Whether on values as it does on scientific theory and
data. My own view is that stronger, more open, and more inclusive democracies
provide the greater good for the greater number. There may come a time in its evolution
when a point of too much democracy is reached. However, nowhere on Earth is this true in
humanity's and civilization's evolutionary trail.
In my opinion, we are
nowhere near a strong democracy, or a participatory representative system, or
teledemocracy anywhere on this planet, with the the single exception perhaps of
Switzerland where citizen initiatives and referenda are available to the citizenry at all
levels of government and used widely. The Swiss are constantly involving themselves
in legislation to augment and sometimes undo the work done by their representatives and/or
However, even in
Switzerland, there has not been much improvement in their system by the new information
and communication technologies (1CTs). In fact, the country's voter turnouts are in
a steady decline.
I think that modern ICT is
absolutely essential for helping democracies transform themselves toward a strong
democracy or a more participatory stage of democratic evolution. The use of such
technologies, particularly computers, permits much higher levels of democracy at greater
distances and includes much greater numbers of citizens than ever before possible.
Because of these new ICTs,
we can improve and expand direct democracy---well-informed citizens deliberating complex
issues for long periods of time at vast distances from one another---in big cities, in
states, nationally and transnationally. As Francis Cairncross so eloquently stated,
the new ICTs have tolled "the death of distance" while simultaneously heralding
a new era for democracy.
Thanks to the development of one of the most important
ICTs---the Internet---I have been able to launch a Web site into cyberspace dedicated to
the transformation of democracies into stronger states whether it be from thin to strong
or from dictatorship to limited-rep states. The site, called Teledemocracy Action News +
Network (TAN+N), can be found at http://www.auburn.edu/tann
and is characterized by a lighting bolt rating system that runs from one bolt to six bolts
with each successive bolt indicating a greater level of citizen empowerment and greater
level of democracy.
Please choose a one of the sections below to read a
description of the rating.