A better Democracy

Starting with the idea of Democracy from cpt. 9, namely that one person one vote, the basis of our whole democratic system: I think it is good for now, but we ( as a race) should be looking for something better, the votes cast by people are a reflection of their opinion. I truly agree that peoples opinions matter, and they should be both valued and respected, but our current system has information flowing only one way so we get no “quality” value from the votes casts, the historical result has been that there are simply to many standard deviations of voters beyond the people who vote carelessly that their impact is rarely felt, but sometimes the will of the people is not in the peoples best interest (sometimes people vote for the stupidest (http://www.detroityes.com/mb/showthread.php?15377-Daily-Show-Mockumentary-Slams-Moroun-s-Opposition-to-New-Bridge&s=06b0c5dbc843b7226a478882f402d000).  For a local example, back in the 90’s the people of mass. Got the signatures to put the requirement of seatbelts while riding in a car to a referendum, and the state voted that no such law was to be passed ( by a fair margin). We know that seatbelts save lives, they reduce the severity of injury’s in low speed crashes by an insane amount ( no site here, but spend 20 min w/ Google and you can find many studies), however this did not stand for long, and soon the legislature passed a seatbelt law anyhow, my point is this: was this a good thing or a bad thing? If I look at it from the perspective that democracy is the highest value, it was bad, the will of the voters was clearly violated, there government is oppressing and they clearly expressed their voice, to no avail. If looked at from a humanist perspective, this was a triumph of reason over ignorance, saving countless lives (including the lives of the people who voted against it as well). Which is the more desirable outcome? To answer this I take an approach along the lines of Mill, in that whatever results in the most utility is probably the best, but while that might solve the moral question, it does leave the technological one: how can we move beyond democracy, or improve it?

The simplest way is to improve the voter, increases in education, critical thinking skills, and all manner of civic enlightenment all can help our elections and votes be more productive. When I was a far younger man I thought maybe a test should be given to voters before they vote, to weed out those who had no idea what the issues were, the follow of this logic was pointed out to me by a Proff. Of  my aquantice, he plainly asked “that is good in theory, but in practice who gets to make the test”.  So we can work to increase the base education and general intellectual function of the voting public, I think that is all well and good, but the society runs into problems trying to implement such a policy, who will pay for it? What will should be the circilem, what form should the education take? ( Ad console type adds, free classes at local colleges, as a part of primary education…) It will help, ( and has in my opinion) but to really improve demrocy we need commination….

The main problem with voting is it is a binary function, we vote for 1 canadite, for or against one provision, was oringaly done because of technological constraints ( try getting the detailed opinion of 20k people with out computers) that is no longer the case, so I suggest a mutil-teir voting system. It’s drawbacks would be cost, mainly in man hrs. But the benefit would be FAR better information for our legislators and representatives. It would work thusly: the first level would look like current ballots, binary responses, however each question/race would have an option to delve farther, bringing up a sub-prompt of tributary issues, for example the first level would be should we wear seatbelts, the second level would be many questions from do seatbelts really save lives, is this a good thing, and other basic value questions, the third their would be open ended questions, generally this should be reserved for people with a familiarity with the topic, or connection to it ( like an auto manufacture, or a someone who has read safety studies ect…) and extremely simple points could be augured. The benefit to all this work ( and it would be a TON, votes would probably take a year or two to figure out) is we would have a VERY good idea of where the public is on these issues, with meta-analysts we can see if there are correlations between people who don’t think seatbelts save lives and voting no on the seatbelt law, or if the correlation is between people who hold freedom in high regard and don’t want the law passed. Armed with this kind of information our officials could act in accordance with our wishes in ways our current system can’t allow.

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