These are some components of unofficial, non-authority-based government already in existence:
- We have blogs, where any point of view can be expressed. People promote the blogs they like best, and the opinions they agree with, by sharing links -- either through email, chat room discussion, personal web site, or "social bookmarking" service. The authoritarians haven't figured out how to exploit this to promote their own ideas yet, but it's only a matter of time.
- We have Wikipedia, where any error or omission can be corrected by anyone. The government has already been caught trying to bias articles in their favor, and countless projects (e.g. Conservapedia) have sprung up to discredit Wikipedia or provide an alternate "trusted" (i.e. more controllable) source of information; so far it hasn't worked, but they have the resources to keep trying indefinitely. Eventually they will find something that works.
- We have forums and mailing lists, where people post about things which concern them. News overlooked by the big mainstream news sources often gets wide distribution via such means.
- We have government web sites, which provide official documentation on policies, lawmaking, and who said what. I don't know why these haven't been shut down yet, except that perhaps it would be too obvious a ploy and too many people would object. In any case, they are supplemented by many unofficial sites tracking the same information.
These tools – all freely available to private citizens and mostly created and operated by private citizens – have already proven to be very powerful at discovering the truth when the government would rather obscure details and have everyone believe what is most politically expedient.
What they lack is
- teeth: the power to effect change based on the truths they uncover.
- consensus: any collected data on how many people support each opinion, or how strongly
I am asserting that the latter would lead to the former.