In a comment over at IOZ today I wrote:
[O]urs isn’t really democracy. Democracy is rule by the people. It’s not rule by a majority of the people, or by a majority of the people wealthy and connected enough to buy elections.
Another commenter responded:
just as anarchy can only persist in a society comprised entirely of anarchists, true democracy can only occur in a population that agrees on everything. lol words are meaningless.
Not quite true: True democracy can only occur in a population that agrees on everything it will enforce. This is actually achievable in a small population of township or ward size. Here’s how government by consensus works: Everybody in the town hall meeting believes the town should take some particular action, except one or two people. Given that situation, the one or two will generally stand down and go along to achieve consensus. In the absence of such consensus, the majority on the one hand has to ask itself whether the action is important enough to essentially enforce its will on the minority and the minority on the other hand has to ask whether its opposition is so important that it is willing to essentially alienate itself from the community. You may actually wind up with “secession” on the part of the minority, but that doesn’t guarantee that the majority won’t enforce its will on those who’ve seceded anyway if the issue is important enough.
This ward or township of course could be part of a larger confederation that operates by the same principles of consensus governing the ward or township itself.