[EM] Electoral College-Pragmatic approach

Anthony Simmons asimmons at krl.org
Wed Jan 30 17:08:50 PST 2002

>> From: Alexander Small <asmall at physics.ucsb.edu>
>> Subject: [EM] Electoral College-Pragmatic approach

>> It's one thing to give a minority of the population (e.g.
>> the small states) a veto against the exercise of power,
>> and quite another to let them exercise power against the
>> popular will.  The latter can happen when the President is
>> elected against the popular will (we can debate which
>> method best ascertains the popular will) and nominates a
>> judge or implements a treaty with the consent of Senators
>> representing a minority of the population.

I can't see that there's much difference between allowing a
minority to exercise power against the popular will on the
one hand, and giving them the veto on the other.  It all
seems to hinge on fine distinctions in the way we
conceptualize causality, rather than having to do with
causality itself.  An analogous situation is the prohibition
against assisted suicide but not withholding of medical care.
On your insistence, the doctor can disconnect you from a
machine even in the certainty that such action will kill you,
but can't give you equally deadly poison.

Well, I shouldn't be absolute about that.  There's the fact
that the power to veto changes does tend to prevent rapid
changes, and therefore promotes stability.  But that too is

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