No-Confidence Voting






Convincing people

Necessity of law

Of the same type of concept are: no-confidence vote, disapproval voting, recall election, nullification. Jim Peron has explained the core of this idea before I did.

Just as the mind leads the body, so do rules bind people in the network of a society. But, the more the consciousness tries to control the body to decide every move it makes, the worse the body behaves / reacts. The same happens when the rule maker, the state, tries to control the people.

One tiny sick part of the mind / state can lead to the destruction of the body / people, either instantly or in an everlasting disease. To ensure this doesn't happen, and no clique takes control of the state, there has to be a way for people to decide if the state does something bad. This is done through the vote of no-confidence.

The no-confidence voting process exists in current democratic Constitutions, usually limited to the case where the parliament can cast a vote of no-confidence in the government.

The hallmark of freedom is to have no rules which impose on everybody.


The premise on which no-confidence voting is based is that it is better to have no rules than have any bad rules. It is important to a prosperous society to create rules, but it is critical to destroy them.

In a free society, it is irrelevant which rules are good, but it is critical which rules are bad. People have to be able to decide which rules are bad. If a significant number of people decide that a rule is bad then the rule must not be applied.

No-confidence voting is a call for non-action, that is, it can be applied only when there is no necessity for an outcome of the voting process (meaning, things can be just as they were without the rule). Therefore, no-confidence voting can't be applied when it is necessary to take action, like choosing a candidate in elections.

The no-confidence voting is normally used after an "in favor" qualified majority vote, not instead nor mixed. Basically, the no-confidence voting first allows representative democracy to function as usual, then, if a second body of decision decides to revoke the representatives' decisions, it can do so with a vote of no-confidence (which can be toward the representatives or toward the decisions of the representatives).

No-confidence voting could also be applied to various public officials, which are not elected by the people, with important functions in the state.

In the case of the state, this means that the representative democracy can function normally (without delays or interference), but can still be directly controlled by people.

The quorum (= the percentage which triggers a successful no-confidence vote) can vary widely, from small values (like 20%) which allow minorities and people with experience in the issue being voted to decide the outcome, up to unanimity.

This ensures that laws are not forced by various small groups of interest on everybody.

This is also how people who are not elected representatives can influence the laws. If the elected representatives who create laws ignore their voters, the voters can get organize at any time and destroy the created laws.

No-confidence voting is the way which helps people "draw the line". It is not possible for any individul or small group of people to know what rules are "good" for a society. However, it's very simply to draw the line between a "good" and a "bad" rule with a vote of no-confidence.

No-confidence voting creates a statistical relevance and balance for the need for laws within a confined society.


In the entire history of humanity, people have organized themselves in groups of common interests. Being small, they had they ability to decide together in matters which concerned them all. They made their own rules.

Think of a tribe in the jungle. They made (and still make) their own rules. Those who didn't like those rules were free to go away from the village. Those who broke the rules were punished or banished. Tribes had monopoly of rule and force, but the extension of that monopoly was small – the village.

Then, groups grew bigger and bigger. Individuals which once used to talk to each other what to do about the road they need to carry produce to other villages, were less and less in contact.

Their personal decision on specific rules got lost somewhere since individuals could no longer be in direct contact and since more and more people interacted in the same place.

When democracy was born, it allowed anyone to get involved in politics. These people started to make rules, being influenced by various people who paid them for a rule to be imposed on everybody.

Then rules were only created, not destroyed. This is the turning point in the history of law. People no longer had the ability to change the fundamentals of the rules, they could no longer easily destroy bad rules.

A society must be able to create and destroy rules. Consider that rules would be passed (but not necessarily made) by judges; they are professionals, they have a job, they constantly deal with laws. Now consider that the society has the ability to destroy any such rule by voting, at any time, against it.

This is also a way to "fire" the elected representatives – any time, simply vote against them.


A way of implementing the no-confidence voting is to allow anyone to start this voting process against any law (or elected representative).

Laws can be good or bad, but in many cases this can be seen only quite some time after they are passed. So, after a law passes through a legislative body, people must be able to vote if the law is bad and has to be eliminated, thus expressing a no-confidence vote toward the respective law.

Anyone can start a no-confidence voting process if a fee is paid to the Electoral Commission. In reality, only specialized organizations would be able to do this. They could start a campaign of no-confidence toward a law, convince many people to vote and also make a small monetary contribution to pay the starting fee.

Instead of paying a fee, the initiator of the process could be required to gather a number of signatures. However, I don't quite like this method because it means that people who sign would have to give out their personal details (to authenticate the signature). It's also virtually impossible to verify the signatures. I believe that the voters should put their money where their... votes are.

If the number of no-confidence votes for a law is at least a certain percentage, called trigger percentage, from the total number of registered voters (for example, 20%), the law has to be automatically eliminated since a lot of people consider it a bad law.

The number of votes required for a law to be considered bad is rather small because the number of people who have enough knowledge and experience about the law's subject, to see if it is bad, is small.

In the case of the Constitution and elected representatives, the trigger percentage should be higher (like 40...50%). Otherwise, there are high chances such laws and elected representatives could never be accepted. The trigger percentage must never be above 50% since if 50% of registered voters are against a law, there can be no majority to accept the law.

If the vote is performed through the Internet, the voting process has to last a number of days or weeks (because there is no need for it to last just a few hours). If the required number of votes is not met at the end of this time frame, the vote is considered failed.

The initiators of the voting have to carry an educational campaign before the voting starts, to convince people to cast a vote of no-confidence.

If a no-confidence vote fails to gather enough votes to eliminate its target law, it can be repeated any number of times for the same law.

An law which receives a no-confidence vote can't be passed again within 5 years.

An elected representative who receives a no-confidence vote can't run as an elected representative again (for any representative function).

A vote of no-confidence can target a single law (or elected representative). However, a single process of no-confidence voting can contain several no-confidence votings which target different laws (or elected representative).

Questions and answers

Friedrich Hayek proposed to have a parliament with two houses, one to create laws and one to destroy laws. Isn't that enough?

No. That's useless. Both houses are formed from representatives, thus they are both subject to the same problems as a single house. People must have direct control of the destruction of laws.

Are there any similar ideas already implemented?


The no-confidence voting process exists in current democratic Constitutions, usually limited to the case where the parliament can cast a vote of no-confidence in the government.

Private companies have implemented similar ways to fire their CEOs.

California has recall elections where people can start a voting process to fire their governor.

Swiss people can start a referendum for the laws passed by the Swiss parliament.

In the case of jury trials, if one juror disagrees with the others on the issue of guilt, no action is taken against the defendant.

How do you deal with the fact that people could just start a no-confidence voting every week?

There are two conditions for organizing a vote:

  • The initiator of the process must pay a sum of money to the Electoral Commission. This is meant to cover, at least partially, the costs of a voting process. Besides, before organizing a voting, the initiator is supposed to make a survey and see if the vote can be successful and how many people would actually vote, thus adapting the costs to the expectations.

  • A single vote can handle several laws. This exists exactly to minimize the costs. The initiator of the voting can gather several laws considered bad, and organize a voting just once a year.

Also consider that politicians would no longer afford to make laws without actually knowing if people would intend to destroy those laws. This way the politicians would adapt to people, and there would be few laws and mostly those which don't attract a vote of no-confidence. Thus, the number of no-confidence votes moves toward zero.

If 50% of people say a law is good, why should 20% be able to destroy the law?

Okay, so why should 20% of people submit to the laws of 50% of people?

That aside, virtually all current democratic systems are representative democracies. That means you can't say that 50% of people are in favor of a law because the laws are passed by the representatives.

Secondly, even assuming that 50% of people want a certain law, there is no need for all people to submit to that law. The solution is simple: legislative separation, also know as federalization.

Legislative separation is actually territorial / geographical. But this doesn't mean that a country is split into several parts. It simply means that each county or city of a country can choose to destroy the laws passed by the parliament of the country. The only common law is the Constitution. This is how you get competition of law.

Convincing people

Who needs to be convinced that the no-confidence voting benefits societies?

It was a surprise to me to realize that it's the average individual that needs convincing. In a democracy, politicians always say what people want to hear, otherwise they would not get elected. So, if people would say that they want the no-confidence voting, politicians would give it to them.

But, unfortunately, people actually believe they need laws so they can live. Most people don't seem to realize that the only laws they need to live are the natural, personal laws: the laws of competition, the minimization of costs and the maximization of profit.

In a society, most people actively seek to transfer their responsibilities toward "leaders". It is false to believe that these people do not care about politics. They do care, but they do not want to take responsibility and do not want to be the ones making choices. Thus, they transfer their responsibilities to politicians. This would not be so much a problem if there would be a way to limit the power of politicians, who, in a represented democracy, are free to decide what powers they will get next.

So, the only obstacle in the way of people's happiness are the people themselves. Before the no-confidence voting can be implemented, people must be convinced that no politician knows better what is good for people, and that the more laws there are, the more the cost of their lives increases. People must first be convinced that it's better to renounce their laws and the laws of other people, than keeping their laws and thus the laws of others.

Necessity of law

Many people believe that group rules solve problems. Rules don't solve problems. The purpose of rules is to act as a guide for honest people and to allow the group to punish those who act against the group (from inside) – the criminals.

Criminals ignore group rules, but the more rules there are and the more rigid they are, the more honest people lose their freedom to act as they wish. Actually, the more rules there are, the more honest people become criminals (relative to the rules, not to some inexistent absolute moral code).

Are laws necessary? Well, in a society, it isn't relevant for any individual to decide if laws are necessary or not, and which laws are necessary or not. A society is formed from many individuals which have different ideas about what rules should be imposed on everybody, like the punishment of murder.

The no-confidence voting provides the way to keep rules in control, without allowing individuals to actually make decisions about which laws are necessary or not.

But no-confidence voting does not bring Heaven on Earth. It is not "The Ultimate" solution to all problems in the world. No-confidence voting simply exists to bring the costs of the consequences of laws toward optimum: the minimum.


Let's take an example: cigarets. We know that cigarets generate costs for individuals which don't smoke, in the form of additional health care costs and potential lethal diseases. It's safe to assume that nobody wants to pay such costs. So, an excise on cigarets which is supposed to protect non-smokers from these costs, would look normal.

However, smokers will not stop smoking, nor will they decreases their regular doze. Of course, it can be said that a pool of money for health care programs run by the state, can be set up. But the problem is that this requires inefficient mechanisms – the state, and more laws to regulate the system. You might say you can live with that because smoking is bad, so such a law would benefit you personally (not just to some small group of interests).

Okay, but now the state has the power to put an excise on anything, and it is certain that it will do so in order to satisfy other groups of interests. And those regulation do benefit someone, but not you. Maybe you benefit from a few more, but they all add up and significantly increase the costs for other people, and indirectly for you, or even directly when you'll need a product for which they is an excise.

So, don't you think you would benefit more from not having to have to follow lots of regulations? Don't you think that the costs of these regulations would be better used by private enterprise than by the state?

Always remember that institutionalized justice (= law and enforcement of law) requires more and more laws.

Engaging in an economic activity

In order for people to engage in an economic activity, most states require they get licenses. Unfortunately, these license only burden honest people, not criminals.

Even though licenses may be necessary to limit the exploitation of natural resources, they are against free society spirit when it comes down to non-natural resources.

Let's take a clear example. Say a company sells food. Usually, it is required to obtain a license before it can start to do business. Why? Because some people believe this is how money is raised for a neutral organization, which is used to check the companies from time to time, to see if they meet certain minimum criteria, and so to ensure buyers that they can buy safely.

But criminals don't care about license. They can do their business without a license just as well, and in fact, better. So, why make a rule which mandates that companies have to get a license to do business? There is no logical reason for that.

This particular case can be solved by indeed creating a neutral organization which checks to see if certain minimum standards are met, but without a mandatory license. A license can be obtained, and displayed prominently, by businesses which think that buyers would trust them more if they have a license.

This system opens the market for competition for companies which sell "seals of approval". This is in fact applied in the restaurant business for a long time, in the form of restaurant category represented by a number stars.

The state must not substitute people's own methods of control. The state can offer alternatives for people who can't or won't waste their time checking each seller they do business with, but that's where the line must be drawn.


People organize themselves in groups based on location or interests. In the course of history, many such groups organize themselves in countries / states.

States have their own rules, where the basic rules are defined by the Constitution, the most important law of a nation.

The Constitution must define only the structure of the state (and not include other laws). It must also define the voting process (including the no-confidence voting). It must specify the no-confidence voting trigger percentage for itself (for example, 40...50%) and for other laws (for example, 20%).

This is because if the Constitution is destroyed with a vote of no-confidence, it must be done so only because the structure of the state is no longer considered acceptable, and not because some particular law is unacceptable.

The Constitution can be changed only if it is voted "yes" by most registered voters (/ people) of the nation.

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