The Solon Academy is passionate in our mission to restore the lost art of participatory democracy. We teach the accumulated practical wisdom from 2500 years of democratic trial-and-error.
Restoring the Lost Art of Democracy
Democracy is a verb. At the most basic level democracy is the act of group decision-making, yet group decision-making is notoriously difficulty and unstable. It naturally tends to devolve into one of two extremes: mob chaos or dictatorship. The democratic process seeks a middle ground, striking a balance between the expediency of dictatorship and the paralysis of indecision. Our training distils the essential elements necessary to preserve and extend the wisdom of the past, but packaged in a manner relevant and digestible to today's citizens.
Solon of Athens
Solon of Athens (c. 638 BC – 558 BC) created the first democratic constitution in human history, being the first to codify citizen rights into a workable system. No other historical figure is more deserving of the title "Father of Democracy." The Solon Academy strives to preserve and extend the grand tradition of democracy first laid down by Solon and the ancient Athenians.
The ancient Athenians were extraordinary in their attempts to break the cycle between dictatorship and mob chaos by pioneering a middle path of group decision-making they called demo-cracy, or “people’s government.” The centerpiece to this system was the explicit bargain or social contract between the various factions within the state to abide by a collaborative system of government based on the principle of majority rule. The early Athenian experiments with democratic decision making were only partially successful, but the trial-and-error accumulation of practical wisdom through the constitutional reforms of Solon and Cleisthenes began a 2500 year journey of development that culminated in the Enlightenment and our mature western democracy.
As part of our mission to restore the lost art of participatory democracy the Solon Academy has developed a simple yet rigorous rules of order system designed specifically for the needs of small- to medium-sized self-governing democratic organizations. At only 39 pages, it is simple, easy to learn, and technically rigorous. For more information about the system and to download a PDF of the Voting Member's Handbook please visit the DEMOCRACY 2.0 page. For more information about rules of order in general, please visit our Rules of Order page.
C.D. Madson is the Founder of the Solon Academy and author of DEMOCRACY 2.0. He has degrees in Philosophy, History and Psychology, has worked as a licensed property manager, realtor, and is a member of the Parliamentarians Association of British Columbia (PABC) and the National Association of Parliamentarians (NAP). Since the early '90s he has been extremely active in various political and non-profit activities, including federal and provincial politics, the student movement, strata corporations, clubs and non-profit societies. Mr. Madson has long experience working in the trenches of democratic decision making, marshalling two decades worth of practical and theoretical knowledge in non-profit governance.
"People who appreciate how to effectively run and manage a meeting are few and far between. But C.D. Madson happens to be one of them. Cool headed and quick on his feet, over the years Mr. Madson has become a veritable connoisseur of Robert's Rule of Order. He understands how to balance debate and flow, can teach you how to respect due process and everyone's time, and isn't afraid to wade into the challenging moments that an important meeting can present. Want to elevate the governance of your meetings to a new level? Give Mr. Madson a call."
- Scott Payne, UFCW Local 401
“A few years ago the Camosun College Student Society Board of Directors had to make a very difficult decision and decided to hire an external meeting chair. C.D. Madson’s calm and professional manner, combined with his advanced knowledge of Robert’s Rules of Order, allowed him to navigate the complex emotional and procedural issues involved and bring the meeting to a fair conclusion.”
- Michel Turcotte, CCSS Executive Director
"When it comes to parliamentary procedure and Robert's Rules of Order, C.D. Madson is one of the most knowledgeable people I know. When I was chairing board meetings of the Camosun College Student Society, he tutored me on Robert's Rules, and was always able to explain even the most obscure rules. I would definitely engage his services!"
- Julian Strongitharm, CCSS External Affairs & Speaker of Council
"In comes Mr. C.D. Madson with his copy of Roberts Rules of Order, which had more sticky notes sticking out of its pages than I had ever seen in my life. In the ensuing debate Mr. Madson countered every one of the aggrieved two’s attempts to stall motions and votes and so on, calling out “Point of Order” or “Point of Information” and so forth. Were it not for Mr. Madson and his well-thumbed and insanely well sticky-noted copy of Robert’s Rules of Order democracy may well have been thwarted. CD Madson is the best damn Robert's Rules of Order expert I have ever seen!"
- Hilton Erland Ward B.A., B.Ed.
"I met CD Madson In 2004 when he taught a CCSS board orientation workshop on how to use Robert's Rules of Order. He was very capable at handling meetings, always keeping them productive and orderly."
- Vishal Ahuja, CCSS Finance Executive