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A New Way of Voting That Makes Zealotry Expensive (bloomberg.com)
329 points by imartin2k 6 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 328 comments



Looks like this would favor highly coordinated groups to have outsized influence over poorly coordinated groups.

So people who vote in isolation have less influence than people who organize and vote as a bloc.

I think it also means that places where one party predominates would require the minority party to be highly coordinated in order to have any chance with one single silver “bullet” whereas the dominant party can expend multiple “bullets” to counter.


This seems to be the obvious problem. If I only care about X, and you only about Y, we could vote individually (100 tokens -> 10 votes for X, 100 tokens -> 10 votes for Y), or we could collude and make that vote (2 * 50 tokens -> 2 * 7 votes X, 2 * 50 tokens -> 2 * 7 votes Y).


I don't see the problem with that, because it would require me to convince you to vote for Y although you want X.

And in addition, seeing as this is an anonymous (I'm assuming) vote, then I could lie to you and vote my way (to get more votes for Y), but then if everyone will do it, the colluding wouldn't work, so we need to be able to trust each other and work together, which is exactly what we in the end, for people to work together and not against each other.


Coordinated groups have voting power of sqrt(total money)*sqrt(number of individuals), uncoordinated ones have sqrt(money). If you are for some cause, you should just find like-minded individuals and pool your total money. They have very limited incentive for keeping the money for themselves because they also agree with you on the issue.

Then the other side should also coordinate tightly in this manner, and now you have a new problem: polarization.


Yeah but you're assuming people naturally line up in two camps. It's possible that you've been inadvertently trained to think this way if you inhabit a duopolistic society.


Money?


100 'dollars' to spend


> I don't see the problem with that, because it would require me to convince you to vote for Y although you want X.

X and Y need not be alternatives for the same problem, X might be about financial deregulation and Y about privacy deregulation.


Sounds like how party coalitions work in the US.


“Your religion, your salvation, requires that you allocate tokens as your local Party Organizer assigns. Only then can we combat the godless agenda the elites have shamelessly created this quadratic system to perpetuate. Do not let them bait you from deviating from our coordinated plan to stop them.”

Anonymous voting doesn’t help when independent thought itself is trained away from an early age.


This is just persuading your compatriots to vote, which is normal and part of democracy. That's not "collusion" (an increasingly vacuous word these days).

There's nothing wrong with persuading people.


This is democracy though.

The idea of a majority having more power than a minority is, as another user puts it "a feature, not a bug". If your goal is to best represent your population, then you want a system that counts people's opinions equally, regardless of what group/s they belong to.

The problem here isn't the voting system so much as the structure. The way to "better represent" minority groups is to have different weightings to those groups. But then that's difficult because you have to specify which groups are more equal than others. Clearly we like racial minorities and don't like minority groups like white nationalists (at least as a public), but most lines aren't this easy to differentiate.

The goal of voting systems like this is not so much to tackle this majority vs minority problem but rather to reduce tribalism. In a first past the post voting style your optimal strategy is not to pick the thing you like the most, but to rather pick the thing that you think is most likely to win and more closely aligns to your beliefs. These voting systems are more about finding common beliefs. For example, republicans and democrats agree on many issues. These systems are about anti-polarization, not about weighted representation.


Majorities being > than minorities is an aspect of democracy in its natural state, for certain, but I would not go so far as to call it a feature. The bicameral legislature of the U.S. was designed precisely to avoid this "feature"!


> The bicameral legislature of the U.S. was designed precisely to avoid this "feature"!

Not really, it was just made to weight the scales (in both houses, by different mechanisms) so that a particular set of interests[0] would be less likely be a political minority even if they were a numeric minority. It retained the feature that political minorities were easily suppressed by the political majority, so long as it was a political minority in both houses.

[0] The slave states of the South.


Could you please elaborate?


What comes to mind to me is highly organized is, for example, a NIMBY crowd; a pro crowd is not as tightly coordinated, they get trounced, even if in polling the pros are in majority.


How do you define coordinated? Let's say you define coordinated as a group who on average spends a greater % of their voting budget on an issue than the other side. You also have a situation where the minority is coordinated and the majority is disorganized. In this situation, each individual in the majority would have to allocate a smaller percentage of their budget to an issue than an individual in a minority in order to have the same amount of influence on an issue. This is because.

1) You are spreading the vote credit cost across a larger population 2) Because of quadratic voting, if you hold the total number of a group's voting credits put towards an issue constant as you add additional people to a group, the impact that a group has on a particular issue grows.

Because of these two factors, the majority can be quite a bit more disorganized than the minority and still control the issue.


Some people are more equal than others? Umm... no.


Hence the US is a republic.


The second sentence of Wikipedia for "Republic"

> The primary positions of power within a republic are not inherited, but are attained through democracy, oligarchy or autocracy.

We're a democratic republic. Just saying the US is not a democracy but rather a republic is a woefully uninformed statement. They are not disjoint. Now let's stop parroting this phrase once and for all.


Wikipedia is not a source. It's a spot to see what random people wrote about something. Maybe it's useful to find something, often I find it useful to see what is not said, but citing it is pointless unless you drill down to the edit and cite the editor.

https://www.bartleby.com/73/1593.html

The important point is we protect minority positions via inalienable rights. That is not guaranteed in a pure democracy. It takes a near impossible situation to disarm a minority in the Unites States. It is what sets up apart from traditional democracies. I'm fine with the term Democratic Republic, but if you are concerned about parroting It's not the word republic that gets parroted.


> Wikipedia is not a source.

Yes, I remember when our teachers used to hound this into us. But frankly Wikipedia has been as verifiable as the Encyclopedia Britannica. If you're going to say Wikipedia (the most commonly cited resource) isn't providing a good definition, provide a good source that counters. Your reply has absolutely nothing to do with the discussion at hand.

Also, see [0] (a good source) 1b and the discussion below.

If you're going to act high and mighty, do some background research. No one likes an armchair scholar. And if you're going to be a combative armchair scholar, you better do some actual fact checking.

[0] https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/republic


a government in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives responsible to them and governing according to law

Calling it a Democracy without mentioning the more important word misses the point; your original comment:

The idea of a majority having more power than a minority is, as another user puts it "a feature, not a bug".

That is exactly what our Republic protects against. The minority has the same inalienable rights as the majority.


> We're a democratic republic

In theory, more of a federal republic whose constituent members are democratic republics than a democratic republic itself. In practice those members are more oligarchic (specifically plutocratic) than democratic, though, but most of the people saying “republic not a democracy” probably don't want to come out and say “federation of plutocracies.”


The voting method breaks down entirely when you consider strategic voting by groups, and multiple-repetitions game strategies.

100 players would form a voting cartel, and each member would spread their votes out among all the members' favorite issues. Reneging on the cartel's rules means that the entire cartel retaliates on the next vote.

So each party has exactly 100 issues in their platform, and no individual voter can do anything to stop them.


You're assuming votes are public, which is not usually the case. If there's no way to check someone else's vote, there's no way to enforce a voting block.


If the votes aren't public enough to see the ballots, how do you know if a voting district cast the correct number of votes for the number of ballots cast? How do you know if the number of quadratic votes match the sum of sqrts of the individual votes? How do you check to see if anyone's cheating?

If you can see the ballots, you can filter for the ones that match the cartel platform, and count to 100. There may be a voting coordination strategy to find out who cheated. Maybe instead of 100 members, you have 99, and each member votes 2 for a different issue.


If there are enough candidates, you can encode a unique ID in the pattern of your individual votes to prove who you are to somebody reading anonymous ballot papers. I've heard this is possible in Australia with a huge list of candidates and multiple votes.


Legislative votes aren't typically public?


I like the idea of voting quadratically with money. Every vote scales with cost. Instead of hiding the reality, just expose it and limit it with quadratic scaling.


And people with no disposable income get zero representation, and aren't even worth pandering lip service.

Doesn't sound sustainable, but it's an interesting idea to play with. You could adjust the price-point to make it more or less price-competitive with lobbying and conventional bribery, and to serve as a sort of tax. Might make for a good cyberpunk setting.


Well one vote is $1. The economies of scale fit in really quickly with manipulation. Second $4 and so on.


> So people who vote in isolation have less influence than people who organize and vote as a bloc.

I think that’s a feature not a bug. It would encourage people to propose plan or candidates that are acceptable to a wider part of the electorate.


The US is already feeling the pain of bloc voting though - the two party system has managed to heavily entrench itself - we need to look at voting systems that may experimentation free or cheap.

I'd much rather see IRV gain traction to remove the spoiler effect and disincentivise negative campaigning.


IRV does a poor job of that.


All voting systems benefit highly coordinated groups.


Here is some back of the envelope math that I did: Assume you have two groups who are each 100% focused on a cause which the other group has no opinion of.

n = people in each group

b = individual vote budget

Each Group Votes Independently: n * sqrt(b) votes

If a group colludes s.t. group A gives (1/2)b votes to group B's issue and vice versa you get: 2 * n * sqrt((1/2)b)) votes which simplifies into Sqrt(2) * n * sqrt(b).

Yet coordinating between these two groups becomes more difficult and costly, growing somewhere between n (perfect coordination) and n^2 (total decentralization). Thus, regardless of how you coordinate it will always be more expensive than the influence you gain which grows at sqrt().

Even in this simple assumption collusion becomes a negative value decision.


There are some additional assumptions you need. First that people are transparent. Second, that they are honest. Third that they are consistent. So, while voting in isolation has a cost — wasted votes — so does coordinated voting — misinformed votes. The wasted votes problem will never make you miss your favorite, but the misinformed vote problem could be catastrophic.


Increased cooperation across groups is the benefit - i.e. the opposite of zealotry and partisanship.


I always hate the framing as “polarized”. There’s tons of things Democrats and Republicans agree on.

Military spending goes up every year. Save for Dodd-Frank, deregulation has been common across presidencies for 30 years along with corporate tax cuts...

The establishment gets things done, they really do, it’s just not things that help everyday people. I’m not sure how this would help that.


I find this kind of thinking dangerous, because it falls into the "they're just 2 sides of the same coin" mindset. Not to mention, it is also false. The DoD budget for 2019 is below the budget for 2008, and much lower as a percentage of total expenditures: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_budget_of_the_United_...

Yes, there are things the parties agree on, but that minimizes the huge, material differences between their platforms, e.g.:

- appropriate levels of taxation, and especially types of taxation (e.g. capital gains, inheritance taxes, etc.)

- mix of spending on social programs

- the huge gap on social issues, such as abortion, gay rights, gun control, etc.

"They're just the same, they don't care about the little guy, etc." are tactics the Russian trolls used to convince people not to vote.


There are absolutely meaningful differences between the parties, but the mainstream, and who we end up having to choose between, trend to the center, which is where the similarities are. I think a well-informed citizen must keep in mind the ways both parties rally to particular issues and can be hostile to common interests while differing, sometimes in huge and significant ways, on other things. You're right that the "they're the same thing" is blithe and shallow, but that doesn't mean there aren't similarities.


Not saying they are the same, just that when centrists come together they get a lot of bad things done. Also not surprised spending is down after the US left Iraq, would be surprised if it wasn’t overall up though.

My point is, fighting “zealotry” is just a nice way of saying let’s make it easier for corporate centrism.


There were substantial decreases in 2012 and 2013; I think the military budget has increased in every other recent year (though maybe sometimes by less than inflation?). 2019 is indeed down on 2008. (But not 2007, or any earlier year: there were big increases in 2006, 2007, 2008.)



The Heritage foundation sure knows how to frame things! Overall the military budget has increased steeply since the 90s

https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Defense_spending.p...


You could say the same thing about you only posting the constant dollars graph, instead of also including a percentage of GDP chart, which is in many senses a better assessment of federal spending: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Defense_Spending_as_a_P...


Your graph shows spending in constant 2009 dollars, just as mine shows spending in constant 2015 dollars, so your comment makes no sense.

They are literally presenting the same information, just pegging inflation to different years.


Huh you’re right about that. For some reason your heritage chart makes it look a lot more reasonable, which I don’t agree that it is. I’m guessing it has something to with comparing to GDP?


Also, those can both be problems at the same time. Both parties cater to corporations heavily, but also they are very different on many policy issues and shouldn't be treated as equivalent in those areas.


The two parties are functionally identical for the handful of issues I really, really care about. Those issues you've mentioned are not among them -- furthermore they are not as black-and-white as you imply. As a relatively high income earner the only significant tax increase I've ever seen was under Trump.


All that’s telling everyone is that you are not caring about a lot of very important stuff and caring way too deeply about the wrong things. When one party is blatantly anti-science, doesn’t believe in the value of professional expertise, and 2/3s of their voters believe the world is 6000 years old (10 years ago- if anything its much worse now), the two parties couldn’t be more different. If none of that stuff matters to you, then I can only conclude that the stuff that does matter to you doesn’t matter at all.


Socially I don't align myself with either party, so I vote based on outcome. In fact, this is my chief complaint about the democrats. It's membership is defined increasingly by being "not Republican" rather than supporting and advancing worthy causes.


That's an interesting perspective that I just don't understand, and I would claim that exact opposite is true. Just look at the debate over healthcare. As a group, the democrats created a clear vision for US healthcare reform. At an individual level there's not a clear consensus on what the path forward is, but you can't claim that mainstream D candidates aren't presenting concrete and actionable plans.

Contrast that with the Republican healthcare plans, which consist of nothing more than "not obamacare"

Republicans have the same stance on gun violence and climate change.


Which issues do you care about? Because I hear this vague-y statement ("the two parties are functionally identical") without specifics, and I can't for the life of me figure why people think this.

Also, to your point "As a relatively high income earner the only significant tax increase I've ever seen was under Trump.", and don't see how this could possibly be true. For example, Obamacare added significant taxes for Medicare payroll and the surtax on investment income for high earners.


The 3% tax on my dividends didn't even come close to SALT.

Personally I'd like to see the government stop spying on US citizens, more protections for digital privacy and free speech, reduced military spending, curbs on an an increasingly militarized police force and privatized judicial system, and policies designed to protect the American middle class against increasing globalization. It's hard to draw a meaningful distinction between parties on any of these policies and they matter much more to me than the ones you've listed.


Honestly I think your list highlights why I get so frustrated when people equate the parties, because there are so obvious, provable distinctions it the items you list:

1. "government stop spying on US citizens, more protections for digital privacy and free speech" - OK, this one I'll give to you, I don't see significant differences between the mainstream parties on this one. But I'd argue that is because this issue is actually so low (sadly, IMO) on the vast majority of Americans' concerns.

2. "reduced military spending" - If you honestly think the parties are equal when it comes to their enthusiasm for military spending, you are not paying attention. As one example, the whole reason for the 2013 budget sequestration rules were that they included large cuts for military (which Democrats wanted) and social programs (which Republicans wanted) which both sides thought would force them to compromise - the fact that ALL cuts went through when they couldn't reach an agreement just highlights which programs were important to which parties.

3. "an increasingly militarized police force and privatized judicial system" - again, this is an issue that Democrats are much more on your side than the average Republican, mainly because urban minorities, which tend to vote Democrat, are the group most negatively affected by these policies.

4. "policies designed to protect the American middle class against increasing globalization" - while I tend to agree with the main gist of this argument, especially in that both parties have enthusiastically supported many free trade deals, Republicans have shown much more antipathy to unions, both in the past and currently.

The fact that you say "It's hard to draw a meaningful distinction between parties on any of these policies" is just baffling to me.


> because there are so obvious, provable distinctions it the items you list

Really? It seems to me like you either agree or gave a kind-of-not-really example for each point.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_budget_sequestra...

"By Republicans in Congress"

The Republican House had narrowly passed a bill on December 20, 2012,[15] which would have replaced only the defense side of the sequester with cuts to programs including food stamps, Dodd-Frank and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

"By Democrats in Congress"

Patty Murray, Democratic Chairwoman of the Senate Budget Committee, proposed on February 14 to replace the 2013 sequester with $110 billion in spending cuts and tax increases. Like the House version, these policies also include a Buffett-rule tax, the closure of the oil subsidies, and cuts to farm subsidies. Additionally, this bill would cut defense spending for 2013 in excess of the amounts required by the current sequester. But this bill has little chance of winning the 60 votes required to override a filibuster.

-----


Your argument is that a democrat proposed a dead-on-arrival bill to cut military spending while this happened a few years later: https://www.forbes.com/sites/eriksherman/2017/09/18/91-of-se...

See my point?


This logic is completely nonsensical. Her bill was "dead on arrival" because it was opposed by Republicans. Want to change that, then elect Democrats.


My point is that the DOA bill was facetious. None of the current establishment democrats are serious about military spending cuts, so much so that Warren/Bernie have been making waves by suggesting they will be.


They're irrelevant differences to me. I care about local and state issues. For instance local infrastructure, local school districts, local road maintenance, local taxes, etc.

Federal politics is a distraction. A useless distraction that you're obsessed with. That's the kind of thinking that's "dangerous".


> Federal politics is a distraction. A useless distraction that you're obsessed with. That's the kind of thinking that's "dangerous".

While I realize this is pretty much a trolling post, I just want to highlight that you are in quite the privileged position to believe this. You couldn't possibly believe "federal politics is a distraction" if:

1. You desire to get married to someone of the same sex.

2. You have anyone you care about who has been affected by federal drug laws.

3. You have any close relatives who are citizens of another country.

4. You are a woman who cares deeply about her own reproductive rights. Conversely, you believe that human life starts at a stage earlier than currently recognized by the Supreme Court.

5. You have a pre-existing medical condition.

I could go on, and of course there are loads of ways federal policies affect virtually everyone albeit in a less direct manner (tax policy, monetary policy, foreign trade policy, etc.)

But congratulations, I'm sure those only apply to other people, so fuck them.


I'll add one hilarious thing to this list - local school districts. Local school funding is usually done out of the funds of the local government (sometimes city, sometimes district, sometimes county) which means that poor locales don't have enough money to fund their schools. This was a famously contentious issue where I grew up in MA and where inner city schools were and continue to be terribly underfunded.


Almost all voting systems in use today will allow a plurality of political actors, and hence most democracies have more than two parties represented in parliament. That is, except "first past the post" which is the system in the UK and US. It inevitably and systemically always devolves into a de facto two-party system. I'm sure you can see how this is a problem?

Granted, quadratic voting specifically was probably not designed with parliamentary elections in mind. There are other systems in use that are designed to be fair and result in decent representation of voters.


> That is, except "first past the post" which is the system in the UK and US. ... I'm sure you can see how this is a problem?

The two longest lasting, largest, most successful democracies of all time - I don't see the problem.

The arguments against winner-take-all are mathematically maximizing a collective total happiness score for single elections. But governments are run by people, not math, and I've yet to see anything addressing the psychology of election systems and especially not over time.

If instead election systems are scored on how well they do after 250 years or how few world wars they start then winner take all is the only winner.


"The two longest lasting, largest, most successful democracies of all time - I don't see the problem."

They both have problems with large minorities of voters not being represented in their respective parliaments.


If the problems you have with UK and USA government are you don't like that people yell at each other and the representatives don't look the way you feel they should look, then you're right and they should change to a more 'civilized', proportional government.

It's hard to argue against someone's feelings.

But if you want to talk about good governance over time, does the country endure and does it make good decisions that ultimately benefit the country, that would be a more productive discussion. You have an uphill battle, with history not being kind to proportional democracies, but there's plenty of room for opinions and reasonable disagreement.

It's possible that constantly pitting constituents against each other is actually a vital component of democracy.


Yes, the advantage of a two party system is power frequently switching between parties. Its a feedback loop that seems to keep both parties balanced and other systems should look to find ways to achieve similar effects. And certainly doesn't imply the current US system is the best possible for running a government for its people.


Remove "world" from "world wars" and it looks totally different.


Basically they disagree on how to treat their fellow citizens.

Democrats are against outright hostility and blatant marginalization of certain classes.

But both have largely been ok with everyone being exploited by feudal trade economics, bombing other nations to satisfy global political norms, and swindling developing nations out of their resources, while emotionally coddling elites.

It means something to not be outright hostile to the truly marginalized, but the Dems have not exactly been labors friend. And most people are laborers. They’ve failed the majority plenty.


>Democrats are against outright hostility and blatant marginalization of certain classes.

Republicans are against outright hostility and blatant marginalization of certain classes.

Not the same classes, perhaps even classes that many don't want recognized, such as the unborn, but the statement is still just as true.


Abortion isn't blatant hostility toward fetuses. No one gets an abortion because they hate fetuses.


"Democrats are against outright hostility and blatant marginalization of certain classes."

There are tons of YouTube videos on college campuses that prove otherwise.

awinder 6 months ago [flagged]

Reminder: having shitty ideas is not a protected class, and “free speech” does not mean you get to say whatever batshit crazy thing comes to mind without other people expressing themselves


There seems to be an implication that the outcry is only ever against "shitty ideas". I think there are plenty of cases that prove this untrue.

jayess 6 months ago [flagged]

You just made parent's point perfectly. A total lack of self awareness.


Plenty of people on both sides have "batshit crazy" ideas, except one leans more heavily on mob mentality thanks to the self-righteousness that comes with the unshaken belief that you have the moral highground.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMc8pczn-hs


except one leans more heavily on mob mentality thanks to the self-righteousness that comes with the unshaken belief that you have the moral highground.

Well, Goldwater tried to warn the Republicans about what would happen if they kept sucking up to the evangelicals, and...

Oh, wait, were you talking about Democrats?


Listen to yourself man. By closing the door to debate you open up the floor to hostility. Some conservatives have demented ideas, but that doesn’t mean ALL do. If we are going to heal our divisions it’s going to take more than each side calling the other ‘Snowflake’


I'm not taking a side here and said nothing about not listening to any conservative or closing off to debate. I'm merely pointing out that "college kids didn't want to listen to token conservative talkinghead A or B" is not equivalent to how classes of people are treated in the slightest.


There's a difference between "I dont want to listen to token conservative talkinghead A, so I won't come to his lecture" and "I don't want to listen to token conservative talkinghead A, so I think he should be banned from ever entering my college premises".


I was under the impression we were speaking of government officials, not 19 year old college kids.


I was describing the politicians themselves.

But I did conclude that they also fall short in many areas.

lopmotr 6 months ago [flagged]

> not be outright hostile to the truly marginalized

No popular party can do this or they wouldn't be truly marginalized. By definition, it's impossible.


> Democrats are against outright hostility and blatant marginalization of certain classes

What rock are you living under?


That’s a smear against conservatives and blatantly untrue.

There are activist organizations on both sides calling for violence and both should be condemned.


Corollary: You also had people that were very fine people on both sides.


How does this comment facilitate discussion?


At this point this whole conversation's fucked imo


And many things which does not get done, no matter whether Republicans or Democrats are in power, like reform of the Prison System.


The U.S. constitution and system of government were designed to make it difficult to effect change. IMO, the founding fathers overshot the mark by a bit.


> deregulation has been common across presidencies for 30 years

I think by any objective measure the US has seen an explosive growth in regulation the last 30 years.

I really wish I had an objective measure around to demonstrate this with...


The problem is that while 'everyday people' no doubt have ideas which would improve everyone's lives, there is also very large to majority support for capital punishment and complete shutdown of immigration.


The greeks had two institutions we could use: ostracism and lottery.

We should be able to vote on those we want out of politics and the most voted would have to seat it out.

And a small portion of representatives should be chosen by lottery. Maybe 5% or 10%. These representatives, obviously, would not have to answer to their sponsors.


Actually, why not choose all representatives by lottery?

I don't think representatives need to have any particular competencies beyond being representative of the interests of the population. Hired staff can take care of things that require particular abilities.

I reckon that a wholly random set of representatives would act like a direct democracy where every voter is free to fully focus on the issues, is allowed an entire staff to help them, and can consult and coordinate effectively with other voters. I think that could work pretty well.


Would this have a similar outcome as the "lottery" for jury duty? What happens if somebody who really doesn't want to do it is chosen?


That's a very good point. I currently lean towards requiring every citizen to register for the lottery once every ten or so years (for one year of service). If they are picked, they have to go, except for serious unforeseen circumstances, but at least they would be able to plan for it to some extent. This might also require a cultural shift for people to accept it, but maybe not a radical one.


> If they are picked, they have to go, except for serious unforeseen circumstances

If I was "forced" into a political position, then what I would do is purposefully sabotage the position I was in, out of spite.

What are you going to do? Arrest me because I voted a certain way? That doesn't sound easily enforceable.

Be careful what kind of slavery you force people into. Those slaves might just fight back (in this case, by voting for bad policies.).


I mean, if you want to be a sociopath about it, that's part of the risk in the system. As long as we can confidently establish that a supermajority of people would take the job seriously and would be happy with the compensation, we can afford a few bad apples.

Either way, I can imagine that if you were to pledge to purposefully vote against the population's interests in front of a judge, and the judge bought it, they may be allowed to disqualify you on these grounds (and probably slap you with a fine). I wouldn't want to make it impossible to get out of this duty, just difficult enough that most people wouldn't do it.


> I mean, if you want to be a sociopath about it

Ehh, the sociopaths are the ones who want to force people into slavery, for "civic duty" or whatever.

The rest of us might fight back in ways that you don't like.


Voting for policies that hurt people at large isn't "fighting back". What has the public done to you to deserve this? It's like working at a restaurant and spitting in customers' food because the restaurant owner is overworking you, and then saying no, the sociopath is the guy who's forcing me to come in on the weekend. Fuck that noise, you're both sociopaths.

If you're unhappy about being forced into duty, you can abstain from voting at all, or you can focus your energy on changing the system so that it works on a purely voluntary basis. That's perfectly fine. But let's not pretend that voting for bad policies, which will inevitably hurt people who have nothing to do with your predicament, is a proper way to fight back.


> What has the public done to you to deserve this?

Well, what they did was force me into temporary slavery.

> It's like working at a restaurant and spitting in customers' food

If the customers were forcing me to work in a restaurant, I think I might do that.

> If you're unhappy about being forced into duty, you can abstain from voting at all

Why would I do that, when a much more effective method of screwing over the people who forced me into this, is by voting for bad policy?

The people who would force me into this want good policy. So I do the opposite of what they want.

This is why you don't do stuff like this. Because the people who you are forcing into slavery aren't going to play "nice" with your plan. They will instead take actions that you don't like, regardless of your complaints about it, or regardless how "immoral" you believe it to be.

I do not have to live by your code of ethics. I will instead live by mine, and screw over your plan in the way that hurts everyone the most.

You don't get to complain about "fairness" or the "right" way for me to protest, when you are forcing me into slavery.

I would engage in this behavior specially because it would very effectively sabotage this plan to force people into the work.


What? The "public" didn't force you to do anything. The public is just people. You're part of the public, for Christ's sake. A representative who would act as you propose wouldn't be screwing some mysterious nefarious entity that likes to enslave people, they'd be screwing you.

> You don't get to complain about "fairness" or the "right" way for me to protest, when you are forcing me into slavery.

What about the part of the public who doesn't like this system, doesn't want to force you to do anything, and would like to change the way it works? If you're "sabotaging" the system by voting for "bad policies," you're screwing them over along with everyone else. Can they complain? Because I can guarantee you that they will.

Anyway. Let me put it this way: if 95% of the public supports this system, it doesn't matter how hard you try to sabotage it. It won't do dick. If a significant percentage hates the system, let's say 20%, then 20% of the "enslaved" representatives really want to change the system to work on a voluntary basis. Surely they can bloody negotiate with the remaining 80% to enact a reform, instead of lashing out against the public at large, who can't really do anything about the system because they weren't picked by the lottery.


> it doesn't matter how hard you try to sabotage it. It won't do dick.

Sure it will. It will help cause more bad policies to happen, at the margin.

There would be lots of controversial laws, and 10% of people voting here to mess things up, would effect something.

That's my revenge on the 90% that forced me into this, because of their "support".

> Surely they can bloody negotiate

Why do that, when we can just sabotage things? You don't get to force me into this, and complain when I fight back.

People do not have to react the way that you want them to, or that you find fair. Burning everything to the ground, in whatever way I can, is a perfectly acceptable retaliation to slavery.

Sure, there would be collateral damage. But there is always collateral damage. No matter what political stance a person is fighting for.


> Sure it will. It will help cause more bad policies to happen, at the margin.

Very unreliably. You will only be able to influence policies that are nearly 50/50, but if they are 50/50, that is because there is widespread disagreement over which option is better. This means there is a fairly high chance that your "sabotage" vote ironically results in better policy. Think about it: the issue is 50/50, and you have the decisive vote. Half of the voters are wrong. What do you think the odds are that you're in the half that knows what it's doing?

My analysis is that odds that the average saboteur would vote for a bad policy ought to be roughly proportional to the proportion of honest voters that pick the good policy. Unfortunately, these odds are a toss-up when the saboteur's influence is maximized.

> Why do that, when we can just sabotage things?

To get results. Your gripes are understandable enough not to be dismissed, and if you can make a credible threat of sabotage, you may be able to cause a reform and perhaps get your freedom back before the end of the term. Sabotage can be a valid tactic to get what you want, especially if you're in desperate straits, but I don't see how your stunts are supposed to achieve anything at all, let alone anything that cannot be achieved more efficiently through collaboration.

> You don't get to force me into this, and complain when I fight back.

Was I actually complaining, though? When I say your behavior in this situation would be sociopathic, I mean it as a statement of fact. Notice that I followed the remark with "that's part of the risk in the system," clearly indicating that I am willing to eat that loss. I'm not complaining. I'm accounting. (Also, I genuinely think you would be working against your own interests.)

> People do not have to react the way that you want them to, or that you find fair.

I know many people won't react the way I want them to. I know some people will act like sociopaths. This is a variable to quantify: if enough people would turn into madmen if they were forced to do this, well, that invalidates conscription, and it's back to the drawing board. Likewise, if a large number of people think my system is immoral, okay, sure, let's do something else.

I mean, I'm not married to the specifics: I think it is important to make sure that the sample is statistically unbiased, and conscription is the easiest way to do this, but if we can get close enough on a voluntary basis, hey, that's even better.

I do maintain that your reaction would be disproportionate and ultimately immoral. Again, though, I'm not complaining about it, because that would be pointless: you do you. But I'm taking note of it so that I can account for the seriousness of the threat.

Edit: And if the threat is serious enough, you win, really. I would oppose conscription and you wouldn't have to sabotage anything (well, if I had my way). Just want you to know I am listening, even if I disapprove of your behavior.


> What do you think the odds are that you're in the half that knows what it's doing?

Well then it doesn't matter what I do, so I am not sure why you'd be so angry about it.

> hen I say your behavior in this situation would be sociopathic

It is not sociopathic to retaliate against people who want to force you into temporary slavery. It is instead called justice.

> would turn into madmen

There isn't nothing "mad" about fighting crazies like you who want to force people into slavery.

Instead, the madmen are the ones trying to take away our rights.

Honestly, my actions are fairly tame. I didn't even say that I would engage in violence or anything. I expect that other people might, and I wouldn't blame them.

Violence is a perfectly logical response attempts to force people into slavery. I wouldn't do it, though (because of the other alternatives at my disposal).


> Well then it doesn't matter what I do, so I am not sure why you'd be so angry about it.

I'm curious how you think you can evaluate someone's "anger" in written comments on the Internet. I'm not angry. I'm judging you and listing all the problems I see with what you say you would do, but there's frankly no need to be worked up to do any of that.

> It is not sociopathic to retaliate against people who want to force you into temporary slavery. It is instead called justice.

Okay, so my view is that equating this system to slavery is disingenuous, hysterical and ridiculous for too many reasons to count, and that your "retaliation" is unfocused, ineffective and reckless. Your view is that I'm a sociopathic tyrant.

Okay.

But you know what? Who cares.

I don't need your approval. You don't need mine. The only thing that matters is that I want an unbiased sample, but saboteurs, insofar that they purposefully act contrary to what they think is good, constitute an unwanted bias. In other words, you don't want to be conscripted, and I don't want to conscript you. We can probably work something out.

> Honestly, my actions are fairly tame. I didn't even say that I would engage in violence or anything. I expect that other people might, and I wouldn't blame them.

If by engaging in violence, you mean violent resistance to anyone who tries to force you to go to parliament, I consider this more acceptable than your idea of going and voting for bad policies, and I do not think of it as sociopathic (I also strongly oppose having such an enforcement policy).

If you mean random acts of terrorism, then this is insane and you've lost me completely.


For someone who doesn’t want to do it, a year is a very long time to come up with ‘serious unforeseen circumstances’.

There is no point in trying to force people to do things - the best way is to change the job in such a way that people will want to take it.

Pay them well, in other words, in money, in prestige, or otherwise.


> the best way is to change the job in such a way that people will want to take it

This isn't a change, it's what we have now. The problem is that the kind of people that want to take it are not the kind of people you actually want doing it.


By serious unforeseen circumstances I mean things like getting cancer or being crippled in a freak car accident. Nobody's going to do either of these things just to get out of government duty.

Also, what's important is for the sample to be representative, so it's fine if a very motivated minority gets out of it, as long as it doesn't create a significative bias in the lottery.

But yes, they should be paid handsomely. And as I mentioned in another comment, their debts should be paid in full to make them less vulnerable to bribes.


Being government for a year is a better deal than military service, and people don't complain too much about that.


Use a tax incentive. It should be set high enough that most people will consider it worth their time, but low enough that anyone who really doesn't want to be in politics won't be financially harmed.


What happens if somebody doesn't really want to do jury duty?


The Greeks who entered the lottery weren't chosen by a (meta) lottery. Greek democracy wasn't nearly as democratic as you may think.


Oh, I'm aware. I'm arguing for universal lottery, and I think it would work.


Bribery would be more rampant than it is now. With no career aspirations to keep them in line, unethical people would take the lobbyist money and run.


What would keep people in line is that this would be illegal. A lottery-based system is also problematic for lobbyists because they have to bribe many more people and they can't help elect the people they have already bribed. If they try to bribe the wrong person, they are in big trouble, because they will get investigated, and even if they succeed, they will have to do it all over again the next year (assuming yearly terms). It's also worth pointing out that a lot of what we call "corruption" is the result of politicians, CEOs and lobbyists going to the same schools, working in the same offices, and just generally being friends. They don't even need to bribe each other. They like each other. Lottery eliminates this aspect almost entirely.

I would say the biggest vulnerability of lottery, with respect to bribery, is debt: if a representative owes a lot of money, they are particularly at risk. Which is why I think the state should pay off all debts owed by all representatives (conditional to not peddling their influence, of course). We can disqualify people who owe excessive amounts so that this doesn't cost too much.


Bribery doesn't seem rampant in jury service, where members are chosen by lottery. I'm sure we could find ways to keep bribery away.


If you picked and announced the jurors 60-425 days before they had to serve, I bet you'd see bribery in jury duty emerge.


I'm in UK, I was informed of my upcoming jury duty about 4 months or more before the actual service.


We have similar for jury pool service (I have one in my mail pile for about 10 weeks of notice), but is your case assigned and known to you and the parties to the case? I only know the date and court (we also call the evening before to see if we even need to show up and even if we do have to show up, there's no guarantee that you'll get a case as they have to have a slight surplus rather than slight deficit of potential jurors). I doubt any of the parties know my name before the jury is invited to the challenge phase.

Said differently, if I was a defendant, could I find out the exact jurors 2-4 months ahead of time so that I could arrange to bribe them?


Ah, that's true. The selection of jurors for a particular trial was only on the day itself. The process sounds similar. We had to turn up at court for two weeks, and would get assigned a trial whenever you were free from the previous one, if it was a short one. The unlucky few who land a major trial have to sit it out to the end of course.

Maybe the sanctions that successfully keep jurors from telling the press about trials 99% of the time could work for this too. Maybe it would have to be cleverer somehow.


Bribery is even more rampant now with career aspirations since reelection is costly. The job of politicians is to get reelected and they do it by being available to donors.


If we are able to reduce the question of no reelections to the question of whether we should have term limits, I believe we will find that no reelections will have the same drawbacks as term limits[0].

Lawmaking is a profession, and needs to be done by professionals. If it is not, studies show that power shifts towards other existing power structures, such as the head of state and to lobbyists[1], which would make a lottery based appointments counterproductive on the issue of corruption.

[0]: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2018/01/18/five-reason...

[1]: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/153244000100100...


You are absolutely right about lawmaking being a profession, but in a lottery system, I reckon these professional lawmakers would simply be hired by the representatives, and they could stay on for as long as they are deemed useful. The representatives would act more like full-time overseers on the executive and legislative branches, if that makes sense.


Junior lawmakers are also perfectly capable of hiring senior lawmakers yet the balance of power still shifts towards lobbyists, so I would assume that the same issue would exist for lottery-drawn representatives.


Perhaps. I think there are generally three ways lobbyists can exert influence:

1. By nurturing personal relationships with politicians. I may be mistaken, but I feel like this is probably the most effective method. You want to exploit the natural tendency people have to want to help their friends, even decent people.

2. By helping politicians get what they want (e.g. reelection, but also first election, or election to a new position).

3. By providing compelling arguments and objections to various policies, grounded in special knowledge about their industry. These compelling arguments may be good (in which case the lobbyist's influence is actually a good thing), but they may also be bad (misdirection or lies).

I think lottery is less vulnerable to 1 and 2 (but not immune). It doesn't help against 3, although having seasoned lawmakers does, since they can see through the bullshit.

Either way, it's speculative, and it would need to be properly evaluated somehow.


Term limits have already been evaluated, as I posted in one of my previous comments.


Increase the penalties for bribes and make them severe enough that representatives won't risk it.


Would you volunteer for it, or would you be conscripted like jury duty?


As I said elsewhere, I'm leaning towards being required to register for the lottery exactly once every ten years or so. I think that'd be a reasonable compromise to ensure a representative sample of the population without inconveniencing people excessively.


The formal name of this system is Sortition: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sortition

There's a good TED talk about it: https://www.ted.com/talks/brett_hennig_what_if_we_replaced_p...


> The greeks had two institutions we could use: ostracism and lottery

To expand on the former, if a majority of Athenians voted to hold an ostracism vote, two months later, the person with the most votes (potentially over a minimum) was banished from the city for 10 years [1].

One can imagine a gentler modern version. Every ballot must have an ostracism line. Every candidate on that ballot must appear on this line. If a simple majority of voters choose the same person, a second one-line election is held in 2 months. If a simple majority of voters, two months later, vote again to ostracize, the candidate is barred from appearing on that jurisdiction's ballots for 8 years.

So if a majority of New Yorkers say Richard Nixon is ostracized, he is simply unable to appear on New York ballots for 8 years. Given the ballot will contain all manner of candidates running for many different offices, this makes it sufficiently difficult to ostracism while providing an incentive against polarization.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ostracism


Those were always pretty interesting ideas to me, and I always used to wonder why the Founders did not replicate those facets of the Athenian Republic? It would solve a lot of our problems today.


In general, the founders thought Greek style democracy was a horrible system of government. Inevitably incompetent, bloody, unjust, rash, and would quickly self destruct. When the French Revolution happened - with chaos, purges, wars, and then an emperor taking over the country - the founders basically said “I told you so”.

Here’s an example.

https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Adams/99-02-02-6371


But the French did not have the Athenian safeguards either.


Someone who has political aspirations is unlikely to push for a system where the political jobs are allocated by lottery.


The founders wanted a republic governed by rich landowners. Preferably white and wasp.


Imagine Google or Facebook hiring 5% of their developers by lottery. Take all applicants, no questions asked, pick randomly.

I can't fathom why people think "managing a country" requires less skills than managing servers. The consequences of hiring someone unqualified is certainly not less severe.


I imagine in that scenario that Google and Facebook would get particularly good at resilience and security.

Once you've got enough people, 5% of them may as well have been hired by lottery, depending on what you're measuring. People get less productive, more productive, want to change the company, decide to steal things, etc.

I think it's interesting to think about.


Consider that the system would be rethought accordingly, though.

Representatives picked by lottery would not "manage" the country: they would hire qualified people to do so, and they would supervise their work according to their values. The point of the lottery, at least the way I see it, is to have an unbiased random sample of the population oversee the government, but not to actually run it.


Assuming I'm understanding it correctly, wouldn't the first one be a huge disincentive for the passing of politically/socially unpopular policies that are beneficial in the long-term?


You wouldn't be able to vote everyone into ostracism. Only the most disliked politicians would be thrown out of the game.


This would be an interesting strategy to apply towards measuring how an open source community feels about difficult tradeoffs in design where there is no clear winner among many proposals, such as the recent survey meant to measure how people feel about the various async/await syntax proposals in Rust.

https://www.reddit.com/r/rust/comments/biw1ic/asyncawait_syn...

https://www.reddit.com/r/rust/comments/bju8di/asyncawait_syn...


I don't know about this particular issue, but in general there's something to be said for beneficent dictatorship. My hypothesis is that sometimes the choosing of individual parts that are measurably better on their own, when combined produce something that is less than if the parts weren't optimally chosen but were cogently chosen to meet a particular ideology or end.


Totally agree, that's where my mind went to immediately. Features and/or proposals on design in larger projects.


The basic form of quadratic voting, with actual money, also makes trying to protect yourself and your rights against hostile voting blocks expensive. Are you black? Muslim? Transgender? The majority votes to screw you over in some way, and you spend to vote harder against them and so manage to stop them. And then you've spent quite a bit of money, which gets redistributed to all voters (ie, everyone in your group sees little of it back)...and then they vote again to do the same damn thing you opposed before, and now you're fucked.


Isn't this just baked into any form of representative government or democracy? It doesn't seem like voting is the issue as much as how you proportionally represent your society.

The problem is that any minority group will always have less voting power than the majority group (if their interests are disjoint and no other coalitions are formed).


This assumes the majority would focus their energy on a narrow set of issues. Unless you have studies to back up that assumption, I would not believe it.

And if the majority actually did feel so strongly about a narrow set of issues, then it should be very expensive for a minority to counter that.


Isn't that the definition of a minority group and the problems with any democracy? And why should the majority bend to the will of a minority?


> Why should the majority bend to the will of a minority

I'd prefer to read GP's post as a "live and let live", rather than pursuit of domination.

That said, there's always the risk of "dominating minority is bad" if my in-group is the minority, and "upholding majority preferences is good" if my in-group the majority. :-)


>>The purpose...is to determine “whether the intense preferences of the minority outweigh the weak preferences of the majority”>>

Given this, apparently the problem is that strong minority preferences are being snuffed out by majority preferences? Of course, this is the inherent flaw in democracy.

In the US we have two guards against that - the first is the Electoral College and the second is the Constitution. The former ensures that even the least populated states have at least a minimum (as opposed to effectively none) effect on the outcome and the second ensures that the government can't be used for something evil just because a majority has voted to to use it for that purpose.

So if there's a "zealotry" problem as the title implies, why can't these tools be used to manage it? What is wrong with them such that we need this new, additional layer?


There's another guard against it, which is the ability for congressional representatives to negotiate deals. They are not obligated to do whatever 50.01% of the population prefers on an issue by issue basis, but rather to do what they think will win elections. Issues that people care about more are more important for winning elections, so politicians can compromise on broadly-supported issues people care little about in order to work on niche issues with intense support.

In practice, this looks like things like pork-barrel infrastructure spending and farm subsidies. These sorts of things are pretty unpopular with most people, but they keep getting passed, and the above is why.


>Given this, apparently the problem is that strong minority preferences are being snuffed out by majority preferences? Of course, this is the inherent flaw in democracy.

That's not the problem Quadratic Voting tries to solve at all. The increased cost of additional votes actually reduces the voting power of certain minority groups, such as one-issue voters. The system tries to fix the opposite - a strong minority preference winning a vote where it is not the first choice of the majority.


Ah yes, got it. I missed that, thanks.


In the US where the parties cling to stupid and outdated viewpoints and agendas in order to differentiate themselves from the other party. Legislators have to vote with the party if they don't want to find the party funding an opponent in the next election cycle. This is an improvement insofar as it allows legislators to nominally vote with the party while voting more strongly in favor of things they actually care about.

This would probably work well in two party states because it would allow lawmakers to vote as weakly as possible for stupid things just to say they're towing the party line while not actually voting strongly for them. In single party states this is probably a bad thing because it gives the people who ran as the other party just to get their name on the ticket to only weakly vote the way their platform says they should be voting.

If this system were used outside of the legislature (i.e. to actually elect legislator) it would probably be a total shitshow because as other commenters have mentioned it rewards coordination which basically just favors the status quo. If there's anything we need it's less status quo in general elections.

So yeah, this might work in a legislature but I don't see it working well to elect the actual politicians themselves.


The more that politics become local the more this all goes away. States need to be at the foreront again


I'd go further and argue that city-states make the most sense in today's world, with a federal government to arbitrate resources and defense. US state boundaries are quite arbitrary with respect to how actual communities are organized on the map.


But you have an option to move to a new state that fits your beliefs. Much harder to do when it is a Federal system with a single law for all thr lands.


There are plenty of examples of more local politics leading to worse outcomes. For example: balkanized cities zoning for too many offices and not enough housing, and jurisdictions racing to the bottom of tax policy to entice business.


There are plenty of examples where Federal law created worse outcomes in a particular locality, but is much harder to change the law because its Federal.


I'm not claiming the federal government is better. Only that it isn't obvious that more local = automatically better. Both approaches have drawbacks and advantages.


It's clever, but it doesn't solve the problem.

Because the problem isn't with strong preferences -- it's with extreme preferences.

If there were 7 versions of a bill (A,B,C,D,E,F,G) ranging from ultra-conservative (a "A") to ultra-liberal (a "G"), in a polarized community people could still be spending the minimum 1 point each on the A's or G's and none on B-F.

The problem with politics today isn't that people are single-issue voters (because they generally aren't -- it's not a problem that needs to be solved)... it's that the natural evolution of the two-party system has forced us into choices that are more polarized than ever before in the history of the US -- in a two-party election, we're often only given options A and G, or maybe B and F, but rarely C through E.


> The problem with politics today isn't that people are single-issue voters...

The problem is the people have no representation, what people want does not impact the likelihood of passage of a law.[1]

People on the left in right have a lot more in common with each other than everyone likes to make out. But even where they agree still nothing happens. I think this “polarization” line is a convenient distraction from this reality.

[1] https://bulletin.represent.us/american-government-isnt-democ...


I think you're pointing out a different shade of the same problem. People _do_ technically have representation in the form of their Congresspeople and Senators. But those elected officials have to polarize their viewpoints and thus their votes because when they vote out of party, the vocal members of their parties excoriate them as traitors. So the people in the middle feel like their representatives aren't representing them.


If I wanted, say, single payer insurance, I wouldn't be able to vote for it because my democratic candidate wants to stick to halfassed and broken Obamacare, and the Republican wants to abolish it entirely. I have no meaningful way to exercise that vote, even if this is a majority opinion, and not particularly extreme since it's the status quo in most of the world. Ditto for anything affecting monied interests, since the two presidential candidates are by necessity deep in the pockets of wealthy interest groups right from the beginning of their expensive campaigns.

The only way out I see is through constitution-level campaign finance reform, replacing multilayered first past the post, and probably reducing the power of the presidency so this new many-party Congress actually matters rather than so much power in a single (and thus winner takes all) office.

Edit: as another unrepresented belief, if I think Israel is a geniciding state that deserves no international support, well, too bad, the center of both parties if firmly in the pockets of pro Israeli interest groups.


>People _do_ technically have representation in the form of their Congresspeople and Senators.

Do those people really care and work for their voters? Or for their own career (including post-political career at some company they've done favors), lobbies, party, etc?


Is this actually true for local elections? I would think they care far more about the local teachers union than Mitch McConnell, and certainly the prior would have more boots on the ground canvassing. I think local representatives have to cater to the preferences of their district to a pretty large extent, though not perfectly so (a bit of hysteresis?).


> * what people want does not impact the likelihood of passage of a law*

Not that I follow this closely, but last i heard the Median Voter Theorem was still holding up well in the research.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Median_voter_theorem


Isn't the core assumption of MVT that there exists a one dimensional spectrum from which to calculate a median in the first place? Voting for candidates is hardly one-dimensional; even a particular ballot measure may have multiple choices, or another question on the ballot of a related but somewhat conflicting nature.


I think the assumption/result is that even though you only get one out of two candidates to choose from and there are hundreds of independent issues, in aggregate, after all forces and processes have had their effect, resulting policy in most major issues is surprisingly close to what the median voter wants.

Caveat: I'm just some guy who reads web pages, not a voting scientist.


> the natural evolution of the two-party system

The US has a long history, almost all of it with a two-party system. Only sometimes is there extremity. To my mind, 1860 is even more extreme than today.

(My opinion is that an important common thread between then and today is a class of people with a great deal of money who are deliberately driving the political atmosphere. But in any event a claim that it is a natural outcome of a two-party system needs to account for the historical fact that the US experience is typically not extreme.)


Slavery was a particularly and uniquely intractable problem where a "moderate" or "centrist" solution was particularly unappealing.

There's extensive literature on what's been driving polarization, but it really is a new "era" for it and not a cyclical thing. Factors include:

- More democratic/open primaries, which select extreme candidates

- More statistically targeted media (including social media) to take advantage of extreme views (including social media)

- Increasingly partisan news media made possible by more fragmented media (first cable, then the Internet)

None of these show any signs of going away, and all three are phenomena that are fundamentally new in the past few decades.


> Increasingly partisan news media made possible by more fragmented media (first cable, then the Internet)

Isn’t the entire mainstream media owned by only like 6 corporations[1]?

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.businessinsider.com/these-6...


Yup, who make money the more you engage with or watch their advertisers. It turns out anger/rage seems to be the best way to do that. People (on the whole) don't consume political media to be challenged in their views... they get a dopamine hit from hearing that their view is correct and continue in a spiral hating the other side of whatever issue is at hand.


There used to be literally three channels. We've doubled!


Good point.

There's a lot more news outlets than there used to be when I was a kid. No question about that.


Well 4 if you count PBS.


We've 1.5x-ed!


>where a "moderate" or "centrist" solution was particularly unappealing...

True.

Moderation is no solution at all when you think about it. I mean what's the compromise? They have to be slaves 3.5 days out of the week? And you can teach them to write, but any reading is strictly forbidden. So under no circumstances can you teach them to read?

Just hard to come up with any compromise that doesn't just sound ludicrous on its face.


> Moderation is no solution at all when you think about it.

Contrariwise:

Compensated emancipation was typically enacted as part of an act that outlawed slavery outright or established a scheme whereby slavery would eventually be phased out. It frequently was accompanied or preceded by laws which approached gradual emancipation by granting freedom to those born to slaves after a given date. Among the European powers, slavery was primarily an issue with their overseas colonies. The British Empire enacted a policy of compensated Emancipation for its colonies in 1833, followed by Denmark, France in 1848, and the Netherlands in 1863. Most South American and Caribbean nations emancipated slavery through compensated schemes in the 1850s and 1860s, while Brazil passed a plan for gradual, compensated emancipation in 1871, and Cuba followed in 1880 after having enacted freedom at birth a decade earlier.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compensated_emancipation


So in other words, still slavery. Right?

I mean, there's still slaves.

"Your kids can be free! But only the ones born after the next Vernal Equinox falling on a Tuesday. Oh, and by the way, You can never be free."

Again, a solution that's ludicrous on its face and doesn't really get rid of slavery. Kind of like the compromise we had here, where you could "technically" have slaves in the North. (Of course, occasionally in the North, your neighbors came by to kill you and take your slaves to Canada. But you could have them.) Obviously, it just turned out to be not a very workable solution. Like any compromise on an issue like that. There were just a whole lot of people out there taking that whole "..then, thenceforward, and forever free.." thing deadly seriously.

Either you have slavery or you don't. It's kind of binary. You really can't go into a roomful of pregnant high school girls and pick out the one who is the "most virgin" is kind of my point. It's ludicrous to think that you can.


You write ...

> So in other words, still slavery. Right?

.., which suggests you overlooked the first leg of the OR clause:

> Compensated emancipation was typically enacted as part of an act that outlawed slavery outright

But maybe I am not understanding you. If an act outlaws slavery outright, is it your view that there are still slaves?

You also write ...

> ... and doesn't really get rid of slavery.

.., but the historical record shows that compensated emancipation did get rid of lawful slavery.


There is an unresolvable tension between the quantitative and the qualitative, and it's hard to imagine a more extreme example than erasing ineffable human dignity in order to turn a human into a commodity.

Let's flip this around to today: imagine a hypothetical future 100 years from now, that honors the qualitative dignity of all animal life, and views factory farming with the same horror that we view slavery now. From this moral vantage point (even as a meat eater, I concede this position the high ground), a phased approach seems appalling.

We currently slaughter roughly one Holocaust's worth of animals every hour; how about reducing it to one Holocaust per two hours? Maybe a new law to give cows an hour in the sunshine before they're herded back into pens? What about voluntary buyback programs? Taxes on meat to subsidize cheaper vegetables? These are all quantitative solutions to a qualitative problem: either cows have inalienable value as conscious beings, or they don't; and if they do, shouldn't we stop at nothing to defend that sacred value and eliminate all human-caused animal suffering, rather than wishy-washy incrementalism?

The unfortunate reality then and now is that we're stuck in quantitative games, directly or indirectly. There are no shortage of highly motivated consumers and producers who benefit from factory farming, just as as there was for slavery. There was clear justification to go to war to end slavery, to forcibly grind the game entirely to a halt; but it was not without cost, not only in lives lost, but in a consequential cultural rift that persists to this day. I'm both ignorant and curious how culture played out in those societies that use phased approaches; do they have equivalents to the "Southern Strategy" and Nixon's racially-motivated War on Drugs (which is rightly, I think, compared to modern-day slavery)?

I don't claim to know the answers to any of these things; but until a given moral phase-shift takes place, it's not always obvious how to get there, and a hardline stance can run the risk that the system kicks back, opponents are strengthened and galvanized, and nothing is accomplished.

(Yes, I'm aware of the irony and offense of invoking a comparison to farm animals in a discussion of slavery, when slaves were once viewed as livestock. I'm attempting to draw the opposite point: of humanizing animals, in the same way that we now humanize all homo sapiens regardless of ethnicity.)


But we did take a non-incrementalist approach to slavery, and it worked. Sherman smashing through Georgia was not, by any stretch of the imagination, "moderate". And it worked much better than any of the other approaches.

Travel to Asia or Africa, and ask who the leader of the US was when the slaves were freed? Then ask who the leader of the British Empire was when their slaves were freed? Or the leader of Brazil? There's a reason people in Asia revere Lincoln and not the leader of the British Empire, or the leader of Brazil at the time, or the leader of Cuba, or what have you. That reason is because Lincoln is viewed as having done the right thing in the face of enormous risk. We did the right thing in a way that transcended America. It even transcended the slaves to be perfectly frank. What we did has inspired humanity ever since. Whether you are at an elite University in Beijing, Shanghai, or Singapore, Lincoln is a leader all of the most promising students are drawn to.

This is not simply the result of marketing either. For instance, the king of Siam was famously drawn to Lincoln over all of the others as well. The Czar lamented his comparison to Lincoln. Insisting people should instead venerate him, because he had done more for the serfs than Lincoln did for the slaves. And he felt he'd certainly done more than the British or the Portuguese, who he felt had done nothing at all. All of this was long before professional marketing really existed. Even long before the US was really even a power. So our solution to slavery paid us off over a thousandfold in untold influence and soft power alone. Influence and soft power throughout the world. Now, I'll concede that it's influence and soft power that we seem to have squandered, but it's also influence these wishy washy incrementalist approaches never conferred on their proponents.

You say it was a cost, (and presumably a loss?). I think you might believe that because you haven't properly accounted for the many benefits we've enjoyed in your cost-benefit analysis.


> it worked much better than any of the other approaches.

Only if you consider a million lives lost, and many more wounded, "better" than the solution other countries with slavery, like Great Britain, adopted: they paid off the slaveowners and freed their slaves without any violence at all.


>without any violence at all...

Excepting, of course, all the violence used to keep the slaves as slaves in the first place I assume? Because, what? That's not real violence?

Come on man. It's slavery. There was already grotesque violence. Only question was, what were different nations willing to do to stop it? But where slaves were concerned, every nation involved was already perfectly ok with massive, grotesque, and global scale violence. It was kind of a necessity for that kind of thing to work.


> Excepting, of course, all the violence used to keep the slaves as slaves in the first place I assume? Because, what? That's not real violence?

It's real violence, sure, but it's there in all of the cases, so it drops out of the comparison we're making. We're not talking about the costs of slavery itself; we're talking about the costs to end slavery. A million lives seems to me like a much bigger cost to end slavery then paying off the slaveowners.

Not to mention the fact that all those other countries that didn't have to fight a war to end slavery ended it sooner than the US did; so actually we should be considering the costs of slavery itself--for all the extra years that it existed in the US compared to those other countries. Which just makes the "fight a war to end slavery" option look even worse by comparison.


This is the US man. We didn't pay the British Crown a cent, and no one saw any reason to change that policy for southerners. Paying for freedom is not something America as a nation was given to doing in the Late 18th and 19th century. Heck, vast majority of us wouldn't do it today. This country was literally founded on the principle of not paying for freedoms. And this history is the very reason we carried so much caché and influence through the 20h century. People knew our history and admired it. Historically, the incrementalists have taken a back seat to us, not the other way around.

And I mean come on guy? What's with these ideas? Any violence against slaves just "drops out". But other violence does not? We should pay off slaver owners? A million lives is too much to pay to end slavery?

A million lives is far less than the body count of 400 years of the slave trade. How many lived and died as slaves? How many were killed, beaten, or left for dead? Or maybe just thrown overboard? etc etc etc.

As to the question of paying off slave owners, what part of our history to 1860 would lead you to believe that it was our policy to pay money for freedom? You either didn't pay attention in history class, or you are willfully ignoring the nature of how we got our start. Presumably because it is inconvenient, and doesn't fit with your narrative.

And, yeah, on the question of just ignoring the violence against slaves, that's just not even worth commentary.

But hey man, we can just agree to disagree. Obviously we're just different people. You have a nice rest of the day.


> What's with these ideas?

Paying off the slaveowners is not just an "idea". It actually happened. In every other country that ended slavery. That's why I'm drawing the comparison. Every other country managed to end slavery without fighting a war that cost a million lives. So why did the US have to?

> what part of our history to 1860 would lead you to believe that it was our policy to pay money for freedom?

You're missing my point. Of course it wasn't our policy to pay money for freedom. That's why we had to fight a war that cost a million lives to free the slaves.

My point is, why wasn't it our policy to pay money for freedom? Why couldn't we do the obvious thing that all the other countries did to free slaves without it having to cost a million lives?

And if your answer is "we should never pay money for freedom", why not? The slaves were freed either way. Wasn't freeing them the goal? Wouldn't it be better to achieve that goal without it having to cost a further million lives?

> on the question of just ignoring the violence against slaves

You're missing my point again. I'm not ignoring the violence against slaves. I'm pointing out that that violence happened regardless of how the slaves were freed. So when counting the cost of freeing the slaves, you can't factor in the violence that happened while they were slaves, because that violence had already happened; freeing the slaves with a war that cost a million lives didn't make any of the violence against the slaves while they were slaves go away, any more than paying the slaveowners for the slaves' freedom did. The million lives it cost in the US Civil War wasn't instead of the 400 years of violence against the slaves; it was in addition to it.


Oh guy. Come on man.

You don't negotiate with terrorists.

Maybe I should just ask you to get a better idea of how you're thinking about this whole thing, do you think we should have paid the British?


> You don't negotiate with terrorists.

So you think the slaveowners were terrorists? You think the British in Colonial times were terrorists? On what basis?

> do you think we should have paid the British?

I answered this in another part of this subthread: yes, if the British would have accepted payment in exchange for our independence, and we could have afforded the payment, we should have paid them.


>On what basis?...

Uh... on the basis of them beating, torturing and even killing slaves maybe? Or again, are we not counting any terrorism against slaves?

I mean, what would you call slavery but terrorism? Violence to achieve and maintain a political objective. What is war but terrorism really? When you're dealing with a terrorist, you use their tactics and prove to them you're willing to go further.

But coming to the central point, I think it's clear we just disagree fundamentally about when it's appropriate to use treasury to pay settlements. Paying terrorists or bullies is completely inappropriate. Paying someone you may have wronged inadvertently, or paying for land, is more appropriate. So paying, say, France for Louisiana, or Russia for Alaska, is entirely appropriate. It's just making an offer for a piece of land that's not ours. We don't own it. We don't farm it. We weren't the people making that land valuable. But we wanted to move there so we could do so. An offer of purchase is appropriate under those circumstances.

But paying southerners to free slaves, is tantamount to paying a kidnapper to release their hostages. If you're smart, you just don't do that. The only thing it does is embolden other kidnappers.

And paying someone for land you live on, you farm, and you make valuable, but they take the profit off of it with no input from you at all? Yeah, that's not even something you should consider doing. Just as you shouldn't pay mafia "protection" fees. It's just asking for more trouble down the line.

But you and I just think differently about these things. No worries. I just firmly believe if you tried to do things your way, you would find in very short order that the world is not unicorns and rainbows. There are significant dangers to doing business with bad actors.


> what would you call slavery but terrorism? Violence to achieve and maintain a political objective. What is war but terrorism really?

So by your definition, the Union fighting a war to free the slaves was terrorism. So your argument is basically to fight terrorism with more terrorism.

> paying southerners to free slaves, is tantamount to paying a kidnapper to release their hostages. If you're smart, you just don't do that. The only thing it does is embolden other kidnappers.

This claim is obviously false when applied to paying slaveowners to free slaves. Great Britain and other countries paying slaveowners to free slaves did not embolden other slaveowners. In fact it did the opposite.

> paying someone for land you live on, you farm, and you make valuable, but they take the profit off of it with no input from you at all?

Huh? We're not talking about the slaves buying their freedom. (Although that did happen in the South--it wasn't common, but it happened.) We're talking about the United States Government paying the slaveowners to buy the freedom of the slaves, in exchange for the slaveowners' agreement to outlaw slavery. Just like Great Britain did with its slaveowners. Do you even understand what actually happened in the latter case?

> you and I just think differently about these things

As far as I can tell, you are thinking not about what I actually proposed, but about straw man versions that you have made up.


> Only question was, what were different nations willing to do to stop it?

Yes, exactly. Some nations were willing to tell their moralizers to shut up, and just pay off the slaveowners. The US wasn't willing to make that compromise; we let the moralizers drive the process, so we had to fight a war and kill a million people.


>The US wasn't willing to make that compromise; we let the moralizers drive the process, so we had to fight a war and kill a million people...

Yeah, "moralizers" like Hamilton, Washington, and Ben Franklin, who were so obstinate and short sighted they refused to simply pay the British Crown instead of fighting such a destructive war. Too bad you couldn't be there to show them the error of their ways.

/s

Yeah, this is another case where you and I are just different people. We'll just agree to disagree. Have a nice day though.


> moralizers" like Hamilton, Washington, and Ben Franklin, who were so obstinate and short sighted they refused to simply pay the British Crown instead of fighting such a destructive war

You think the Colonies could have paid the British Crown to become independent? Where are you getting that from? What makes you think the British would have accepted it?

But if you are just asking as a pure hypothetical--should the Colonies have paid for independence, if the British would have accepted that resolution--then my answer would be yes, of course. Independence was the goal; if we could have gotten there without having to fight a war, so much the better.


There was no option to pay the south either, but you believe we should have. So why not engage in revisionist fantasies.

But no, I don't believe we should have paid the British either. Of course not. Pay off every world power hard up for money that comes along? No way. You start off that way, you've set yourself up for extreme and painful failure. Best to have one war at the outset so that all the other global powers get the message loud and clear.

You can try paying off bullies if you like in your own life, but I can guarantee you that it won't work. The only thing it will create is more opportunists.

You're being a bit naive man.


> Pay off every world power hard up for money that comes along?

I have not proposed any such thing. Being willing to pay money for a specific valuable objective--independence for the American Colonies, freedom for the slaves of the American South--is not at all the same as being willing to pay money to anyone who comes along and asks for it.

> You can try paying off bullies

So you think the British were bullying the American Colonies? You think the South was bullying the North before the Civil War? On what basis?

If you look at the historical record, you will see that, if anything, it was the Colonies bullying the British until the British got fed up, and the Northern abolitionists bullying the South until the South got fed up.

> You're being a bit naive man.

No, I'm simply taking to its logical conclusion a premise that seems obvious to me: that paying for something with money, if you can, is better than paying for it with human lives.


1860 was also the first year of a brand new two-party system. The previous decade was unilateral Democrat rule while the Whigs died and Constitutionalists, Know-Nothings, and Republicans fought over the scraps. It was an unusual time.


Yep. 1860 is more accurately characterized as the first year of the two party system. And the people only wanted another party because of the slavery issue. Literally, the only time we dealt with extremists, was when we first started the two party system.

So it's disingenuous to say that 1860 was like today. It wasn't. At all. There is no new, powerful, upstart party that people can vote for to get away from the extremists today. There is no overriding issue that people can legitimately claim to be at once barbaric and deleterious to the republic. There is none of that.

We just have two parties... who choose to be extreme for dubious reasons.

So it hasn't been as polarized as it is today, ever really during the two party era. Today is way outside the norm. We haven't seen anything like this before.

Of course, we've never had anything like our current leaders either. But that's a whole other issue. (A related issue though.)


A big difference between the past and now is that in the past, politics was a very minor part in American life.

Outside of wartime, the federal government was something you mainly interacted with when going to the post office. If the national politicians hated each other, it made for good gossip, but didn't affect daily life much

Today, it is involved with and regulating most aspects of our lives, and federal government dysfunction is a much bigger problem.


This is an interesting debating point in itself. The problem isn't extreme preferences - the extremist wing of any political party tends to be motivated, visible and small. The problem is that the extreme wing wields a lot of power through their persistent and single minded effort.

Quadratic voting weights power away from my-way-or-highway voters towards voters who are willing to consider more than one option. Without thinking too deeply, it would make it easy to tease apart large and awkward alliances. Even if it didn't formally fracture the major parties, it would de-facto moderate politics by increasing the risk of holding extreme positions.

Basically any other form of voting is an improvement over the US FPTP system; FPTP's only advantage is that it is very obvious how it works. Nothing to sneeze at, but not mathematically satisfying.


> it's that the natural evolution of the two-party system has forced us into choices that are more polarized than ever before in the history of the US

I don't think this is supported by the evidence. Polarization in the US hasn't been unidirectional (there are many long periods during which the US became less polarized) and the recent massive spike is, well, a recent spike--it's not a natural evolution at all. Something happened in the last twenty years or so that increased our polarization. I recall several good sources, but I'll have to dig around for them...


> Something happened in the last twenty years or so that increased our polarization.

I'd expand the timeframe to 30 years and say the biggest contributors to this are the rise of neoliberal politics combined with globalization leaving a lot of working class people "behind" while corporations made ever more and more profits, combined with the rise of the Internet where the most outrageous content gets the most clicks/likes/eyeball-time with next to no institutions to provide as "quality filter".

Stuff like antivaxxers, flat earthers, "great exchange of the white people" and other conspiracy bollocks was relegated to physical mailings of fringe groups naturally limiting its distribution, nowadays the reach capability is in the millions for everyone.

In addition, countless fuck-ups (aided by propaganda) demolished trust into journalism and experts in general, which led to the erosion of fact-based viewpoints as the base for democratic discourse.


The end of the Cold War should not be dismissed. The West had a common-enemy. This served to unify things somewhat.


Looking back, it's easy to fit these large changes -- like the internet and globalization -- to any current outcome.


> great exchange of the white people

What is this referring to?


AKAIK It refers to demographic trends in the Western world where white ppl have lower fertility rates than other groups.


The actual term is "great replacement", and it's a conspiracy theory regarding an alleged systematic replacement of native Europeans (i.e. "whites"). The Christchurch shooter was a big fan, apparently.


It's a way to relabel normal immigration by upstanding people into nefarious "white genocide".


I agree with you, but you should have expressed this in a way that didn't assume bad faith.


> Something happened in the last twenty years or so that increased our polarization.

This has happened all over the world. The obvious major thing that's changed is this thing right here: The internet.

Social media has replaced "mainstream media" as the source of our news and our opinions. And so we have a new opinion landscape.


I think it's something else (or perhaps I'm only elaborating on your point)--the proliferation of postmodern ideologies (e.g., progressivism) throughout our epistemological institutions (principally the media and the academy) which explicitly cast doubt on objectivity and put "lived experiences" (as though there is another kind) on par with empirical research. Progressivism often goes so far as to condemn objectivity (including math, physics, biology, etc) as "white supremacist", "racist", "patriarchal", or otherwise "problematic" (this is literally the textbook position on objectivity). This along with the secularization of America largely errodes our trust in the institutions which used to give us a common source of truth.

This gives license to all sorts of denialism and conspiracy theories--the right denies climate change, the left denies biological gender differences, and both sides have their anti-vaxxers and flat-earth theorists. Without common "truths" to counter our tribalist tendencies, we are being pulled toward extremes.


I disagree. Many bills are written with compromises in place, so they appeal to enough voters. I would rank the American ACA bill as E on the A to G scale.


It's striking even at this late a date to find the AEI proposal with mods crafted (or with pay offs as it was billed at the time) to appeal to the far right of the Democratic party rated as being practically at the edge of the far left.


Even if that was true of the bill itself, it's certainly not true of how it was (and is) portrayed in the media. On the right wing channels, you hear that it's a G, or maybe a letter even further down the alphabet. On the left wing channels, you hear that it was so watered down that it was basically a B and that we have to do more etc etc etc.


Actually, I can see how this process actually solves the problem of extreme preferences, and does it in favor of those minorities who have the most to gain.

Suppose I belong to minority group X (say people with a rare disease, LGBT, immigrants...) whose life will literally change by approving or rejecting a bill.

On the other side, a similarly sized group Y strongly opposes the first group out of first principles from their ideology (reducing taxes, sanctity of heterosexual marriage, keeping the country "pure"). Usually this group will have strong opinions against several of those social issues, but none of them will really affect their lives directly. So, their votes will be divided among several issues.

Therefore, the votes of a small group will decide the outcome in their benefit on those issues that strongly affect them, unless:

1) an equal opposing group has the same extreme incentives (and in that case, the opinion of the overall population will decide), or

2) the opposing group is much larger than the small group.

I'd say that, in both cases, it is reasonable to think that the system is working as it should.


Especially since the Federal level of government has increased in both power and attention over last century where winner takes all. If States regained the political and power emphasis, more politics would be local and generally conducted among people with more similar views....and if you dont like it, chances are that another State caters to your viewpoint.


in a two-party election, we're often only given options A and G, or maybe B and F, but rarely C through E.

This is the exact opposite of what economic theory predicts and my (admittedly biased) personal observations. Consider for example Hoetelling's Law, which states that competitors naturally tend to become as similar as possible in order to extract as much value from the competition as possible: https://www.uh.edu/engines/epi2692.htm

The advantage of systems other than the two party system is precisely that they allow more diverse view points to be represented.


That only applies when there isn't a direct payoff from being against the other side ... which is exactly what the primary process selects for.


From https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2755844

> g Likert has never done; engages a higher level of thoughtfulness; attenuates extremism to expose deeper insight; and predicts behavior better than Likert at high levels preference intensity.

Basically extreme views and polarization are poorly weighted in large populations and this can be _exposed_ by QV.


i agree. i sometimes think that a two party system is worse than one party as it is ultimately a waste of resources for very little difference


I agree. For this "tribal" reason of picking a party I've been more inclined to have term limits on Congress.


Term limits in congress aren't really a good thing though. We have term limits for President because the President is uniquely powerful, they can almost unilaterally bend the aparatus of government to their will. If allowed to rule for too long, a president can easily become a dictator. The same is not true of a congressperson who weilds 1/535th of the power of a branch.

Besides, if the people want to put someone in office, shouldn't they be allowed to? Isn't that Democracy 101?


I have come to appreciate the wisdom of the Virginia governor's term-limiting system -- you can hold office as many times as you want, but you cannot succeed yourself.

Voters can restore someone to office, but each term must stand alone, avoiding the, "What does every first-term President want? A second term." problem.


A limit system based just on non-consecutiveness is gamed pretty easily: look at Dmitry Medvedev's term as Russian president.


Career congresspersons are beholden to those that secure their reelection. That's the current steady state system we have now. Term limits forces that dynamic to no longer apply to the final term, which frees congresspeople from this dynamic for at least one term.

It also forces clearer the revolving door between the private sector and politics as then the no-longer congressperson gets hired into a company.


>Career congresspersons are beholden to those that secure their reelection

Yeah, those people are called "voters". That's how it's supposed to work. We want congresspeople to feel beholden to them.

> It also forces clearer the revolving door between the private sector and politics as then the no-longer congressperson gets hired into a company.

Isn't this just motivation for more cronyism? You're basically arguing that the last term of any congressperson should be spent working for a company instead of the people.


> Yeah, those people are called "voters". That's how it's supposed to work. We want congresspeople to feel beholden to them.

No it's not. It's to the people with money which let's them get to the voters. Because otherwise that money is going to an alternate candidate that plays ball. Have you ever wondered where the blue-collar Democrats of the 1970's went, for example? Businesses and those with money instead financing better campaigns in return for business representation, won. It's why both Democrats and Republicans have generally represented corporate interests since Reagan.

> Isn't this just motivation for more cronyism?

No, it's motivation for making the existing cronyism even more transparent. Or, incentivizing those who did their terms to return to the communities they helped represent and move on with their non-political life.


So if your real problem is with money in politics, why not get money out of politics instead of targeting this weird, roundabout, more difficult to implement, and antidemocratic method that may not have any actual impact on the problem?


> weird

Term limits already exist for other positions. It is not a strange concept.

> roundabout

My problem is not with "money in politics", it is with career politicians.

> more difficult to implement

Forgive my laughter, setting a term limits is way easier than your abstract idealism of removing money from politics.

> antidemocratic

Everyone can still vote and is still emancipated. The America after the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution is no less a Representative Democracy than before.

I'm all for honest and open discussion but it is clear this is not one of them.


No, they are beholden to whomever can help them raise enough money for re-election. It is far easier to have 1-2 industries you make happy and can write you a big check every 2 or 6 years than reaching out to raise grassroots support from thousands of individual voters.


It turns out that merely repeating the name of a candidate over and over again alongside some platitude or glittering generality is remarkably effective in gaining voters.

But TV ads are expensive, hence the several million dollars each candidate spends every election cycle.


Make service in the House work more like jury duty. Everyone living in a district who meets the minimum requirements (age, etc) has their name thrown into a lottery. Representatives get selected randomly and have to serve for one session, then they go home.

Oh, and have Senators be appointed by state governments again, like they used to be.


Pick your poison. I live in a state with strong term limits on the state legislature (MI), and it has huge problems too. The large turnover means a dearth of institutional experience. So much of legislative power depends on the few legislators who are strong and smart enough to wield it. One thinks of Henry Clay, or Ted Kennedy, or Robert Byrd, or Mitch McConnell. Regardless of your thoughts on them, they were long-time legislators who cared about protecting the power of their institution and were wily enough to do it.

The power to make laws is going to go somewhere. If the legislature won't or can't accept it, it'll end up in the bureaucracy (admittedly a huge problem with out non-term limited national Congress, though for different reasons), or in the case I'm familiar with, by executive fiat and outside groups and lobbyists.


Additionally, it's got almost nothing to do with ideas anymore. It's about tribes.

If you're in tribe A, your media tells you tribe B are literally devils. There's no understanding a devil, or compromise with one. If they say something that sounds reasonable? It's probably a trick. Hannity or Maddow will explain why tonight.


>Hannity or Maddow will explain why tonight...

There is something very sad, yet true, about that statement.


Downvoted pretty heavily, though. Guess it's a threatening message :)


There are literally millions of single issue voters who vote for conservatives because of abortion in the US. Literally millions of people.


Yeah, NPR found plenty on their part of the national media's "how the hell did this happen?" tour right after the election. Lots of "well yeah he's awful and I wasn't happy to vote for him. But... court nominations and Roe v. Wade, so I kinda had to."


Polarization isn't in itself a problem unless you believe the truth is somewhere near the center, which is itself an ideological position. On top of that, our choices have always been the options from C to E. Sanders is the farthest left serious candidate for president we've had in decades, and he's not very far left relative to many center-left European parties. Trump has farther right tendencies but policy-wise he's more or less in lock step with the center of the GOP. I would love to hear an explanation for why I'm wrong. We've rarely had a president or even candidates on either extreme.


I don't see the truth in the center.

The federal government has been corrupt my entire life. I don't see any reason to give them additional money or power.

If anything, I find national liberals wrong, and state liberals more correct.

I wouldn't mind paying for things my area uses, I have some oversight.

Nationally trillions of dollars gets lost.


Sure, I guess my point is just this--it's tempting to see oneself above the ideological fray, when solutions like this come from priors just like any others. This technocratic third way approach tries to bury its political identity in the appearance of objectivity. I'm not even necessarily criticizing its content, though I happen to disagree, I'm just saying that when trying to come up with a balanced system, this approach necessarily favors the center, which, like I said, is an ideological position.


Since the link to the paper, at the end of the article, is subtly broken (at least for me), here are the links to the abstract and directly to the PDF:

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2003531

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/Delivery.cfm/SSRN_ID3092895_cod...

Doi:

https://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2003531


Let's say Alice only cares about proposition A. And Bob only cares about B.

Alice can spend all her 100 tokens on A, and she gets 10 votes on A. Ditto Bob can spend all his 100 tokens on B, and he gets 10 votes on B.

But if each of them spends 50 on A and 50 on B, then A and B both get 2*sqrt(50) ~= 14 votes, so both Alice and Bob win by colluding.

What's to stop them doing this?


Because it is a Prisoner's Dilemma.

Bob can convince Alice to spend half her tokens on proposition B but then betray her and spend all his tokens on B, resulting in 17 votes for B and only 7 for A.

When voting is anonymous there is no way to detect if voters keep their pledge or not, so this should deter them from voting in any other way than in their own interest.


Is the voting in their legislature anonymous? Why?

Unlike ordinary people, the legislators are working for their voters, who deserve to know if they got what they paid for. If I send Bob to the legislature, understanding that he plans to get rid of all the bloody clowns, I certainly want to know if he supported the Bill that gives every Clown $5000 of the city's tax revenue to buy more ludicrous shoes and lapel flowers. If Bob can promise he's anti-clown, then arrive in the legislature and vote a straight pro-clown slate knowing he'll face no consequences, that's no way to run a representative democracy!


Fair enough, that wouldn't work indeed. I was thinking about the abstract case, not actually applied as in the article. It would work with direct democracy though.


Oh no lawmakers actually cooperating to achieve their goals. What a tragedy!


But does not support "across the aisle" cooperation, which is where the concern is.


It usually does result in tragedy, though. It's just reported as "bad luck."


Collusion is a secret cooperation or deceitful agreement in order to deceive others. The plan you suggest is not deceiving anybody. It represents an political agreement and cooperation.

Alice and Bob are making a good deal. Well working democracy should involve maximum amount of deliberation and deal making. It's a good thing. If you want more of that kind of deal making votes should be visible though (quadratic voting between representatives in parliament might work the way you suggest).


I think what would stop it from being effective is that an opposing team could do the same, so they’d have to guard against that. It’s just not a silver bullet I mean.


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