Direct Democracy – Enabling the State to Restore Liberty?
Most people have been imprinted with pro-state views by state-controlled media and education systems. Might ‘Direct Democracy’ enable the state to restore some freedom and prosperity. Could it lead to properly free ‘private law’ libertarian societies?
Representative ‘democratic’ government is approaching the end of the road. The career politician ‘representatives’ are at the point of failure in an increasingly corrupt corporatist system. Once elected they and their deep state and corporatist minders and backers have been able escape any popular control and accountability.
State structures in the West have developed into self-seeking alliances of media, banking, corporate and bureaucratic insider interests. They use taxation, money printing and regulation to transfer wealth from the productive people to the self-proclaimed ‘elites’ (see, for example, www.awah.uk post ‘Legislation is a Racket to Fleece the Productive’).
Conventional political parties bid for votes by proposing to alter public policy to reward sectional voter interests. Politics is then just a competition about who gets to bully and rob whom. As the American libertarian journalist H.L. Mencken famously said, elections are ‘advance auctions of stolen goods’. The outcome of this political competition is a thorough politicization of life, social conflict, more state expense, tax and intervention, and an inexorable loss of public trust and institutional credibility. These trends have led to the current crisis.
TECHNOLOGY MAKES POLITICAL REPRESENTATION OBSOLETE AND DANGEROUS
Instead, we need direct citizen participation in political decision making. This was the norm in classical cities. Their populations were much smaller (see www.awah.uk post ‘Democracy - the God that Failed). Aristotle said that popular decision making was only practicable within hearing distance of a herald’s voice. Now voices can carry everywhere.
Representative democracy, on the other hand, is inferior but was unavoidable given the big, dispersed populations of 19th and 20th century states and the primitive, slow communication technologies of the time. People had to rely on choosing someone to go to the capital to represent the local citizenry in the distant legislature, and basically hope for the best.
Now modern communication and information technology removes any need to delegate lawmaking and tax-raising to effectively unaccountable representatives. Direct mass voting on specific initiatives is feasible. So, unfortunately, is state surveillance which is being used to bring about the suppression of personal and property rights.
DIRECT DEMOCRACY RADICALISM TO STOP THE ROT
Pro-liberty party leaders have little to lose by proposing radical approaches. The mainstream parties and media have exhausted popular tolerance for gradualist approaches that never seem to achieve anything. By the time pro-liberty parties have a chance to win, society would be too demoralized, damaged and impoverished for anything else. At that point only radical options would be on the table.
The danger is that societies choose the radical totalitarian option, rather than the radical path to liberty. That has been the outcome so often before. The current crisis has been engineered to push us towards totalitarianism, again. The elites either don’t know, or more likely don’t care, how much loss of wellbeing their populations will inevitably suffer.
Pro-liberty political groups must propose stable state structures that help rather than hinder prosperity and confidence. A light, highly decentralized, political system will be needed to enable local communities to rebuild themselves from the ground up. Freedom becomes the core theme around which to develop proposals protecting people’s right to live their lives as they see fit.
Direct Democracy is the pro-liberty way forward. It cuts out the entire political class of elected representatives from power. Most elected politicians are merely puppets of globalist deep state corporate and official interests. But without the elected politicians and their privilege of imposing laws and regulations, the deep state insiders lose their power.
SUMMARY OF A DIRECT DEMOCRACY PROGRAMME
Implementing a Direct Democracy involves two key steps.
Step one is getting rid of the inherited mass of legislation. In British terms, statute law contained in public Acts of Parliament, as well as all the regulations written under the authority of such statutes, would be repealed. The elimination of statute would free up so many areas of national life. In particular it would revive the English Common Law. We would then be back in the fundamentally libertarian legal environment which enabled Britain to achieve remarkable prosperity over the last three hundred years. The elimination of statute would free up so many areas of national life. In particular it would revive the English Common Law as an effective way of adjudicating disputes currently, but mistakenly, addressed by government diktat.
The elimination of statute would free up so many areas of national life. In particular it would revive the English Common Law as an effective way of adjudicating disputes currently, but mistakenly, addressed by government diktat.
If any statutes are to survive, they should be few, subject to only temporary reprieve, and pre-identified before a liberty government takes office.
The mass repeal of statute law, justified on the basis that it is stifling, burdensome and pro vested interests, needs to be accompanied by a shake-up in the legal and court systems.
A bonfire of legislation will instantly put incoming pro-liberty politicians at odds with the globalist elite. But this is inevitable. This elite has long been writing treaties requiring governments to enforce global regulation to line their pockets and concentrate power in their hands. The current crisis has shown that national and international agencies have become bought-and-paid-for allies of corporatist interests and individuals.
Step two is the establishment of a basic law requiring all legislation and accompanying regulation, local and national, to be subject to popular vote by citizens. Under it, legislation may be proposed by local or national authorities but also by any other citizen group achieving sufficient support.
Taxation too must be subject to approval to re-establish balance between tax-producers and tax consumers, a role Parliament no longer fulfills.
Local laws, including secession from local authority areas and nullification of national laws, must be allowed precedence over national initiatives and provisions. The result will be profound decentralization. That means groups of people whose political views are nearly irreconcilable will have the best chance of finding communities they will want to belong to in the same country. And it will allow different approaches to problems to be tried out.
Before discussing these ideas further, it is necessary to talk about the Common Law.
RETURN TO THE COMMON LAW - INDEPENDENT LAW COURTS
The political difficulty with proposing to repeal statute law and regulation is that many people would panic about the ‘anarchy’ and ‘crime’ which they assume would result. It could be necessary to keep the existing statutory framework and state courts for ‘proper’ crime (murder, assault, theft, fraud, rape etc.) to provide reassurance, at least at first.
However, people should also be allowed to take their cases before competing non-state courts instead. These would offer speedier, better-value arbitration based on compensation (‘damages’) rather than imprisonment. Victims of crime might not get someone jailed but they could well get meaningful compensation instead.
Leaving crime to one side briefly, many people assume that society is actually based on central control through legislation. One reason for this is that officials and politicians say so.
But another reason why we have so much regulation and government intervention is that most people cannot seek redress by going to law. The law is a government monopoly combined with a legal professional closed shop. Naturally therefore, its processes are slow, ineffective, and far too expensive for most would-be litigants.
The courts’ task has been complicated by the accretion of statute law and regulations. But underneath the encrusted statutory provisions there is still a workable Common Law framework in Britain for securing contracts, and granting redress for attacks on persons or property. The good news is that repealing statutes and regulations automatically would bring back to the surface tried and tested Common Law principles and remedies. These are much simpler, making the law once more accessible to the layman. They can also be adapted by judge-made case law.
The Common Law is the name given to the English legal system as it developed over centuries. It has a lot in common with the Libertarian non-state ‘Non-Aggression Principle (NAP)’. The NAP holds that nobody (including officials and their friends) may attack or threaten to attack people or their justly acquired property. Force may only be used to counter such attacks, or to bring wrongdoers to justice and enforce restitution.
The Common Law incorporates pre-state law such as the use of ‘restitution’ payments from the guilty parties, called ‘damages’, to make victims of deliberate, reckless, negligent or just accidental loss whole, at least in financial terms. Most proper crime was - and would be - treated as so-called Torts (‘wrongs’ in French) leading to payments that actually helped victims and made crime a lossmaking career choice. There were not, and would not be ‘schools of crime’ prisons. For more on independent courts see www.awah.uk post ‘Defunding Criminals under Libertarian Law’). Since courts only act when harm has been done to others and responsibility is in dispute, there are no ‘victimless crimes’ by definition.
In such a system, everything is permissible, legally, except things that are found by a court to directly harm others. This is the exact opposite of Roman law which is the basis of law on the Continent (and Scotland). There nothing is permissible except what the state explicitly permits. It is easy to see why the societies based on English Common Law are still typically more prosperous and innovative than those based on statist legal principles.
Whilst it is true that the current state court system would operate better once repeal and the elimination of thousands of offenses had occurred, the creation of an independent court system would be desirable in itself.
It would also create extra capacity for the resolution of disputes. To justify doing away with allegedly protective regulation it would be politically necessary to ensure that difficulties could be credibly resolved instead by the expanded courts. Another advantage is that the new courts would take the work of defining and upholding legal rights out of political hands.
Big companies can pay the high current costs of access to the law, and can afford to harass and intimidate smaller opponents by threatening legal action. Value-for-money independent courts would be particularly effective in pushing back against such abusive corporate behaviour.
We face an attempt by Big Tech, Big Pharma, and other corporate and academic institutions to promote a bio-medical terror state via censorship, and intimidation of employees. An independent court system could be relied upon to facilitate individual, cumulatively prohibitive, restitution and cost orders against such these firms and institutions. There would also be scope for class actions (which are currently not permitted here in the UK).
WHAT IS TO BE DONE?
Start with a clean slate. Repeal or suspend all legislation and related regulations. Explain that it benefits vested interests, is a burden to productive people, and addresses issues which can be better handled by a revamped legal system. In many cases this action alone eliminates freedom-killing state meddling, interference and obstruction.
Pro-liberty parties would need to work out ahead of time exactly which statutory, for example constitutional, provisions might need to retained, at least temporarily. There may also be arguments for keeping employment protection for pre-existing jobs. Rights and agreements under industry regulatory frameworks could be grandfathered in, at least for a time. But attempts at merely paring or reviewing statute and regulation piecemeal would be too slow and difficult. Reviewing literally hundreds of thousands of Parliamentary Acts and regulations one by one would involve an incoming pro-liberty government in an endless, unwinnable war of attrition against entrenched interests with committed mainstream media backup.
The good news is that overnight deregulation of so many aspects of society would liberalise practically every area of national life. It would immediately kickstart powerful processes of healing and growth, much like West Germany’s overnight economic deregulation in 1948 which triggered years of rapid economic growth. The country could quite quickly become a magnet for international capital and skills, which would greatly accelerate recovery.
DIRECT DEMOCRACY PROVISIONS – APPROVAL OF LAWS AND TAXES
The replacement for failed globalist, representative democracy and top-down regulation on behalf of vested interests is Direct Democracy, backed up by a liberalized parallel legal system with Common Law attributes. Key Direct Democracy provisions would be:
A) ALL LEGISLATION & REGULATION TO BE APPROVED BY VOTERS
No law or regulation could come into force (or be repealed) except by majority vote of the citizens approving the whole text of proposed laws and their ancillary regulations. Votes would probably be held regularly annually on referendum days dealing with proposed laws, taxes and secession.
With new technology, voters could be supplied easily with proposals to be voted on. It may be doubted that the citizenry read and understand the complex and detailed rules required to operate a modern state. However, whilst modern centralized states and their hangers-on need legal complexity for their own ends, a flourishing civil society does not. To command popular interest and support, all proposed legislation – including related regulations - would have to be brief, clear and even-handed. This would be a good thing. It is a principle of Natural Justice that law that is too complex to be understood is no law.
Only would-be social engineers and power-grabbers will regret not being able to inflict more laws and rules on us. Everyone proposing new legislation will have to explain properly why it is necessary, given the existence of a working judicial system for resolving disputes, injuries and losses. The default position would therefore be that there would be fewer laws, not more as is the case now.
It is of great importance that as much legislation is scrapped at the start as possible. Every law protecting a vested interest at the expense of the common good will give rise to more legislative proposals to expand that protection. The greater the mass of inherited statute that is not culled, the less intelligible the law will remain and the less patience voters will have even for worthwhile ideas for new laws.
VOTER APPROVAL OF RULES COUNTERS REGULATORY CAPTURE, COMPLEXITY AND COST
It would be necessary to ensure that the text of regulations would also have to be approved directly. At the moment Parliament passes Acts giving Civil Servants free reign to write reams of regulations as they and their allied vested interests see fit. There is little real oversight. Bureaucrats need to write reams of regulation to keep busy, and to make themselves and their corporate clients more powerful. But it is unclear what the point of most regulation actually is, other than protecting vested interests and bossing people about.
A famous example during the Brexit campaign of regulatory overkill were the thousands of pages of EU regulation about pillows and bedding. Do many disputes arise in real life in relation to pillows? It may be doubted. The rules, like most regulations, no doubt protect established producers from competition by increasing smaller companies’ costs and preventing innovation. But if pillows were indeed a hotbed of social conflict, as it were, a proper legal system would provide remedies and encourage pillow makers to address any real problems with their products.
An effective, accessible and active courts system is all that is really needed to resolve, with greater transparency, such legitimate disputes as actually arise in society.
CENTRAL GOVERNMENT MUST LOSE ITS MONOPOLY ON PROPOSING LAWS
Any level of government, or any other citizen group with a sizeable petition, should be able to propose new national or local laws or the repeal of old ones. Westminster would not just lose the power to impose legislation but also its current monopoly on formulating and proposing legislation. Every loss of monopoly is itself an increase in freedom.
There would also be local legislative initiatives, from councils or citizen groups, which would only propose laws applicable to that locality. Such initiatives could however also propose local ‘nullification’ of national laws.
For example, local inhabitants could agree their own planning controls or welfare arrangements, by exempting their area from the relevant provisions of national laws. Taken together with local secession (see below), such provisions would allow communities with very different outlooks on life to coexist peaceably in the same country. The better local direct democracy worked, the more easily countries could pursue internal decentralization.
B) TAXES APPROVED BY TAXPAYERS
It is vital that pro-liberty political formations assert firmly that there has to be a balance between paying for government and enabling people to get on with living prosperous lives.
Parliament no longer plays a role in establishing this vital trade-off in society. Opposition to direct referenda on taxation is to be expected from people who want to collect tribute from the citizenry to feather their nests. Both these things – that there must be balance, and that supporters of high taxation are as self-interested as supporters of low taxation – will have to be asserted explicitly by would-be pro-liberty leaders. The incentive for recipients of tax money to vote for destructively high taxes – especially high direct taxes – has to be exposed in the political market place.
There would of course be political risks to taking such a stand. The British people either can be weaned off trying to live at their neighbours’ expense, or they can’t. If they can then the sooner the better. If they cannot, then better find this out and wait for the inevitable rumpus when reality reasserts itself. It always does, eventually.
So the idea would be: all taxes would be voted on annually (at least initially) as to whether they should exist at all and then what rate they should be levied at.
Who gets to vote? Indirect taxation, essentially VAT or sales taxes, and duties on booze, fags and petrol, might as well be approved on the same popular vote of all electors as would approve laws. Everybody pays at least something through indirect taxation.
However, direct taxation of any kind would need to be approved by those who had actually paid direct taxation in a previous period – one year, five years or whatever. And their votes would be weighted by the amounts paid – in fact each £1 paid could be a vote. The stated aim would be to prevent low taxpayers from approving high taxes on others which they would have no intention of paying themselves.
This proposal could well lead to a helpful simplification of the tax code. Any complicated tax, such as the current income tax, would have to have to be broken down into separate proposals for each tax rate and type of levy to make yes/no decisions and rate decisions practicable. Approval for a single rate income tax or VAT would be much simpler. Fiddly and unpopular taxes – such as insurance or airport tax, inheritance tax, CGT, council tax, various fees, stamp duty, and the BBC license fee - might well be voted down, as time and energy wasting diversions, during the annual tax referendum. The whole structure of privileged tax treatment for pensions (which has separated people from their savings) and home-ownership (a cause of high housing costs) would have to be explicitly approved.
By the way, a cull of most taxes is not necessarily the same thing as a lowering of taxation. The twiddly annoying taxes yield relatively little. Their abolition could be offset by rises in the rate of VAT or income tax, if the taxpayers so decided.
The savings in compliance costs and economic distortions we could garner by saying goodbye to minor levies would be valuable. One is reminded of the Treasury’s estimate that each £1 of tax money raised and spent costs an extra 60p in lost long-term output. Low yielding taxes like Inheritance Tax and CGT play a big role in distorting economic activity.
Let the British people have their say about taxes. Then central and local governments’ task would be to prioritise the spending of as much or as little as they decided to pay. For the first time politicians might have to sort out government priorities, rather than just helping themselves to more tax whenever convenient. Meanwhile the people would come to understand better how much tax was being levied in relation to services provided.
SPECIFIC PROPOSALS TO EXTEND FREEDOM
After a bonfire of legislation, there are areas where pro-freedom advocates may want to suggest specific approaches to enable people to protect their liberty – their control over their own property and persons. These areas could include: alternative independent courts, personal and financial privacy, state and corporate surveillance, free banking and alternative money, government services opt-outs, immigration, and secession.
In a regime of Direct Democracy all proposals in these areas would of course be subject to the right of the British people to approve new laws implementing such proposals, or not. Which means that they must be framed in terms of protecting people and their ability to live life as they see fit (rather than as a position on the right/left political spectrum):
Free Banking and Sound Money
Sound money is the basis of prosperity. Financial freedom means being able to keep your wealth in whatever form, cash, bank accounts in varying currencies, property or directly held bonds, shares or other investments. It particularly means not having to keep your money in currencies, or bonds, whose value is being inflated away by politicians and banks.
In this area, eliminating statute law in general would help a lot. There would be no more legal tender, pensions rules, capital and rent controls (both currently are merely ‘suspended‘), money laundering provisions and restrictive licensing of banks.
Pro-liberty politicians could go further by encouraging alternative ways of protecting savings, such as offering accounts in other currencies, in precious metals or in crypto-currencies. An incoming government may offer discounts on taxes paid in gold or crypto to open up competition. The idea would be to make saving worthwhile and to create a back-up financial system for when current FIAT currencies fail. Inevitably normal interest rates would re-appear, which would cap housing costs and cull over-borrowed corporations.
With free movement of money and banking secrecy restored – simply as a result of statutory repeal – Britain’s financial sector would become a wealth magnet.
A pro-freedom party should ban banks from creating inflationary unbacked loans out of thin air. The Austrian School of economics, the key libertarian strand in modern economics, identifies this fraudulent practice as the cause of the harmful ‘boom-bust’ economic cycle (see www.awah.uk post ‘How a Free Society will avoid Economic Slumps’) and banking sector predation of productive society (see www.awah.uk post ‘The Cantillon Effect – Finance displaces Productive People’). Stopping money creation ‘out of thin air’ was the intention of Peel’s 1844 Bank Charter Act but it misfired. It is time to define this behaviour as the fraud it is.
Banks would be required to distinguish between current accounts on the one hand and loan accounts on the other. Current accounts would have to be backed 100% by allocated holdings of the underlying currency. In the case of FIAT currencies, it would have to be cash in the form of notes and coins. Banks would charge customers for safekeeping, processing transfers and withdrawals, and record keeping (’statements’). Depositors would get no interest because their money would be in the vaults and not lent out. Depositors who lost money due to banks failing to keep 100% reserves – i.e. a fraud - would have rights of action for restitution against bank directors and shareholders.
If people wished to lend money to banks to get interest they would transfer their cash to the bank, and run the risk of not being able to get their money back when they wanted.
Cash must be preserved or even reintroduced as a bastion of liberty in the face of Central Bank surveillance digital currencies. Banks would have to give the state value (probably gold, crypto or any reliable overseas FIAT currency) to buy more banknotes, if needed.
The best eventual outcome would probably be a return to the use of gold as the store of value basis of a sound currency. However, there are reasons why going back on the Gold Standard would be a mistake. Mises explains in ‘Human Action’ that if gold suddenly became a monetary metal again its value would appreciate. A country that introduced a gold standard ‘overnight’ would face a sudden, excruciating hike in the real value of debt and a fall in nominal wages and prices. Anyway, the UK state probably has very little gold.
Better to rehabilitate gold and suggest that it should be money in due course. It could appreciate up to its eventual monetary value without undermining stability. In any case, the job of a pro-liberty party is to let people choose what suits them, which might not be gold.
Privacy, Free Speech and Censorship
Technology may be a good thing in general but it has created the possibility of total surveillance. It lies behind the current Davos Crowd/WEF attempt to create a bio-medical security state on the flimsy pretext of combatting a common cold virus. The whole area of free speech and privacy needs tightening up in any society which is going to keep the state (there can’t be a surveillance state without a state, which is kind of the libertarian point).
Pro-liberty parties could propose that each breach of privacy – messages or other information being passed to others by banks, Alexa, your Apple phone etc. - would automatically (i.e. without proof of loss) be grounds for obtaining, say, a £1,000 restitution order against manufacturers and service companies, or more if damage could be shown.
Social Media companies and other platforms which ‘de-platform’ (i.e. censor) people could be made liable for set amounts of restitution plus extra damages and costs for each business’s losses – regardless of corporations terms and conditions in what amount to ‘contracts of adhesion’. The costs to corporate censors and bullies would soon stack up.
Government Schooling Opt-out
When surveys were carried out in Britain a few decades ago (I believe) a substantial minority, at least, of respondents were interested in controlling the money the government spent providing services. For example, some years ago the state was already spending £10,000 per schoolchild. A lot of people would probably like to spend this money on their children’s education themselves.
Many respondents were interested in just having half or two thirds of the amount spent by the state on their behalf. The result should be a genuinely competitive market in education and training - especially if the national curriculum and other restrictive frameworks had already been scrapped in the initial bonfire of regulations hypothesized above.
Need one add that the bonfire of statute and regulation would automatically end compulsory education and all regulation designed to hinder independent provision.
People should be able to vote to secede from local council areas, either to merge with another council or to create their own jurisdiction. Subordinate, parish and town, councils might become their own independent council areas. They often combine the most local knowledge with the least funding, currently. Regular secession votes would let people join, or create, communities in which they felt at home or better served - without the costs of having to up-sticks and move house and job etc. There could well be many more separate councils, akin to France’s thousands of Communes.
If local taxes, laws and boundaries were all subject to popular initiatives (as they would be under these Direct Democracy proposals), secession would enable a variety of different communities to arise. The improvement in local community wellbeing, liveliness and leadership would be remarkable. The deadening hand of one-size-fits-all centralized control of localities is something we can do without. Again, pro-liberty leaders would merely be proposing mechanisms to enable British people of whatever persuasion to live their lives as they see fit, with neighbours of similar views.
Immigration, welfare and citizenship
Decentralisation will probably be a necessary approach to handling issues raised by the differences between immigrant and indigenous populations. A pro-freedom approach to state policy does not mean a policy of open borders. ‘Living as one sees fit’ includes the right to form communities of like-minded people.
Whilst local secessions, lawmaking and taxation decision-making would enable different kinds of communities to form inside Britain, immigration policy would still be a central government policy. However, the role of universal, unconditional centralized welfare systems in promoting immigration by hard to assimilate migrants is key. This is rightly felt by native populations to be an invasion they are forced to aid and fund. One approach would be to transfer the right and obligation to provide welfare relief to local communities.
Centrally set welfare payments will inevitably be too low in high-cost communities and too high in low-cost ones. Once welfare were paid for locally, recipients and officials would be aware that they were being supported by their neighbours, and not ‘the government’.
Historically, in highly decentralized systems where welfare was a local responsibility, it has been the norm for incomers, native or foreign, to be excluded from welfare by requirements of residency, birth or prior contribution. Local voters and tax voting ratepayers would typically support such measures, but some communities could choose to be more generous. Tighter local welfare entitlements would lessen the general incentive for the unskilled or predatory to migrate to Britain.
The state could manage immigration by auctioning off passports to qualifying immigrants (there could be other arrangements for a limited number of refugees). Since applicants could afford to pay a fee of several tens of thousands of pounds, or more, for a passport, they would tend to be solid citizens - especially if access to welfare and services were restricted for a period (for more on immigration in future libertarian communities see www.awah.uk post ‘Free Societies and Immigration).
Guns, Militias and Freedom
Something should perhaps be said about self-defense, gun ownership and crime. The scrapping of statute law and regulation would, again automatically, eliminate restrictions on gun ownership. Given the historical relationship between rising gun ownership and falling crime, it could be popular as well as useful not to reimpose controls (though actually it would be up the voters, nationally or locally, under direct democracy).
If the country were to adopt a policy of neutrality and non-intervention overseas, volunteer militias could be a valuable and inexpensive home defense resource. The justifications for the second amendment to the US Constitution (the right to bear arms) are worth bearing in mind. A ‘well-regulated militia’ can protect the people from foreign invaders (just ask the Afghans), and from their own tyrannical government. As V says in ‘V for Vendetta’, people should not be afraid of their governments, governments should be afraid of their people’.
People in America, which is more decentralized and has not been disarmed, may have a better chance of fending off the bio-security state than disarmed Europeans. Time will tell.
Foreign relations and defense would be central government tasks. But here the best policy could be strict neutrality abetted by what amounts to a ‘well-regulated militia’. This formula has enabled Switzerland to achieve prosperity and avoid war for centuries. Ideally the dubious dreams of empire, of ‘punching above our weight’, and wielding a nuclear ‘deterrent’ calculated to put British cities on other people’s target list will be gone.
CUTTING WESTMINSTER DOWN TO SIZE
Absent from this exploration of the politics and policy of hypothetical pro-liberty political parties is anything much about what Parliament and Westminster would actually do. In conditions of national and local Direct Democracy the answer is probably a lot less. That is after all the justification for the core proposal to root out political ‘representation’.
Parliament, and central government acting through Parliament, would not be able to pass legislation or raise taxes. It could propose laws and taxes, but so could others.
Parliament could retain a role as an electoral college responsible for choosing who staffs central government. It might usefully revert to facilitating large scale projects using Private Acts. With less power, and more time, Parliament might conceivably even become a forum for sensible national debate, and/or a mechanism for ensuring popular referenda were properly conceived and conducted. It might, by the way, make sense to restrict Parliamentarians to one term, and/or to fill it by lot, to discourage career politicians.
There would certainly be a need for some institutional office or system which ensured that legislation, taxation and secession referenda were properly famed and honestly voted on. Could parliament be trusted with such a role?
POLITICS, LIBERTY AND POWER
In writing this post, my objective has been to imagine ways in which the benefits of liberty could be brought to the demoralized and impoverished citizenry of the West by political parties competing to reform the state, rather than eliminate it which is the true libertarian goal.
One wishes such parties well, while worrying that even if direct democracy could be established, the state would re-expand its power and undermine liberty again. However, if liberty could be provisionally re-established on the basis of proposals sketched out in this post, one might hope that some societies would then dispense with the state altogether.
The preferred reform takes the shape of eliminating the tyranny of government based on the discredited notion of political representation. Instead, popular approval of all legislation and taxation, local and national, is proposed. At least this would humanise the unpleasant reality of state taxation and coercion, and introduce a degree of genuine consent.