[EM] it's pleocracy, not democracy

Abd ul-Rahman Lomax abd at lomaxdesign.com
Mon Mar 5 22:56:53 PST 2007

At 04:50 PM 3/5/2007, Juho wrote:
>On Mar 5, 2007, at 7:02 , Abd ul-Rahman Lomax wrote:
>>How, indeed, it occurs to me to ask, are we to know who "got their
>>way" in a secret ballot system? The presumption might be that the
>>"way" was gotten by a party.
>>It would be just my luck that by the time I wised up and became a
>>Republican, the Democrats would get their turn. (Make no
>>assumptions about my personal politics from this.)
>It is possible to link the information that is carried from one
>election to another to parties or candidates as well as to the
>voters, depending on the characteristics of the environment.

I think that Juho did not get the implications of what I wrote. If we 
are going to link the randomization that allegedly eliminates 
injustice to "minority" voters, we must have open voting, we can't 
have secret ballot. If we have secret ballot, and there is some 
hidden process that randomizes the results, well, tell me, would 
*you* trust that such a process was not being manipulated? After all, 
there would be no way to check.

>>Readers may know that I favor Range Voting as an election method,
>>which does not automatically choose the preference of the majority,
>>for it considers preference strength, if the voters choose to
>>express it. I've said it before and I'll probably say it again:
>>The majority properly has the right of decision, but it wisely
>>exercises this carefully, with consideration of possible harm done
>>to minorities.
>I wouldn't go that far (away from the Range ideal :-). Often the
>majority has the power to do so and often it may be well justified to
>allow and support that but I wouldn't give them the right as a
>general rule.

They do in the rules of nearly every established assembly. I've seen 
new, experimental groups, innovate by using consensus rules, or 
modified consensus rules (such as having an escape method whereby, 
after some process, 80% can make a decision even if someone still 
objects), and I've also seen such groups wither and fail.

Essentially, there are two ways to determine the application of 
rules. There is an authoritarian way, where some authority is set up 
with the power to rule and to enforce rules, or there is the 
democratic way, where the rules are interpreted by the majority. The 
latter is standard in democratic assemblies, but often rules are 
created which procedurally go more toward the former. This happens 
when the chair is given excessive power, in my view, as an example. 
Or in the U.S. House, we may see that the Majority Leader has 
practically dictatorial power. But that power can be overruled, 
typically all it takes is a majority vote. It is just that it becomes 
extremely difficult to assemble that majority, for political reasons, 
even when the Majority Leader is clearly violating established norms.

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