[EM] it's pleocracy, not democracy
heitzig-j at web.de
Tue Mar 6 08:06:05 PST 2007
Dear Abd-ul Rahman,
> And the very core of my objection is that "the minority" is not a
> fixed group, such that it is deprived by not getting its way.
Raphfrk just gave us a very prominent example that this indeed can
happen. So I don't understand you still insist that such a thing was
> The thinking behind this proposal seems to be that every citizen
> deserves to "get their way,"
No, not at all. The thinking behind this is that voting systems that
claim to be "democratic", i.e. let "the people rule", cannot be
majoritarian since that confuses "the people" with "the majority". If
we want everyone to have some (perhaps even equal) power, we cannot use
a majoritarian system in which it can easily happen that 49% have no
power. That's very simple, isn't it?
> yet "getting their way" is not the goal
> of electoral choice systems, the goal is maximization of benefit,
*Whose* benefit is the main question! We are going in circles, aren't
we? How to define "benefit"...
> benefit is maximized by making choices which actually are the best
> for society,
Here we have another such term, "best" for society. Why are you so
convinced there is such a thing? Of course, we may sometimes see that
some option A is "better" for society than some option B in a certain
sense. At other times, we may see that some option A is better for some
people whereas option B is better for others, and it may be all but
clear that any of the two should be considered "better" for society. To
me it is obvious that on the social level there are always lots of
options neither of which can be said to be strictly better than the
others. So, maximization of benefit does not mean to find something
which is sterictly better than everything else but to find something
for which no other thing is strictly better (which is quite a different
thing unless you deal with a total ordering).
> The theory is that majority opinion, particularly if
> informed, is more likely to be right than wrong.
Again such a term: "right" as opposed to "wrong". Do you really believe
there is such a thing when it comes to conflicting preferences? That
reminds me of Ramon Llulls claim that the "right" (=god-wanted) option
will always turn up as the beats-all winner since for each other option
at least half the electorate will realize that it's "wrong"...
> And the converse of
> this is that in the presence of controversy, minority opinion is more
> likely to be wrong, so following the opinion of a minority merely
> because of the outcome of a random process is more likely to increase
> error. That's noise.
Minorities being in "error", minority opinion being "noise" -- I get the
impression that you have a completely different way of thinking about
group decision processes than I have. Living in a culturally and
ethnically very diverse society which has learned that there is no
unique "right" way to do things, I can't understand such thinking.
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