[EM] Time of trouble? Or put a lid on it?

Michael Allan mike at zelea.com
Sat Jan 31 21:12:33 PST 2009

Juho Laatu wrote:

> > > (I hope the role of public image
> > > doesn't get so strong that people
> > > would start thinking that their
> > > whitened teeth and wide smile are
> > > what they are, more than their
> > > internal thoughts. :-)
> > 
> > All of us shaking hands and kissing babies. :)
> Yes, usually that comes from the heart,
> which is just a sign of health. :-)

I guess we're just bantering.  If we were being serious, I'd say the
necessity of the "whitened teeth and wide smile" dates from the advent
of TV in politics.  (Wasn't it Richard Nixon who first learned about
that, back in the 60's or 70's?)  So the systematic of image making is
more on the side of mass media and mass voting - a problem in the
status quo.  And granted all is not problematic there, much is healthy
too.  I respect our arrangements.

The problematic I would like to discuss, without quite knowing how, or
with whom, is more on the social side.  The proposed voting method
itself has no systematic flaws, none we've been able to uncover to
date (and maybe we need to wait for empirical data).  But I can easily
forsee social problems that may be released as an indirect consequence
of it.

We have tensions in our societies that are held in a frozen suspension
by our political arrangements, not least by our voting methods.  Some
in this list who may ordinarilly be comfortable with discussing the
social side of voting, may nevertheless be uncomfortable with
discussing these particular tensions.  Like Madison or Jefferson, who
feared an unmoderated, unrestrained democracy, they might rather keep
a lid on such issues.  Yet, although it is simple enough to moderate
and restrain discussion here in the list, it may no longer be possible
to keep a lid on these issues in reality.

The main axis of tension is probably the gross disparity in wealth,
freedom and other goods that extends both locally (inter-class) and
globally (inter-national).  What will happen when that disparity is
thematized in formal voting and discussion, and floated in political
action?  Locally, will people continue to accept the degree of
inequality that our economic system seems to require, in order to keep
on functioning and producing goods?  And globally, if we open
democracy to all the world's people, are we also prepared to open our
borders to them?

Michael Allan

Toronto, 647-436-4521

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