Address the issue. (was Re: Are you unaware or unashamed?)

Steve Eppley seppley at
Tue Nov 26 09:30:10 PST 1996

Donald D wrote:
>>> Is not head to head pairing the same as Condorcet? I am confused.

>>Steve: You'll find that Condorcet's method is a pairwise method.

>Yes - I know Steve - I was being coy - I see now that coy will not do.

I for one would prefer you just directly say what you mean, and not 
later claim you meant something else.

As with the boy who cries wolf and wastes others' time, there
eventually comes a time when people stop paying attention or offering 

I know someone in the ER list who expressed an interest in the IRO vs
Condorcet question, and who set his email software to automatically
delete every message coming from Donald.  Congratulations.

>A picture was developing - a picture that carried a message. That
>message was that Condorcet means were being used to prove a claim
>of the Condorcet people. 

You've repeated this again and again.  In reply you've been
repeatedly asked why you think some voters' preferences should be
ignored.  The picture that has developed is that you won't answer.

It's certainly not "Condorcet thinking" which led to the "No
Spoilers" criterion or the "Lesser of Evils" criteria.  Those grew 
out of the desire for sincere voting and the desire to let many 
candidates freely compete without having to worry that the outcome 
could be better if they don't compete.  It's not "Condorcet thinking"
to prefer multiparty democracy over the two-party system.

And I don't think it's "Condorcet thinking" to generalize what's
meant by "majority rule" when no candidate has a majority of first
choices.  There's certainly a straightforward connection between the
widespread generalization of majority rule and pairwise thinking,
but you've put the cart before the horse.  It's the need to
generalize what's meant by majority rule when three or more choices
split the votes which leads sensible people (thanks to M. Condorcet
pointing the way) to agree that a candidate capable of defeating any
other candidate head to head ought to be the one elected.  

If you have an alternative generalization of majority rule, let's
hear it.  And try not to use "IRO thinking."

>I was holding back - waiting to see if any of you Condorcet persons
>would see the conflict of interest in using Condorcet to prove
>Condorcet's validity - it was not to be - the message went over
>everyone's head. 

Yeah, blame the readers.

Keep in mind the First Law of Communication:
   "The worst judge of how a message will be interpreted is its author."

I may as well mention the Second Law, too, since it accounts for 
a lot of the flaming on the internet:
   "If something can be interpreted negatively, it will be."

>You Condorcet followers are either unaware or unashamed of this
>obvious conflict. 

Why should anyone be ashamed of sensible thinking?

We've already addressed your point.  It's not a conflict: we are
overtly choosing to not ignore any voters' preferences.  We've
already justified our choice repeatedly, by listing the criteria by
which we think methods ought to be judged.

Ignoring preferences and not ignoring preferences are the two
possible choices.  You can't accuse us of making a choice without
implicitly acknowledging that you're making the opposite choice. 
When will you attempt to justify your choice?

You've got a weird notion of majority, apparently.  If A beats B with 
a true majority when only A and B run, and C enters the race, the
same majority which ranked A ahead of B would still rank A ahead of B. 
How can it be logical that C's entry into the race can create a
majority for B?

It can't, not a true majority, only a false majority generated by a
fallacious voting method that only pays attention to part of the 
preferences each iteration.  So with a bad method, C stays out, and
it's A vs. B and the two-party system.

---Steve     (Steve Eppley    seppley at

More information about the Election-Methods mailing list