[EM] Conceiving a Democratic Electoral Process
fredgohlke at verizon.net
Mon Jul 2 06:08:58 PDT 2012
Good Morning, Juho
re: "To me the question of sponsorship is therefore simply a
question of how much the elections should be 'one man one
vote' and how much 'one dollar one vote'."
Since we are "Conceiving a Democratic Electoral Process", our focus here
is on "one person, one vote".
re: "I see the question of independent selection of candidates to
be a related but separete problem, since it would exist also
Since we are "Conceiving a Democratic Electoral Process", designing an
electoral method that lets the people, themselves, select their
candidates for public office is one of the most fundamental problems we
must address. The design must accept, indeed welcome, the healthy
reality that the people will form interest groups, factions, parties and
enclaves to advance their particular point of view, but must prevent any
of those entities gaining control of the government.
re: "At least in theory we could have a political system that
runs on goverment budget money only."
That can't happen because the donation of private money to support
political action has been deemed an expression of free speech. In any
electoral method that requires vast sums to achieve public office, it
will be impossible to stop the flow of private money to support partisan
interests. Given the adverse effects of campaign-based systems
described in my June 28th post, it would be best if the electoral method
were free of these pernicious influences.
re: "The simplest approach is simply to make a law that
eliminates all unwanted sponsoring."
I disagree. Not only is such a law impossible to enforce, it is an
example of condoning an evil and trying to prevent its effect. It is
much better to to conceive a system that does not require the
expenditure of enormous sums, in the first place.
re: "... trying to build a system that implements an ideal system
at one go, without such radical changes that the counter-
poison approach represents, may be more risky."
At this point, we're not trying to build it, we're trying to conceive
it. Including poison in the concept ensures failure.
re: "I refer e.g. to the soviet system that tried to rule the
country and even the world by lifting the best persons to
the top (without allowing opposition that could have acted
as a counter-poison)."
The 'best persons' you speak of were only best from the point of view of
the party. Of course they didn't allow opposition. As I've said
before, parties always "seek the power to impose their views on those
who don't share them." They don't always succeed, but when they do it's
catastrophic. The threat of domination is always present in a
re: "Also current parties follow this idea that best people will
rule within the party."
As with the soviet system you mentioned, the 'best people' are only best
from the party's perspective. They are not, and, by definition can not
be, best from the point of view of the community. Hence, the community
will always suffer.
re: "It would be nice to have softer systems without the
controversial and fighting parties, and a system that
would not be very oligarchic ..."
How can such systems evolve if we lack the intellect and the energy to
conceive them? To not make the effort is inexcusable.
re: "One may try to improve the current (maybe multi) party
based systems so that the harmful effects of sponsoring,
self-interest and party favourite candidates will
That can't happen for a very fundamental reason, a reason that was
explained in detail 100 years ago by Robert Michels, when he wrote
"Political Parties". You can find the link in a post I made yesterday.
I hope you'll read it. It's fascinating.
re: "This could take place both within the parties, within some
towns, and at country level. Making the experiments within
one fragment of the current system may be safer than making
a full revolution that would allow the new proposed system
While it can't happen in parties, it probably will in some towns. Small
communities are the most likely to put advancement of the town's
interest ahead of partisan interest. In this connection, you might
enjoy reading Adversary Democracy, Jane J. Mansbridge, The University of
Chicago Press, 1980.
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