Apply this thought to our lovely Democracy.
If every state is a fully functioning Democracy, (as it should be) with no need to rely on external sources for validation and funding, our country will be all the better for it. Decentralization of Democracy via the internet is absolutely vital to the sustained growth and health of our miraculous nation.
Because when every vote is counted, when every wish is heard and given the chance to accrue momentum, we will have an actual Democracy on our hands. By the people, for the people.
Instead of a chicken in every pot, it’s now a White House in every kitchen. A president in every living room. Sounds great to me.
What do y’all think? Am I an idiot? And if so, how big of one? And why?
Let’s discuss, SuperForesters!
Love to All,
(the lovely image above courtesy of Durham Press)