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Chapter 6
True Democracy: The Demos, the Fourth Branch of Government

As discussed in the previous chapter, to place political power directly into the hands of the entire electorate so that it may function as a political whole, a new political body, the demos, is created and added to our government as a fourth branch. The four branches of our government would be, therefore, the judicial, the executive, the legislative, and the demos.

Our Constitution limits federal powers to only those specified by the Constitution. All unspecified powers remain with the states or with private individuals. In a similar manner, the demos would possess only those powers specified to it by one or more new amendments to the Constitution. All other federal powers would remain with the three current branches. The nature and limits of the powers specified for the demos would be such that it could not overpower and destroy the other three branches but would compliment and counterbalance them.

The word demos is defined as a noun meaning 1) the common people of an ancient Greek state, and 2) the common people; populace.

I named the new branch of government the demos since it is constituted of the entire electorate participating in a direct democratic process. Instead of the dictionary pronunciation dēmos with a long “e,” here the word is pronounced as in the word dĕmocrat. The demos may be thought of as “we the people”1 because the electorate participating within it would be constituted of all of-age, able members of the populace.

This book presents new definitions for the word demos. The principal new definition is as follows:

A demos is a direct democracy branch of a government consisting of a nationwide electronic network in which an electorate consisting of all of-age, able citizens practices consensus democracy by deliberating, voting, and achieving consensus on a fixed set of a nation’s key economic and electoral issues, setting economic values the government and the nation must use as they function and electing to the representative branches of the government bodies of officeholders that demographically resemble the entire electorate and truly represent the entire body of citizens.

The term consensus in the above definition has a very specific meaning. In the demos the electorate does not practice the winner-take-all, majority-rule democracy of old in which the simple majority vote wins and all others lose but a new kind of democracy I call consensus democracy designed specifically to always achieve the consensus of the entire electorate. How consensus democracy achieves the consensus of the entire electorate will be discussed in detail later.

A less precise but simpler definition of the word demos for a tiny dictionary might read:

A demos is a branch of government in which all of-age citizens directly vote and achieve consensus on a fixed set of a nation’s key economic issues and elect officeholders to the representative branches of the government.

In this book the word demos may refer to an entire branch of government as in “the judicial, the executive, the legislative, and the demos.” In a more formal reference the word demos may begin with an uppercase letter as in “the Judicial, the Executive, the Legislative, and the Demos.” The word demos may refer only to the electorate of the demos as in “the consensus of the demos.” It may refer to the whole of the physical mechanisms and systems used by the electorate to conduct its consensus democracy as in “the construction of the demos has begun.” The plural form demoses is used as in “all of the world’s demoses.” The possessive form demos’ is used as in “the demos’ procedures.” The word demos is also used as an adjective as in “the demos issues.”


In the principal definition of the word demos, the phrase all of-age, able citizens could be variously interpreted. Of-age could be given various meanings by different cultures. An age somewhere within the second half of a person’s teens seems most appropriate.

The word able in the definition does not mean that a person would have to pass any kind of mental or other tests to be eligible for membership in the demos electorate, but only that the person is physically and mentally able to vote, e.g., the person is not comatose or a babbling idiot quite incapable of voting. Such determination is, of course, a legal decision that must be honestly made for medical not political or other reasons such as mere personal inconvenience.

The term citizen can be variously interpreted, and some interpretations could be construed to mean a relatively minor portion of the population living within the area encompassed by the government. In the city of Athens in ancient Greece only citizens could vote, and a very minor portion of the population was defined to have citizenship.

In this book the term citizens is defined in the very broadest sense to include as much of a nation’s population as humanly and rationally possible. In America the term citizen includes all American born and naturalized citizens including those who are currently traveling or residing outside the country and excludes all foreign visitors, students, and others. The body of citizens that participates in the demos may be referred to as the electorate, the members of the demos, or even simply the demos.


The term social contract means an agreement among individuals, hypothesized by certain philosophers, by which society becomes organized and invested with the right to secure mutual protection and welfare. The principal difficulty with this notion is that nobody within a society ever really reads or consciously enters into such a contract but is born into a society that is already in play and with a government already in place. In America today few people are even cognizant of the concept of a social contract, let alone have participated in “an agreement among individuals.” In truth, the so-called agreement took place among a few privileged white men long ago.

Nevertheless, the concept of a social contract is a good one and could well serve as the centerpiece or heart of a demos. Correctly constructed, a proper social contract would contain the most central or fundamental questions and issues of a society dealing with the relationship among its members. Within the constraints of the limitations placed on it, the electorate of the demos would vote and achieve consensuses on a small group of our most central electoral and economic issues. (In this work the consensuses of the demos on the issues included in the demos will often be collectively referred to in the singular as simply the consensus of the demos.) This consensus would serve as society’s social contract. Students in school would become well versed in the content and function of this social contract and, when of-age, would consciously enter into the contract and participate as full and equal members of the demos.

The demos consensus and, therefore, society’s social contract would be dynamic, its current state slowly evolving over time. The existence of a peacefully evolving and responsive social contract consented to by the widest possible electorate voting within a demos would reduce the need for and likelihood of revolution.

The relationship of the demos to the other branches of government and to society as a whole would be this: Its current consensus would be our current social contract which, within its limited sphere of power, would set some economic values that government, business and industry, and private individuals would have to use as they went about their daily business and lives. By amending the Constitution it could be made unconstitutional for government to violate the social contract. By the creation of appropriate laws it could be made illegal for business and individuals to violate the social contract.


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© Copyright 2001-2017   Roger D Rothenberger



1  The Constitution of the United States of America begins with the words “We the people . . .” In this work, the phrase “we the people” is used repeatedly and always within quotation marks as a reminder and for emphasis. It should never be forgotten that our government was created in the name of “we the people,” all of the people, and cannot legitimately serve principally the interests of the few. It should also never be forgotten that the phrase “we the people” includes everyone, rich and poor alike. This work is not about the poor rising up against the rich but about all of us rising above our current state and embracing a more perfect union.  1