Tuesday October 27, 2009 9:32 am
it ain’t just “extremists”, it is those who have (or believe they have) oratorial skills. If they happen to be extremists as well, you end up with Hitler. Otherwise, we just get the normal incompetence of government.
But the real problem is on the receiving side. We The People are a dreadfully unsophisticated audience. Who is most likely to stir a crowd to action? Alex Jones or Noam Chomsky? And who is most likely to be “right”?
This is easiest the biggest obstacle to genuine widespread democratic participation. It is one of the reasons I advocate that ALL important debates should take place on the Web – which is beginning to acquire the technology to “level the playing field.”
And once our debates are web-based it will be relatively easy to implement an appropriate debating algorithm which makes it impossible – for example – to ignore dissent or the reasons for it without creating a valid response to it (and separately voting on it). The result will be that whatever we finally decide will be genuinely “informed decisions”.