Politics (2) Democracy

Democracy is such a misunderstood term. Almost nobody in the world has experienced true democracy and almost never on a large scale. Many of us live in countries that have implemented representative democracies, specifically republics. Yet such a small proportion of those who live in republics understand how republics work, specifically how voting works in a republic.

An Unrestricted Analyst could debunk many of the popular misconceptions about voting in a republic. One such misconception is that a vote reveals what is wanted by the voter.

  1. Anyone who has ever held a paper ballot knows that there is no where near enough space on it to hold a complete and unambiguous express of what is wanted.
  2. Anyone who has ever tried to express any requirement or specification knows that the space to present it is the least of the problems (issues of completeness and ambiguity are overwhelming).
  3. One does not have to scratch deeply into the study of decision making by organisations to find that a huge portion of influence is exerted by the framer of the question(s) (as are being asked on the ballot).
  4. If the answer to the question is other than “yes” or “no”, then there is no general algorithm for combining answers from multiple ballots into a single answer from the election, referendum, or plebiscite — as in there are multiple algorithms where few if any give the same result as another.

Given these easily observed limitations (and there are plenty more beyond them), it is hard to justify the view held by so many that they should be able to express what they want on the ballot. Given their failure to understand the tool they are using, it is not hard to see why so many voters are so angry that the results of elections never seem to reflect what they want.  And for too many, the misconceptions about ballots and democracy is but the tip of the iceberg that is the failure of their education.

Random thoughts (1)

While this blog started as an alternative to missives sent to a mailing list, it is likely to suck away my attention to farceBook.  This posting is a symptom of it.

The announcement of a report out of UPenn about the impact of reading the Harry Potter series on attitudes about Donald Trump triggerred a lot jumbled connections in my mind.  First are the questions about causality in the basic result, then were all the assorted issues about how people derive their votes (expressed opinions).

The report claims to show that reading the JK Rowlings works lessens the appeal (or strengthens the rejection) The Donald (DT).  I can see several different models that could align with those observations.  The simplest of them being that since each HP installment is larger than the one before it, the series constitutes a scale of serious reading (the more serious a reader the further into the series the reader will go), and serious readers are likely to reject DT.  Another model, discussed in other announcements, is that there are thematic similarities between DT and Voldemort, and readers are more likely to reject the real world counterpart of the fictitious bad guy.

My currently preferred model is a variant of the later.  In the narratives, all the people are struggling, to varying extents, to reconcile their emotional reactions against their logical analyses.  Harry’s team seems to have made their planning processes largely logical with emotional feedback to reflect the outcomes, while their opponent seem to have done the exact opposite.  I see the groups of people that back DT (and the Tea Party as well) as being more like the villain; actually, the model suggests 4 different categories of people where DT backers are either of those that do not base their planning on logic.

Politics: US VP First Thoughts

I just finished watching and listenning to this video made in Miami https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HK9AmZftdWw , coverring the introduction of Tim Kaine as the VP candidate of the Democratic Party.

Midway through his speech, I was got a feeling that only got stronger as he went on.  Initially, I saw his bodily image as ho-hum, and then his voice was so much less than I had wanted.  However, instead of being underwhelmed by those superficial traits, I found they had not gotten in the way of the intellectual content he sought to present.

More than that, even as I found message behind his presentation, I found layers of message behind his message, in varying degrees of goodness.  I am very unsure that I can do justice to those messages, but they proved strongly reassuring.  What seemed the most significant to me was the return to sanity and the business of politics.  Sure, both Tim & Hil mentioned the opposition, complete with negative adjectives and adverbs, but they were mostly telling a coherent story addressed to the kind of mainstream America that I grew up with, in a way that showed that they both knew how to actually “walk the walk”.  The selection of Tim seems to be a practical choice that shifts the Dems only a tiny bit to the right while suggesting that the team is likely to deliver plenty.  A team that does not waste effort on fanatical ideologic battles but finds whatever possible cooperation in the pursuit of shared values will always get more done.