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Ratifying a constitution in direct democracy?





ocalhoun
Just a little footnote of a question while I'm considering how to build an ideal constitution...

Assuming one of two possible conditions of the voting public:
A- All individuals, no groups
B- Organized into groups, but group size varies from one to thousands

And, assuming you've got a good constitution built.
And, assuming you want that constitution to be voluntarily adopted by the public.

Should it be put up for ratification before being enforced, and if so, how?
If it is to be done by popular vote, what percentage should accept it in order to consider it enforceable?
If it's done by using the groups as representatives, how do you weight the differences in population between groups... especially how do you weight this without incentivizing smaller or larger groups? ...And also without having it effectively be the same as a popular vote?


Please note that voluntary participation is extremely important for this form of government, to the point that it would not be unreasonable to demand 100% acceptance.


Another idea I've been thinking of for ratification would be to use participatory democracy for ratification; putting a high emphasis on not overriding any particular faction or group.
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
Should it be put up for ratification before being enforced, and if so, how?
Assuming that all of the States participated in the formulation of the constitution, then yes, it should be ratified. But it should first be approved by State Governments. There should be a 2/3rds majority vote on it in the State Governments. It should then be voted on by Federal Government as well.
ocalhoun wrote:
If it is to be done by popular vote, what percentage should accept it in order to consider it enforceable?

After the Federal Government has approved it, it should be put to a popular vote by referendum and there should be a 2/3rds majority vote in order for it to be enforceable.

ocalhoun wrote:
If it's done by using the groups as representatives, how do you weight the differences in population between groups... especially how do you weight this without incentivizing smaller or larger groups? ...And also without having it effectively be the same as a popular vote?
I don't really know, but off the top of my head, contribution in taxes?

ocalhoun wrote:
Please note that voluntary participation is extremely important for this form of government, to the point that it would not be unreasonable to demand 100% acceptance.
Totally agreed. I don't think 100% majority though, 2/3rds seem to be the common rule. But only after the constitution has gone through the State Government and Federal Government first.
ocalhoun
Hm... you're assuming that roughly equal 'states' already exist... which would not apply here.
There would either be no divisions at all yet, or there would already be a lot of smaller, state-like organizations, which vary greatly in size.

...And since no tax revenue could be collected until after the constitution is ratified, it couldn't be weighted based on that.
(Not to mention the problem of 'selling influence wholesale'... which voting weight based on tax contribution could be seen as... perhaps legitimately so.)

deanhills wrote:
Totally agreed. I don't think 100% majority though, 2/3rds seem to be the common rule. But only after the constitution has gone through the State Government and Federal Government first.

Hm... if 2/3 is the normal accepted ratio, I think -- in the name of being as voluntary as feasible -- I would require 'twice' that: 5/6.


Of course, I would also add in two provisions to ensure that participation is completely voluntary-
A- anyone who rejects the constitution strongly enough may opt out of it
B- secession would be explicitly listed as legal.

(Either may require relocation though, depending on geography. (to maintain an undivided territory, and to give the excluded party at least one international or oceanic border) If relocation is required, the secessionists/dissenters will be compensated for the trouble of moving.)
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
Hm... you're assuming that roughly equal 'states' already exist... which would not apply here.
No. I'm not assuming that. I am hoping for the most stringent scrutiny of the constitution. States should have proportional representation in the Federal Government. A good way of calculating it would be their contribution to the total taxes. Or if there aren't going to be taxes, perhaps you can use the eligibility test for people to vote, and then calculate the representation as a percentage of eligible voters in a state of the total federal number of eligible voters ....

ocalhoun wrote:
deanhills wrote:
Totally agreed. I don't think 100% majority though, 2/3rds seem to be the common rule. But only after the constitution has gone through the State Government and Federal Government first.

Hm... if 2/3 is the normal accepted ratio, I think -- in the name of being as voluntary as feasible -- I would require 'twice' that: 5/6.
Fair enough, 5/6 sounds great, but do you think it is practically feasible though?
ocalhoun
deanhills wrote:
States should have proportional representation in the Federal Government.

What states? There are no states.
(This is for a hypothetical country, not the USA)
Quote:

[quote="ocalhoun"]Fair enough, 5/6 sounds great, but do you think it is practically feasible though?

Depends on the agreeableness of the constitution, and the population's willingness to accept change.
If getting the 5/6 majority was a problem, I would not have a problem with the broadcast and distribution of educational materials explaining it, and countering any incorrect criticisms of it.
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
deanhills wrote:
States should have proportional representation in the Federal Government.

What states? There are no states.
(This is for a hypothetical country, not the USA)
Hmmm. That is going to be difficult to visualize? You're probably have to give at least a few parameters. Such as size of country, demographics, level of education ..... etc.? How can you write a constitution if most of the people are illiterate? Even if it is hypothetical, you'd have to give some idea of who the constitution is written for. Maybe you need to create a fictional country first? That should be fun? Very Happy
ocalhoun wrote:
Depends on the agreeableness of the constitution, and the population's willingness to accept change.
If getting the 5/6 majority was a problem, I would not have a problem with the broadcast and distribution of educational materials explaining it, and countering any incorrect criticisms of it.
Let's hope the people are all literate enough to be able to read and understand it.
ocalhoun
deanhills wrote:
Let's hope the people are all literate enough to be able to read and understand it.

One would hope, but that can be problematic even in developed countries.
(Referring to the recent report of a literacy rate of 53% in Detroit.)
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
deanhills wrote:
Let's hope the people are all literate enough to be able to read and understand it.

One would hope, but that can be problematic even in developed countries.
(Referring to the recent report of a literacy rate of 53% in Detroit.)
NOOOOO - is that right? Shocked And those guys all have voting rights ..... Wow!!!!
jmi256
ocalhoun wrote:
Just a little footnote of a question while I'm considering how to build an ideal constitution...

Assuming one of two possible conditions of the voting public:
A- All individuals, no groups
B- Organized into groups, but group size varies from one to thousands

And, assuming you've got a good constitution built.
And, assuming you want that constitution to be voluntarily adopted by the public.

Should it be put up for ratification before being enforced, and if so, how?
If it is to be done by popular vote, what percentage should accept it in order to consider it enforceable?
If it's done by using the groups as representatives, how do you weight the differences in population between groups... especially how do you weight this without incentivizing smaller or larger groups? ...And also without having it effectively be the same as a popular vote?

Please note that voluntary participation is extremely important for this form of government, to the point that it would not be unreasonable to demand 100% acceptance.

Another idea I've been thinking of for ratification would be to use participatory democracy for ratification; putting a high emphasis on not overriding any particular faction or group.


I’ve thought about this a few times, and the issue that I always see is that a percentage, no matter what the percentage is, ends up being arbitrary. If anything less than 50% of the population is used, it results in a situation where more people don’t agree with the law than do, yet it is enacted. If 50% + 1 is used, it leaves a large part of the population disenfranchised. And any number north of 50% approaches a smaller and smaller minority subject to the whims of the majority.
ocalhoun
jmi256 wrote:
And any number north of 50% approaches a smaller and smaller minority subject to the whims of the majority.

That's why I've decided that the best way to solve that problem is to give the minority an 'out'; a way they can exit the deal, and not be forced to subject to the majority. Once they've left, the majority is free to accomplish its whims with complete consent.
Hello_World
I don't see why you insist on such a large percentage of approval. Or how you can envisage people who vote against a constitution can choose to remove themselves from society. Or how you think it would ever be possible to get close to 100% or even 5/6.

Personally, I don't see the necessity.

I think the more important question in some ways would be how would you allow change to the consititution yet make it more difficult to change than other laws.
loremar
The minority can always declare autonomy.
And the majority can be forced to agree to avoid conflicts.
This is assuming that the minority is a group of people living in a certain region.
If the minority declaring autonomy consists of several regions, then everyone may consider separating regions into different states and adopt a federal form of government.
But I think it would be much better if everyone can agree on something that is to the point that the minority will no longer protest.

If the minority consists of individuals not grouped according to their regions, that I think is a lot complicated. The constitution would be useless if people walk outside not knowing who has self-autonomy and who has agreed to obey the constitution. I think the constitution somehow is suppose to give everyone a peace of mind that everyone would more likely not do harm to you because there is a constitution that applies to him.

In other words, constitution helps prevent evil.
If a person declares himself to be self-autonomous then any punishment as stated by the constitution does not apply to him. He can do anything he wants to do.
And if people know that some people are not bound to the constitution then the constitution fails to protect them or give them any security.

Or in other words if individuals can declare self-autonomy then why build a constitution.

That's why I think if there should be any autonomy declared, it should be territorial(people are grouped according to their region).
deanhills
loremar wrote:
The minority can always declare autonomy.
But won't that lead to a revolution of a kind? You have quite a number of examples of that all over the world where they are in a state of war with the countries who claim ownership of their territories.
loremar
deanhills wrote:
loremar wrote:
The minority can always declare autonomy.
But won't that lead to a revolution of a kind? You have quite a number of examples of that all over the world where they are in a state of war with the countries who claim ownership of their territories.

Not necessarily. Philippines claimed its autonomy from USA before it finally got it's independence when Philippines finally established a stable government of its own.http://www.chanrobles.com/joneslaw.htm
Philippines in fact currently has an autonomous region that is mostly occupied by some of the muslim minorities. It was established through a plebiscite in several provinces. Though the precursor of this autonomous region was the hostilities between the muslim rebels and the government forces. That time the country was under Martial Law. It was these hostilities that lead to autonomy. Autonomy was the only solution to this conflict. And of course, the autonomous region has to deal with economic disadvantages because they have to implement their own taxation.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autonomous_Region_in_Muslim_Mindanao
deanhills
What about the Bangsamoro? I'd see that as a good example of what I was talking about?
loremar
deanhills wrote:
What about the Bangsamoro? I'd see that as a good example of what I was talking about?

Give them time, I'm sure they will just tire off. Wink
The Mindanao today is no longer the Mindanao before who can stand on their own.
Currently, it is the Philippine government that is feeding the people in Mindanao, while the MILF spend most of their money in military expenses. With all those insurgencies, they can't make any good economy; and with their current economy right now I'm sure they can't form any decent government or build an entirely independent nation. Most of the Muslims are enjoying peace with the Christians and other Filipinos under one constitution, so the need for Muslims to have a separate independent government is a non-sense.
Recently the president just resume peace talk with MILF and with the Communist Party as well while he promised full modernization of the Philippine Army. I just wonder what that means. Shocked
Seriously I just wish these rebels to **** off. MILF and CPP-NPA can join the 200 Abu Sayyafs in hell, who resort into kidnapping just to support their expenditures. Low-life creatues. Mad
These people should just let the government help the poor people in Mindanao. They just stand in the way.

Anyways, I'm talking about Philippines specific stuffs that I am not even sure I'm correct but my point is autonomy is a way to cool everything off. Give them chance to stand up on their own and enough time to establish independence. If people want out from the constitution, then they can ask autonomy. But the government can't just watch and not help.
ocalhoun
Hello_World wrote:
I don't see why you insist on such a large percentage of approval.

Quite simply, because imposing coercive measures on people who do not consent to it is morally wrong.

If a simple 51% majority is required, then 49% of people can be abused against their will.

The idea I'm working with is a non-coercive government, where forcing people to do (or not do) things against their will is much reduced (or ideally) absent.
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