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Looking at the various reports on the various news outlets, it seems that people are perpetually unhappy with their representatives in the government.  So here’s a thought – Why do we not do away with parties altogether, and simply hold referendums on every single issue?  Wouldn’t that ensure that the people’s will can be upheld at all times?

The short answer, perhaps, is that people are incapable of making informed choices on complex issues with the limited amount of time they have at their disposal to consider said issues (though the same can probably be said of representatives at every level of government).  If left to their devices, many (perhaps all) will want to have programs to benefit the poor, while at the same time refusing to raise tax revenue at all, as well as other similarly mutually-exclusive aims.  At the end of the day, referendums (referenda?) are good for single, isolated policies, but they aren’t so good for reconciling multiple issues.  Hence, the so-called direct democracy really does bring out what Plato disliked most about democracy – that an unskilled citizenry should be left to decide for themselves the society it wants, not one it needs.

Even though elected officials can likewise fall prey to such insanity, at least they have teams of people working with them to sort things out.  And at the end of the day, unencumbered by the chore of making a living, these officials have at least more time on their hands to do the hard work of reconciliation.

Or so the theory goes.

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