Forest Simmons fsimmons at pcc.edu
Thu Mar 28 16:15:42 PST 2002

Again, a PR method that gives preference to candidates with broad support
will minimize the hazards of dangerous extremists getting too much of a
foothold.  PAV limited to five member districts would be about right.


On Thu, 28 Mar 2002, Adam Tarr wrote:

> Steve wrote:
> >   ". . . All that kept [Hitler's party] alive was its chance to obtain
> >some measure of success in every election in which it participated. Otherwise
> >it would probably have disbanded, and Hitler might have resumed the peaceful
> >profession of painting houses."
> >--Hermens, F. A., _Democracy and Proportional Representation_, University of
> >Chicago Press, 1940, pgs 23-4.
> If the people want a Hitler, democracy will not (and, unfortunately, should
> not) save them from themselves.  The question we have to ask ourselves is,
> do we want to give minor parties a voice and a chance to grow?  Certainly,
> there is the danger of one of these minor parties being malevolent and
> ruinous like the Nazi party was.  (Of course some here, we know, consider
> the current parties in the USA evil anyway).
> In my opinion, this danger is well worth the chance of injecting new
> direction to public debate.  The actual danger of a Nazi-type party rising
> to power in the USA is extremely small.  In Weimar Germany, there were
> many, many factors (rampant unemployment, the specter of Communism, deep
> anti-semitism, the newness of democracy, the stigma of war guilt on the
> current government, et cetera et cetera) that do not apply to the United
> States or any other established democracy.  A few similar factors could
> probably be catalyzed by a US party in the right place at the right time,
> but not all of them.
> I think the small risk of some bad apples getting a larger voice is a very
> small price to pay for the benefit of many more voices being heard in the
> public debate.
> -Adam

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