[EM] Re: majority rule, mutinous pirates, and voter strategy
Abd ulRahman Lomax
abd at lomaxdesign.com
Fri May 27 09:26:34 PDT 2005
At 12:43 AM 5/27/2005, Stephane Rouillon wrote:
>Criterias and electoral methods [...] are not meant to
>cope for a fractionated electorate. An electoral system
>goal is to get the electorate will, whatever it is.
Actually, the goal of electoral systems is to reduce the electorate will to
a decision. One of the basic problems is the lack of clarity of what we
mean by "the electorate will."
Sensible persons, in the presence of contradictory impulses in their own
internal process, will take one of several possible courses of action:
(1) If the issue is not important, they may allow the "majority" impulse to
rule. Or they might, as an experiment, allow a hunch to control action,
even if there are plenty of arguments against it.
(2) They will take no action and wait for clarity. This presumes that the
situation is not urgent.
(3) Again, if the issue is not urgent, they will take the time to
investigate and to carefully compare the various options. An equivalent of
Condorcet Voting is sometimes used.
(4) If the situation is important and urgent, they will use an internal
equivalent of either Plurality or Approval voting. The tiger is at your
heels and there are three doors, about which you have no information but
what you see. I'm really not sure which of the two systems the brain will
use in that case, though, in the end, Approval might be hard-wired and
plurality then rules. And this is what is done in Approval Voting. There is
a preliminary process which determines Approval ratings and then plurality
within the ratings wins. Approval in an election process might indeed
require a majority approval or even a supermajority approval, or else the
election remains suspended, perhaps there is some kind of runoff (forcing
supporters of largely unapproved candidates to cast an approval vote for
the remaining candidates or abstain).
A sane electoral system would ordinarily avoid considering an election for
an important office done merely because of a simple majority approval.
That's a divided electorate, the equivalent of a divided mind. And there is
no efficient way beyond this other than a more sophisticated process than
what are ordinarily considered election methods.
This is the origin of the name Beyond Politics, for htt://beyondpolitics.org.
Delegable Proxy, if used as an election method, does not resolve conflict
in the electorate in the secret ballot phase; rather it reserves the
decision for a deliberative body in which every voter may either
participate or be represented by a representative of choice. One might call
the assignment of votes to electors an "election," except that in a proxy
system there are no losers. All remain represented, regardless of the
relative vote counts.
This is, indeed, how higher consciousness functions. We could take a hint
from our biology.
And my major point is that there is nothing stopping the formation of this
more coherent entity than our inertia and political cynicism. It does not
take convincing the public at large before such organizations could be up
and running and exerting substantial influence. Thus, such organizations
could be used as part of an electoral reform process.
Instead of trying to reform elections by using the existing election
process, one reforms the organization of voters to create a deliberative
body, through an organizational technology that, by its nature, attempts to
discover consensus; once there is a consensus, *then* it will be easy to
change election methods.
Even a relatively small delegable proxy political action group could exert
influence beyond its size. This is because the existing system allows
relatively small special interest groups to dominate the election process.
If one small DP organization is able to do this, it will be imitated by
others. And if these are FA/DP, i.e., Free Associations with Delegable
Proxy, they will almost automatically merge.
This is because merger does not require the acceptance or resolution of
competing ideas. It simply allows these ideas to meet on a level playing
field. FAs don't collect funds which are then spent without the individual
consent of the members. Rather, if a majority of members want to take some
action, a special fund is created for that action, including its own
management mechanism, and members voluntarily contribute to it. There might
be other members who oppose it, and they remain free -- and automatically
organized -- and in a position to do the same. So if there is a situation
where the electorate is divided, the competing conclusions may remain
balanced. As they should be.
Thus joining an FA/DP organization does not prejudice the outcomes toward
some particular position. FA/DP may start among progressives, for example,
and it would thus initially help progressive causes, but ultimately it will
create an environment which is "beyond progressive." Rather it might be
Absent emergencies, important decisions should be made from a position of
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