Liquid Democracy is ultimately about giving final decision-making to the people. Each bill will go through a process of hearings, debates and edits and the initial votes will be cast by proxies who are presumably experts, but the people can always overrule the decision.
And that terrifies some people who believe voters would act out of narrow self-interest, voting themselves money and reacting with violence or prejudice towards any threat or unknown. Our founders, they argue, feared direct democracy would result in mob rule, as many of our founders did. It’s worth noting, however, that those same founders opposed women, African Americans and poor whites having the right to vote even for representatives. While our founders did spend a lot of time thinking about this, they also had glaring errors of judgment in regards to how power should be distributed.
That said, the public, particularly through ballot measures, have often made terrible decisions, including stripping away civil liberties and voting for their own benefit over the state’s. Elected officials, however, have made decisions just as poor and far worse.
In addition, some of the public’s poor decision-making stems from their limited ability to provide input into the construction of the initiatives they are voting on. When you only get one up or down vote on a piece of legislation, how can you be expected to take the time to educate yourself on the full implications.
More importantly, we can build safeguards into the system to prevent abuse by mob rule. Examples:
- Any law that would restrict an individual human being’s right to do something could require at least 55% of the vote. If you can’t get at least that much of the public to agree something is a crime, than maybe it shouldn’t be.
- Any law that is found to disproportionately impact a protected group could be required to go for another vote and receive at least 60% of the vote.