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Frontidacracy: Deliberative Democracy in the Information Age

I have always believed the biggest problem with politics is politicians. Representative Democracies are neither representative, nor democracies. Recent elections have become more like game shows and “Reality TV” than the serious business of choosing our future that it should be.

My proposal is taking a system of governance currently used in internet technology and expanding it be used in any policy based system. From the Greek word Frontida, meaning to care or pay attention, a Frontidacracy is a system of government that is run by those who have interest in the policies under discussion. It is loosely based on the RFC system created by Steve Crocker in 1969 for the ARPANET project which is currently used by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). In Crocker’s system, if someone has an idea that they believe is better than what is currently implemented, they can make a proposal showing how it is better. Others who have interest in that particular subject can make additional proposals if they notice an error or have an improvement. Certain metrics would need to be implemented to eliminate bickering and corruption. Moderators, like those in internet forums, would serve this purpose.

Suggested rules:

    • Must be anonymous.
One cause of corruption in governments is a person or group using their power and influence to push through policies that favour one group over another. Proposals must stand on their own merit without the backing of influential people, corporations or lobby groups.

    • Anyone can make a submission.
A good idea stands on its own merit whether proposed by a Nobel laureate or a recently immigrated labourer

    • Should not contain references to specific people or organizations.
Unless absolutely necessary, brand names, people, or organizations, should be avoided and generic terms or methods be used. This will reduce favouritism and/or bias.

    • Must contain an explanation of the reasons why the policy or law is needed and a description of the “spirit” of the law or policy in lay terms.
Quite often a law is used for reasons it was never intended for, or even worse, created with wording specifically to give it powers not known to the general populace. Any invocation of a law or policy must be in agreement with it’s intended purpose.

    • Must not contain any riders. Only one specific law or policy at a time.
Another source of corruption is grouping many policies or laws together or adding unrelated ones to a larger bill. Politicians will vote for the bill because it is mostly OK, or they can be called out for not supporting what superficially looks like a beneficial bill.

    • Must be backed up by scientific, factual evidence.
Any proposals or suggestions must show a new policy is needed or is better than current ones.

    • Must be in accordance with the Constitution of the country, corporation, or body implementing the Frontidacracy.
Any proposal needs to be legal according to the body in which is to be implemented. What constitutes “Better” would need to be defined in the Constitution. IE, are health and lives more or less import than economic growth.

    • New policies will be accepted when all reasonable arguments against, and improvements upon, have been settled.
If a new policy has more than one equally valid solution, the choices can be put to a vote.

•     Any submissions should try to maintain Frontidacracy's resistance to corruption.

•     All submissions, good, bad, or ugly, are to be kept for permanent record.
Nothing should be deleted. This will keep people or groups from being able to make policies they don't agree with "disappear". Instead, rude, inflammatory, or hateful submissions can be moved to another publicly accessible forum.

There are two arguments many people have with this system. First, it will be chaos with millions of people making many million proposals, and second, if anyone can propose changes, what do we need politicians for? The first point is answered in the word Frontidacracy, a government of those who care or pay attention. Most people have little interest in laws and policies unless it affects them directly, and fewer still care enough to find a provable improvement. The IETF has been operating with their system for over 50 years with very little “chaos”. Other collaborative projects like Wikipedia have tens of thousands of active participants and millions of articles.

The second point is even easier to answer. We don’t need politicians. In a Representative Democracy, you vote not for policies, but for a person who will hopefully act in your best interest. Politicians, unfortunately, find it much easier to act in their own interest. There will, however, still be a need for individuals in positions of power such as diplomats, judges, and emergency personnel.
Egora, “The Worldwide Stock-Market of Ideas”, enables everyone to
– develop their own political philosophy out of various ideas,
– determine which ideas are most strongly supported by the people, and
– find the true representatives of the public will, to elect them into public office.