[EM] An artist's view on voting methods
mike at zelea.com
Mon Dec 3 22:31:53 PST 2012
Kristofer Munsterhjelm said:
> One should be careful with election by story, though. The worst kind
> of modern-day dictatorial regimes have often been backed by stories
> or myths to lend the regime legitimacy. ...
Yes, I agree. The events of the 20th century effectively innoculated
a generation against this particular disease, but younger generations
aren't necessarily immune. Under the right circumstances, propaganda
can masquerade as a legitimate world view. It can fool people into
making terrible mistakes.
> ... For instance, left-wing authoritarian rulers have claimed power
> to have been given to them by the workers or the people, and that
> the centralization of power through authoritarian measures is needed
> in order to protect the system from vast external enemies that would
> otherwise destroy it, and so that the rulers can direct the nation
> towards a glorious future. Similar mythology exists on the right:
> see, for instance, Gentile's description of the structure of Italian
> Fascism: http://www.oslo2000.uio.no/program/papers/s12/s12-gentile.pdf
> Among other things, he notes that totalitarianism provides a
> single narrative, then seeks to "politicize" all of life so as to
> pull it into that narrative.
This trick depends on an un-elected narrative, of course. There are
moments in history when people make the wrong choices and are trapped
by them, and come to regret them. Examples are post-Periclean Athens
and Weimar Germany. But the basis of legitimacy for these mistakes is
narrow (often a single vote) compared to the lengthy and elaborate
election of a narrative world view. Examples again are compilations
such as The Iliad, The Mahabharata, Ramayana, Old and New Testaments.
These are traditionally the work of centuries, and they stand for a
long time, if not forever.
Could such a "cultural election" happen in modern times, do you think?
Or what might prevent it?
Kristofer Munsterhjelm said:
> On 12/03/2012 05:35 AM, Michael Allan wrote:
> > Jonathan Denn said:
> >> Someone is editing Kurt Vonnegut letters for publication. This was
> >> online today... I'm struck with "editor" meaning "voter" and
> >> "stories" as "candidates"
> >> "...I invite you to read the fifteen tales ..."
> > I believe whole civilizations have been voted into existence by this
> > method, more or less. The candidate stories for the collection are
> > myths of a cherished past (as in The Iliad), or utopias of a hopeful
> > future (New Testament) or both (Mahabharata). The narrow method is
> > one of cultural selection; but the larger process, which Vonnegut
> > seems also to ask of his students, might more pointedly be called
> > "cultural *e*lection".
> > Could such an election happen in modern times, do you think?
> One should be careful with election by story, though. The worst kind of
> modern-day dictatorial regimes have often been backed by stories or
> myths to lend the regime legitimacy. For instance, left-wing
> authoritarian rulers have claimed power to have been given to them by
> the workers or the people, and that the centralization of power through
> authoritarian measures is needed in order to protect the system from
> vast external enemies that would otherwise destroy it, and so that the
> rulers can direct the nation towards a glorious future. Similar
> mythology exists on the right: see, for instance, Gentile's description
> of the structure of Italian Fascism:
> http://www.oslo2000.uio.no/program/papers/s12/s12-gentile.pdf . Among
> other things, he notes that totalitarianism provides a single narrative,
> then seeks to "politicize" all of life so as to pull it into that narrative.
More information about the Election-Methods