[EM] Fwd: The point is that IRV (not PR) fosters peaceful democracy

Scott Ritchie scott at open-vote.org
Wed Nov 16 16:37:30 PST 2005

On Wed, 2005-11-16 at 12:18 +0000, IRV Alliance wrote:
> (note: IRV and IRV+/ranked pairs are functionally equivalent for 
> encouraging peaceful politics)
> 1- I thought that Iraq has more of a parliament than a legislature, 
> regardless of what it is officially called.  The neo-cons try to 
> mislead at every opportunity. 

Not to inflame, but just a bit of advice: if you don't want to be
ignored, try not to dismiss differences in terminology as lies
perpetrated by the vast neoconservative conspiracy.  A parliament IS a

> 2-  If they had an IRV-elected president, the leading candidates and 
> winner would be leaders for peace.  Even if they had just a had a few 
> IRV-elected regional representatives, that would also help moderate 
> the partisan PR-elected representatives.

Why do you think excluding smaller interest groups from the political
process entirely by denying them representatives will help foster peace?
I'd introduce you to a few factions that would assert otherwise, however
it wouldn't exactly be safe for you to meet them.

Less incisively, if you think IRV is some magical panacea for
partisanship, there's an entire country of Irishmen who would disagree.

> 3-Regardless, the point is that IRV democracy fosters peace.  I did 
> not say anything about PR.  The fact is that what they are using (PR) 
> is very partisan and does not help bring peace at all, obviously.  PR 
> elects  extremists.  
Not surprisingly, proportional representation elects extremists in
proportion to their share of the electorate.  If extremists against
peace would win their policy goal under PR, it means that they
constitute a majority of the government, and therefore also a majority
of the electorate - in which case they'd win under IRV as well.

>    But if Iraq starts using district representation like the U.S., 
> AND using IRV, then the most possible # of people will be represented 
> by EFFECTIVE politicians with broad non-partisan support.
There is no better way to fuel anti-democratic resentment among the
dispersed minorities than to shoe-horn them into districts where they
will be the minority.  How would you feel if you were part of a group,
such as a religious minority, that was widely spread throughout the
country but not a majority in any particular district when the
government decided to abandon PR in favor of districts that resulted in
you losing every say you had in the government?  Worse still, what if
the districts were gerrymandered like the US to the point where you
could be effectively ignored entirely by your "representative"?

>   Broad majorities will prevail while extremists will learn to 
> compromise.  Using PR in Iraq basically poured gasoline on their 
> competitive ethnic issues.  The Neo-cons don't give a rat's ass if 
> Iraq breaks up and becomes a terrorist-breeding war zone for 20 more 
> years, so they set-up a PR system.

Let me ask you this: why is there currently be a movement to organize
Sunnis to vote (and, implicitly, stop supporting the insurgency) rather
than boycott the elections?  Without PR, such a movement would have no
chance of improving Sunni representation in the parliament, and
boycotting the elections would be a better path to power.

>    Since peace-oriented moderates have no influence in that system, 
> citizens would had no incentive to vote for them anyway, so the 
> neocon-sponsoring military contractors can expect to maximize their 
> profit as Iraqis export the war around the world.
>    I understand there are PR supporters on this list.  I found a 
> detailed history of PR in America:
> http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/polit/damy/articles/kolesar.htm
> also linked here:
> http://prhistory.4IRV.net
>   It can be predicted that Iraqis will eventually reject most PR the 
> same way Americans did, so it would be best to encourage IRV/IRV+ 
> ASAP. 
Americans rejected PR because it allowed minorities into the government.
New York City's stint with STV is a great example: the political machine
of Tammany Hall was rendered virtually powerless overnight, and
minorities such as urban Republicans, women, and (god forbid) blacks
started winning seats.  This was obviously unacceptable, so PR was
eliminated so they could be more properly repressed, and Tammany Hall
returned to power.

Or perhaps Iraq might follow the history of Northern Ireland, and
abandon proportional representation in favor of gerrymandering and
single member districts, leading to a huge mess of terrorism?

I don't think that's a historical example I want Iraq following.

> Is Open-vote a website or what?

It will be.

Scott Ritchie

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