Re: Ethics

From: David Clark (
Date: Mon Feb 07 2005 - 09:34:54 MST

----- Original Message -----
From: "Maru Dubshinki" <>
To: <>
Sent: Sunday, February 06, 2005 7:52 PM
Subject: Re: Ethics

> Here hear! An excellent defence of demarchy. But what I find to be
> the nicest thing
> about the whole conception (besides stopping most corrupt political
> games; and the fact that by sheer chance most decisions would probably
> be made by lower and middle-class people, the ones who, y'know, will
> actually have to live with the choices gov.'t makes, and are not able
> to scoot off to the Bahamas or to gated communities) is the procedural
> elegance of it.

I can only hope that the *lower and middle-class people* look after just
Maru's money and life and not mine. There is something worse than what we
now have and it can be found in the above paragraph. Maru must believe that
evolution works best if you propagate the next generation from the worst,
rather than the best, current candidates.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Thomas Buckner" <>
To: <>
Sent: Sunday, February 06, 2005 3:40 PM
Subject: Re: Ethics

> Also, bear in mind that any system that
> eliminates campaigns eliminates the de facto
> bribery of campaign contributions, and frees
> decision makers from worrying that a
> conscientious decision will cost them
> re-election.


> Furthermore, a more detailed description of my
> proposal would include making sure the pool is of
> those who are qualified, or at least not stupid
> and not insane. If we need licenses to fly planes
> or perform surgery, why not to govern?

I agree with this point but is *non-insanity* or *non-stupidity* enough to
look after billions of dollars of public assets? So why have elections at
all? What qualified input or valuable opinion on almost anything are you
going to get by canvessing most people. Most have either meaningless
unqualified opinions or simply don't care. Who allows the *thugs* to
continue to govern right now?

> It would
> also obviate 'district shopping' and
> gerrymandering since a qualified person would not
> need to move to an area dominated by like-minded
> people to have any chance of success.

This is just another problem of the current democratic system, so why have
it at all? Your solution seems to try to fix the myriad of problems with
the current voting system but doesn't do anything for the real problem which
is assigning value to valueless opinions.

> A random system would tend to eliminate 'winner
> take all' phenomena where a slim majority can
> steamroll a large minority. In a random system
> the overall structure of policy making would
> closely track the actual proportion of views in
> the population.

Why would the majority or minority views be a correct criteria for making
decisions? Are the opinions of the majority necessarily in their or any
else's best interest? Wouldn't it be better to have a certain set of goals
(call it a constitution) that is referred to in making decisions? I have
read arguments on the SL4 list that say that truth/correctness can't be
voted on. If something is true then it is true regardless of how many
people believe it. This I agree with, although I don't always agree that
something is true when others do and some topics cannot be determined to be
either true or false but have weighted probabilities.

> A random system can be seen not as a 'choosing
> the best' system but as a 'preventing the worst'
> system.

Democracy has been called a bad system but the best that humans have tried
so far. I look at the way most companies, large and small, operate and most
of the time they make good decisions and work fairly well. In general, they
have no elections and yet they seem to hire competent people at all
different levels. The companies that don't make good decisions generally
fail, unless some 'do gooders' make the mistake of giving them some virtual
monopoly or public handout and wrecking the natural selection. Why can't
any size organization (country, state, city, neighborhood etc) be run as a
huge hierarchy of organizations based on the kind of structure businesses
currently are? Make the system automatically weed out the bad and
incompetent people and organizations and forget about voting all together.
The goal for most companies is to maximize profits but the goal for running
society should be to maximize collective value while maintaining individual
rights as set out in their constitutions.

> As I do not expect the authoritarians to give up
> power, legally or not, peacefully or not, and as
> they now have surveillance and armament
> sufficient to put down any opposition I can
> envision, I do not anticipate a random or
> open-source system here. Only a transhuman or SAI
> can undo what has been done. Even then, it will
> not necessarily matter who 'should' impose hir
> decisions on the rest; it will only be a question
> of who can.

This is a rather negative portrayal but I mostly agree with your point.
What if a small country, small island, small piece of some existing country,
moveable ocean platform etc could be had that didn't have these entrenched
power problems? It might be possible. There must be some rich people who
can't stand to live in the current political climate and want more than just
to be alone. There must be a place sometime, somewhere where intelligent
and rational people can thrive. Is just existing enough?

-- David Clark

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