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THE TRIBUNATE

 

O.T. FORD
 

In the political sphere, the most important trend towards the ideal has been liberalism. Liberalism is essentially the movement away from dominion and its associated properties. It has progressed through many stages, and has seen regression as well, since the meaning of liberty is not always clear. Freedom is always relative, one agentís freedom coming at anotherís expense, and the point of maximum or even best-balanced freedom has proven elusive.

The issues of legitimacy and power have not yet been resolved. Democracy is only the penultimate stage of liberalism. In theory, democracy is the political supremacy of the will of the populace. In practice, it is always limited to a majoritarian expression of a subset of the populace, the electorate.

Pure democracy grants electoral status to the entire citizenry, and citizenship to as much of the populace as possible. Citizenship includes the right to make all personal decisions independently, to vote, and to stand for election. It is adulthood and majority on all matters. All individuals of a certain (relatively young) age within the state are, without exception, given full citizenship, which, once granted, can never be revoked under any circumstances.

There are only two basic practices in democracy, the plebiscite and the tribunate. The plebiscite is a direct form of democracy, in which the electorate decides issues of state by a simple vote. That state is closest to a true democracy which uses the plebiscite most faithfully. But this is not practicable in an electorate of any significant size. Indirect democracy becomes necessary, where certain decisions are delegated to a working committee of the populace, while the greater electorate retains ultimate authority. The committee, however composed, is the tribunate, the representative body of the electorateís choosing.

The most democratic tribunate derives from a poll of the electorate at large, in which each elector casts a vote for that individual most representative of its will. The individual so chosen is that electorís tribune. For practical reasons, the number of tribunes must be limited, and so, indicative of the limits of true democracy under the indirect system, not all electors will be represented by their first choice of tribune.

The limiting process must be done before the poll. Any citizen who can present evidence (in the form of petition) of a minimal degree of support among the electorate must be accorded ballot recognition. The poll serves to determine the relative support of the candidates on the ballot. The authority within the tribunate resulting from the poll must be proportional to the tribunesí electoral support. Essentially each tribune casts as proxy the vote of its constituency, and has a vote in the tribunate numerically equivalent to the number of votes it received in the general election. On this basis state policies are determined, with a policy requiring the proxy vote of a majority of the electorate to be enacted.

The tribunate may (and, practically, should) further delegate authority to a unified directorate, an administration which is responsible for the entirety of state functions, while being subject to the supervision of the tribunate, which is itself subject to the supervision of the electorate. In true democracy, there is no question of division of power, which is meant as a thwart of the electoral will. The only limit placed on the tribunate, therefore, is an expiration of mandate: even if the electorate is consulted through frequent plebiscites, it must be given a regular opportunity to pass judgement on the tribunate as a whole, in an election, to ensure the maintenance of majoritarian confidence in the state.

 

© O.T. FORD

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