Ramūnas Bogdanas. Referendum as bait nr. 1

Ramūnas Bogdanas
DELFI / Domantas Pipas

They would decide, when the time to change winter camp would be, where to build a village and how to distribute resources in lean times. The questions were less complicated than ones arising now, however even with them, humanity would have fallen already in its infancy if decisions were made by majority vote among the community.

The search for correct decisions

Athens is called the cradle of European democracy, where citizens would meet and make decisions by voting. However, unlike nowadays, in Athens there was a wealth restriction to be able to vote. The old Greeks thought that only those citizens, who have their own homestead they are responsible for, who have to constantly care for the welfare of their extended family and slaves who can make decisions responsibly.

Only this sort of individual is used to looking at the future when making decisions and consider the long-term consequences of their choices, which would lead to either the prosperity or downfall of their home. Citizens selected this way would not permit to waste seed grain during famine and during times of prosperity would vote to strengthen the Athenian navy instead of spending money on organising sports games.

Humanity as a species would not have spread this way and come to dominate the planet if not for useful prospective decisions that were more frequent than mistakes.

Councils of experienced individuals as a ruling or advisory organ were known already in tribal societies.

It is dangerous to bet on only a single card in a game and it is dangerous to rely on a single opinion in a country. A dictator, tyrant or sole ruler can make progressive decisions, but can also ruin progress, failing to see consequences that are obvious to others.

On the other hand, humanity realised long ago that it is no less dangerous to blindly trust in the correctness of jointly made decisions because a common citizen simply does not have the time or simply lacks the desire to delve into the question at hand. The more complex human life became, the more the range of challenges expanded.

Contemporary states are such complex mechanisms that if you take to deciding directly and universally, catastrophe would await because it would not be analysis that would prevail, but emotions, hearsay and imagination.

Hence, the citizens of countries treading the path of democracy elect a group of representatives, to whom they grant the right to make decisions.

Those chosen we call parliamentarians have a duty to relinquish other work and dedicate their paid time to delve into questions of importance to state development and make the most suitable decisions for continued progress.

This method of rule of a community united into a state is called representative democracy.

Less does not mean better

In Lithuania, 141 members of Seimas and the president are granted the right to represent the nation through elections. The president, being a single individual and their decisions having serious consequences, must be aged 40 and above.

This limitation is not applied to members of Seimas because they are a part of collective decision making. The smaller the number of MPs, the larger the pressure on each.

First of all, every one of them will represent a larger group of voters, thus physically being unable to pay as much attention to individual cases so that they could tend to their whole flock: after all, a squad leader knows every soldier’s issues better than a platoon leader, who can only get a general perspective.

Members of Seimas are distributed into committees to be able to delve into specific areas more deeply. With fewer members, the number of subjects will not decrease, thus the remainder will face greater information flows. If currently the public feels that the members of Seimas are unable to cope with their work and make bad decisions, by decreasing their number, the quality of decision making will only worsen.

This is the same as loading someone struggling with a weight of 20kg with another 10kg and expecting for them to progress more firmly.

Furthermore, a decreased number of MPs increases the potential for external influences on decision making. Everyday experience tells us that it is easier to convince and influence a handful of people than tens.

And we know from recent events that corruption is very much alive in Lithuania. To the potential influence of domestic powers, let us add the efforts of hostile countries and you will see that by decreasing the number of MPs, we are only easing the work of suspect back-stage figures, also weakening our representation, which quite the contrary should be made as hard to influence as possible.

The public is convinced that the members of Seimas do poor work. However, is it their number that influences their attendance or knowledge? No. How can you believe that 121 people will perform the same mental work better than 141 people? It is not the number, but the quality that matters here. It is unfortunately up to those, who vote and even those, who don’t.

Deceitful bait looms above the elections

The widespread desire of the people to reduce the number of MPs is a widespread admission that the voters are incapable of recognising and granting authority to those prepared for the task.

Very often people do not take even ten minutes to review the candidates, shrug and shout that they see no one to vote for. How can you see if you can’t be bothered to look? Hence, various jokers, lordlings pretending to be farmers or policemen-democrats get elected.

Of course, it is always easier to think someone else is to blame. The same irresponsible and lazy voters, thanks to whom we have a Seimas of this quality, have now obtained someone to cast responsibility at. Politicians hunting for votes, masked in green farmers’ clothing, cast the idea on a fishing hook and the public got caught.

“Hooray, it isn’t our fault!” they will celebrate, when being dragged to the polling booths and will gratefully designate unto Lithuania a cut down, but “Karbauskis” Seimas. Thus, the sole goal of the referendum will be accomplished.

Older voters, who still recall the Soviet era, could tell the younger generations, what it means to have a government pyramid without competition or counterbalance.

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