The Demarchy is a minor civilization who have a political system of democratic anarchy, or Demarchy. It functions by means of the neural mesh that constantly seeks the user's opinion on aspects of Demarchist life. This constant prompting eventually fades away into the user's neural background, much like the ticking of a clock might fade away into background noise for most people.
Any Demarchist can propose an item for a vote before the entire civilization, but most are squashed by the sheer weight of numbers. However, once it becomes close, it must be a simple majority, which leads to one of its odder institutions, the Panopoly (see below). Memetics are rampant Demarchist communities – used everywhere in advertising for goods, services and to attempt to influence the vote. So long as they are voluntary and can be refused, these tools are legal, but if they are found to influence the voter without permission, say by memetic assault or subversion, then the Panopoly and Prefects are brought in.
What's more, Demarchists weight the votes of its members. The voting system maintains a record of the votes cast, and compares them to the outcome of the vote – whether it was right or wrong – and identifies those that votes in the right against the majority who were wrong. Having identified those voters as being of very shrewd judgment, it attaches a weighted bias to the any future votes they cast. The system continually monitors those individuals, adjusting the weighting factor. Assuming they continue to vote shrewdly (in the right against the majority), the weighting remains. If not, the system adjusts their weights back to the default value. The system for weighting these votes is maintained and safeguarded by the Prefects of the Panopoly.
This allows a subculture of Demarchists to make a living off of these weighted votes. Groups of these weighted votes are tempting targets for lobbyists, and they charge accordingly for the access, especially on marginal issues.
Also, the Demarchists have one true high crime – tampering with the Vote. For that, people can be cast into exile, personality altered or euthanized. Entire communities have been cut off from the Infosphere and physical access for tampering with the voting apparatus. To do this, the Demarchy maintains the Panopoly, its one overarching police force with great power to observe, audit and secure information, but not edit. Its members, the Prefects, are also limited in their defensive and offensive measures unless the whole of the Demarchy votes to allow the Panopoly access to weapons beyond those defined in its charter. The result is an odd cross between a voting rights organization, infrastructure protection organization, communications monopoly, statistics bureau, federal police and military. Despite the high concentration of power in the hands of the Panopoly, there have only been minor instances of crimes against the Demarchy by the Prefects. This is attributed to the high commitment of the Prefects to the ideals of the Demarchy.
Another unusual aspect of the Demarchy is that it allows, and encourages, a wide variety of subcultures and societies within it – so long as they allow their membership to participate in the voting process. This has lead to communities governed by classical forms of government (republic, democracy, monarchy, oligarchy, commonwealths, principalities, theocracies, plutocracies, etc.) as well as some unusual and quite decadent ones. Because of this wide diversity, Demarchy has been called the greatest engine for human imagination and creativity in history. Among the most unusual are the Voluntary Tyrannies.
Citizens in Voluntary Tyrannies have no rights at all: no freedoms, no means of expression beyond what they could achieve through the usual voting channels. Their entire lives were under the authoritarian control of whatever regime held sway in their community. Typically, they are guaranteed the basic needs: food, water, minimal medical care, life support (if necessary), somewhere to sleep, access to sex and rudimentary forms of entertainment. In return they may have to perform some sort of daily activity – however purposeless the work might be. They'd be stripped of identity, forced to dress alike, and, in some cases, undergo plastic surgery to remove distinguishing features. For some, life in a Voluntary Tyranny is liberating because it allowed them to shut off an entire part of their minds that dealt with the usual anxieties of hierarchy and influence. Some have compared it to becoming like a child again, a regression to a state of dependence on the adult machinery of the state. Unfortunately, Voluntary Tyrannies inevitably go wrong, shifting from a benevolent dictatorship to a dystopian nightmare
While the majority of the Demarchy (and human civilizations in general) find the Voluntary Tyrannies incredibly repugnant, unless the majority of the Demarchy votes to stop it, they won't. However, deny the citizens that belong to the Voluntary Tyrannies the right to vote and the Prefects are on them as quickly as they can be.
Finally, Demarchists will allow their citizens to leave voluntarily. This is the “Ultimate Vote” the ability to vote with your feet.
The Demarchy has expertise in nanotechnology, life-extension, biological alterations and drones, among other things. Demarchists tend to favor semi-autonomous drone weapon systems (like the infamous whip-hounds of the Prefects or fireflies).
The Demarchy is considered minor civilization because it only exists in a few star systems, but they are growing. Currently, they have good relationships with the Stardwellers, Mechanicans, Spacers, Tao, Stored, Logicians and Masqueraders. Their relationship with the Union is downright hostile at best given that they are the antithesis of each other. They are curious about the Replicants, but have serious concerns over what so many versions of the same person can do to government.
Given its diversity and tolerance, all societies from the core rules can be found within Demarchist space, though Darwinians and Organized Crime are not found openly there.
Other societies that can be found there are: Pantropists Beta and Gamma, Survivalists (though rare), Mushashi Flex, Social Engineers, Cognitechnicians and the Explorers Society.
Common Name: Demarchists.
Benefits: Extra Core Value and all Demarchists start with a neural mesh regardless of Cognitech score.
Inspector Status: Equivalent to local police officers.
Beliefs: Demarchy, Sanctity of the Vote and Player's Choice.
Demarchy is the belief that it is the best form of government, and that the knowledge and will of the people is best expressed through the vote. This will often make Demarchists very, very resistant to attempts to impose authority over them, as well as a tendency to seek group consensus on almost everything.
Sanctity of the Vote: The Demarchists are a unruly, diverse and occasionally fractious lot. Their system wouldn't work at all if weren't for the importance they place on the vote. Because of this they will go out of their way to advocate for democracy.