[EM] Much Ado About Not Quite Nothing

Alex Small asmall at physics.ucsb.edu
Sun Aug 11 09:23:37 PDT 2002

> 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.

I mean that our current political system in the US (plurality and
single-member districts) is a very bad political system in need of fixing.
 The IRV supporters have offered what they believe is a good solution, and
the Approval supporters have offered what they themselves believe is a
good solutionl.  It's impossible to design a voting system that will never
ever display behavior that some group finds paradoxical or objectionable,
so there is a technical disagreement between IRV and Approval supporters
over which system is "better."  Both agree, however, on the need for a
system that is better than what we currently have in the US.

In summary, the cancer is plurality, and the cures both have side effects.
 The question of which side effects are worse is a technical one, just as
a physician must use his expertise when prescribing medicine to come up
with a therapy that will have minimally negative side effects.


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