[EM] Election via Proxies

Dave Ketchum davek at clarityconnect.com
Fri May 20 04:30:10 PDT 2005

We are pulling against each other too much.

I would like to have you, and others, helping put together what I have 
started, just as it would make sense to further the picture you see, so 
      Let "Election via Proxies" stay dedicated as a way to "elect" and 
operate a body for which PR is the alternative for trying to do better on 
quality of membership.
      Please start your own thread for your ideas, such as FA/DP.

On Thu, 19 May 2005 20:57:03 -0400 Abd ulRahman Lomax wrote:

> At 03:52 AM 5/19/2005, Dave Ketchum wrote:
> I have two targets here:
>>     Keep presidential elections separate from others.
>>     Propose a useful, doable change here.
> I hope it is understood that my remarks indicated complete agreement on 
> this...
>> ... What I say here is:
>>     I DO promote Condorcet as preferable to AV, etc., but using some 
>> other election method for these offices would not disturb my 
>> discussion of bodies.
>>     You could wish to have less of this type of office, with 
>> individual offices having less authority than at present.  This, also, 
>> does not disturb what I am promoting as to bodies.
> Again, understood and agreed. (This is not an agreement that Condorcet 
> is preferable to AV; in my view this would depend on specific factors 
> that might change with circumstances.)
>> BTW - THERE IS NOTHING that can demand that a majority SHALL agree as 
>> to candidate (IRV pretends, but their majority is most of whatever 
>> subset of votes they are looking at at the moment, rather than all the 
>> votes).
> Yes, at least that is the way it is in many elections. In my view, an 
> election where a supermajority does not support or at least tolerate the 
> winner is at least partially defective, probably not the best possible 
> outcome were the whole system performing better. If not even a majority 
> of votes cast support the winner, the defect is quite serious. I'd 
> suggest that the winner of such an election should hold office 
> provisionally and in an acting capacity at most, and quite possibly 
> should not even be elected at all. However, in some systems, this would 
> create a crisis, and holding over an incumbent could be worse.

Suppose our goal is a single color where the three choices are the flag's 
red, white, and blue, and about ONE/THIRD vote for each choice.  I see 
nothing defective about such disagreement, nor do I see a need to give up 
on having a single color as the goal.  Given that introduction, I see no 
need for complications such as provisionality.

>> If you are proposing something to use, consider whether it would 
>> survive electing a governor in NY or CA.

The above was in response to a paragraph about AV, which I saw as complex, 
and thus suggest thinking about whether your AV-based voting method would 
work with a large voting population - nothing intended by mentioning two 
large states, beyond their size.

> Impossible to consider with any certainty in advance. I suggested an 
> approval process preceding a binding election, because I've seen this 
> function. But I don't see that conditions would be ripe for implementing 
> it in either NY or California, and my suggested course of action is 
> independent of legally-binding and constitutionally-controlled election 
> forms; rather it involves organizing outside of governmental structures. 
> And that is, of course, a huge topic.
>> My claim is that my proxies should not be harder to sell than a 
>> variation of PR.
> I'd think so. But the fact is that proxies *are* hard to sell. But so is 
> PR, in the U.S. PR is a defined method, producing a predictable 
> organizational structure. A delegable proxy structure would be a 
> fractal. Fractals can have well-defined properties, but the details are 
> impossible to predict, in actual practice.
>> Some places can introduce change via voter-backed initiatives.
> Yes. In my view, this is a defect of the system, actually, but it can be 
> exploited to the advantage of the people just as it has often been 
> exploited to their disadvantage. (Initiative democracy is not 
> deliberative democracy, for it refers the question to a large body of 
> people who have neither the time nor, in some cases, the inclination or 
> capacity, to understand the issues well enough to vote intelligently on 
> them. Yes, initiatives can sometimes do well in expressing something 
> which is essential, which is the consent of the governed.
>> Not clear how your FA/DP organizations get muscle to be effective 
>> otherwise.

My topic is switching a body, such as a legislature, to getting its 
members selected via proxy - and I run out of ideas after the two above.

I see your words below as addressing a different topic.

> FA/DP organizations, when they can find a consensus, are limited only by 
> the collective power of the members. While the organizations are 
> relatively small, it is probably easier to use this power to support the 
> election sympathetic representatives than to pass major initiative 
> restructuring. However, as I've pointed out, it is not necessary to 
> change the existing structures. FA/DP can simply organize votes and 
> money. If they are small, they need relatively more money. If they 
> become large, they will actually need very little money, or at least 
> relatively little per contributing member.
> (FA/DP organizations don't generally collect funds. But they can and 
> would recommend that individual members donate to other organizations or 
> causes. Members remain completely free in choosing whether or not to so 
> contribute. -- this is FA stuff.)
>> I am not doing corporations.  My proxies are part of voter 
>> registration, just as party membership can be.  For example, in a 
>> proxy tree whose tip is a member of a state legislature, all must know 
>> how many votes that tip owns - although the count can increase and 
>> decrease as voters and proxies enter and leave the tree.

You had emphasized stockholders ability to decide how to organize their 

I was making the point that there have to be records.

Actually, there have to be dependable records in both cases as to 
assignment of proxies, and assignments can change, though I see them as 
more rigid in the bodies I discus.

> Corporations are relevant because proxies have been used in corporate 
> democracy, I think for centuries. (Corporations are basically 
> democracies of money, where voting power is proportional to investment. 
> They thus could be analagous to political democracies, where, 
> presumably, there is one share per citizen. Or other organizational 
> democracies, which might assign shares by different means, as 
> appropriate for the situation. But the most common will be, I expect, 
> one member, one share or one vote. Same thing.
>> If an elected legislature had 100 members, a proxy replacement should 
>> start with about as many.  Experience would educate as to whether the 
>> count should increase or decrease.
> Sure. It could start there. This is with an existing body. A body formed 
> de novo might not have any defined number of members, until and unless 
> meetings became inefficient due to size. Ideally, there must be enough 
> members that there is broad representation, and not so many that 
> discussion and debate becomes impossible. There is no universal number 
> that would work in all situations. In my experience, though, 100-member 
> bodies are too large for efficiency. In fact, in actual practice, such 
> bodies tend to avoid plenary sessions; rather most of the work is done 
> in committee.

Again, deciding to change how an existing legislature gets "elected" does 
not count as de novo.  A new legislature could be set up for a new state - 
but even here you start with the structure that has worked for similar bodies.

NY Assembly has 150 members.  Certainly does much of its work in 
committees - and needs members to serve on the committees.

> Note that with proxy representation, there might be a relatively small 
> number of proxies representing, directly and indirectly, the large bulk 
> of members. Then there would be more members with fewer proxies each. 
> Thus there would likely be much more diversity represented than in 
> present elected bodies, and more than even in PR systems.

True.  If enough of them could find each other, voters sharing interests 
across NY could support having an Assembly member representing them - or 
twice as many voters and have two members.

>> While bottom proxy twigs might serve multiple bodies, upper levels 
>> almost certainly keep busy enough serving a single tree, such as a 
>> state senator.

Here I responded to your suggesting that a voter might assign a single 
person as proxy for village trustee, county legislature, and state 
assembly.  I agreed, but pointed out that going up the chain the paths 
have to split.

> It is the opposite of proxy democracy to reduce representation to a 
> single person, unless that person is indeed at the top of a single proxy 
> tree that represents all members. Not impossible. How common, I don't know.

You cannot go to the top, combining such trees, for their tips have to end 
in different bodies.

>> ONLY those proxies that are part of a body's membership act as body 
>> members.  Others interact much as they would if the body was elected.
> I see this as an unnecessary limitation, as stated. Yes, "full members" 
> are similar to present members of legislative bodies. But any member 
> should retain the right to vote. Again, the corporate experience. It 
> does work. (In corporations, actually, individual shareholders, with 
> only one share, can theoretically have the right to address the annual 
> meeting, but I think that in practice this can be severely restricted. I 
> would restrict it. There would be no right of address, but the right to 
> vote would be maintained.

In the village, town, and county where I live, the meetings provide for 
citizens to speak up.  However, each of those bodies have been elected to 
do the voting, and I would expect the same of bodies "elected" via proxy.

Note that a shareholder meeting has votes by individual shareholders as it 
purpose, though most usually do it by proxy.  Legislative bodies have 
voting done by the members, not by whatever voters may attend.

> It might be necessary to be present, in person, at a meeting to vote 
> directly. Means would be provided. If the U.S. Senate were to become 
> such a proxy body (tricky, but we might consider a proxy body that 
> represents the whole U.S., restricted in full membership to a similar 
> number of members, i.e., 100, to be roughly equivalent), then an 
> ordinary citizen go show up, and, if interested in a motion on the 
> floor, could vote on it. That would be one vote. If every "Senator" 
> (proxy of a high enough level to be a full member) were to vote for the 
> motion, the vote might be reported as 200,000,000 [?] to 1. Why not?

I exclude the US Senate from the bodies to be considered because each 
whole state elects one senator about every three years, so I see electing 
them by officer rules.

But, restating the thought in terms of an "elected" body, I stay with what 
I said above about not letting non-members vote.

>>> So if a non-privileged member desires to enter a motion, he or she 
>>> presents it to one of the privileged members, preferably one in their 
>>> proxy tree, who then either enters the motion or requests permission 
>>> for the non-privileged member to address the assembly.
>>> (Not all members would be represented unless there is a mechanism to 
>>> break proxy loops that are small enough to cause this lack of 
>>> representation. It only takes one member of the loop changing his or 
>>> her proxy to someone outside the loop to, at least, enlarge it. My 
>>> suspicion is that most people will end up with representation near 
>>> the top.)
>> Not clear:
>>     Certainly a proxy can desert its tree.
> This was not understood. Remember I'm proposing a generic organizational 
> technique. The default mechanism is that a list is maintained of proxy 
> assignments (together with the acceptances: proxies should not be 
> effective until and unless accepted by the proxy, for quite a few 
> different reasons).

As I said at the top, we have conflicting ideas, so had best package them 
as separate threads.

> That, right there, could come close to generating a single proxy tree, 
> given automatic delegation of proxies. However, loops would form. If A 
> chooses B chooses C chooses A, that is a loop. Each one of these people, 
> if present alone at a meeting or if voting alone in some other form, 
> would carry three votes. They would not be represented at a high level, 
> *unless* one or more of them were already high-level proxies; 
> essentially, they would all have proxy rights, if alone, at the level of 
> the highest member of the ring.

I see loops as not permitted - a complication with not enough value.

> However, if they were all relatively low-level, they might not be 
> represented at high-level meetings. So it might be recommended that one 
> of them change his or her proxy assignment to someone outside the ring. 
> This would immediately connect the ring to a larger group. There are 
> other patterns where some kind of recommended change might be advisable. 
> Again, it would depend on the nature of the organization and its 
> business, but one basic principle remains: proxy assignements are 
> voluntary and are voluntarily accepted.
>>     Whatever tree lost members is weaker and, perhaps loses membership 
>> in the body.
>>     Whatever tree, or new tree, gained members has more votes and, 
>> perhaps, has enough to become a member of the body.
> In a proxy system it really isn't all that important or desirable to be 
> a "member of the body." What is important is to have a way to be heard 
> in the halls of power, so to speak. And to have access to information 
> about why decisions are being made.

Being a member is VERY IMPORTANT, for members own rights and have 
authority and responsibility to serve those who "elect" them.

Just as with current bodies, these hear their voters, and report (more or 
less quality) to their voters.

> When a proxy ring is broken by one member shifting assignment, it does 
> nothing but connect the former ring, which becomes a chain linking up 
> through the member who shifted. It's not an abandonment.

I make no sense of these words about rings.

> Most rings won't exist if proxies are always assigned to someone who is 
> already at a higher proxy count than the giver. But, first of all, 
> *everyone*, it is suggested, would assign a proxy. (It's not obligatory, 
> though. And you can still vote your own vote.) So if there is a 
> superproxy, that person would still assign his or her proxy to someone 
> else. Who then is *also* a superproxy in the absence of the first 
> superproxy. There is thus going to be at least one ring at the top.
>> Remember that the bodies here are such as state senates, needing 
>> multiple members to do what their elected equivalents would have done.
> Yes. They might need fewer members, in some cases.
>> Offices, such as governors, are not the current topic.
> Right. A governor is an officer. Or an employee. Depends on how you look 
> at it.
>> I admit to not seeing need for such as FAs.

Thanks for the more words, but I still do not see value.

> You clearly don't know what an FA is. It is the default democratic 
> organization, when such organizations are small. Such organizations are 
> quite common, though they don't usually think of themselves as anything 
> special.
> One can understand the need for creating larger organizations as FAs, 
> made possible with delegable proxy, by looking at the alternatives. FA 
> principles protect the organization and its members from many, many 
> hazards. But it's a huge subject. For one thing, though, an FA is 
> practically forced to seek consensus (or to act as a less-powerful set 
> of caucuses, which might be opposing each other in some cause). There is 
> really no reason *not* to join an FA, once one realizes what FAs are and 
> is interested in the purpose of the FA. FAs don't make decisions and 
> impose them on members, except for the most simple of organizational 
> details (even then, if some members don't like the rules, they can form 
> their own organization with whatever rules they like and *still* act 
> within the original FA. All they need is to remain members and to have 
> at least one proxy there.
> The "Free" in "Free Association" implies quite a lot; the members both 
> individually and collectively remain free. Member power is not 
> transferred to the organization to be exercised by majority vote.
> Again, if you think about it, you will see that this is the situation in 
> many, many small informal organizations. It is when the organization 
> becomes a little more formal, not to speak of a lot more formal, that FA 
> characteristics can be lost. But there are large FAs, the best known is 
> Alcoholics Anonymous, a highly successful organization, ubiquitous 
> partly because of its strong FA characteristics.
>> My prediction is that a little experience with lightning change will 
>> inspire you to dig up some sand.
> Sheesh. I don't expect "lightning change" coming from broadly-based 
> FA/DP organizations. But they will be fully deliberative bodies, more 
> so, I think, than we've ever seen. They will be capable of rapid change, 
> but they will also be unlikely to create such change unless they can 
> develop a consensus for it. And if an idea can't find consensus in an 
> FA/DP organization, it is probably not ready for prime time, it might 
> simply need tweaking, or it might simply be a bad idea.

How does all this stop me, with 10,000 proxies, from disconnecting from 
the member I had liked, and connecting to the one I now like better?

What if my friends join me in making this switch?

>>   Does not mean that quick recovery from true emergencies should not 
>> be supported.
> Yup. So how? Without having an oligarch?
> I think FA/DP organizations could do it. But, again, I'm not proposing 
> them for governmental structures. At first. Later, when there is 
> experience, not only will we know better if they are suited for that, 
> but we will also have the power to make such changes.
> If FA/DP doesn't work, then it won't have that power. The structure is 
> largely fail-safe (and largely because of the FA aspects).
>> [I wrote about 9-11 and the possible effect of an FA/DP organization 
>> of FBI agents, had one existed.]
>> Interesting thought:
>>     Certainly the FBI should have understood communication.
>>     The proxies I propose are not in that business.
> They only understand top-down communication. They have not learned how 
> to filter bottom-up communication. FA/DP organizations should be 
> efficient for communication in both directions because the linkages, the 
> synapses, are based on voluntary relationships of trust. That is quite 
> difficult to ensure in a top-down structure, where central control is 
> the basic operating principle.

Go back and READ the sentence containing "understood".

> Note that this is an example where an FA/DP organization could coexist 
> with a traditional top-down structure. The FA/DP structure has no power 
> of its own and therefore is light and fast-response. It *can* 
> potentially mobilize power, but only through convincing its members to 
> act. FA/DP organizations, among other things, don't punish members. 
> Ever. The closest they would get is where a member abuses the basic 
> rights of other members, and the members might act to protect themselves.
> One of the implications of FA is the right *not* to associate with 
> someone.... Again, this might not be consistent with the requirements of 
> a governmental organization.
>> The tip proxy in a proxy tree will speak up for, and vote for, all the 
>> voters in the tree.  This only works if voters who think alike manage 
>> to share a tree.
> I think the full implications have not been realized. It is not only 
> impractical to choose proxies issue-by-issue, except where one might 
> join different organizations, each devoted to a specific issue, but it 
> is unnecessary in an FA/DP structure, for you can always vote yourself 
> on any issue where you see that your proxy has voted other than your 
> preference. Of course, you might speak to the person and ask why he or 
> she voted that way, which would be the wise way to proceed. (I assume 
> that there would be a substantial period for votes to be registered, in 
> most organizations, and a way provided for "absentee" voting, and there 
> might be extended time for persons to vote individually who only voted 
> by proxy in the first period. But this is a detail.)

I have talked of voting above.
> The basic principle for choosing a proxy would be, not agreement on this 
> or that issue, but general trust. If you were incapacitated for a time, 
> who, of all the persons known to you, would you entrust with your 
> affairs as they relate to the organization? For that is exactly what the 
> proxy will be. Proxies would largely, I expect, be chosen on 
> "character." If the tradition becomes that you should know your proxy 
> personally -- this becomes possible with DP, and, in fact, highly 
> advisable -- one will have much more knowledge of character than we 
> presently have with regard to political candidates, where "character" is 
> a carefully-crafted media image. That is a lot harder to do in person, 
> or where there is ample direct and personal communication.
>>> However, aspects of my own proxy concept are here. The relationship 
>>> of the proxy and the represented member is free and not constrained 
>>> by more than the simplest rules, as well as ordinary law about such 
>>> things as coercion, extortion, etc. However, people will come to 
>>> expect this minimum service from proxies:
>>> The proxy is available for communication from the represented member. 
>>> The proxy will hear the concerns of the member and will transmit them 
>>> to the next level *if* the proxy considers them worthwhile. The proxy 
>>> will inform the member if the proxy deems the idea not worthy of 
>>> carrying up the structure, and will explain why. It is a *free* 
>>> association. The member does not control the proxy, just as the proxy 
>>> does not control the member. The member may revoke the proxy at any 
>>> time, or may effectively revoke it with respect to a single issue 
>>> merely by personally voting on that issue.
>> In general I do not see how to fit in "personally voting", though a 
>> proxy might poll members on particular issues.
> This is standard corporate practice. If you show up at the annual 
> meeting, you can vote, and if you do, your proxy has one less vote to 
> cast. A legislative body could easily provide a means for attending 
> citizens to vote. It need not take longer than a present roll call; 
> computers are not necessary, but technology could make it easier and faster.

Not really:
      In stockholder meetings the stockholders HAVE the voting power.
      In the bodies I discus, the proxies unconditionally pass the voting 
rights to the person acting as proxy.

> Of course, every vote is public record.
>>> Thus the job of proxy could be a considerable one, in an organization 
>>> with substantial business.
>> Could be:
>>     Proxy A has few members, to be able to provide the services you 
>> describe.
>>     Proxy B has and follows a platform, ready to serve many voters who 
>> ask no more than they would ask of an elected senator.

LOOK above - B DOES DEFINE who she is via platform.

> Yes. However, Proxy B is going to be chosen by a lot of people who don't 
> have the foggiest idea who he or she really is. I'm much more 
> comfortable with a B who does represent a lot of voters, but who 
> represents most of them *indirectly*. This is because B, under these 
> circumstances, was chosen by a much smaller number of people, most of 
> them broadly trusted themselves, and who have regular opportunity to 
> interact personally with B. So at various times I think that direct 
> proxies should be limited, and at other times I think this is in 
> contradiction to FA principles and is therefore suspect. FA principles 
> would imply that the relationship between proxy giver and receiver 
> should be free and not artificially restricted.
> In a mature organization, it might be moot. I think people will come to 
> expect a level of service from a direct proxy that they won't be able to 
> get from a direct proxy who is also a direct proxy for many other people.
>>> Proxies *could* charge a fee. Most relatively low-level proxies, I'd 
>>> think, would not, but they might collect a small fee to cover the 
>>> costs of retaining a high-level proxy.... (Someone who represents 
>>> millions of people on an issue of importance really should be paid! 
>>> And the money should come from the represented, or at least from 
>>> those of them who are willing to make the contribution.
>> A fee structure is essential.  I see most or all of the expense being 
>> paid for as part of running government.
> Of course, NGO FA/DP organizations won't have this option. Nor should 
> they. Whoever pays the bills will have a measure of control. It is 
> better if the members pay the bills, directly. The bills should be minimal.
> One of the persons who has taken the most interest in BeyondPolitics is 
> a Brazilian sociologist. His interest is in how small remote villages 
> could participate in a national political organization. FA/DP suggests 
> how. And it need not be funded from outside. The fact is that "poor" 
> people, collectively, have more resources than we often think. When you 
> realize that the cost of a national campaign for President of the U.S. 
> is no more than a few dollars per voter, even the homeless here, who are 
> much poorer than these Brazilian villagers, who, after all, have placed 
> to live and land to farm or places to hunt or fish or gather food, could 
> collectively exert substantial political power. If they were organized.
> So a small village would run an FA/DP structure. This might, just by 
> itself, select a single proxy who could travel to a meeting. At the 
> expense of those represented. Now, if someone in the village doesn't 
> trust this person, they are free to go themselves. At their own expense. 
> TANSTAAFL. If there are enough other people, they might well be able to 
> afford to send a second representative.
> There are other things that might be done with a national organization, 
> such as travel equalization, where travel expenses are equalized, so 
> that reps close to the meeting pay the same as reps far away, and this 
> is actually done in Alcoholics Anonymous for the Conference, but, again, 
> that's a detail. FA/DP organizations will be able to work all this out.
> Note that a political FA/DP organization exists to essentially watch the 
> government and act to control it where necessary. There is a possible 
> conflict in being governmentally supported. I see, for example, in the 
> U.S., how the desire to get federal campaign funds could have influenced 
> the Green Party in a way that made the party actually less effective in 
> 2000.... A party is not successful if it damages its own causes pursuing 
> its own benefit. (Of course, some of us could argue about that: my point 
> here is that outside funding can distort policy, it is much safer if 
> funding comes from within.)
>>> This, now, is mixed with the election of officials. An independent DP 
>>> organization will determine all these things for itself.
>> I propose these bodies as equivalent to elected bodies.  As such the 
>> formalities need documenting as law.
> I'd say that the thinking here might be holding to a tradition that is 
> not necessary for NGO FA/DP organizations. Yes, I'm sure they will 
> develop bylaws. I'd propose Robert's Rules as a place to start....
> FA/DP organizations are *not* equivalent to elected bodies. But *DP* 
> could be used as an election method, and, if so, would indeed be 
> equivalent; thus changes of law would be required. I'd feel much more 
> comfortable with this if there is first broad experience with DP in 
> non-governmental organizations.
> Besides, it's not going to happen with out that. Not. Period.

Consider village boards - a body to practice on, and work up from there.

>>> As to the ease of recall, the shareholders of a corporation, through 
>>> an elected board, hire executive officers to serve at will. They can 
>>> be fired at any time. It might be possible to eliminate the 
>>> middleman, the board, because a few high-level proxies could serve as 
>>> a board. (They might be formally elected to satisfy existing legal 
>>> requirements.)
>>> We still think of elected presiding officers as kings, hence terms 
>>> during which deposing them is difficult. It's a very old habit.
>> This requires thinking beyond what I offer.  Note that a legislature 
>> could elect a governor - but that we CHOOSE to have the voters elect a 
>> governor - and to elect for a fixed term.
> I didn't choose that. Did Mr. Ketchum? Out of what set of choices did he 
> choose that, if he did? I don't recall ever voting on the issue, and, as 
> you know, simply voting on issues doesn't mean much if there is no 
> possibility to participate in the formation and deliberation of them.

I did not make the choice - it was done many decades ago.

> Our system evolved out of a royal system. Our innovation was to elect 
> the king and to restrict him to a term (some didn't want to have that 
> restriction, I think, but it carried the day). Otherwise the model is 
> that of a strong chief executive. Like a king, specifically like a 
> constitutional monarch.
>>> Of course the people won't arbitrarily and capriciously remove an 
>>> experienced officer, who is doing a decent job! But if there is an 
>>> urgent need, why wait?
>> We have to consider (arbitrarily and capriciously) imagined needs and 
>> try to control trouble.
> Government should be by the consent of the governed. In an FA, the issue 
> doesn't arise, but if DP is applied to non-FA structures, such as 
> governments, my question is by what right does a minority decide that 
> the majority has its knickers in a tangle?
> The proper level of restraint is to have a communication mechanism that 
> ensures that the best thinking is heard. That's DP, by design.
> Frankly, I think that having general FA/DP structures as NGOs, advising 
> their members as to how to vote in existing structures, and with a few 
> tweaks to existing structures *as they appear prudent and wise*, is much 
> safer than setting up an untried system in the government to start.
> Note that FA/DP organizations could, among other things, advise members 
> regarding media support. The public could, really, buy an media it 
> needs. I don't think that we really understand, most of us most of the 
> time, how much power the public would have if organized in a way that 
> faciliated consensus. It would not be the power to do just anything; the 
> key word is "consensus."
> Among other things, the influence of money in politics would become 
> moot. Far too expensive to try to convince members of an FA/DP 
> organization to move in a desired way, much better to convince them with 
> rational arguments. If you've got them. And in an FA/DP organization, if 
> you've got a sound argument backed with sound information that is 
> verifiable, you only have to communicate it to one member. It doesn't 
> even have to be a high-level proxy, but it does need to be someone who 
> will pass it up the structure.
> FA/DP structures will really be like extremely large and complex 
> information-processing systems, nervous systems, and their creation will 
> be somewhat analogous to the overlay of nervous systems over more 
> primitive and less flexible chemical messaging in multicellular organisms.
>> I propose that voter registration attend to honoring voter proxy 
>> assignment, including counting how many voters belong to each proxy.
> Sure. But this proposal will go nowhere, I rather confidently predict, 
> unless first NGOs are formed using DP principles. And FA should make 
> them grow quite rapidly. As I mentioned, once one of these exists and 
> once a few people realize what they could do, and they start doing it, 
> there is no reason not to join. It doesn't cost anything, and it doesn't 
> even take much time, about as minimal an amount of time as can be 
> imagined. Except, of course, for those who can spare more time and care 
> to devote it.
>> Seems there are two proposals:
>>     Abd has FA/DPs with such powers as require no backing by laws.
>>     I use proxies and see need for laws to balance power vs control.
> I'd say this is the cart before the horse. For how long has it been 
> widely known that the electoral college, combined with state rules for 
> choosing electors, can produce inequitable results? Why hasn't it been 
> changed?

BECAUSE picking something that is REALLY BETTER is no trivial task.
> The reason is that changing it within the system bucks up against 
> Lomax's Rule: inequitable governmental systems, by definition, favor 
> some groups over others. Restoring equity will be perceived as injuring 
> those favored groups, which, by the conditions of the problem, have more 
> power and can thus successfully resist change.
> Only serious pain is likely to overcome this. 2000, pretty clearly, was 
> not painful enough. Except that FA/DP organizations could represent an 
> end run around the system. Still, there may not yet be enough pain to 
> arouse people enough to do the very minimal action it takes to join an 
> FA/DP organization.
> I'm not sure what "power vs. control" means. Power is control and 
> vice-versa. I think that what he might mean is that there should be laws 
> which restrain the power of DP structures. I agree that this is 
> necessary if they are not Free Associations. If they are FA, that very 
> fact introduces a natural restraint. Plus I think that DP structures 
> will *also* be naturally restrained.
> If the FA/DP organizations are NGOs, does Mr. Ketchum still think they 
> should be regulated by law? If so, I suggest that this would be a very 
> dangerous idea; but most attempts to regulate FA/DP organizations would 
> be unconstitutional, I'd think. All they do is talk, really. But with a 
> difference, of course.

Not clear where NGOs fit.  The bodies I talk of NEED structure.

> I should probably put together my own description of DP as an election 
> method. Strictly speaking, DP representatives are not elected at all, 
> they are chosen; but to the extent that some minimum level of trust must 
> be assigned to them for them to enjoy full powers in a representative 
> body, we could call that an election.
> I should also put together a description of how DP could be used to 
> develop representation for a people under difficult conditions, such as 
> Iraq. I'll be working on that from at least two different directions. 
> One of them is FA/DP as it applies to the development of an Islamic 
> consensus, something which was suggested by both the Qur'an and the 
> Prophet, but which was never really implemented by the community, which 
> instead fell into authoritarian governmental forms early on. One of the 
> effects of this, if it came to pass, is that the ideologues who, too 
> often, pretend to represent Islam would be fully exposed as the ignorant 
> fanatics and perverters of Islam that they are. There is supposed to be 
> one infallible authority in Islam (or at least to be treated as if 
> infallible at any given time), and that is the consensus of the 
> community. But the mechanisms for developing expressing that consensus 
> were never created, except within limiting and distorting structures 
> where dissent was often seriously punished. Coercion is the death of 
> consensus.
> The other direction is simply to describe how an outside power, such as 
> an occupying authority, could set up a DP structure in a way that would 
> make it trusted by the represented public. But this one will be largely 
> useless unless someone with actual power takes up the idea.

Helps if the occupying authority has desire and ability to do some good!

> And I also have ideas as to how FA/DP organizations could arise and 
> function within authoritarian societies; how Tienanmen Square might not 
> have become the tragedy that it did had the students been organized 
> through FA/DP. Perhaps that story should be told one day.
>>> http://www.beyondpolitics.org
>>> http://www.beyondpolitics.org/wiki

  davek at clarityconnect.com    people.clarityconnect.com/webpages3/davek
  Dave Ketchum   108 Halstead Ave, Owego, NY  13827-1708   607-687-5026
            Do to no one what you would not want done to you.
                  If you want peace, work for justice.

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