[EM] language/framing quibble
fredgohlke at verizon.net
Fri Mar 6 06:00:31 PST 2009
Good Morning, Juho
re: [my comment] "If we design a process that does not require
campaigning, the evils of campaigning will be avoided."
[you asked] "How will you do that?"
The method outlined in my February 4, 2008 post, "Selecting Leaders From
The People" does not require campaigning. An updated version of that
(Selecting leaders FROM the people)
To select better leaders, we must select the most principled of our
people as our representatives. The method must be democratic (i.e.,
allow the entire electorate to participate), egalitarian (i.e., give
everyone an equal chance to participate), and it must be in harmony with
natural human responses.
This outline presents such a concept in the simplest, most direct way
possible. It will, necessarily, mention a few of the mechanics, but
they are secondary. The important thing is the concept of harnessing
human nature. Once we've seen a way to do that, we can concern
ourselves with the myriad other details.
Although the process is continuous, I will describe it as having two
phases. The human factors dominating the first phase will metamorphose
into a different set of factors as the second phase develops. This
metamorphosis is the "magic" of the process.
1) Divide the electorate into triads, groups of three people.
2) Assign a date and time by which each triad must select
one of the three members to represent the other two.
a. No participant may vote for himself.
b. If a triad is unable to select a representative in the
specified time, the triad is disqualified.
3) Divide the participants so selected into new triads.
4) Repeat from step 2 until a target number of selections is
reached. The target number will be the number of local
offices to be filled and the community's candidates for
county, state and national elective offices.
An Electoral Commission conducts the process. It names the participants
of each triad and supplies the triads with the text of pending
ordinances and a synopsis of the budget appropriate to the triad. In
addition, on request, it makes the full budget available and supplies
the text of any existing ordinances. This insures a careful examination
of public matters and encourages a thorough discussion of partisan views
on matters of public concern.
For convenience, we refer to each iteration as a "Level", such that
Level 1 is the initial grouping of the entire electorate, Level 2 is the
grouping of the selections made at Level 1, and so forth. The entire
electorate participates at level 1 giving everyone an equal opportunity
to advance to succeeding levels.
* As the process advances through the levels, the amount of time
the participants spend together increases. At level 1, triads
may meet for a few minutes, over a back-yard fence, so-to-speak,
but that would not be adequate at higher levels. As the levels
advance, the participants need more time to evaluate those they
are grouped with. They also need transportation and facilities
for meeting and voting. These are mechanical details.
* The public has a tendency to think of elections in terms of
just a few offices: a congressional seat, a senate race, and so
forth. There are, however, a large number of elected officials
who fill township, county, state and federal offices. The
structure outlined here provides qualified candidates for those
offices, as follows:
At a predefined level (determined by the number of offices to
be filled), the participants decide which of the remaining
candidates will fill the local offices and which will be
candidates for elective offices in the county, state and
The initial phase of the process is dominated by participants with
little interest in advancing to higher levels. They do not seek public
office; they simply wish to pursue their private lives in peace. Thus,
the most powerful human dynamic during the first phase (i.e., Level 1
and for some levels thereafter) is a desire by the majority of the
participants to select someone who will represent them. The person so
selected is more apt to be someone who is willing to take on the
responsibility of going to the next level than someone who actively
seeks elevation to the next level, but those who do actively seek
elevation are not inhibited from doing so.
As the levels increase, the proportion of disinterested parties
diminishes and we enter the second phase. Here, participants that
advance are marked, more and more, by an inclination to seek further
advancement. Thus, a powerful human trait is integrated into the system.
Those who actively seek selection must persuade their triad that they
are the best qualified to represent the other two. While that is easy
at the lower levels, it becomes more difficult as the process moves
forward and participants are matched with peers who also wish to be chosen.
Each participant must make a choice between the other two people in the
triad knowing that they must rely on that person's integrity to guide
their future actions and decisions. In doing so, they will choose the
person they believe most likely to conduct public business in the public
However, they do not make their choices blindly. Elections are a
periodic process. The majority of those seeking advancement will do so
each time the process recurs. Some will be successful. They will
achieve public office and their performance will be a matter of public
record. When they participate in subsequent occurrences of the process,
their peers can evaluate that record to help them decide the candidate's
suitability for advancement. Furthermore, the names of advancing
candidates are announced as each level completes. Members of the public
with knowledge of unseemly acts by an advancing candidate can present
details for consideration at the next level. Since, after the initial
levels, the peers also seek advancement, they won't overlook
Face-to-face meetings in three-person triads eliminate any possibility
of voting machine fraud. Significantly, they also allow participants to
observe the non-verbal clues humans emit during discourse and will tend
to favor moderate attitudes over extremism. The dissimulation and
obfuscation that are so effective in campaign-based politics will not
work in a triad of three people, each of whom has a vital interest in
reaching the same goal as the miscreant. Thus, the advancement of
participants will depend on their perceived integrity as well as the
probity with which they fulfill their public obligations.
This is a distillation process, biased in favor of the most upright and
capable of our citizens. It cannot guarantee that unprincipled
individuals will never be selected ... such a goal would be unrealistic
... but it does insure that they are the exception rather than the rule.
The process is inherently bi-directional. Because each elected official
sits atop a pyramid of known electors, questions on specific issues can
easily be transmitted directly to and from the electors for the guidance
or instruction of the official.
The cost of conducting an election by this method is free to the
participants, except for the value of their time, and minimal to the
government. Thus, it removes the greatest single cause of corruption in
our current system ... the need for campaign funds.
This table is built around a hypothetical election in the Village of
Owego, New York, as suggested by Dave Ketchum. According to Wikipedia,
Owego had a population of 3,911 as of the 2000 census. In the absence
of actual electoral data, we will estimate the electorate at 2,000
people. We will assume the election is to produce a Mayor for the
Village of Owego and three candidates for county, state and national
offices. For simplicity, we will assume each of the triads selects a
Full Previous Total People People
Level Candidates Triads Overflow Level Triads Selected Unselected
1 2000 666 2 666 666 1334
2 668 222 2 1 223 223 445 (1)
3 223 74 1 2 75 75 148
4 75 25 25 25 50
5 25 8 1 2 9 9 16 (2)
(1) Level 2 is a special case. If the number of candidates does
not divide equally into triads, any candidates remaining are
overflow. When there is overflow from Level 1, the extra
person(s) automatically become candidates at Level 2.
Thereafter, when there is overflow at any level, the number
of people needed to create a full triad are selected at
random from the people who were not selected at the previous
(2) The nine people selected at level 5 decide which of the nine
will serve as Mayor of Owego and which three of the nine will
compete for offices at the county, state and national levels.
To give a very rough idea of the time lapse required for such an
election, we will hypothesize triad lives of 5 days for the 1st and 2nd
levels, 12 days for the 3rd and 4th levels, 19 days for the 5th and 6th
levels, and 26 days thereafter. For the Owego example, that would work
out something like this:
Level Start Report Days
1) 07/09/08 07/14/08 5
2) 07/16/08 07/21/08 5
3) 07/23/08 08/04/08 12
4) 08/06/08 08/18/08 12
5) 08/20/08 09/08/08 19
The 9 people selected at level 5, would start meeting on September 10th
and make their selections by September 29th, 19 days later.
The idea presented here will be considered radical. It bears little
chance of adoption because it protects no vested interest. The only way
such a process will ever be adopted is if the concept can be made a
topic of discussion, particularly among students interested in achieving
a righteous government.
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