A structural fault in society owing to a design flaw in the electoral system

Conan Duke godspeed2048 at gmail.com
Wed Oct 19 17:00:38 EDT 2011


I have been reading these threads back and forth for a few weeks now, hoping
to glean some deeper technical understanding of the Votorola Engine and how
it might possibly be integrated into other software. I was not however,
expecting to find an impromptu digression into a stream of consciousness
critique of the structural validity of electoral causality and outcome.
Thank you.

You seem to be advocating a more 'direct' form of democracy in which the
voter (the active decider) determines the outcome of policy, rather that the
voter determining the outcome of a race between 'representatives'. In my
reading of your post, you question whether it is advantageous or even
desirable to separate the interests of those being 'represented' with the
interests of those doing the representing. This strikes me as one of those
truths that is so simple, we often overlook it. A logical conclusion that is
so hidden in plain sight as to require an entire paper be written on it
simply to prove that it might be accurate.

In other words, I already agree with your conclusions from just this initial
sketch, as these are observations / lamentations are similar to my own.
Looking forward to a first draft of your paper.

All of which this brings to mind the whole purpose of my subscription to
this list in the first place:
I am currently developing of a next-generation, deep democratic, policy

Since everyone on this list is here because they've expressed an interest in
this sort of thing, I will share some of it:

I use the phrase 'policy engine' to distinguish this concept from a 'voting
engine' in that it's architecture is far more reminiscent of a 'Wiki' than
an online 'Poll'. In other words, participants are encouraged to not only
'vote' directly on policy proposals, but they are encouraged to develop,
submit and maintain their own pieces of virtual legislation. MediaWiki (or
similar engine) is the obvious choice for the 'document' portion of the

The voting portion of this the (currently being developed with the Drupal
Voting API) will utilize a unique graphical output (currently being
developed in Processing) of a hexadecimal calculator (Perl) that will
determine a user's political 'colors' on a 3-Axis system whereby the colors:
red (conservative), green (progressive) and blue (liberal) intersect /
overlap (additive color model) to form one of 3 secondary colors: cyan,
magenta and yellow (or: white, where all 3 colors overlap - see Metapolitik
Logo). Thus, only overlapping colors constitute 'consensus' and only upon
'consensus' can policy pass.

Much of this is laid out here: http://metapolitik.org


...Although the bulk of the original design remains unpublished.

My plan is to develop these features 'on the fly' and to then roll them out
as they become functional.
Once there are enough core features for usability, I will start taking input
from the community as to what features and/or directions the design needs to

In the meantime, critique and comment are welcome at all times.

conan at metapolitik.org
godspeed2048 at gmail.com

On Wed, Oct 19, 2011 at 3:40 PM, Michael Allan <mike at zelea.com> wrote:

> Dear all,
> I wish to share some theory work that's been keeping me from Votorola
> lately.  It relates to Votorola because it points to a problem that
> the software (in hindsight) was designed to solve.  For my own part, I
> never understood the problem in its entirety, but this appears to be
> the gist of it: [FAU]
>   An individual vote in a general election has no meaningful effect
>   in the objective world, and no effect whatsoever on the political
>   outcome of the election; whether the vote is cast or not, the
>   outcome is the same regardless.  Beneath this fact lies an
>   extensive structural fault that emerges here and there in society
>   as a series of persistent discontinuities between facts and norms,
>   or contents and forms.  I trace the cause of this fault to a
>   technical design flaw in the electoral system wherein the elector
>   is physically separated from the ballot.  Crucially this separation
>   removes the elector cum voter (the active decider) from the means
>   and product of decision.  It thereby disengages the citizen from
>   constitutional electoral power and its concomitant supports of
>   equality.  I argue that the sum of these disengagements across the
>   population amounts to a power vacuum, which, in mid to late
>   Victorian times, led to the effective collapse of the electoral
>   system and the rise of a mass party system.  Today, the organized
>   parties make the decisions and exercise the electoral power and
>   political freedom that were intended for the citizens. [QCW]
> My plan is to draft the text quickly, then return to working on
> practical things.  If I postpone the historical sections, research and
> publication, then I can probably finish it in under a few weeks.  It
> seems to be a strong theory.  I find a kind of independent
> confirmation in critical discussions [H], in the design of Votorola,
> and in Habermas's own theory and social history.
> I plan to post new sections as I draft them.  Critique and comment are
> welcome at all times.
>  [FAU] The draft text is located here, with acknowledgements:
>     http://zelea.com/project/autonomy/a/fau/fau.xht
>  [H] Links to public discussions are indexed here:
>     http://zelea.com/project/autonomy/a/fau/fau.xht#H
>  [QCW] CW's steady insistence (Skype, 2011.9) that the economy has
>     primacy over politics has led me to juxtapose (however clumsily)
>     these two snippets of theory:
>   * The individual labourer as such (as an artificer) being alienated
>     from the product of her labour (artifact), is thereby disengaged
>     from economic power and freedom.
>   * The individual decider as such (elector cum voter) being
>     alienated from the means and product of her decision (vote), is
>     thereby disengaged from political power and freedom.
> --
> Michael Allan
> Toronto, +1 416-699-9528
> http://zelea.com/
> _______________________________________________
> Votorola mailing list
> Votorola at zelea.com
> http://mail.zelea.com/mailman/listinfo/votorola
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