Rank is a "Double Speak" word

New Democracy donald at mich.com
Tue Nov 10 09:25:38 PST 1998

Hello John Gear,

     Good to hear from you again.
     I liked your letter. Thank you for writing.
     And thank you for coining the term Cranks for the people who advocate
Condorcet and/or Approval Voting. They do get cranky at times.

     But that is not the reason I am writing.

     I want to talk to you and others about a statement that Mike-O
presented in his cranky replies to you and Ken & Karla. Mike-O wrote:

     "Most would agree that if more people rank A over B than rank B over
A, then A can be said to beat B. What part of that don't you understand?"

     Mike-O and the other Cranks have offered that statement a number of
times in recent letters. This statement is often used by them as some sort
of proof of the validity of their methods. Beware, the statement is a trap.

     Now, on first reading this statement may appear to be true - to be
honest. What you and others should be aware of is that this statement is
deceptive. If the word rank were changed to vote, then the statement would
be a true statement and even I would agree to it. But, the statement is not
using the word vote - it is using the word rank and that word is one of the
Cranks' Double Speak words. Yes, they have other Double Speak words.
Another one is Majority, but that is another discussion for another letter.

     What does the word rank mean to you? (or ranked or ranking). To me it
means that my most preferred candidate is to be my first choice, and my
second preferred candidate is to be my second choice, etc. And, my vote
belongs to my first choice and it is to stay with my first choice for as
long as my first choice is a contender.

     The Crank people will allow us to list our candidates 1-2-3, but they
add other definations to our rankings. To them, rank also means "equal
rank", plus equal rank at the same time. It is dealer's choice as to which
defination is to be used at which time.
     Anyway, before anyone agrees to the Cranks' statement they should
realize the full ramifications of the added definations to the word rank.

     If you agree to the statement, you are agreeing that each of your
lower rankings can be assigned a vote equal to the vote held by your first
and most preferred choice. And that all these additional votes can be used
in any calculations at any time in equality with your orginal vote
belonging to your first choice - even when your first choice is still a
     The result of this agreement will be that your lower choices may rival
your first choice in the election - that is, your lower choices may be used
to help defeat your first choice. This ramification is a major flaw and for
that reason alone, the methods, Approval Voting, Borda Count, and
Condorcet, should not be considered valid for any election.

     The Cranks need you to agree to their statement because this is the
only way they can get some validity for their methods.

     In reality most people want their first choice to be preferred over
any lower choices. So, therefore most people would not agree to the Cranks'
statement - if they were aware of its full meaning.

     You have been warned.

Donald Davison

Note: For those who do not know, the term Double Speak comes from the book
"1984" by George Orwell. A fictional story of a world controlled by cranky

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