The following is an excerpt from Chapter 8: Conclusion – Calls to Action in the book Holy War for True Democracy.
Confidence and enthusiasm for democracy are at dangerously low levels. The Western world has been shaken by an assault on truth, partly by selfish interests such as Russia who feel that they will benefit the more that Western democracies stumble or even collapse. (See Chapter 2: An Age-Old Conflict.) The big worry is that once democracies collapse, they may never come back because autocratic governments now have the technology to establish a police state. (See Chapter 3: Threat of Big Brother.)
I define the aspirational ideal of True Democracy as:
- Every single adult citizen has the right to vote
- Citizenship is available on an equal basis to all adults regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, economic status or political inclination so long as the given adult meets a set of fair citizenship criteria that are not prejudicial against any particular group
- Citizens vote directly on elected government positions (e.g., President) and on legislation, rather than indirectly via elected representatives (i.e., direct democracy)
- All citizens are fully informed by science-based and objective facts and analysis. Commercial and political special interests are not able to manipulate the views of the voters except through fact-based information that simultaneously shows all sides of the discussion fairly and respectfully.
Representative democracies, such as we have in the world today, are vulnerable to manipulation by the powerful few. (See Chapter 4: True Democracy.) A skillful demagogue can take advantage of a crisis, real or manufactured, to convince citizens to gradually relinquish democratic rights and freedoms until the demagogue has absolute power, which he enforces using modern technology via a police state and invasive surveillance.
I call on all people with a passion for self-government to put aside ideological differences and overcome complacency to mobilize together to fight the very real threats before us. Mankind has rallied before. (See Chapter 5: Holy War)
I call for a nonprofit, Democracy Guardians (DG), that would create a world-class database of people and organizations that are sources of information on government and politics, and then do the following (see Chapter 6: Prioritizing Trustworthiness):
- Collect trustworthiness reviews and rating scores on these people and organizations by trusted and trained DG members, and store them in the cloud with full transparency on every aspect of its operations
- Compute two numeric values for each Internet ID (person or organization): an average trustworthiness rating and a confidence value on that rating
- Generate a small icon that conveys at a glance the trustworthiness of a particular individual or organization
- Work with the media and news aggregators to show the trustworthiness icon next to the byline of news articles so that readers can see at a glance the trustworthiness of the author (person or organization)
- Promote the service so that its use is widespread, and thereby pressure government, politicians, the media and pundits to be more honest and complete in their communications. The fear of being branded as untrustworthy would discourage politicians, pundits and the media from posting untruths or distorted reporting.
DG would be a global nonpartisan organization that would channel the passions of people who share a vision for self-government. The organization would strengthen democratic institutions, and thereby promote governments that serve the people, not the other way around. In addition to its trustworthiness initiative, DG would look at various education and evangelism initiatives that are consistent with its mission. To fortify itself against selfish forces that might want to discredit DG because they want to promote false propaganda for money or power reasons, DG will build organizational strength on multiple fronts, including financial, educational and legal. Over the long term, DG will likely pursue various technology initiatives beyond its trustworthiness platform which would help move the world towards the ideals and principles described in this book. (See Chapter 7: Towards True Democracy.)
Some in the West worry that democracy is fragile and subject to authoritarian takeover. I belong to that group for reasons I explained in the Threat of Big Brother chapter. I feel that those who are passionate about democratic government need to come together in a sort of Holy War to preserve existing democracies. But I don’t believe defense is enough to counter the existential threats, let alone fix democracy’s many shortcomings that I outlined in the True Democracy chapter. I believe that democracy patriots need to go on the offense to improve democracy, using the power of passion and technology.