This is the only post from someone qualified to comment on the subject. Everyone else is just speculating based on age old notions of what mob rule might look like. In my opinion, the world is different enough now from ten years ago that a direct democracy is worth a shot, at least in a controlled environment like Switzerland has.
Mob rule has a bad connotation because it's in the powerful minority's interest for it to be so. There's no fundamental characteristic of humans that makes them incapable of picking out a good future for themselves. As a matter of fact, the vast majority of human existence was spent under "mob rule". Now, of the hundred thousand years or so that we've been running around on two feet making cool weapons, let's list out the conflicts that resulted in massive life loss. And then let's list out the progress that we've made as a species and let's fairly compare mob rule to other systems. I might be biased, so other people should chime in. But here's my list so far:
- Most of these are instigated by warlords (Genghis, Julius, Alexander, Hitler, Napoleon, etc.): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_battles_by_casualties
- Also, most of these, even the Chinese rebellions (because there were always leaders): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wars_and_anthropogenic_disasters_by_death_toll
- individual people, sometimes sponsored by their community, sometimes by states invented most of the things we find useful today.
- populist movements, especially the nonviolent kind, helped win us many of the human rights we enjoy today. Labor laws, equality of races, genders, etc.