[EM] Practical Democracy

Fred Gohlke fredgohlke at verizon.net
Mon Feb 1 11:37:09 PST 2016

Good Morning, Kristofer

Thank you for your thoughtful comments.

re: "In a simpler "three people at random choose one among
      themselves, rinse and repeat" method, the concentration
      effect excludes minority points of view while amplifying

This is an excellent point, but it raises the question of whether this 
result is good or bad.  If the process totally excludes minority points 
of view, it would certainly be bad.  However, when the majority 
incorporates parts of minority views, amplifying them is beneficial, and 
we have reason to believe that will occur.  It is far more likely that 
the process will accommodate minority points of view, even if only a bit 
at a time, and will spread them beyond the minority that originally held 

The work done on small groups, like that cited in the outline by 
Esterling, Fung and Lee in the U.S. and Thamy Pogrebinschi in Brazil, 
gives us reason to expect minority views will be accommodated rather 
than rejected.

When small groups of people with differing views deliberate they tend to 
seek a consensus.  I have little doubt that, at the lower levels, there 
will be instances where emotional rejection occurs.  I have equally 
little doubt that, as the levels advance, cooler heads will prevail. 
Triads will work through their differences, adopting those parts of 
minority views that are rationally shown to be in the common interest. 
Changes will not be revolutionary, but they will be persistent, 
incremental and pervasive.

re: "That is why Fred added point 1b to the procedure: the
      idea is that a group of people with views held by say,
      10% in general, could declare to be a group of its own
      and run the procedure separately."


First, it is imperative that minority views get an audience, otherwise 
we'd still believe the earth was the center of the universe.

Second, not all those who hold a minority view are good advocates for 
their perspective.  Non-standard views must be presented with force and 
reason.  Those who hold the views must be allowed to decide who are the 
best advocates of the concept.

Third, the quality of an idea should not be judged by the number of its 
adherents.  New concepts usually start out very small.  If they have 
value, over time others adopt them.  The important thing is that, even 
in its infancy, a new idea must have an opportunity to attract 
adherents.  Allowing people to declare membership in a faction lets 
'birds of a feather flock together'.

re: "The final level (council) would end up having at least
      one representative of the group instead of that group
      being whittled down into nothingness by participating
      directly in the unaffiliated process."

While that may be, I'm inclined to think most of those who reach the 
final level will bring with them convictions supporting all or parts of 
the minority views.

re: "I'm still a bit wary regarding the concentration of
      power, however.  Groups that are more like parties
      would have a coordination advantage compared to those
      that are less like parties, particularly in the later

I think this may be true, but the effect is no more deleterious than the 
existing system where parties control the candidates.  The much more 
important consideration - in my view - is that the process gives a 
strong voice to non-partisans, who are completely excluded from 
party-based systems.

re: "suppose that 20% of the representatives at the next to
      last level are aligned with party X and have an implicit
      agreement that whenever there are more than one X member
      in a triad,"

I don't think we even need imagine an implicit agreement.  When two 
members of a triad have similar views, the odds favor one of them 
advancing to the next level.  This will happen, not because of an 
agreement, but because partisanship is a natural phenomenon.

re: "... it might end up with council representation exceeding
      20% because there aren't enough triads to go around to
      evenly distribute the X members.  Small towns could also
      have a concentration problem like that."

This is a difficult point for me because it seems to assume that X 
members are committed to a single, all-encompassing ideology that X will 
force on the community.  I doubt that will be the case.  It is likely 
there will be fanatical members of X, but their fanaticism will limit 
their ability to advance.  Members of X that advance are much more 
likely to be individuals with the wit and wisdom to rationally persuade 
others that there is value in the X view.

re: "However, finding out whether that is indeed a serious issue
      would probably take some simulation."

I absolutely agree, but I am unable to provide a simulation.  It is my 
sincere hope that the ideas have enough merit to encourage others to 
pick up on them and provide the kind of supporting rationale the concept 
needs to gain acceptance.  Whether that will ever happen is an open 
question because the process is truly democratic, so it has no 
champions.  It offers no rewards for individuals or vested interests; it 
gives no individual or group an advantage over others.  Hence, it offers 
no incentive for power-seeking individuals or groups to advocate its 
adoption.  Instead, the cultivation of the concept falls to those who 
can envision a better future for society.

Fred Gohlke

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