[EM] Helping the Pirate Party to vanish

Abd ul-Rahman Lomax abd at lomaxdesign.com
Sun Mar 17 19:49:15 PDT 2013

At 05:29 PM 3/17/2013, Kristofer Munsterhjelm wrote:
>On 03/15/2013 09:27 PM, Abd ul-Rahman Lomax wrote:
>>At 04:16 AM 3/14/2013, Kristofer Munsterhjelm wrote:
>>>On 03/13/2013 05:09 AM, Michael Allan wrote:
>>>>If the experts in the Election Methods list can't find a serious fault
>>>>with this method, then it might be possible to bring down the party
>>>>system in as little as a few years. Mind you, it would be no bad
>>>>thing if it took a while longer, given the disruption it might cause.
>>>Regarding liquid democracy methods in general, I think the vote-buying
>>>problem is pretty serious. Or rather, that's not the worst part of it,
>>>but it's a symptom of a more general aspect.
>>Kristofer is asseting as a serious problem something on which there is
>>zero experience. It's not clear that "vote-buying" is *ever* a serious
>>problem. A system that seeks broad consensus, where possible, is only
>>"vulnerable" to *truly massive vote-buying," where it is more like
>>"negotiation" than "vote buying." I.e., Walmart will donate $100,000 to
>>the town if voters allow a store to be sited there. Much more likely to
>>be successful than trying to pay voter $100 or whatever and run legal
>Given that there has been zero experience with the use of liquid 
>democracy for the exercise of power, yes, I am asserting something 
>on which there is zero experience. There's zero experience either way.

I'm not proposing "liquid democracy" for the actual exercise of 
power, precisely because it's untested.

>Since I make the assertion, I should provide something on which to 
>base it, though. And my assertions are based on analogous systems.
>In the matter of vote-buying and coercion, that analogous system is 
>simply the election of candidates for office. Vote-buying and 
>coercion were here serious enough problems that one moved from the 
>initially open ballot onto a secret ballot. Clearly enough, openness 
>at the lower end was not a good thing.

I don't think the history as presented is sound. Secret ballot has 
been used for a long, long time. And major vote corruption occurred 
in secret ballot systems. Open voting *on issues* is still done in 
all legislative bodies, and that includes Town Meeting, where 
ordinary citizens directly vote. They *never* use secret ballot for 
this, and it's probably illegal. However, by law, some issues have to 
be decided by registered voters in an election by secret ballot, not 
by Town Meeting. (In Massachusetts, I've only seen this for debt overrides.)

>The same arguments you provide against vote-buying and coercion 
>could be applied to a regular election. You say that vote-buying is illegal.


>  Yes, so it is in regular elections, but we still have secret ballots.

You seem to think that I'm opposed to "secret ballots." We do have 
secret ballots, but only for general public voting. In the systems 
I've proposed, hybrid representative/direct democracy, "electors" 
would be empowered by secret ballot. These would be able to vote 
directly, in some versions, on issues. The same electors would vote 
publicly for seats in a deliberative body.

There is *lots* of precendent for open voting by those enabled as 
representatives, indeed, it is *always* done that way. And, yes, 
these people can be bought, sometimes. But we don't allow 
representatives to vote secretly to prevent them from being corrupted!

>  You say that if the small town is too oppressive, then just move.

No. I said that this is a bigger problem than vote coercsion. 
Sometimes you can't move. Essentially, if one is in a situation where 
one would suffer from the expression of opinion, publically, one 
would not run to be an elector, just as one would not run to be a 
member of the city council. Unless willing to take the heat. You 
could vote in an Asset election for someone who was willing. And pay 
them, if you like. That's actually legal, as long as you don't 
attempt to influence legislation with the money.

>You could say that about public balloting for candidate elections, too.

Only by electors. Not by general voters. Again, we elect Presidential 
electors, state by state in the U.S.. They vote publically.

>And since we still have secret ballots, it would seem that those 
>arguments for a public ballot are not considered sufficiently strong.
>Would you prefer public (open) ballots for regular elections?


>If not, what's the difference between your arguments as applied to 
>liquid democracy, and as applied to regular elections?

I don't recommend elections at all by "liquid democracy." Basically, 
Kristoger, I suspect you've understood hardly anything I've written.

I recommend delegable proxy for *advisory organizations.* For public 
elections, I recommend Asset Voting, as the ultimate reform. The 
electors *may use* delegable proxy to help guide them how to vote, 
but that's *advisory* and optional. What is unusual about this 
concept is that a deliberative body is created that could be very large.

Anyone who does not want to be exposed to harm from who they vote for 
-- which is the basic issue -- simply would not become an elector, 
quite the same as someone who fears that now would not run for a city 
council position in this supposedly abusive small town. Nor would 
they now vote in a Town Meeting.

But someone will be brave enough, and that could be the person you'd 
vote for in an Asset election, if you want to support them.

>For that matter, liquid democracy (for the exercise of power) could 
>need more protection than ordinary elections.

Of course. Kristofer, *I'm not suppoting liquid democracy for the 
exercise of power.* Period. I'm supporting it for advisory 
organizations. Which can be *associated with a political party.* But 
delegable proxy sets up, as I propose it, networks of trust, where 
the proxy-client relationship allows *direct communication*. A great 
deal will happen outside of any official public channel. Indeed, most 
of the traffic involved in an FA/DP organization would likely be 
*private*. The organization, if it's an FA, does not make 
controversial decisions. Rather, it arranges and facilitates 
*communication* and it *measures* consensus.

It does so in a way that would be extraordinarily difficult to corrupt.

>The argument would go something like: if a minority is being 
>oppressed in a small town, then it doesn't matter because the 
>majority will win anyway. However, being a consensus system, liquid 
>democracy needs to protect minorities as well, so that it is safe to 
>be a proxy and thus to pull the center of political gravity in the 
>right direction.

"Liquid democracy" is a term invented in the 90s for a rather fuzzy 
set of proposals. I used "delegable proxy" to describe an 
amalgamation system, which is essentially that of LD, but I place it 
in the context of a Free Association (FA), which, by design, does not 
centralize and collect power to be exercised by majority vote. These 
Associations are designed to be easy to join and to participate in, 
and to filter noise. Basically, you can control your level of 
participation, from very minimal to very active, and yet your power 
remains the same, because of the proxy system. The goal is *advice*, 
and those advised are anyone who wants to be advised. The 
participants of a political FA want to know how to vote powerfully 
and effectively. Leaders of a political party -- and the FA should 
*not8 be a political party as such, i.e., divided from others -- may 
want to be advised as to how the FA members think and what they want. 
An FA/Dp organization sets up ways for people to actually negotiate 
things with "the other side." For a few to handle this, instead of 
many, but representing many.

>>First of all, Kristoger is assuming exercise of power through delegable
>>proxy. I don't recommend it for that, not without substantial experience
>>first. I recommend it for *advisory structures.*
>With this (except for the spelling of my name :-), I do agree. If 
>experience is the most solid evidence, then let's get some of that 
>evidence. And since it's an optional matter whether one follows 
>advice, the stakes should be lesser.
>I mentioned liquid democracy in the sense of exercising power 
>because that was what I was discussing in the parliamentary 
>compromising problem thread.

Demox in Sweden did attempt to use delegable proxy for the exercise 
of power. It's not clear that they are still using it. It does appear 
that they advise their representative on the Town Council by majority 
vote, that that rep is obligated to vote according to the majority.

That is not an improvement, it's a reduction of deliberative 
democracy, i.e., the design process of the Town Council, to the 
activity of a party hack, i.e., someone who only does what their 
party tells them to.

If Demoex had realized the power of citizen *advice*, of having a way 
for citizens to collectively communicate through representatives 
representing a known number of voters, they'd not be losing support, 
they would be on their way up, to the point where they might actually 
represent a majority of the town, instead of less than 2%.

It's still possible. But I don't know that they are listening. Most 
of this was originally written about them many years ago. 

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