[EM] language/framing quibble

Fred Gohlke fredgohlke at verizon.net
Wed Mar 25 09:21:31 PDT 2009

Good Morning, Juho

re: "(Btw, I think there are interesting prospects also in the
       other hierarchies.)"

Given the extraordinary morass our political system has bestowed upon us 
... to the extreme disadvantage of our progeny ... it would be well to 
select the most practical parts of those interesting prospects and hone 
them to our use.  Beyond that, they distract us from the serious 
concerns we must face.

If you think I overstate the case, I urge you to review


It describes how the financial sector bribed our representatives to 
produce the monstrosity that now engulfs us.  The article provides a 
link to the full report (a 3MB document).  Possibly the greater horror 
is how that bribery is now protecting the guilty and preventing 
imposition of the controls the situation so urgently demands.

re: "Yes, the Practical Democracy adds some randomness in the
      process, cutting the usual paths that "the oligarchs" use to
      climb and stay at the top. Of course the process must always
      be in balance.  We must also guarantee that the best
      expertise is available at the top (one way or another),
      there is some continuity in the system etc.  Appropriate
      length of terms is one way to seek the balance..

The only guarantee that 'the best expertise is available at the top' is 
empowering the entire electorate.  There is no other way to avoid 
bypassing potential leaders.

When we replace one-third of the elected officials annually, the 
remaining two-thirds provide continuity while the new one-third provides 
freshness and responsiveness.

If there are other ways of achieving balance (other than length of 
terms), please share them.  We don't need endorsement, we need improvement.

re: "In the end it is us who think that money and good position
      in the current hierarchical system are more important than
      other values, i.e. it is not those few at the top of the
      hierarchy but the whole pack that sets the targets and
      rewards and appreciates the current value system and model
      of behaviour.

      Well, in order not to be too pessimistic I note that I do
      believe that people are quite fast in adopting new habits
      when they are explained well enough so that they can see the
      benefits and that the proposed new model indeed works."

You're right.  That's why my most fervent hope is that a few young 
people will consider the concepts we discuss here and mold them into a 
better political system.  I anticipate the process will take 200 years, 
but the period could be shortened considerably by people adept at 
illuminating the flaws of partisan politics.  A student with the 
perception to understand the causes of our political failures and the 
talent to publicize a more democratic method in a compelling manner will 
achieve a breakthrough ... not in my lifetime, certainly, but it will 

re: "The world of electoral reforms is an interesting one.
      People try to promote complex mechanical systems, to be used
      by all, to influence the roots of our political systems, to
      reduce the number and seriousness of political conflict
      situations, and quite often at the same time fight against
      the other reform proposals"

Some of this may be pride of authorship, but some of it is also a matter 
of immediacy.  In my case, I'm more concerned about finding ways to 
harness our own nature than I am with more immediately pressing 
political concerns.  As I told a strong advocate of proportional 
representation (which, by definition, implies a partisan system), I 
heartily applaud his efforts.  He is directing his attention to 
correcting a serious flaw in partisan systems, the tendency toward 
two-party dominance.  While I agree with what he is doing, there are 
others who share his goals to help him.  So, rather than dilute my own 
efforts, I focus on the more fundamental question of "Why humans shoot 
themselves in the foot, politically, and how can we harness the 
tendencies that produce that result?"

re: "PD seems to be a peaceful initiative.  Thanks for that."

It is certainly a peaceful concept.  There may be some question, though, 
as to whether it can be peacefully attained.  Those in power have 
enormous resources and will not yield their advantage easily.  The key 
to wresting power from them will be in the efficacy with which the 
advantages of a more democratic system can be explained to a majority of 
the people.

An important consideration in this regard is that any attempt to achieve 
this goal by force dooms it.  Achieving goals by force requires forceful 
leaders.  Forceful leaders, when they achieve success (with very rare 
exceptions, like George Washington), impose their own will on the 
ensuing government.

Fred Gohlke

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