During a round of comments today with Gary at his blog In Between Dreams he used the term “liberal democracy” to describe the forms of government for the US and the UK.
It was a NEW TO ME term and sent me off on a google search that led me to this definition on Wikipedia and will send me off on a study of the governments of Switzerland and Uruguay and their use of referenda and plebiscites.
Some of these democracies have additional systems of referenda to give the electorate a possibility to overrule decisions of the elected legislature or even to make decisions by plebiscite without giving the legislature a say in that decision. Switzerland and Uruguay are some of the few liberal democracies with a representative system combined with referenda and plebiscites.
What are the upsides to having referenda and plebiscites? What are the downsides?
I would have felt better if I had the right to at least cast a vote about going to War in Iraq. I still would not have liked the idea of a “Civilized Country” starting a War but at least I would have had a say in the matter!