The Breakdown of Democracy by Elevating Technologies Before People:
polling, baggage screening machines, National Missile Defence system

Nipawin -Monday, November 5, 2001 - by: Mario deSantis


"Policies, not opinion polls"
--Lord Roy Hattersley, former UK labour deputy leader


"Technological progress is like an ax in the hands of a pathological criminal"--Albert Einstein




"The system [National Missile Defence system] would offer little protection and would do grave harm to this nation's core security interests"-- Federation of American Scientists




Today's information technology has broken down our geographical differences and we have been experiencing real time information from all over the world. As a consequence, global leadership have been hailing the informational technological changes as providing a better democratic environment. It is for this reason that we are all flooded with statistical opinion polls telling us what we really want at any given time: 'black today, white tomorrow.' This is called instant democracy, democracy driven by opinion polls, and it is no wonder that politicians don't walk their talk and make social policy decisions based on our instant democracy: daily statistical opinion polls with a confidence interval of 99% and a maximum error of 1%.




I get so mad when social policy decisions are made based on statistical polls and spin-doctored by emphasizing the high confidence in the decision and the small related maximum error. The fallacy of this statistical decision making process is highlighted when at a later time we hear the saying 'the decision was the best decision at the right time and right place.' Instead, we must make social policy decisions based on our shared democratic vision so that these decisions are right over a longer time period and over all the places. This is democracy, democracy of people, and we don't want the breakdown of democracy by elevating technologies and instant polling before people.


It was two days ago that in relation to the possible federalization of aviation baggage screeners I heard U.S. House Representative John Mica saying that people are as good as the technology they use. Again, we have social policy makers putting technology before people and this is why we have a divided world and this is why governments fail in their social responsibilities to protect their citizens. Things are precipitating for the worse for humanity as President George Bush is pursuing at this time of crisis his dream of a Star War by promoting the National Missile Defence system.




As long as there is life there is hope, for me, for all of us, and for President Bush.