Should states continue to allow ballot initiatives and other forms of direct democracy?

Whether you support ballot initiatives and other forms of direct democracy will depend on your attitude to representative democracy. If you see it as an imperfect substitute for direct democracy, to be used only because direct democracy is not feasible for large populations, you will favor ballot initiatives for important matters. However, if you think that representative democracy offers more safeguards because dedicated legislators are able to devote more time to informed deliberation, you will not favor them.

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It is arguable that the sophistication and widespread use of technology has made direct democracy possible again in a way that it has not been in most nation states for hundreds or even thousands of years. The city states of ancient Greece were able to rely on direct democracy because they were very small. A city with hundreds of thousands of inhabitants, let alone a country with millions, cannot possibly allow everyone to speak in parliament but it can, through enhanced technology, allow ballot initiatives and other forms of direct democracy on a wide range of issues.

There are several well-subscribed arguments against direct democracy. One of the most persuasive is that it often conflicts with representative democracy. Whether you accept this argument depends on whether you view representative democracy as a superior refinement of direct democracy, as Republicans from ancient Rome to the Founding Fathers have done, or if you see it as an imperfect substitute, used because direct...

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