IRV unconsitutiona;?

Anthony Simmons bbadonov at
Tue Mar 12 17:02:53 PST 2002

>> From: MIKE OSSIPOFF <nkklrp at>
>> Subject: Re: IRV unconsitutiona;?

>> Anthony said that equal protection under
>> the law means that eveyone's favorite
>> candidate must win, or that it could be
>> so interpreted. Pehaps by Anthony.

Perhaps Mike is not familiar with the literary device of
parody, or the corresponding logical method of reductio ad
absurdam (it's one of those nefarious mathematical things).

>> Perhaps Anthony hasn't heard that that
>> equal protection clause has been applied
>> to voting rights.

Perhaps Mike has forgotten a previous suggestion that
Approval is unconstitutional because it does not ensure that
everyone gets the same number of votes, and therefore
violates "one man one vote", or some such.  The mistake here
is the same as the mistake then, of failing to see that in
this context, a 'vote' refers to a ballot.

Political discourse does not use words as precisely as
mathematics.  This makes it possible to assume more precision
than is actually present in the usage, and get erroneous
results.  But in fact, "one man one vote" means "one man one
ballot", and "every vote must be counted" means "every ballot
must be counted".  To assume more precision than that gives
the appearance of a logical conclusion, but the inference is

>> Saying that everyone's favorite candidate
>> must win isn't like saying that everyone's
>> voted preferences must be counted. For
>> one thing, of course, it would be impossible
>> for everyone's favorite candidate to win in
>> any meaningful sense.

The important thing about the two examples is that both are
fallacious -- mine intentionally, as an example, Mike's
apparently not.

>> Californians have just passed a state
>> constitutional amendment requiring that
>> everyone's vote must be counted, suggesting
>> that not only is that possible, but it's also
>> considered reasonablle.

There's a common belief that reality can be manipulated by
manipulating the corresponding ideas and, very importantly,
the words that represent those ideas.  Thus, if we can come
up with some bizarre interpretation of the notion of counting
a vote, then we have somehow changed the reality.

Fortunately, the courts rarely fall for it.  Unlike the rest
of us, who can pretend, the courts must give undiluted
precedence to reality.  If Mike were to take such an argument
to court, he would end up sitting next to the guy who is
arguing that Texas is still and independent republic.

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