A Better Democracy

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Octavious
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A Better Democracy

#1 Post by Octavious » Fri Apr 16, 2021 5:14 pm

Democracy is flawed.

The idea of democracy is that the people choose who governs them and, by putting this power firmly into the hands of the people, you achieve the government best suited to serving their needs and steering the country in the direction they desire.

Democracy doesn't assume that the people are particularly clever, but it does assume that the people give a damn. Democracy assumes people care enough to look at the issues, consider the arguments, and bother to vote.

Sadly, rather too often, they don't.

People not voting isn't a problem. There is something rather honest and almost noble about a person who acknowledges politics isn't for them and happily accepts the more informed choice of their neighbours.

The problem are those who don't care enough to do it properly but vote regardless. Those who vote for the same numpties every election purely because they always have. Those who make their decision on the back of a glossy advert or half remembered media appearance. Those who see factually dubious Facebook post that happens to resonate.

I propose we get rid of them.

Cut the number of actual voters to a few thousand. Anyone can put their name on the electoral roll, but only a small percentage are randomly chosen to be voters. These voters then enter what we shall call Voter Service. Similar to Jury Service, this shall be a period of a couple of weeks or so, fully paid, during which the voters are required to attend debates, listen to arguments, and read manifestos. Voter Service concludes with the election, and Parliament is duly elected by a fully representative sample of the population who are made up of the most informed electorate in the history of mankind.

Democracy is saved.
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Re: A Better Democracy

#2 Post by yavuzovic » Fri Apr 16, 2021 5:35 pm

I can see a lot of problems with that but what would be the ups and downs for adding a multiplication system for votes:
Public Figures/Scholars: x5
Educated people: x3
Casual citizens: x1
Criminal records: x0.1 to x0.99 depending on the severity.

I can see that this can create a gap to manipulate votes and affect the outcome, which can lead to cheating in the elections and even if implemented correctly, the positive effect will be very little. A positive aspect can be that it will encourage people to receive higher education.
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Re: A Better Democracy

#3 Post by flash2015 » Fri Apr 16, 2021 5:41 pm

I think you are prematurely jumping ahead here, making the assumption that "stupid/uninformed voters" are the problem and that people that don't vote are the real ones making an explicit choice. I would argue that people who are not voting do it because they don't have the time, don't feel there are adequate choices (e.g. you only have democrat/republican in the US) or generally feel disenfranchised with the political process.

I don't believe your assertion is proved at all. Perhaps you can give an example of an election which had the wrong outcome because the "stupid/uninterested people" voted?

I believe that there are many other improvements we could make that could provide better electoral outcomes. For example, an electoral system like New Zealand's MMP system provides a better electoral outcome that the current system in the USA or UK.

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Re: A Better Democracy

#4 Post by Octavious » Fri Apr 16, 2021 5:48 pm

Flash, where do I talk about stupid people being the problem? Perhaps it is the word "stupid" that is being problematic. What do you mean by it, exactly?

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Re: A Better Democracy

#5 Post by Octavious » Fri Apr 16, 2021 6:02 pm

yavuzovic wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 5:35 pm
I can see a lot of problems with that but what would be the ups and downs for adding a multiplication system for votes:
Public Figures/Scholars: x5
Educated people: x3
Casual citizens: x1
Criminal records: x0.1 to x0.99 depending on the severity.

I can see that this can create a gap to manipulate votes and affect the outcome, which can lead to cheating in the elections and even if implemented correctly, the positive effect will be very little. A positive aspect can be that it will encourage people to receive higher education.
I'd be very reluctant to move away from the one man, one vote idea. As far as criminal records go, once you've done your time you've done your time. I don't see any reason to further punish someone for the same crime. Current prisoners, of course, should have no vote.
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Re: A Better Democracy

#6 Post by flash2015 » Fri Apr 16, 2021 6:12 pm

Octavious wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 5:48 pm
Flash, where do I talk about stupid people being the problem? Perhaps it is the word "stupid" that is being problematic. What do you mean by it, exactly?
I am going off this paragraph:

"The problem are those who don't care enough to do it properly but vote regardless. Those who vote for the same numpties every election purely because they always have. Those who make their decision on the back of a glossy advert or half remembered media appearance. Those who see factually dubious Facebook post that happens to resonate."

I ***assume** you were implying a lack of intellect...but I don't think my question changes if we just went with "uninformed".

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Re: A Better Democracy

#7 Post by Octavious » Fri Apr 16, 2021 6:25 pm

Your assumption about my assumption was false :razz: . I specifically said that democracy doesn't assume people are particularly clever, and I believe that that is one of its strengths. Start discriminating based on intellect and you instantly lose the fully representative voting base, which I was very specific about keeping.

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Re: A Better Democracy

#8 Post by flash2015 » Fri Apr 16, 2021 6:31 pm

Octavious wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 6:25 pm
Your assumption about my assumption was false :razz: . I specifically said that democracy doesn't assume people are particularly clever, and I believe that that is one of its strengths. Start discriminating based on intellect and you instantly lose the fully representative voting base, which I was very specific about keeping.
As I stated in my previous message, let's go with "uninformed" then. Can you provide an example of an election where these "uninformed" voters were the primary reason for a non-optimal election result? I have to see the example of harm to understand if your suggestion has any merit.

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Re: A Better Democracy

#9 Post by flash2015 » Fri Apr 16, 2021 6:33 pm

For example, are you suggesting that Brexit occurred because on uninformed voters?

I am just guessing of course as you say you were against Brexit... :razz:
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Re: A Better Democracy

#10 Post by flash2015 » Fri Apr 16, 2021 6:41 pm

Given your responses to far this is what I think this thread may be:

https://i.imgur.com/LaJ9Kmo.gif
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Re: A Better Democracy

#11 Post by orathaic » Fri Apr 16, 2021 7:35 pm

Wow, I thought you were going to go somewhere else.

The idea of democracy is just that people are the most expert at knowing what is in their interest. The issue here is representative democracy. Politicians spend a lot of energy getting elected, and members of the public spending energy trying to figure out who best representstheir interests.

So I like Octavious's solution. We had a 99 person Citizen's Assembly in Ireland (chair by a judge) make recommendationsabout changing the constitutional they were very effective (in that the fairly contraversial issue of abortion was addressed and seems to have been solved to the happiness of the majority).

In my head the you get rid of politicians and use civil servants as a kind of executive presenting options to small groups. So you effectively get ministerial jobs for a randomly selected group appointed to make decisions on a single issue.

This allows you skip several issues with democracy. Everyone involved actually feels their decision will make a difference, so getting rid of the apathy issue. Removes the incentive to lie from politicians (nobody is worrying about re-election) and the is less opportunity for corruption...

No voters and no elected politicians, just civil servants, and civil society groups presenting on individual issues. There should even be a system of citizen's initiatives to force changes to be considered (as the have in the EU at present) but the who considering them would be randomly selected citizens advised by presentations from interested parties and civil servants...
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Re: A Better Democracy

#12 Post by Octavious » Fri Apr 16, 2021 7:43 pm

Every election, flash. Every election. Politicians play the game according to the existing rules, and under existing rules you essentially need to win over as many voters as possible. There are a few quirks out there which add some minor complications, but that doesn't change the fundamental narrative. In order to win you direct your resources to best appeal to the most targets. The key weapons of the campaign are the soundbite, the eye-catching ad, the appeal to emotions. Far less important are detailed policy, debate, well thought through manifestos etc.

The public can't hold their government to account if they were never clear about what they promised they'd do. Parties tell lies and mislead because it achieves better results than straightforward honesty and diligence. We have never been able to elect the government we deserve because under the current rules such a government is unable to win. The Brexit vote is a perfectly valid example. Both Remain and Brexit campaign teams behaved abysmally, and the voters never came close to having an informed choice. In every vote, in every election, we are robbed.
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Re: A Better Democracy

#13 Post by Jamiet99uk » Sat Apr 17, 2021 10:27 pm

Octavious wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 7:43 pm
Every election, flash. Every election. Politicians play the game according to the existing rules, and under existing rules you essentially need to win over as many voters as possible. There are a few quirks out there which add some minor complications, but that doesn't change the fundamental narrative. In order to win you direct your resources to best appeal to the most targets. The key weapons of the campaign are the soundbite, the eye-catching ad, the appeal to emotions. Far less important are detailed policy, debate, well thought through manifestos etc.

The public can't hold their government to account if they were never clear about what they promised they'd do. Parties tell lies and mislead because it achieves better results than straightforward honesty and diligence. We have never been able to elect the government we deserve because under the current rules such a government is unable to win. The Brexit vote is a perfectly valid example. Both Remain and Brexit campaign teams behaved abysmally, and the voters never came close to having an informed choice. In every vote, in every election, we are robbed.
I agree very much with the concerns you are expressing here.

I am not sure if your solution is the best solution or not, but the debate is an interesting one to be having.

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Re: A Better Democracy

#14 Post by Jamiet99uk » Sat Apr 17, 2021 10:29 pm

orathaic wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 7:35 pm
So I like Octavious's solution. We had a 99 person Citizen's Assembly in Ireland (chair by a judge) make recommendations about changing the constitutional they were very effective (in that the fairly contraversial issue of abortion was addressed and seems to have been solved to the happiness of the majority).
The Citizen's Assembly is an interesting case study, but it's not a direct solution to this issue because it had no power; Ireland's government was under no obligation to implement the Assembly's proposals.

It was basically just a high-profile focus group, from what I've understood?

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Re: A Better Democracy

#15 Post by orathaic » Sat Apr 17, 2021 11:46 pm

Jamiet99uk wrote:
Sat Apr 17, 2021 10:29 pm
orathaic wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 7:35 pm
So I like Octavious's solution. We had a 99 person Citizen's Assembly in Ireland (chair by a judge) make recommendations about changing the constitutional they were very effective (in that the fairly contraversial issue of abortion was addressed and seems to have been solved to the happiness of the majority).
The Citizen's Assembly is an interesting case study, but it's not a direct solution to this issue because it had no power; Ireland's government was under no obligation to implement the Assembly's proposals.

It was basically just a high-profile focus group, from what I've understood?
That seems fair. But A) there have been multiple assemblies, each with recommendations on seperate changes to the constitution.
and B) in the same sense that the Brexit vote was 'advisory', yes the govt has the power to completely ignore it.

My idea would be to take what works from this (successful)model and apply it more widely.

Also, the reason some issues (like abortion or marriage equality) went before a citizen's assembly was because the government of the day didn't want to call for a ref (again, like David Cameronresigning after losing), they escaped responsibility by establishing a citizen's assembly and then directly turning the assemblies reccomendations into a referendum question. So whatever they public decides at the ref, the govt has coemvwr they are just fulfilling a democratic mandate. And they aren't responsible for even the shape of the question...

You could easily call the Brexit advisory vote a 'large scale focus group with no real power. But that would ignore the reality of public perception.

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Re: A Better Democracy

#16 Post by orathaic » Sat Apr 17, 2021 11:54 pm

@Oct.
you said 'every election the politician play the same game'

First, have you seen the 'rules for rulers'? Kinda paints a poor picture...
and second, any system will devolve into using power to protect the system itself, rather than achieving the good it was intended to create, or only achieve that good as a secondary effect.

That is the nature of institutional power.

So I really like the idea of abolishing the current system, breaking the rules, and setting up a new institution which is fresh and ready to be effective.. . Even if only for a few years (I think it was Gore Vidal who recollected a US president telling him of US federal agencies, 'they are only useful for 5 years, then you need to setup a new on'.. )
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Re: A Better Democracy

#17 Post by orathaic » Sun Apr 18, 2021 3:23 pm


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Re: A Better Democracy

#18 Post by MajorMitchell » Sat May 08, 2021 11:09 am

I have thought that away to modify the Australian Democracy would be to make our lower house of Parliament, the House of Representatives where Government is formed a Ladies only House of Parliament. So only persons of the feminine gender can stand for election to our House of Representatives. The upper house, our Senate is open to men and women members. Both sexes vote for candidates to both Houses of Parliament.

I don't think it would give any advantage to any particular Political party but it would sure be interesting. Then of things go wrong with the Government it's not the fault of men.

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Re: A Better Democracy

#19 Post by Octavious » Sat May 08, 2021 3:46 pm

Of course it's the fault of men, Major, because a man suggested it.

Surely you've learnt by now that any day that starts with you saying "why don't we...?" makes you liable for everything that goes wrong after for at least a week. The same principle applies ;)

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Re: A Better Democracy

#20 Post by flash2015 » Mon May 10, 2021 4:47 am

I think we should simplify it even further and just let me choose all government officials.

As everyone knows, my judgement is impeccable.

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