General Question

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Are we better off with a crooked congress, or a noble king?

Asked by RealEyesRealizeRealLies (30930points) May 24th, 2009

We have the technology to completely do away with congress. Replace it with the common citizen vote from the internet. Anyone could present a bill and everyone could vote.

EVERYTHING would be conducted within the public eye.

The Kings job is to represent the people of our country to the rest of the world.

Any suggestions for who you would like to be on the ballot?

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33 Answers

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

That would not work for several reasons:

Hackers could easily sway any vote.

If we opened up the floor to any and all ideas, there would be such an influx of suggestions and proposals that nothing would get done. Most of which would be completely nonsensical.

Criminals and prisoners have access to computers.

The jobless would have a disproportionate say than the working because they have the extra time on their hands.

A king to represent the internet masses? No way. Who elects the king in this situation? The internet vote. Again voting over the internet is not reliable.

cheebdragon's avatar

Is there a really a difference?

Bobbydavid's avatar

No difference I’m afraid. Power breeds corruption regardless of title

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar


Very well then, to express a concern of one of our national constituents, I propose a bill to make hacking punishable by life imprisonment, with the added insult of a bi annual public flogging.

All in favor say Aye

Those in disfavor say Nay

The “floor” has just been open to “any and all ideas”. Fortunately, it will take a few years for this bill to populate around the internet. If and when it gains momentum, then others will begin to promote or trash the proposal. Soon it will be a national phenomenon.

This bill proposal is eternal. It must reach a 2/3 majority vote in order to take affect. It may never reach that point, especially when the voters are able to change their vote as often as they wish, based upon new knowledge.

If it ever does pass, then someone else can start the entire process up again to sway the public in another direction.

As well, we can do this without a King. The Information Cloud can do fine in speaking for the American public. In fact, foreign leaders would actually get a much better idea of what we are really thinking at any one given time.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar


The vote has commenced.

1 Nay

0 Yay

260,000,000 as yet to be accounted for.

Bobbydavid's avatar

I intend to veto

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar


You must be voted as King to have that power. Would you like to put your name on the ballot?

Bobbydavid's avatar

Indeed. Open the ballot please

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@fluther @Bobbydavid @planetearth

Public Notice

May it be accept that as of Sunday May 24th, 2009 that @Bobbydavid is putting his official bid in for King of the United States of America.

May the vote commence as of… Now

It’s that easy! Good luck…

Bobbydavid's avatar

Please note….... Paying for votes is not on my agenda. Let’s have a good clean fight!

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar


I haven’t checked the census lately, but a good 100 million Yays should get you in there. I’ll let you know.

Bobbydavid's avatar

Hmmmmmm. How long is the life expectancy in the 21st century?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar


I don’t have that knowledge. But I do know that you should probably announce your platform.

Bobbydavid's avatar

My writers are working away as we speak. The draft is expected within the next 2 hours and I have a press release due in 4

Ivan's avatar

Great efforts have been taken over the history of democracy to reduce gridlock. Gridlock is arguably the most destructive force to a democracy. This is why we have representatives, electoral systems that foster a two-party system, concurrent elections, etc.

lazydaisy's avatar

Can I run for queen of the new entirely transparent country?

Then you’ll see real change.

It’ll be quite clear. Practically invisible.

YARNLADY's avatar

Well, a crooked congress would be a bad thing, I suppose, but you would have to convince me that there are actually 535 crooked people currently serving this country. I know there are a few, and they are featured prominently in the news, but the majority of them are as honest as we can expect from any human, so I’m told.

I’m also told that absolute power corrupts absolutely, so the entire leadership of the country in the hands of one person just doesn’t make any sense at all.

YARNLADY's avatar

Actually, there are three branches in the government of the United States, the Congressional, the Executive, and the Judicial, and they are designed to present a system of checks and balances. Get rid of one, and you create a serious unbalance.

andrew's avatar

Perhaps a more useful method of reform is to change congress.

As Dr. Lessig explains, the problem isn’t that we have corrupt congresspeople, but that the flow of money creates the perception of corruption and drives irrational decisions.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar


Damn, and I was just about to propose YOU as Minister of Science.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar


How is “power to the people” unbalanced?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar


Oh well t-h-e-r-e it is. You got it!

I’ll put you on the ballot if you can beat me at a game of tether ball.

YARNLADY's avatar

I see, so your proposal is to do away with any type of checks and balances other than the common vote. That would be interesting indeed.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar


Are you familiar with the Information Cloud? There is a mini version on the homepage of Fluther. It’s one of the first products of the Petabyte age where enormous amounts of Information are filtered through by popularity of what people move towards.

The cream of ideas rises to the top. That which is unwanted goes quietly into to the night.

YARNLADY's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies No, I never hear of that, sounds interesting I would be very wary of having a country run by a popularity contest – imagine Paris Hilton as the “King of America” (shudder).

andrew's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies So you’re arguing for running the country by a series of polls?

The problem with that is that public opinion is much, much too unstable to govern effectively—the reason we have a Senate with 6 year terms.

Madison outlined the problems with purely popular rule in Federalist 51:

“Second. It is of great importance in a republic not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers, but to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part. Different interests necessarily exist in different classes of citizens. If a majority be united by a common interest, the rights of the minority will be insecure. There are but two methods of providing against this evil: the one by creating a will in the community independent of the majority—that is, of the society itself; the other, by comprehending in the society so many separate descriptions of citizens as will render an unjust combination of a majority of the whole very improbable, if not impracticable.”

Your use of knowledge clouds to bolster the argument for popular rule is also flawed—since it’s really only useful when the data itself is semi-regular. Even on Fluther, you see that “iPhone” is the largest topic—due to that month of iPhone users sometime last year. If those were resolutions instead of topics… well, it wouldn’t be a pretty picture.

If web 2.0 has taught us anything, it’s that the “best” ideas don’t float to the surface—on the contrary, the only way to get quality content in a crowdsourced environment is through curation, not by popular vote.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@YARNLADY @andrew

As this discussion matures, valid concerns are presented, opening the door for deeper explanations of how this system could work. These explanations would not have made much sense at the beginning of this question.

The checks and balances desired by @YARNLADY along with the “curation” desired by @andrew can be easily addressed. I’ll try and keep this brief.

I’ll begin with the Madison quote:
“…the other, by comprehending in the society so many separate descriptions of citizens as will render an unjust combination of a majority of the whole very improbable, if not impracticable.”

In order to comprehend the Information Cloud properly, we must embrace the Petabyte Age and remove ourselves from the linear thinking of Madison and those of his era.

The Information Cloud provides a voice to all. It does not judge one voice better or worse than any other. The Information Cloud only presents the real data, equally, and in a completely unbiased fashion. It is not subject to the interests of lobbyist, personal agenda, or the media. The Information Cloud is immune to the spin doctor. It cannot be influenced by human ego because it does not have one. The Information Cloud just tells it like it is. IT being, a grand picture of how we the collective, really feel about the issues.

The Information Cloud does not know why we feel the way we do. It only tells us how we feel, and that is all it does. It is formed by us, the people, and it cannot be molded by any other fashion.

On the front page of Fluther, the Topics section is a small sample. The larger type items have more Information within them than the smaller type items. Those titles DO NOT betray a stance one way or another. The titles only give us an idea of how important a particular topic is because of the number of people who have contributed comments of Information into the Cloud.

I propose a system of points. Our computers IP address can be tagged to our comments. Each voter would qualify their ability to vote on a particular topic based upon how much Information they have accumulated on that subject.

Fluther has a wonderful point system which awards each individual by how they read and answer the question at hand. People will earn their way to a larger or smaller say in the popular vote by how many points they have accumulated on a particular subject.

My vote on stem cell research may count for 20 points and yours might count for 100 points based upon the level of knowledge we each have accumulated about the issue. Fluther even has a mechanism for flagging irrelevant comments, so those who cause trouble would not earn the right to vote on an issue at all.

I could earn extra voting power by weighing in with scientific or ethical dissertations. The people would decide and debate my claims and send my score up or down, and accumulate extra voting power for themselves at the same time. We all get to educate ourselves on every side of an issue. We question and qualify our opinions in the process. Those who cannot conduct themselves accordingly, showing a lack of respect for the opposing view are flagged, and watch their voting power diminish.

As well, those who are not interested in a subject, and cannot speak intelligently about it would not have the same voting power as those who did.

The people would be their own system of checks and balances and the minority would have a clear platform for making their case, offering rebuttals, and educating society about their concerns.

I have no doubt that the Paris Hilton supporters would quickly loose interest, lower their point values, and get back to Dancing with the Stars as quickly as possible. As they matured though, I’d bet a few of them would put their taps away and join us in the Cloud.

The IPhone is most popular currently yes, but looking at the title does not say a thing about the joys, troubles, pleasantries and nightmares of the IPhone. We must go into the Cloud to educate ourselves about that topic. There is a tremendous amount of education awaiting the person who does.

I have every confidence that if people could speak their minds and be truly heard, that laws and ballot amendments would grow in popularity as well. But that is missing the point a bit. It doesn’t matter really how popular a topic is. What matters is having a voice that counts for something based upon how much effort a person has spent upon educating themselves about that topic.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar


I get the first serve and you’re on!

emeraldisles's avatar

would rather have a democracy anyways even though that can breed its own form of problems.

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