[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 
called integrative.

Absent emergencies, important decisions should be made from a position of 
relative unity.

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