Initiatives v Oligarchy

Our Founders' Warning: “Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves are its only safe depositories.” (Thomas Jefferson)

Other Solutions

A possible approach is for the People to demand that Congress convene a United States Citizens Assembly to recreate trust in the political process by allowing citizens’ decision-making input on issues of great national importance. For example, Citizens’ Assemblies have been used in Canada and the Netherlands to recommend revision of the election systems, in Ireland to resolve issues of abortion (intractable to government) and population aging, in Belgium to permit a German-speaking section to have a voice, New Unity proposed in the U.S., etc. These are worthy efforts but need statistics companies to select Assembly members, are under Government’s control, and therefore attractive only as the first step towards an effective solution to Oligarchy.

A better approach is based on Switzerland, ancient Athens, and 24 U.S. States that faced similar problems. They grant the People’s the right to propose legislation by ballot Initiatives (a.k.a.propositionballot measure), comment in public and Internet, debate and winnow by an Initiatives Qualifying Assembly (in Switzerland, Ancient Greece, and Oregon State to a degree), and then to vote on them directly at Federal elections. Both Switzerland and Athens thrived; the Initiative States have done well too. None have ever revoked their ballot Initiative rights. The scope and size of U.S. Federal legislation require a professional government despite all its defects, but Swiss, Athenian, and State initiative experiences indicate that the accumulation of a few Initiatives a year can limit the worst defects, particularly corruption and Oligarchy“[A legislature] … should be an exact portrait, in miniature, of the people at large, as it should feel, reason and act like them” (John Adams).