[EM] Much Ado About Not Quite Nothing

Craig Carey research at ijs.co.nz
Sat Aug 10 21:51:03 PDT 2002

At 02\08\09 21:59 -0700 Friday, Alex Small wrote:
 >There's been a considerable amount of bickering lately, some of it
 >slightly rancorous.  I just want to offer this comment for people to think
 >about:  Our disagreements are technical, not political.
 >Politically, we all agree that citizens should have greater freedom of
 >choice and greater opportunities to be represented in public
 >decision-making.  This is true whether you're interested in the purest and
 >fairest possible democracy (e.g. Demorep), a system that emphasizes
 >citizen participation rather than selection of leaders (e.g. Joe) or
 >simply improvements on our current systems (e.g. many of us).  We all
 >agree that citizens should be able to indicate more information than just
 >the approval of a single option (i.e. plurality voting).  Finally, we all
 >agree that decision-making bodies should represent a variety of citizen
 >interests, and not simply the single favorite in each arbitrarily drawn
 >Technically, of course, there are sometimes significant disagreements over
 >which procedures are the fairest and which criteria ensure the greatest
 >public good.  These technical disagreements can be quite profound and
 >complicated, and since this is a forum for debating these matters it's not
 >surprising that the debate becomes quite complicated.
 >Nonetheless, whenever posts tend toward condescension, or whenever people
 >get too up in arms over the favorable reception IRV is getting, we should
 >all remember that ultimately we all want the same thing:  A society in
 >which citizens enjoy greater freedom of choice when public policy
 >decisions are made.
 >The catalysts for this message were (a) some posts I've read (no point in
 >naming the posters, that would defeat the purpose) and more importantly
 >(b) an essay by a CVD staffer http://www.fixingelections.com/Prologue.htm
 >Although many of us here disagree with the CVD's proposed solution to
 >political problems (IRV and STV) I think most will agree with the
 >sentiments at the above URL:  That we have a system that allows for only
 >two options, resulting in polarization, and it's time to fix that.  Seen
 >in that light, the quarrels that some of us have with IRV supporters are
 >like quarrels between scientists with different ideas for curing cancer,
 >not a quarrel between a cancer researcher and a tobacco executive.

The tobacco analogy is a good one: CVD can't generate a desire to fix their
product, just like how salesman touring from city to city can't affect
anything in the manufacturing division (where that the "true" genius of the
CVD ever exists: rather than complex process design and tools to build
tools (no tools for growing tobacco), they merely copy from an ancient
19th or pre-19th century approx algorithms that are nothing longer than
approximately 5 lines of pseudocode. They ignore STV so I do in this

Did you mean, Alex, that people suffer under IRV in a way similar to those
that suffer with cancer, but the more important thing is a consensus,
with a nearly perfect failure to say what it was that we can agree over,
and what exactly it was that was technical "not political" (presumably
mathematical since methods are too) that some unnamed persons here were
alleged to be not agreeing over.

To get a cancer analogy we would want to have people dying and being
removed. Alex outwardly opposes IRV but that the tone and texture of
what Alex writes is that of an advocate of IRV. I presume it is
obvious. When I read what Alex writes I see the writings of a person
that is a pro-IRV. In constrast I just wrote a defence of FPTP, but
that is quite different: those that won't to eliminate use of FPTP
have entanglements of arguments before finding that I disagree.

How do we know that Alex's focussing on emotion is focussing on anything
important when Alex himself did not write in an emotive: I see little
in what Alex wrote except a sequence of errors. Towards such a thing
I could show a condescension. One of the big problems with commenting
on "condescension" is that there was no reasoning for that statement
in the paragraph containing it, and while there was indeed a conclusion,
the conclusion is unquestionably everlastingly untrue. So we want to
see reasoning for the conclusion too (like at a arena where there are
winners and losers). Desire for a preferential voting method that gets
the right set of winners is quite unconnected with any desire for a
better society. When is Alex going to figure out a point so simple
that others could not stick with the error for more than a day.

Suppose a test of a preferential voting method led to a better society.
it was believed, and then the method was adopted regionally and the
society worsened.

Alex says that the debate is complicated, but that is not the case with
Alex's writing which usually has a premise in it that the consideration
of a preferential method requires that that method be not considered

It is too stupid for me to imagine that Alex could actually attempt
to post these ideas of society being important in the consideration
of preferential voting polytopes. Alex further tries to say we and
fully omit all details and facts of what it was that the topic was,
as if we are the very cream of the reform movements in America. Oh,
but that is an example of condescension. The theme of a lot of what
Alex writes, is pro-IRV in nature: it has the right stuff:
voters everywhere, actual precise rules that check methods nowhere.

I do not agree that decision making bodies should represent the
people. I call that a matter left to those controlling the society.

There is not any agreement whatsoever that Alex has anything at all
when the rules that can't be used in a society that is nothing but
a collection of slaves. The idea that Alex wants persons of the
Commonwealth to agree over is that in a society with a government
that is not as good aas is possible, there is nothing that will
check a preferential method, or else etc., maybe we are supposed
to unite around the perfectly wrong ideas of Alex and accept that
tests that do exist do not. Agreeing with Alex may be hard to do,
e.g. in Rhodesia in 40 years time, when 30% of the populace are
free to browse to webpages showing that IRV has ever been junk.

Condescension is actually easily beyond dispute because
it is very dumb to attempt to switch between the topic of methods
and politics, so that the evasion is present in a sufficient that
so little progress is made at this mailing list, there is no
comment on whether truncation resistance is a rule to be held or
to be rejected (and similarly for my P2 axiom). It is obscure for
sure, to receive completely undefined "Nash" ideas from Alex while
some basic rules have not been (implicitly or explicitly)
acknowledged to even exist, yet such rules are simple.

Also the ideal of Alex that he presents as desirable, that of
providing choice to the public, is a way to allow acceptance of
preferential methods that are a lot worse than what ought be
accepted. The usual thing to do in these circumstances is to
check to see if the person was trying to imply that they held
a definition that they never once knew of. Thus to clarify the
issue and with an aim of seeing if it is possible to get some of
that very low level unity Alex _seemingly_ called for, I request
some details on the principle as it was at the time Alex's message
was written, that made it an aim or a strict Boolean-valued rule,
saying that voters should have choice (naturally, it may be more
than one rule).

Alex can comment on this:

 >fairest possible democracy (e.g. Demorep), a system that emphasizes
 >citizen participation rather than selection of leaders (e.g. Joe) or
 >simply improvements on our current systems (e.g. many of us).  We all
 >agree that citizens should be able to indicate more information than just
 >the approval of a single option (i.e. plurality voting).  Finally, we all

Is the message of Alex some promotion of USA: our complete failure in
the topic of research into preferential voting can be fully set aside
because of the incredible pro-choice (i.e. still FPTP) achivements of
the Carter, Bush, and Clinton administrations. Why not instead not
refer to society and thus have tests that are invariant of that. Has
anybody seen Alex avoid being vague while writing about society. The
problem with vagueness is that the readers get no knowledge.

What I know is that members of the list are down and out, over the
topic of "admitting" that they browsed to my http://www.ijs.co.nz/ifpp.htm
webpage, and things at this list are not so bright for the members
here (excluding Mr Gilmore who spoke recently on behalf of a quite
mathematical test named One Man One Vote), that can actually
reject my axioms saying which axioms counter.

On noting that and how other members that write here are also similarly
ignored, I conclude that Alex Small is also very much in the wrong when
saying that there are disagreements here. This is an American list with
students from US Universities.

Alex is not actually defending ignorance. That can be done by saying
"I saw it and I did not understand it". It is a technique here that has
a long history, of using personal privacy, or maybe some other
personal-istic issue, to justify no absorbing of simple ideas.

But let's imagine that Alex was right in following the propagandists
and saying that voter choice is desired.

Suppose in Burma, in a prison 6 inmates that were politicians (and one
was a mayor) lived. It they vote over who gets to eat the uncooked rat,
while in a nearby city distant, village members are forced to attend a
soccer match and are required to vote freely but for an army leader,
then how do we get from Alex Small the rest of the common belief.

He may instead be trying to write in a way consistent with
recommending one of the <<worst>> (but plausible) checkbox methods
that has got mentioned a bit in the US Internet:

At 02\08\06 19:17 -0700 Tuesday, Alex Small wrote:
 >I realize that this is a long message, so I'll just offer this:  I would
 >not be writing if IRV were the only alternative method for single-winner
 >elections, or even the best of many alternatives.  However, superior
 >methods are available (e.g. Approval Voting, for resources see
 >http://bcn.boulder.co.us/government/approvalvote/center.html and

 >Anyway, just a thought.

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