Paul Jacob

What fools we were to revolt against King George!

Instead of installing a constitutional republic with democratic checks on government, we could have found a wise philosopher king or an enlightened House of Lords to make decisions for us. Instead of embracing universal suffrage and government by the people, we could have turned over power to an aristocracy of the best fed, schooled and monied citizens.

America, as the land of the free, a place where all of us are created equal, a democratic republic controlled by sovereign citizens, has been a tragic mistake. Who would have guessed?

And California, with its citizen-initiated democratic checks on government — specifically the ballot initiative, referendum and recall — is especially in need of a re-write by the high and mighty.

Let’s face it: commoners lack the competence to govern themselves. Only elites are worthy to govern.

At least, that’s what the Think Long Committee for California seems to be concluding.

Last week, at an event held at the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, “California Direct Democracy: The Next 100 Years,” Nathan Gardels unveiled the current Think Long thought. While not every policy prescription he presented lacked merit, the primary “reforms” proposed for California’s 100-year old citizen initiative were to, first, basically double the nearly one million petition signatures currently required for Californians to earn a vote on an issue and, then, to permit the legislature to repeal or amend any measure passed at the ballot box by citizens.

Citizens are simply not up to the task of democratic decision-making, you see. As a handout provided by Gardels made it clear, California must stop “relying on the public to have the knowledge and competence to sort through the thicket of special interests and spin the initiative process has become.”

The Think Long Committee is generously willing to do the thinking for everyone — with help from a new body, the Citizen’s Accountability Council.

Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.