Re: POL: Extropianism and Politics

Michael S. Lorrey (
Fri, 19 Mar 1999 13:17:37 -0500

Good comments. Here's some add-ons... wrote:

> I agree that the ideal form of government is government by concensus,
> however this type of government usually only works in a group which is fairly
> homogeneous, small, and willing to compromise. Also, any hardcore dissent can
> bring such a system to its knees.

It will only bring such a system to its knees in the eyes of those who think there needs to be a change in the system. Under such a system, though, since there is completely voluntary opting in, where joiners must agree to the system and understand its implications, the joiners will be free to leave the system if they so choose. If the system is a monopoly PPL in a geographic area (like a current day government), then if the majority doesn't want those who voted against to block their proposed change, then they have to buy the sticklers out. Thus the system will not be brough to its knees, but those who want change will have to pay the market value of forcing their point of view...

> Having things enacted by votes greater than a simple majority seems a
> reasonable precaution, though it still means a small and despised minority can
> be oppressed. It is also reasonable to have a lower vote threshold for the
> removal of laws, since this would help to offset the inertia in most
> governments which works against the removal of things once instituted. As for
> laws expiring, I oftentimes find that such expirations lead to rubber stamp
> renewals; again the inertia of "if it's already there, we'll just leave it."
> Perhaps if we linked the term of expiration to the number of votes an item
> received, with longer effective terms for those measures which were very
> popular and shorter for those which only barely were enacted. While not
> perfect, this would mean controversial measures would come up earlier than
> those which were not, and the controversial ones are the ones less likely to
> end up being rubber stamped.

Thats a good idea, having pro-rated sunset dates. I think though that unpopular laws will be let die (as we are doing now with the independent prosecutor law here in the US), while those that are tolerable will be let live.

One thing that would prevent such opression of minorities is by allowing dissidents to opt out of the system and form their own political unit in their own territory.

> I have also wondered if it wouldn't be better to return to the old method
> of selection of the Senate. And I do believe that there should be a wider
> role of referendum in politics now that the technology is such that it would
> make mass ballot initiatives practical. One thing I would suggest, however,
> is that maybe we should make measures have to pass by a certain percentage of
> the total "possible" vote, sort of a quorum of the electorate. If not enough
> people vote to reach a quorum, then nothing can pass.

Thats a good idea, though with universal net access, the system can easily be set up to allow voting over several days, in an encrypted system, so that those who do not participate but are qualified to may simply be voting "I don't care either way."

> This would weaken the
> power of special interest groups. I also wonder if any time a ballot is cast,
> we shouldn't have some sort of fact quiz, just to make sure that the person
> voting actually knows what they are voting on, as opposed to just filling out
> what they were told to....this may be a little difficult to do in a
> nonpartisan way.

Well I remember living in Washington State, the referendums there were well covered by the press, and every residence received a voting packet with information on and position papers on the issues in the referenda.

> One of the biggest problems I see for future democracies which are not
> based on concensus is the issue of identity. If I can upload my personality
> many times, how many votes should we get? I could do it just in time to
> register, vote, then remerge after the count. Or how about borganisms
> composed of many originally separate personalities? Do they count as one, or
> many? If there is a concensus, all these problems go away, but otherwise they
> quickly become relevant.

Its a matter of residency. Currently, a human level intelligence must be 18 years old to vote here in the US, and it must be resident in the local voting area for 3 months to a year to qualify for local voting rights. I think extending these to AI and uploaded intelligences would help alleviate these forms of fraud.

> Of course, we could count resources instead of individuals....the more
> resources you have control over, the larger the percentage of the vote.

resources do not have rights.

> Some
> subscribe to the theory that the voting process is a surrogate for combat,
> with everyone conceding that the one who won the vote would likely win an
> armed conflict, and thus it is better for both sides to let the vote decide,
> which is less costly for both. If this is indeed the case, then it would be
> reasonable to assume whatever side in an issue had control of the most
> resources would likely win (regardless of number of "personalities", unless
> those ARE counted as resources). This way, we would avoid the problem of
> trying to sort out "who" gets "a" vote. Of course, some issues people place
> such value on that they are unwilling to concede defeat ever. These are not
> usually settled at the polling place even today.

Considering that in battle, the defending side in an entrenched position usually only needs 1/5th to 1/20th the number of men to defend a position. Extending this corrolary to voting, this translates to my supermajority proposal earlier.

Mike Lorrey