On the surface it surely seems good, as it makes things more democratic, which is obviously good. Except it isn’t. Democracy is of course useful, it provides a check on governmental power, ensures people’s views and interests are represented and provides consent for government. But democracy is not without its flaws, it is not inherently good, not everything improves with democracy. For example, the people do not elect Supreme Court judges, it would be stupid if we did, we could end up with poorly trained judges trying to win a popularity contest. But are there other areas were direct democracy is a problem?
Take wind farms as an example, no one wants a wind farm near them. If every planned new wind farm was put to the local people in a referendum they would likely vote against it, and so would everyone else, so there would be no wind farms, and we need wind farms. This is the problem with direct democracy. Many people think short term and locally, they do not fully understand the consequences of some political choices.
Of course many people do understand, and are active in politics, some of these people become politicians. Most politicians now more about politics and governing then the average person, if they don’t then they should not be a politician. They have to weigh up decisions and policies carefully, because they are not just representing their own interest, but many other people’s. They know if they make the wrong decision then they will be blamed for it, so they obviously put more care into their choice.
Direct democracy could still work, but it would require people to take responsibility for what was chosen. If you want final political power, then you must accept final political responsibility as well. There would be no more politicians to blame, no more scapegoats, it would be your choice, and your fault.
I just do not think people are willing to do that.
Democracy is useful, it is important, but it is not magical. It cannot fix all our problems. Direct democracy is an extreme, and I never think extremes work. Representative democracy is more moderate. It has its own problems, but it does work.