[EM] critical theory - election methods as a remedy

Michael Allan mike at zelea.com
Tue Mar 10 21:27:53 PDT 2009

Fred Gohlke wrote:

> That's true.  You could say, for me, he was 'preaching to the choir'. Since 
> you cited his work, could it be you share some of his aims?

I share only one of Habermas's aims, and only in part.  In general,
once again, the aims of critical theory are:

   i) To describe the structure and function of society;

  ii) To diagnose its ills; and

 iii) To prescribe the remedy.

Those are not my aims.  I'm only the "dispenser".  I aim to fill the
prescription.  But the doctors haven't provided the prescription, they
have only provided i and ii.  So I am providing iii.  (The alternative
would be to go swinging through the trees, without benefit of theory.
I tried that, already.)

> re: "It happens that you have a prescription, in the form of an
>      election method.  It also happens that I have one, and it
>      bears a resemblance to yours."
> I wonder if there is a basis for merging our efforts.  I suppose my 
> approach would be considered too low-tech, but I feel most people are 
> better able to communicate verbally than in writing.  I also favor physical 
> presence because I feel the visual and auditory clues we get from others 
> are significant sources of information.

I agree with your preference for direct speech, but I see no conflict
between direct speech and on-line IT.  We have mobile devices.  They
are becoming ubiquitous.  Imagine being engaged in a discussion over
the backyard fence, while simultaneously casting a vote on the same
topic.  It's easy with a mobile device.  (We'll soon have Dick Tracy
watches, if we want them.)

Except for the mobile interface (still in the works), most of the IT
to implement your method has already been developed - at least in
prototype form.  I have been developing it.  Surprise.  (I believe
nobody else has.) ^[1]

There's a catch.  The IT allows greater freedom to the voter than your
method would require, at least in its strictest implementation ^[2].
Constraints would therefore have to be imposed on the IT, either
technically or procedurally.  On the other hand, you might consider
that a strict implementation of your method is unnecessary, at least
initially.  Also, there is much to be said for these particular
freedoms.  They include:

   i) Triad size unbounded, not limited to 3

  ii) Voter chooses her own triad, and may migrate to another, at any

 iii) Voter may withdraw her vote, or shift it to another candidate,
      without restriction

Allowing for these freedoms, your method may be implemented today, in
prototype form.  If the voters approve of it, they may adopt it.  Or
you might impose additional constraints up front, and seek approval
for that.  (The voters will always have the final say, of course.)

[1] http://zelea.com/project/votorola/home.xht

[2] http://lists.electorama.com/pipermail/election-methods-electorama.com/2009-March/024260.html

Michael Allan

Toronto, 647-436-4521

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