[EM] Electing a proportional executive/cabinet

Abd ul-Rahman Lomax abd at lomaxdesign.com
Sun Mar 19 19:31:13 PST 2006

At 10:52 AM 3/18/2006, raphfrk at netscape.net wrote:
>Is there any standard/efficient way to elect a cabinet directly ?

There is certainly no *standard way*. There may be an "efficient" 
way, in fact there are many. But a stupid thing efficiently 
accomplished is still a stupid thing. In fact, one of the great 
protections we enjoy by default is that the stupid are usually 
inefficient.... unfortunately, not always....

Cabinets are best hired, not elected. In fact, I think direct 
elections, without any clear deliberative process, which choose 
officers based on public image and without the public actually 
knowing the candidates well (by which I mean personally, with ample 
opportunity to observe the individual), are a formula for deception 
and delusion. And history, I think, confirms this thought. Sometimes 
a good person is elected through this process. However, a stopped 
clock is still right twice a day.

Elect a parliament or legislature directly, if you must (delegable 
proxy is better, but until the revolution....), and then let this 
body hire the managers, to serve at their pleasure. Cabinet officials 
are managers, like department managers in a business.

Once you have directly elected officials, they have terms during 
which it can be extraordinarily difficult to remove them. You 
essentially create kings-for-a-few-years. Whether or not they 
actually are functioning as the servants of the public that they should be.

No sane set of shareholders in a corporation would hire managers this 
way. So what in the world would make us think it would be better in politics?

Parliamentary systems -- I'm no expert regarding them, but I think -- 
frequently assign cabinet posts as a power-sharing device, negotiated 
between political parties. That makes some sense, and does broaden 
representation in government, more than the winner-take-all insanity 
that is the U.S. process. But it can also result in assignments based 
only on party loyalty rather than on competence in the particular 
area of the ministry.

However, how the general public is supposed to be able to do better 
is completely beyond me. We don't have the information and even if we 
did, we don't have the time to analyze it. And we are missing 
something huge: personal contact with these people.

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