Immediately one thinks of Cyrano de Bergerac and "Thank God! - another enemy". Someone worthy of contesting with, another proud arrant knave. Someone also sure of himself, who comes forward with open honest opposition. One worthy of opposing and being opposed by.
You do not believe man should vote directly on the laws he lives under. That we are an Association of fools trying to change this working and successful democracy that is 258 years old, 12 score and 18 years old. First because it cannot work. Second because it would be a disaster if it did. Third, a grass roots association with no money and no power simply cannot hope to overcome the Wall Street, K-Street ( lobbyists ), back street, and main street millionaires and billionaires who will oppose us tooth and nail.
We smile, and agree. It seems impossible. But then, so did the Revolution, and the Civil War, and Women's Suffrage, and going to the moon and mars, and living a better quality of life than any king or queen in history ever lived.
Of course, if we take for granted that you are one of the 'people', when you say the people:
"Are not wise enough to govern themselves."
"Won't vote on the laws."
"Are too lazy to inform themselves about the laws."
"Are too busy living their lives to bother about voting for laws."
"Don't care about or wish to vote directly on the laws."
You are, of course, since you are one of the people, accusing yourself of having these traits. If you dispute that you have these traits then you dispute that you are one of the people. That, somehow, you're special -not created equal to the rest of us but superior, wiser, more fit to rule, or at least Represent, if you so chose. But that's just wrong. "All men are created equal" implies that no one is created special.
And today we have a great collection of scientific evidence that all men are created equal: we have the same genome, the same DNA. We differ by less than one percent in genetic makeup from person to person: See the two arms and legs, seven cervical vertebrae, eyes, nose, brain, voice, etc. : statistically equal in structure and statistically equal in function.
That's why we are a species, imagine, "ain't it wonderful?"
There are several answers to the claim that "man is not wise enough to govern himself". One of those answers is 'carved in stone' on a wall in the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. where, in his first inaugural address in 1800 he stated that:
"It is often said man is not wise enough to govern himself;
then he should govern others?"
Bertrand Russell, philosopher, logician, Nobel Laureate; in his wonderful book: "The History of Western Philosophy, while arguing against Plato's conclusion that "philosopher Kings", wise, experienced, learned men, should govern societies, gave this analysis, which The Association for the Advancement of Actual Democracy endorses:
"But even if we suppose that there is such a thing as "wisdom", is there any form of constitution which will give the government to the wise?
"It is clear that majorities, like general counsels, may err, and in fact have erred. Aristocracies are not always wise; kings are often foolish; Popes, in spite of infallibility, have committed grievous errors. Would anybody advocate entrusting the government to University graduates, or even doctors of divinity? Or to men who, having been born poor, have made great fortunes? It is clear that no legally definable selection of citizens is likely to be wiser, in practice, than the whole body."
Two hundred million heads (roughly the number of qualified federal voting citizens) are better than five hundred and thirty eight (The number of Representatives in the legislature, three of whom can only debate, not vote).
[Many of our arguments, positions, beliefs are restated, redundantly, throughout this website, because we feel they fit in several lines of argument, and repetition is good for the memory (Steven Pinker, "How the Mind Works")]
Pericles, in his Funeral Oration, praised the Athenian government for being of "the many, not the few".
Just as Russell stated above that any selection of Representatives is not likely to be wiser than the whole body, John F. Kennedy in "Profiles in Courage" explains that democracy strives, should strive, to trust the masses:
"To arrest the dual trends of an electorate indifferent to their senators and senators indifferent to their electorate, the reformers, both in and out of the senate, finally accomplished a long overdue change in the election machinery -the power of electing Senators was taken from the legislatures and given directly to the people [our emphasis].
" The Seventeenth Amendment, ratified in 1913, reflected a far different attitude toward the "masses" of voters than the distrust with which they were regarded in 1787 by the creators of the Constitution - but it also reflected a general decline in the respect for state legislatures... ."
The "masses", "the people", the source of political power, should keep that power close, keep it in their control, keep it under their command, and not give it up to possibly be twisted and turned and then used against them. Political progress, from "worse" governments, to "better" governments, is a long hard fought battle for the right of the people to govern themselves, to not have rulers but public servants, in more than just name, but in fact. We know we cannot fight city hall, therefore we must become city hall. And by "we" we mean, of course, "we the people of the United States" striving to make a more perfect union.
"The people won't vote on the laws"
Of course the people will vote on the laws once their right to do so has become part of the Constitution. There will be a birth of new political responsibility once we finally have political equality. When the votes count, when each vote is counted, and it is cast for each or against each proposed law, there will be debates, arguments, discussions, wild and wonderful lies and deceits, calm and rational analysis, we will be "Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow", jumping to conclusions, cautioned from jumping to conclusions, being serious about our responsibilities. There will be discussion groups in libraries, schools, street corners, around the water cooler, every where. The bloggosphere cup will run over. We may well need more bandwidth when votes are due and discussion is taking place. Will the people vote? Won't you? Isn't it important how our mutual funds and mutual energy are focused on our mutual problems?
There will be so much peer pressure to vote on the laws that busy-body ladies and gentlemen of the public will scold the shirkers to no ends. Wives and husbands will not dare not vote. Peer pressure is perhaps the greatest "stick" motivating common activity in a society.
We may well pass a "carrot" law, giving a five percent tax break to those who vote on 90% of the laws. The people will find out how to motivate each other, if they even need to.
"The people are too lazy to inform themselves about the laws and the consequences the laws may or may not have."
Sixty percent of the 'lazy people' currently vote when they correctly believe that their personal vote doesn't matter. And it is frequently a chore to vote while political parties try and keep out those who the parties believe disagree with their agenda and philosophy. So it is easy to assume that a larger percentage will vote when it actually does count: when we are voting for our laws and not for men to make our laws.
And as far as 'lazy' goes, who do you think built the railroads, highways, sky scrappers, airports, roads and highways? How did the lazy people get through college, university, win Nobel prizes, machine tools, build houses, invent a few things (light bulbs, microwave ovens, computers, airplanes). Lazy? Americans? For-get-about-it. There is very little lazy in America.
The other criticisms are the same: untrue, deceitful, propaganda, unsupported by any evidence, simple nay-saying.