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Recrafting Government As an Open Platform

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the wouldn't-it-be-nice dept.

Communications 233

itjoblog writes "How effective are the world's governments at using technology to become more responsive? Technology has revolutionised the way that we do business, but the public sector has traditionally moved more cautiously than the private one. Now, a report from the Centre for Technology Policy Research in the UK has made some recommendations for the use of technology as an enabling mechanism for government." I have one simple requirement: all laws must be written in a wiki with full history.

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Cue in fucktard sopssa trolling in 3, 2, 1 ... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32347848)

Sopssa is a troll. Remember it moderators.

Let's put all the laws in a Wiki!!!!!oneone (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32347876)

Yeah, you idiot naive douchemonger. Like that's ever going to happen. Yeah.

ALREADY HERE! Called COMMUNISM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32348798)

And the reds are practicing it as I speak. If it's good enough for the COMMIES it's good enough for YOU!

Technology is not the problem (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32347910)

Governments are less responsive because there is no penalty for being unresponsive. When nobody can get fired for incompetence and there is no competitive choice, you get less responsive outcomes.

Re:Technology is not the problem (4, Insightful)

bunratty (545641) | more than 4 years ago | (#32347990)

Elected officials regularly get "fired" and have to be rehired, often every two, four, or six years.

Re:Technology is not the problem (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32348134)

How about a permanent demotion that causes your maximum level of office to be restricted? Lose a senate seat, you're in the house (if elected). Lose the house, you're in the state congress, lose that and it's city council, etc. Forced permanent demotions would prevent bad politicians from remaining in government at a level they can continue to do harm. A further stipulation would be that you could no longer be in-line for the presidency should disaster strike.

Re:Technology is not the problem (2)

jimbolauski (882977) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348436)

How about a permanent demotion that causes your maximum level of office to be restricted? Lose a senate seat, you're in the house (if elected). Lose the house, you're in the state congress, lose that and it's city council, etc. Forced permanent demotions would prevent bad politicians from remaining in government at a level they can continue to do harm. A further stipulation would be that you could no longer be in-line for the presidency should disaster strike.

Too Bad it would never work people are fickle by nature and what they want one one year "Hope and Change" the next year "Limited Government" has more of a bearing on who is reelected. Now lets apply that to the real world and see how well it works there were many kids that were fired from low wage jobs should they have to spend the rest of their lives working at even lower jobs, what is lower then working at a fast food restaurant?

Re:Technology is not the problem (4, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 4 years ago | (#32349060)

Losing an election does not mean you deserve punishment or are a bad person. Winning an election does not mean you are a good person.

I would like an appeal of the 17th amendment. Senate was supposed to be the voice of the states. People are already represented by the House.

I would like ballots to contain only a Name, DOB, and Residency and not political party. I hate parties, can't outlaw them, but at least we can stifle their effectiveness. If you don't know who you are voting for besides party, you don't deserve to vote. If you would like a single checkmark to vote down the line, you should be severely disappointed that you are made to think.

I would like the apt-tax to replace all national taxes. I would like in times of peace (no declared war, and no war on terror doesn't count) there be a balanced budget amendment.

I would like the electoral college either strengthen so that the electorate actually can vote something different as representatives... or cast out entirely and have a democratic vote. I would like the president to have lots of powers yanked away in either case.

The congress too should stop abusing the general welfare and interstate commerce clauses to turn a limited government into an unlimited one.

Re:Technology is not the problem (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32349270)

I would like ballots to contain only a Name, DOB, and Residency and not political party. I hate parties, can't outlaw them, but at least we can stifle their effectiveness. If you don't know who you are voting for besides party, you don't deserve to vote. If you would like a single checkmark to vote down the line, you should be severely disappointed that you are made to think.

I don't think that would give much; those people would stil be basically told how to vote, and would go with it.
But making party affiliation clear (at least if there are actually lots of choices...) is quite convenient. Yes, optimally one should research candidates before going to the polling place, but even when there the grouping makes clear in which part of the ballot you'll find your choices, greatly speeding the process (and didn't stop me from voting sometimes, during the same elections (two houses of the parliament), for candidates whose parties are quite at odds, if I came to conclusion that each of them makes the most sense)

Re: Elected officials get "fired" (2)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348310)

No they are not. The "tomato-catchers" are replaced. The ministers that stick their neck out and have to "take responsibility" when things go too wrong to be publicly acceptable. The layer directly below that remains, and they are the ones that make all the plans...

Re: Elected officials get "fired" (1, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32349294)

And the layer below that. And one more below. And another.

All originating from the society - with the system of governance reflecting...the society.

Re:Technology is not the problem (3, Insightful)

Demonantis (1340557) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348756)

And the unelected ones continue being unresponsive.

Re:Technology is not the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32348860)

Elected officials regularly get "fired" and have to be rehired, often every two, four, or six years.

Too little, too late.

Re:Technology is not the problem (2, Insightful)

jackspenn (682188) | more than 4 years ago | (#32349426)

Elected officials regularly get "fired" and have to be rehired, often every two, four, or six years.

Not bureaucrats. Not government union employees.

Why does the post office totally suck compared to either FedEx, UPS, or others when it comes to deliver times, quality of package handling, number of lost, open or damaged items, ability for customers to track packages, customer services, cleanliness of facilities, etc? Because the workers there don't care, they feel entitled and see working for customers as inconvenience. On every level the USPS is last, except one, pension payments and benefits paid to retirees.

Government sucks, so why people want more of a crappy monopoly I don't understand. Government creates nothing, for anything it "provides to one group, it must have taken or borrowed it form another group".

Government is a parasite on the people. We should always be working to having the minimum government required and majority of the power should reside as close the the people so that it will be better managed by feedback. States should be stronger in our Republic and the Federal government should be confined back to only the 17 powers it was authorized to do in the Constitution, that would provide a better quality of service to the people.

Likely the best websites from the US Government... (4, Informative)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32347912)

...are the Library of Congress [loc.gov] site and the Supreme Court [supremecourt.gov] site. Both of them are extremely informative, and have a massive wealth of information that is readily available.

Legislative Development with CVS, SVN, Hg, or Git? (4, Insightful)

SgtChaireBourne (457691) | more than 4 years ago | (#32349464)

Likely the best websites from the US Government...are the Library of Congress site and the Supreme Court site. Both of them are extremely informative, and have a massive wealth of information that is readily available.

Development of legislation is quite byzantine and revision (mis)management during the drafting can make for some very serious readability problems. Currently it is nearly impossible to have time, even for a full-time politician with staff, to have time for their team to individually work through all changes and revisions of a draft of a bill.

Using a version control system (CVS [nongnu.org] , Subversion [tigris.org] , Mercurial [selenic.com] , Git [git-scm.com] ) makes it very easy to track individual changes and who made them. It also makes it trivially easy to integrate all the changes and show a snapshot of the current draft or one from any arbitrarily earlier version.

Code bases for large software projects are unwieldy, constantly changing and have many authors yet need full transparency and accountability to succeed. So are drafts of legislation. Using a versioning system in our legislative process is long overdue.

We don't entirely *want* government to be ... (3, Insightful)

jra (5600) | more than 4 years ago | (#32347938)

an open platform, for the same reason we don't want daytraders on Wall Street, or intra-day trading at all, really. It's really nasty positive feedback, and has the bad effects positive feedback always has.

Whatever you think of Congress, it's a pretty handy damping loop to keep the Peepul from trashing the Constitution, and hence, the country.

Re:We don't entirely *want* government to be ... (2, Insightful)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348144)

Too late congress and the supreme court have already trashed the constitution. You know there is bullshit going on when the right to make 90% of the laws they pass is power they say is given to them by the commerce clause of the constitution.

Re:We don't entirely *want* government to be ... (2, Insightful)

NervousWreck (1399445) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348214)

That's only when they get challenged and need an excuse. Usually they simply don't care. Side issue: Does it strike anyone else as odd that Congress rarely tries to justify their actions based on the "necessary and proper" clause? Seems to me that means even they admit most of the laws they pass aren't "necessary and proper."

Re:We don't entirely *want* government to be ... (2, Informative)

eln (21727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32349214)

The necessary and proper clause just says they get to make laws deemed necessary to carry out their various duties as outlined in the Constitution. Every Congressional bill is implicitly backed by the necessary and proper clause because it's the only thing that gives them the ability to pass laws at all. However, in order to be Constitutional the law they pass has to be necessary and proper to carry out one of their enumerated Constitutional powers. Regulating interstate commerce is one of their enumerated powers, and happens to be one that's vague enough that you could claim all sorts of things are necessary and proper for carrying it out.

So, a law being backed by the interstate commerce clause means that the Congress has deemed that law "necessary and proper" for carrying out their duty to "regulate interstate commerce".

Fun Fact (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348998)

The now-trashed Constitution was written in secret and all of the members of the Convention observed an oath of secrecy while it was written and for many years after. If they hadn't, the individual members wouldn't have been able to make any of the compromises they did and the process would have quickly stymied. On the other hand, minutes were kept and the members wrote a lot of commentary before and after the fact.

Re:We don't entirely *want* government to be ... (4, Insightful)

BrentH (1154987) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348230)

And this is what a lot of people seem to forget: we have all this bureaucracy, all these checks and balances not solely as a job program, but most also because we shouldn't want a government that moves fast. People crying for strong leadership and action forget that we had light governments that could do that in the past, and they were called monarchies and dictatorships. The number of benevolent kings and dictators are extremely small. A society has to have negative feedback loops to prevent any government from moving to fast and to meddle too much. We have a legislative branch to prevent crimes, an army to prevent invasions, and that is about the fastest I want a government to move. I don't want fast action and strong leadership, because the same happens what happened in the bad old days: leaders that go to war, are only interested in their own agendas, start idoitic programs to suppress minorities, are susceptible to corruption and lobbyists etc etc. I advocate good government, and good government should know what to do and what not to do, and moving fast is not one of those things.

Re:We don't entirely *want* government to be ... (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348286)

I don't want fast action and strong leadership, because the same happens what happened in the bad old days: leaders that go to war, are only interested in their own agendas, start idoitic programs to suppress minorities, are susceptible to corruption and lobbyists etc etc

"Old" days? This sounds pretty much like America since 9/11 (and in some cases, before 9/11).

Re:We don't entirely *want* government to be ... (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 4 years ago | (#32349202)

Indeed. To me, the "lame duck" administration/congress is the best kind. When you get a clear majority, you start to lose barriers to making hasty decisions and changes. Historically, this doesn't seem to provide much long-term benefit.

Re:We don't entirely *want* government to be ... (1)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 4 years ago | (#32349274)

I don't want fast action and strong leadership, because the same happens what happened in the bad old days: leaders that go to war, are only interested in their own agendas, start idoitic programs to suppress minorities, are susceptible to corruption and lobbyists etc etc.

Uh... that all sounds pretty recent, some more than others.

What would be nice is a gov that doesn't 1) Let companies do stuff that, in the case of shit+fans, has the potential to ruin lives and livelihoods without backup plan after backup plan with resources and/or the ability to quickly get resources in to handle the problem, and 2) Holds their ass to the fire when they fuck up and have either ignored or been ignorant of safety plans and mechanisms that should have been in place.

This interests me greatly though I won't hold my breath in anticipation: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/5/25/869677/-Civil-fine-for-oil-spilled-so-far-could-total-$13-billion [dailykos.com]

Rig exploded April 20th so that's about five weeks and let's go with that 5k barrels a day. 5000*35*4300= $752,500,000

That's a good start.

How about fining them for continuing to use that disperant EPA has told them to stop using?

Re:We don't entirely *want* government to be ... (2)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348240)

Positive feedback, seems to be a minor drawback compared to the problem of uninformed decision.

To make an open platform work you'd first need an informed population, and once you have an informed population (plus democracy), you don't need the open platform anymore.

LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32348302)

Whatever you think of Congress, it's a pretty handy damping loop to keep the Peepul from trashing the Constitution, and hence, the country.

That would make sense if congress actually upheld the constitution they swore to uphold.

Re:We don't entirely *want* government to be ... (2, Interesting)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348376)

Can you be more specific? I certainly see the negative effects of feedback in high-speed trading (volatile reactions, etc.), though there are some benefits to having all those day-traders and millisecond traders (liquidity, closing price gaps, etc.).

In the case of governance, I can't really see what kind of problematic feedback loops would be generated. Obviously some government data needs to not be open (e.g. military secrets), but having the lawmaking process open and transparent (clear, easy to access information on who supported/didn't-support a given law (perhaps even on a section-by-section basis), revision histories, public debates, etc.) seems like a good thing. Obviously there will always be some amount of "off the record" conversations between politicians (which can be bad, e.g. backroom deals; or good, e.g. frank discussions). With respect to feedback, the main danger I see is that "voter fickleness" could get amplified, where elections (and thus important lawmaking) end up turning on trivialities. (E.g. with more and more transparency and record-keeping, it's almost certain you'll eventual find a sound-bite of your opponent saying something that seems stupid or wrong or evil.)

But I would argue we're already deep into the territory where such fickleness is having an effect. Commentators and voters who have already made up their minds already have enough specious data for their confirmation biases. As such, increased information to voters is a good thing because those voters who want to actually be informed and make reasonable choices will have the ability to do so (and won't have to take the word of a commentator).

Damping effects are still necessary, of course. But the inherently long-term voting cycle serves that purpose nicely, preventing voters from changing their representative on a daily basis or on a whim. This averages out many of the spurious and pointless "scandals" while allowing data (if available!) on important issues and voting records to build. I do indeed agree that other damping effects should be considered in a transparency roll-out, but to me that is just a matter of "doing transparency right"--the case for transparency itself is quite solid.

(Incidentally, one change that I've often thought about, which would serve both transparency and damping, is that any proposed law should have to sit, unchanged, for a set period of time (weeks) before being voted on. (New changes reset the clock.) This would give the public/voters/media/commentators time to examine it in detail, identify problems, and make their voices heard to their representatives. Having representatives act as a smoothing effect for the (sometimes irrational) public can be very good... but the way in which proposed laws currently mutate so rapidly and are modified at the last minute, so that the public isn't even sure what is finally put into law, is corrosive to democratic and transparent society.)

Re:We don't entirely *want* government to be ... (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 4 years ago | (#32349290)

(Incidentally, one change that I've often thought about, which would serve both transparency and damping, is that any proposed law should have to sit, unchanged, for a set period of time (weeks) before being voted on. (New changes reset the clock.) This would give the public/voters/media/commentators time to examine it in detail, identify problems, and make their voices heard to their representatives. Having representatives act as a smoothing effect for the (sometimes irrational) public can be very good... but the way in which proposed laws currently mutate so rapidly and are modified at the last minute, so that the public isn't even sure what is finally put into law, is corrosive to democratic and transparent society.)

That seems to be one thing the Confederacy would have gotten right during the US Civil War. From the Confederate Constitution (S 7.20):

(20) Every law, or resolution having the force of law, shall relate to but one subject, and that shall be expressed in the title.

Of course, then they kind of blow it with this one...

No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed

Still... talk about babies and bathwater ;)

Re:We don't entirely *want* government to be ... (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348380)

I prefer Frank Herbert's idea of a Bureau of Sabotage, a part of the government expressly created to ensure that the government doesn't become too efficient. It seems like it would work better than just hoping that doing everything badly will even out in the end. Especially when phrases like 'think of the children' manage to get small bits of the system to run very efficiently, at the cost of the whole.

Re:We don't entirely *want* government to be ... (2)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348404)

You really think a slower market would be less susceptible to speculative pressures?

Re:We don't entirely *want* government to be ... (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#32349156)

"We" don't want intraday trading? You want all transactions handled in 24-hour batches, then? That was too slow for the horse-and-buggy days, let alone now.

Usually you handle positive feedback by turning the gain down, not slowing the loop to a crawl. I admit I have no idea how to do the former, but I don't think the latter is an option. Also, there are positive feedback mechanisms in the market which have nothing to do with daytraders. Short-covering is one, stop-loss orders are another; both can be significant.

Not who wrote, but who paid for. (4, Insightful)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 4 years ago | (#32347944)

We know well enough "CongressCritter X voted for Bill Y".

What seems to be tough to fix is the lobbying lockdown. "If you don't support us in the War Against Z, we'll sink any other bill you ever submit for a vote."

Re:Not who wrote, but who paid for. (5, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348110)

What seems to be tough to fix is the lobbying lockdown. "If you don't support us in the War Against Z, we'll sink any other bill you ever submit for a vote."

If Americans wanted representatives who would vote their principles, they would vote for representatives with principles. They don't; they want pork.

Re:Not who wrote, but who paid for. (1)

dugjohnson (920519) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348194)

mmmmmm....Pork!

Re:Not who wrote, but who paid for. (5, Interesting)

Tom (822) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348572)

You assume that any representatives with principles are available to be voted for.

From all I gather, that is hardly the case in most districts, and even where it appears to be, you can't be certain. I know over here in Germany it took the founding of a new party (the pirate party) before I considered voting to be a possibility to express my preferences properly at all. All the others are either bought scumbags (major parties) or lunatics (minor parties) or both or somewhere in between.

I know the solution is to go and do it yourself. Thank you, I've held an elected office for several years (and stepped down on my own), I've had enough of politics for life. Anyone who enters that arena with good intentions and manages to keep them has my respect, and if I can, my vote.
But you can't play in the mudpit without getting dirty, and that's one reason why no matter how they start out, by the time they have progressed far enough in party politics to be on a ballot, pretty much everyone has become either a corrupted dipshit or a disillusioned cynic. My personal choice was to step down just before I became the later, but it was damn close (and as you may have noticed, I did take a good share of disillusion with me).

Re:Not who wrote, but who paid for. (1, Troll)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348598)

But you can't play in the mudpit without getting dirty, and that's one reason why no matter how they start out, by the time they have progressed far enough in party politics to be on a ballot, pretty much everyone has become either a corrupted dipshit or a disillusioned cynic.

But why is that? It's because voters are easily led sheep, who vote for shiny trinkets. It's never going to change unless people get interested in their government, instead of what they're told by Faux News &c.

Re:Not who wrote, but who paid for. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32348706)

Mr. Sheep,
I find it ironic that you blam Fox News, when it's CNN and NBC pushing for more shiny trinkets, and Fox shilling for the deficit reduction.

Re:Not who wrote, but who paid for. (3, Informative)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#32349128)

No, there's a much easier answer, that's more inherent in the job: you're dealing with (among other things) the allocation of a significant amount of cash. When you have a significant amount of cash to distribute, most people will try to get as big a share of that pile of cash as they can muster, and one way they'll do that is to butter up the people who are making the decision about how to distribute the cash.

And the next step, of course, is that too many people try to butter up the actual decisionmaker, so a new set of people comes up who's job it is to decide who can butter up the decisionmaker, and they now get buttered up by the people who want extra cash.

This is not limited to government - corporate purchasing departments and the like are also get caught up in this.

Re:Not who wrote, but who paid for. (2, Insightful)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 4 years ago | (#32349370)

But you can't play in the mudpit without getting dirty, and that's one reason why no matter how they start out, by the time they have progressed far enough in party politics to be on a ballot, pretty much everyone has become either a corrupted dipshit or a disillusioned cynic.

But why is that? It's because voters are easily led sheep, who vote for shiny trinkets. It's never going to change unless people get interested in their government, instead of what they're told by Faux News &c.

Bread and circuses [wikipedia.org] - some things don't change even after 2000 years. People will vote for the politicians they think will give them what *they* personally want. What's good for the town/county/state/country doesn't enter into it.

Re:Not who wrote, but who paid for. (1)

suomynonAyletamitlU (1618513) | more than 4 years ago | (#32349132)

You assume that any representatives with principles are available to be voted for.

I keep saying it--anyone who wants a job in politics should not by any means be allowed to take the job.

I think someone else said that before me, but I forget who.

Re:Not who wrote, but who paid for. (2, Insightful)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348668)

Unfortunately, people with principles have a much harder time raising funds. The politicians without principles can easily make up for it by running five times as many ads claiming they have strong principles and their opponent is a fickle traitor. With the recent Supreme Court ruling that uncapped corporate political spending, the least principled have even more advantages. The average payday for the top 25 hedge fund managers last year was over a billion dollars, which is roughly the cost to run a modern presidential campaign. Congressional seats are much cheaper; you could buy and sell half of Congress with that kind of money.

PR is far more important than principles, and a lack of principles can buy a hell of a lot of PR.

Re:Not who wrote, but who paid for. (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348748)

The problem is, with a few rare exceptions, you have a choice between a Democrat candidate who supports pork over principles and a Republican candidate who supports pork over principles.

The only difference is which particular items of pork they support (and that is determined by whether they choose to accept the suitcase of unmarked bills from lobbyist A or the suitcase of unmarked bills from lobbyist B)

Re:Not who wrote, but who paid for. (4, Insightful)

scamper_22 (1073470) | more than 4 years ago | (#32349098)

Unfortunately, you are correct, but the answer is regulation of government.

You talk to people... and they recognize the need to regulate industry. Just look at the BP oil spill. Oil companies need to be regulated to make sure their oil rigs are safe.

The banking sector needs to be regulated to make sure transaction are fair and externalities do not spread to bring down the entire system.

Industries that use chemicals need to be regulated to make sure they don't cause undue harm to people.

Monopolies need to be regulated to make sure they don't abuse their power. Heck the EU goes nuts over Microsoft bundling a media player with their OS.

Yet, how about the most power monopoly in any country... the government... doesn't it need regulations in how it operates?
Bundling unrelated laws in bills to gain support... don't we need regulations to ban this?
Proving state benefits (pensions, healthcare...) to some citizens, but not others... don't we need regulations to ban this?

I could go on with other examples, but then I'd show my various political biases :P
So I'll leave it at this relatively straight uncontroversial example of regulations of government.
Of course this is what a constitution is for... but when you have a living constitution... that's like having living regulations created by industry itself. Yet, the constitutions are still useful. People still have the rights... especially the ones they exercise on a daily basis. Americans still own guns no matter what governments have done to curtail it. We still largely have freedom of speech. We still largely have freedom of religion... We still have separation of powers and a court system... We just need to fix all the loop holes...

Unfortunately, the ability to write government regulations in a sane manner is rare... normally just when a country is formed. So we don't often get this chance. And you can't really write it while the 'game of life' is in play. There are too many special interests that would fight it. If we were to say

"Proving state benefits (pensions, healthcare...) to some citizens, but not others... don't we need regulations to ban this?"

Public sector unions would go nuts, because they know they benefit immensely from the money of government.

And no... the courts don't offer us the regulation of government. They should... but they don't. The courts in any country are a political body with political views... often appointed by political parties.

Ultimately, it is up to good citizens and the public at large to insist government obey its regulations.
But yeah... I'm pessimistic about any real change until society collapses and we can rewrite the regulations on government.

Re:Not who wrote, but who paid for. (1)

eriks (31863) | more than 4 years ago | (#32349180)

That's not *entirely* fair... there are currently some reps who actually seem to *have* principles, and a handful of those who vote by them, from both "sides" of the aisle. I'd list a few, but I'm afraid the list would be embarrassingly short.

I can't really think of any senators that vote anything but the party line, though I'd hope there are at least a few.

Most elected officials, of course *profess* all kinds of principles, but these tend to always be "safe" ones, falling entirely along ideological lines, that are in reality, largely constructed positions, designed to produce perpetual incumbency by pandering to the lowest common denominator. This is the new republic. Same as the old republic.

In other words, the issue (in my mind) is the whole idea of "career" politicians, combined with the huge power and money interests, that are able to get whatever they want, probably without even resorting (most of the time) to outright bribes, but just a nudge here and a little support there.

Extricating ourselves from this predicament (into a more direct-democracy or some other system with a less-entrenched power base -- an "agile democracy" -- if you will) will be, to use the technical term a real lu-lu.

Re:Not who wrote, but who paid for. (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348320)

We want both

Re:Not who wrote, but who paid for. (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348464)

Personally, I suspect that people should start voting against legislators who vote for bills that are longer than 100 pages (I would be willing to consider different numbers of pages, 100 might be too long and there is a remote chance that 100 isn't quite long enough). Any bill longer than this should be more than one bill. The only reason to make a bill as long as most of the ones that Congress has been voting on lately is to hide stuff (either from some of the legislators or from the people or both).

Re:Not who wrote, but who paid for. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32348574)

"If you don't support us in the War Against Z, we'll sink any other bill you ever submit for a vote."

I don't even see how this is possible. There's no limit on the number (or redundancy) of bills that a congressman can submit, and there is no shortage of issues that could get a representative some brownie points. It's hard enough to get one meeting with one congressman. You really think a lobbying firm or single corporate GR department has the resources to get meetings with a congressional majority every time Congressman X submits a new bill? God forbid they suddenly have two representatives they need to torpedo.

No, it is infinitely more cost effective to just resign yourself to not getting support in your war against Z from that particular member and to move onto the other 400+.

Government Transparency (2, Informative)

solevita (967690) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348030)

See also government transparency: http://programmeforgovernment.hmg.gov.uk/government-transparency/ [hmg.gov.uk]

Including Open Source Software and Open Document Standards.

Re:Government Transparency (1)

Wiarumas (919682) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348308)

Also, see also America's Freedom of Information Act: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_Information_Act_(United_States) [wikipedia.org]

The U.S. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a law ensuring public access to U.S. government records.

Re:Government Transparency (1)

Shark (78448) | more than 4 years ago | (#32349298)

I think the very broad 'national security' excuse has taken care of cases where FOIA is inconvenient.

Re:Government Transparency (1)

wwwrench (464274) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348360)

We need more than just the ones on the list. All minutes of all government meetings (including cabinet meetings) should be published except parts which have security implications. Just like opensource code allows for scrutiny, opening up government will make representatives think twice before screwing us over...

Re:Government Transparency (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348704)

Minutes? They should, at a minimum, make audio recordings, with a "voice key" that identifies each speaker. The amount of data required wouldn't be too bad using decent voice codecs. Video would be nice as it restores the non-verbal communications channels that you miss out on.

Minutes rarely convey the actual content of a meeting, in my experience.

Easier question to answer: (2, Interesting)

Captain Courteous (1339339) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348100)

"How effective are the world's governments at using technology to become more responsive repressive?" Great! Thanks for asking!

Re:Easier question to answer: (1)

Captain Courteous (1339339) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348116)

Imagine there was a strike-through on "responsive" :(

It's already all there. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32348112)

There problem with most laws isn't that the information isn't publicly available. If you're Google-Fu skill is high enough, you can generally find any non-classified information that you want. The information is already out in the open.

The problem with most laws is that the information is that it isn't easy to find the damn stuff. A good example was when Baltimore created an ordinance requiring non-abortion providing clinics to post signs saying that they didn't provide abortions. You could find a ton of references to the ordinance, but not the actual ordinance itself. It turned out that the ordinance was buried under a poorly (imho) made city website with a non-searchable PDF, but unless you already knew where to look, chances are you would never find it.

Re:It's already all there. (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348724)

What people want isn't to see the laws, what they want is "cvs blame" so they know when those must pass bloated piles of crappy bills come up, they know who actually added each little bit of pork.

agreed (2, Insightful)

atisss (1661313) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348216)

Also history and diff mechanism with comments (as in reviewboard).

So I can know that Senator A commented exactly that point with such note upon discussion. Actually they could use reviewboard as tool for creating laws.

Re:agreed (1)

elronxenu (117773) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348826)

Probably not a wiki; we should be using git repositories for working on laws.

Anybody can commit their suggested changes, but getting them merged will be really difficult.

Re:agreed (1)

Magada (741361) | more than 4 years ago | (#32349204)

Nah, you just build a citizen reputation system alongside it, like slashdot.

Two Words...TERM LIMITS (1)

tdisalvo (1528465) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348292)

...we need this on all elected positions. It is stupid that congressman X has been there 40 years and has accumulated so many favors that any of his pet projects get through and no real change happens. Why because the incumbent gets re-elected 98% of the time.With Term limits they would have to go get real jobs after say 12 years total.

Re:Two Words...TERM LIMITS (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348472)

Term limits probably eliminate at least as many good representatives as they do bad.

Re:Two Words...TERM LIMITS (1)

OutSourcingIsTreason (734571) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348550)

I've always thought that term limits are a bad idea because the choice of whether or not to reward an elected official with another term should belong to the voters. Anything that restricts a voter's ability to choose is bad. The people know best. Trust them.

Re:Two Words...TERM LIMITS (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348566)

Won't work (the presidency is no less corrupt for it) as long as the incumbent party holds on to its power.

Re:Two Words...TERM LIMITS (1)

catalina (213767) | more than 4 years ago | (#32349140)

I'm against term limits; I would however, support a bounty.......

One requirement (5, Insightful)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348316)

I have one simple requirement: all laws must be written in a Wiki with full history.

I have another:

All laws must have a measureable objective, defined in advance of their passage, that they must meet or otherwise be repealed.

Re:One requirement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32348506)

Oh, and please write then in some human language.

Re:One requirement (4, Insightful)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348648)

I like the concept. As hard as it is to get a law onto the books, it's almost impossible to get a law off the books. This leads to bloated and overly complex legal systems, innumerable special rules and exceptions, and so on. I also think that most laws should have time limits on them in the first place. Basically something that requires them to re-vote on the issue after X years, perhaps with a sliding scale if the law is always well-supported. (Something like 4 years, then possible 8-year extension, then 20-year extension, etc.)

I also like the idea of discouraging adding unrelated things into a bill. You don't want your pet project to be canceled just because the larger bill it was included in didn't meet a target!

There are of course potential problems:
1. Some legal changes that involve massive changes in infrastructure. Having these kinds of things be erected/deconstructed (perhaps repeatedly, as political climates for some issues can oscillate) might be even less efficient that the current situation.
2. Corporations could temporarily break a new law (or collude, etc.) in order to force it to miss a target, thereby getting legislation repealed. (But then again, this is just another variant of the already-well-entrenched "powerful companies can cause problems" issue.)
3. Issues not considered in the original objective target could arise. (E.g. an anti-pollution bill that misses its target because of a sudden environmental disaster in some other country that spreads...) Obviously the "targets" listed in laws would have to be crafted very carefully.
4. Related to #3, it is tempting to have a target in a law that is tied to the action of the law itself... but society is far too complex for this to generally be true. Laws may try to address issues of the environment, economic stability, employment, or whatever; but all of these things can be drastically affected by other things going on in society, unrelated to the law. So a very successful and well-supported law could be automatically repealed just because of a recession or other event.

As I said, I like the idea. But a blanket "measurable objective or repealed" rule might not work. At a minimum, I see no reason why laws shouldn't have an explicit statement of what the law is trying to accomplish, so that voters can more specifically assess whether the law is doing what it aims to. And we really do need better mechanisms for repealing laws.

Re:One requirement (1)

HamburglerJones (1539661) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348678)

All laws must have a measureable objective, defined in advance of their passage, that they must meet or otherwise be repealed.

That probably isn't a new idea, but it's new to me. One of the most insightful things I've read in awhile. I think it would vastly help clarify the spirit of the law, and help red flag concessions to special interest groups.

Re:One requirement (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348736)

So you're asking for evidence-based legislation?

Why don't we just demand death panels for legislators ;)

Re:One requirement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32349490)

Good idea.

I demand death panels for legislators!

Re:One requirement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32348894)

But then how would they ever sneak in riders [wikipedia.org] ? [/sarcasm]

How about at least forcing bills to be read (in their entirety) in front of congress before they can be voted on?
It would hopefully cut down on 1000+ page bills and make sure the congress critters have actually heard what's in it before they can vote.

And get rid of signing statements [wikipedia.org] too.

Re:One requirement (1)

TimSSG (1068536) | more than 4 years ago | (#32349382)

All laws must have a measureable objective, defined in advance of their passage ...

I support above even if it did not cause the law to be repealed.

The bill to improve health care never defined what improved meant
in a simple way. That I could find; never read all 2000+ pages.

Does it mean lowering costs?
Or, maybe increasing the average age at death?

Or, does it mean increasing the average age, at death, of the people
in the party in power?

Tim S.

WIKI Laws (1)

martijnd (148684) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348444)

>> I have one simple requirement: all laws must be written in a Wiki with full history.

Sounds a like a do-able community project. How many laws within a particular scope change every day? Don't think all laws at first, start smaller.

Most laws go by for years without change.

If your government is not willing to do this, and it is still not happening then its just the laziness of everyone at large ; so stop complaining if you would like to see this happen.

Re:WIKI Laws (2, Insightful)

st_adamin (1029910) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348882)

The solution I was thinking of a few years back seems even better. Not a law history type of law wiki, but a bill wiki.

Picture It: Any number of proposed bills, weighted by community voting, then split directly in half for dissent. The dissent would take the form of comments... lolcats and flamers would be suspended, but not forever. Comments would also be weighted by community voting. We would need some impartial moderators to summarize. That would be very hard to get, but I think people would be willing, if it meant a more effective, efficient, transparent means of legislation.

So the important bills are discussed, split, combined, perhaps dumped all together, discussed again, *condensed* and finally approved (by some vote margin), all by the community. Then forwarded on to Washington (or your capital of choice) with the digital signature of all the participants. They can't necessarily ignore us (the people) forever, not if we have a forum that reaches a wide enough audience. I don't, obviously, suggest this as the sole method of legislation, but as a supplement to a laboriously slow and innefficient system that we have in place. Plus by the end, it would not be lawyer speak, but human speak. I'm a smart dude, but I cannot slog through most of it, heck neither can politicians. They pay advisers to summarize. We shouldn't have to, not if we are a government of the people.

This would also help us scream "absolutely not" loud enough for someone to hear. Not sure about other places, but Washington seems to laugh off absolutely nots (the system was designed to prevent this, but the people have short memories). Additionally, this could be done for all levels of government, from city through national (or international maybe?)

Several weaknesses that I see: People tend to polarize 50-50. I don't know why that is, maybe its worthy of a psych experiment, but it would be tough to get anything done.

An online legal discussion proposition forum would, by definition, exclude vast segments of the population. Perhaps newspaper posting in the final stages might help, but vote counting there would take a massive infrastructure. Additionally, it would be a certain demographic (tech/geeks) that had a disproportionate weight for this forum. What is rule by the 'smart?' Oligarchy? Or something... I don't recall, but I'm against it.

Websites that can rally vast numbers of people could offset disporportionatly on single issues (like the Colbert toilet). I can't see any way to get around it. Maybe we shouldn't even try, I guess.

Non Participation. Just like voting, people would biznitch about what was done, but not take the few minutes to participate on the bills they care about. Emailing Washington does not work, but no one writes letters. A five hundred page letter (mit abstract), with 60,000 signatures, though should garner some attention.

Any thought/suggestions/criticisms would be most welcome... that's what this whole comment was about.

Re:WIKI Laws (1)

st_adamin (1029910) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348980)

oh, and bots could ruin it...

Re:WIKI Laws (1)

Magada (741361) | more than 4 years ago | (#32349044)

I know it's counter-intuitive, but... people only polarize 50-50 on issues they really, really don't care about. If the signal to noise ratio is good enough in your wiki, you'll see very clear biases in the public opinion as well.

Re:WIKI Laws (2, Insightful)

necro81 (917438) | more than 4 years ago | (#32349182)

all laws must be written in a Wiki with full history

Sounds a like a do-able community project. How many laws within a particular scope change every day? Don't think all laws at first, start smaller.

Most laws go by for years without change.

If your government is not willing to do this, and it is still not happening then its just the laziness of everyone at large ; so stop complaining if you would like to see this happen.

You can get plenty of up-to-date books or online databases that contain, for instance, the complete US Legal Code. You can also get information here and there about the history and intent of a law, and what it may actually mean in plain English. For some of the really arcane and abstruse stuff (and some of it really defies simplification) hire a lawyer.

But what I think the comment in the summary was getting at was all the changes that go on while a bill is being written. Lawmakers, especially when they are going for a soundbite, carp on about last-minute changes that were made in the dead of night and buried in the text of a 1,000-page bill, giving us a billion dollar boondogle pork project in someone's district. They are right to do so - that kind of behavior is inexcusable. Lawmakers get away with it because it is so buried and unaccountable.

Wikifying the bill-writing process would allow you to know that the text of a bill has been changed, and when, and by whom. Permit only elected members and the Congressional support staff (ya know, the people actually writing things) editing powers. As far as I know, Congress has absolutely no way to track changes to a bill as it makes its dirty, sausage-making way from concept through committee, debate and amendation, to conference, and finally ratification. For all I know it's just a Word file that gets spit out into a pile of paper. This kind of change-management system is common practice in many businesses where versioning and history are important - software vaults, part databases, etc.

I can think of no place where this is more needed than Congress.

laws must be written in a Wiki with full history. (2, Interesting)

smchris (464899) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348446)

You want to give people a heart attack? I had to read the Federal Register and my state's Register as part of one job I had. Thank whatever deity, power or force of luck you hold dear that not everything that gets proposed makes it out of committee. Not just anyone should be exposed to that knowledge. The horror. The horror.

direct democracy (1)

cies (318343) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348486)

i should incorporate methods of direct democracy.. please let me remind you all that the representative democracies (vote for representative who then vote in the parliament) we have today, are the result of the ancient greeks not having an internet.

early democratic societies allowed everyone to vote (everyone was defined as: all rich men). but as societies grew and the notion of everyone changed, representative democracies emerged. i say thas was merely because we did not have a read+write medium that could connect everyone in a whole nation: the internet.

so with the internet we (the people) could, should and will reclaim control over our nations. and not allow multi-million dollar lobbies to set the agenda of highly corruptible small group of people that claim to "represent" us.

http://truetopiaproject.org

Re:direct democracy (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348638)

Direct Democracy has another name: Tyranny of the Majority. (All Apologies to Plato)

Re:direct democracy (1)

Magada (741361) | more than 4 years ago | (#32349078)

I'll take this over the oligarchy I live in any day of the week thank you very much.

Re:direct democracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32349280)

The problem with direct democracy is the sheer number of things that need to be voted on. Congress is in session for what 11 months? Do you want to have to actively research and vote on things for 11 months out of the year while still maintaining a paying job? Admittedly our current congressman don't actively research what they are voting on but if they were truly doing their job that is exactly what they should be doing.

While we are on this subject, I would like to point out that ignorance of the law is no defense. The law is supposed to be for everyone. Therefore, doesn't this mean that I as a citizen am required to read all laws so that I can be cognizant of my duties? So, I have to read these laws but my own congressman can't be bothered since their real job is supposed to be a) read the legislation, b) vote on the legislation, c) possibly write legislation? Aren't congressman citizens too?

Use tech to make gov't transparent (1)

RandCraw (1047302) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348558)

The best potential of tech in government is to turn their spy technology on themselves. We the people can be Big Brother.

Put cameras and microphones in every pol's office and videorecord and mike their entire day. Then store the record in a publicly web accessible read-only vault. Forever. Mike them and their staff 24x7, at all their off-site social engagements too.

As a servant of the people, no pol could refuse to play by the New Transparency and still hope to be reelected. It would so reduce any opportunity for quid pro quo that we wouldn't need campaign finance reform. The losers would quickly reveal their dark side no matter how hard they tried to conceal it.

Rats will flee a glass ship of state.

Re:Use tech to make gov't transparent (1)

st_adamin (1029910) | more than 4 years ago | (#32349412)

I was saying this just the other day. It sort of makes me a hypocrite, since I'm such an advocate of privacy, but crap. It was recommended to me that it's a great idea, as long as it's only the "workday" that is bugged, and not their private lives. But then the backdoor deals would be taking place during someone's birthday party.

fix ? (1)

Tom (822) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348622)

Any attempt to fix current government systems fails to explain why its #1 pre-assumption should be taken as correct: That the government system is fixable.

We all know that there are things that you can repair, and then there are things that are broken far beyond repair. Before going about to fix the government system, one should prove that it is actually fixable, and not simply kaputt.

The mistake that most attempts at fixing the system make is the same one that the security industry has been making for the past 20 years - coming up with solutions for todays actual problems. But the evil guys are already working on tomorrows exploits.

You can not win if all you do is playing catch-up.

Re:fix ? (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#32349266)

The mistake that most attempts at fixing the system make is the same one that the security industry has been making for the past 20 years - coming up with solutions for todays actual problems. But the evil guys are already working on tomorrows exploits.

You can not win if all you do is playing catch-up.

Probably true, but the alternative is dissolving the system and starting over. That wasn't even done during the US Revolutionary War (the state governments remained basically intact, as did the system of common law). And even if you tried, the evil guys would probably co-opt the process and you'd find yourself taking the short path to totalitarian oligarchy, instead of the long path we're on now.

One more requirement (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32348696)

All laws - ALL of them, even the obvious ones - must expire. 10 years max, say. That way, congress must spent time re-instituting laws we know we want, and won't have time to keep piling on more and more and more obscure, conflicted, special-interest legislation. The law should evolve, but the competitive nature of evolutionary processes requires the less fit to expire.

The constitution and bill of rights should not expire. Or at least the term should be much longer.

Earmark your tax dollars (2, Interesting)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348712)

I'd love to be able to control where my tax dollars go... so I'd be able to say, "30% to education, 10% to research, 20% to paying off national debt, 0% to the DoD". Congress can still fight over what's left.

Hell, they could even phase it in slowly... maybe let people earmark even just the first $100 or $1000 of their taxes, so everyone gets a nearly equal say, and it would serve as a great data collection tool as to the political priorities of most people... better than anything else I can think of.

Re:Earmark your tax dollars (1)

Rallias Ubernerd (1760460) | more than 4 years ago | (#32349048)

I veto the national debt option. National debt is good.

Re:Earmark your tax dollars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32349300)

The problem with your proposal is that it leads to a system where your vote is proportional to your wealth. Such systems have, in the past, been shown to suck majorly, which is why we now have the one (wo)man, one vote principle.

Re:Earmark your tax dollars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32349398)

50% of americans do not pay fed income tax. Of course we all pay SS and Medicare, if you make 1 cent or more a year. It would have to be the first 1% of your tax dollars since not everyone pays $1000 a year. I like your idea though.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Nearly-half-of-US-households-apf-1105567323.html?x=0

Simple Requirement (4, Insightful)

rlp (11898) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348728)

I have one simple requirement: all laws must be written in a Wiki with full history

I have a simpler one - legislators must read the laws before voting on them.

Re:Simple Requirement (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348940)

LawCAPTCHA!

git for law. LawML. (3, Interesting)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348910)

Perhaps make the law accessible via a wiki. But most wiki revision control systems aren't very sophisticated.

Keep the law in git branches. If people wish to amend the law, let them branch the law, make their amendment, and propose it for merging to the master branch. What the proposed changes are become very easy to track, as does the person responsible for each and every line.

Even better, produce an unambiguous machine-readable language for law, one that can be used to make legal inferences (e.g. - is this particular act legal?). Of course, this would cause a huge mess when people realise how self-contradictory and downright logically impossible some of the law is...

Re:git for law. LawML. (1)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 4 years ago | (#32349378)

Even better, produce an unambiguous machine-readable language for law, one that can be used to make legal inferences (e.g. - is this particular act legal?). Of course, this would cause a huge mess when people realise how self-contradictory and downright logically impossible some of the law is...

The current situation, where a citizen has no hope of really ascertaining if a prospective action will be legal or not, is a huge problem. But trying to make law even more rigid and codified is not necessarily the answer. It does appeal to many in the Slashdot crowd, since we like and understand computer languages, but has numerous problems when applied to real laws.

1. The average person will have great difficulty parsing a truly unambiguous and machine-readable language. Elsewhere in this discussion some have called for just the opposite: human-readable laws, that don't require a lawyer to make sense of. Highly structured laws might make the situation even worse, where only a small group of people are able to really understand the law, which effectively makes every citizen a criminal.
2. Ultimately the real world is itself ambiguous and complex, such that you will never produce an unambiguous representation of problems/solutions therein. The laws need some wiggle-room to avoid becoming absurd in their application.
3. The problem with complex rule-based systems is that they can, and will, be gamed. In particular, it is the rich and powerful who will be most able to subvert the system, because they have the resources (the money necessary to pay people to spend time figuring it out, for instance) to find all the special deals, exceptions, and loopholes. Note that I'm not even talking about the rich and powerful rewriting the rules (though that is a problem, too). I'm talking about the fact that for a given ruleset, the rich and powerful will have the best chance to exploit that ruleset to their advantage. Thus simpler rulesets can be more fair.

I'm sympathetic to the notion of a less ambiguous legal system. But I don't think that's realistic. Instead what I think we really want is a less murky legal system. The laws should be written clearly. They should be accessible and well organized. Part of the job of the court system should be to digest legal codes and legal rulings into things that the average person can understand. For instance, they should produce a FAQ for sub-sections of the legal code, helping to guide the average citizen into understanding what things are legal or not (and why, and what sections of the legal code are implicated, etc.). The goal is for people to know where they stand vis-a-vis the law.

P.S.: The git-branches for legal changes is brilliant. It allows an auditable trail and forces the actual legal code to be a single document, rather than a piecemeal of amendments and addendums. This makes laws shorter and easier to read.

Its WIKILAW time! (1)

Rallias Ubernerd (1760460) | more than 4 years ago | (#32348948)

Time to take control of government once and for all.

Tyranny (2, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 4 years ago | (#32349226)

The problem with Democracy and most other forms of governance is tyranny.

We try to keep tyranny of the majority from affecting the rights of the minorities, and then we end up with tyranny of the minority, which infringes upon the rights of the majority.

LIBERTY, is the ONLY governance that works. It says each is responsible for his own actions, to the end that he doesn't infringe upon the liberty of others.

The problem with Liberty, is that all the do-gooders who want to tell others how to live, because they think they know better, and those that want to rescue everyone from themselves.

That is why we have things like "war on drugs" and "war on poverty" (porn, terror, big oil, pharma etc) and all the "do it for the children" and whatnot being the driving forces of laws that infringe upon everyone's rights and liberties.

So, the fight is always against tyranny, which is the natural course for man.

Replace 2nd Amendment (1)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | more than 4 years ago | (#32349262)

Replace guns in the 2nd amendment with information control. As the control of information is power. So a new amendment firmly placing information control into the hands of the people.

The 2nd Amendment was cooked up with the idea that people could resist a government out of control. This might have been vaguely reasonable when you could typically only fire one badly aimed shot per minute. But with the command & control structures and things like drones and tanks it would either be impossible or shockingly horrific for people in a modern democracy to mount an armed resistance to a bad government.

We now have a new and better weapon which is the easy distribution of masses of information. Thus I would suggest changing the 2nd amendment from the right to be a hillbilly with a gun to the right to any information the government has combined with with a restriction on the government's right to store information on us. Basically I would want all information that is not involved in an active and ongoing serious criminal investigation to be released and the government to not use any personal information not covered by the above.

This would take some tweeking so that criminal records are kept but not allow the police to store travel data or license plates that drive by.
The whole idea would be that the government would lose a huge amount of power over us and we would gain a huge amount of power over it.

Less law-making (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32349390)

I believe that it might be a good idea to require a 75% parliamentary 1st chamber majority to create new regulation or increase the scope of existing regulation, legislation, taxation and government, but it should be enough with a 40% 1st chamber minority to remove or reduce the scope of regulation, legislation, taxation och government.

There should also be a small 2nd chamber which only decides if a proposal constitutes a increase of decrease of regulation.

With such a regime, we would end up with only a small government and a low number of laws with a strong public support.

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