[EM] Re: majority rule, mutinous pirates, and voterstrategy

Abd ul-Rahman Lomax abd at lomaxdesign.com
Tue May 31 08:49:00 PDT 2005

At 11:01 PM 5/30/2005, Stephane Rouillon wrote:
> > Abd ul-Rahman Lomax a écrit :
> >
> > > [...] You may
> > > increase meeting efficiency by excluding minority factions, but at 
> the cost
> > > of potentially excluding them in deliberations toward consensus.
>This is not necessary. The efficiency aspect can be treated after the
>representation exercise. Many politicians only want voters to see
>that problem as a trade-off: more representation = less stability
>and efficiency; less representation = more stability and efficiency. I 

As do I, of course. Naturally, the politicians who prefer stability over 
diversity are those whose apparent power is enhanced by the existing 
systems. However, I suspect, societies which slice away the representation 
of minorities gradually weaken themselves. This is not to claim that there 
is no stability issue. However, what I've seen is that serious instability 
can be created, or maintained, when there is an attempt by a majority (or 
plurality, even worse) to dominate a minority. It is a problem even when a 
minority is relatively small.

In a delegable proxy system, efficiency and diversity can be appropriately 
balanced. The proxy system should allow substantial diversity even with a 
relatively small representative body. As those who've been following my 
writing would know, I favor direct democracy as to voting rights, but 
channel the direct democracy ordinarily through proxies, so it is also 
representative democracy.

If, for example, Town Meeting governments were to allow proxy voting, I 
don't think that attendance at Town Meetings would *increase*. Indeed, it 
would probably decrease. Yet any town citizen would remain free to attend 
and personally vote. The stability and efficiency issue is, I think, more 
smoke than fire.

As to using time sharing of power, this would, it seems, attempt to 
establish fairness by being sequentially unfair.... I.e., today we will be 
unfair to you by giving power to someone else, tomorrow we will make up for 
it by giving power to you. I don't see any benefit at all in this and, 
indeed, much danger. In my opinion, there are better ways to equitably 
share power.

The most important is to simply encourage people to exercise their own 
power. A mere majority attempting to oppress an organized minority is, 
shall we say, not acting very intelligently.

Delegable proxy essentially organizes minorities by creating a 
communications network. Free Association/Delegable Proxy, quite simply, can 
be seen as a collection of caucuses defined by chosen proxies. If the 
organization as a whole attempts to force a minority to its will, the 
minority is *already* organized, it can simply walk. Now, that's in a Free 
Association. In a government where "membership" is involuntary, it's not so 
simple. Still, I think the best protection is a sane deliberative 
democracy. A sane society will not attempt to oppress minorities unless it 
considers it truly necessary. For it can be *very* expensive. Creating a 
highly-motivated rebellious minority is not my idea of political fun.

A highy organized, highly centralized government might be able to pull it 
off. I think of China. But China is changing, it is a matter of time. And I 
don't think we want to imitate China.

(I have some thinking regarding how to introduce FA/DP concepts in 
situations such as those existing in China. I think it can be done; indeed, 
I think that had the students in Tienanmen Square been organized through 
FA/DP principles, the outcome would have been very different. FA/DP 
theoretically should moderate informal organizations that otherwise tend to 
be dominated by highly motivated fanatics and firebrands. The Chinese 
government was actually negotiating with the students, it seems; but some 
of the students were unwilling to stop short of totally humiliating the 
established government. And that does not fly in China. FA/DP would have 
allowed, I think, the saner students who were willing to accommodate the 
government's interests, to show that they really represented the majority 
of demonstrators, as well as the workers of Beijing. Without that, there 
were only self-declared leaders, and the loudest voices carried the day. To 
their ruin, setting back the cause of democracy in China by decades.)

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