Do we really need rulers controlling us?

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Re: Do we really need rulers controlling us?

#61  Postby Nicko » Sep 21, 2013 11:38 pm

Veenet wrote:They do this by groups, committees or even secret societies. And that's not some sort of paranoid conspiracy theory, that's close to a fact.


No, I'm fairly sure that's a paranoid conspiracy theory.
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Re: Do we really need rulers controlling us?

#62  Postby Loren Michael » Sep 21, 2013 11:59 pm

Veenet wrote:Thanks for your replies.

With the potential system I was suggesting, everything would still potentially be the same, i.e the judges, the firemen, the people working for the council. Its just instead of having a set of people who are literally in charge of making up laws and saying what we can and cant do, we would be in control of it.

I understand there would be fears of that mob mentality sort of thing but its not a mob I'm talking about, its us, everyone as a collective. You could still have a set of the best qualified people in charge of making sure the system works, but basically if we as a collective decide that they are not doing a good job, then they are out..

In a so called democracy, you vote for who you want to tell you what your allowed to do. In this system we just collectively appoint people do help manage us but they are part us and can go at any moment if that's what we want and then we essentially vote of the major decisions such as laws, etc that need deciding.


It's not a "so-called democracy", it's a representative democracy. You're talking about wanting to use a direct democracy.

It doesn't work. People who don't specialize in public policy are bad at public policy, because public policy is hard. It's not even a matter of people being stupid, it doesn't matter if you have an informed populace (which is itself a pipe dream). Take any intelligent person you can find, and ask them about something that is outside of their field of expertise. The answer they give will be no better then that from the general population, and in many cases will be far far worse because they don't realize their expertise is not transferrable.

The wisdom of crowds doesn't apply because even if we assume a perfectly informed and perfectly consistent populace, it's still the case that rational preferences at the individual level can when combined fail to yield rational policies. For instance, a majority of people might support A, a majority might support B, and a majority might support C, even though the combination of A, B, and C is catastrophic--and further, this is possible even when no particular individual actually supports the conjunction of A and B and C (because they can tell it would be a catastrophe). Or, similarly, a majority of people might prefer X to Y, a majority might prefer Y to Z, and a majority might prefer Z to X--and this intransitivity of group preference is fully compatible with each actual individual having a well-ordered (and transitive) set of preferences across X, Y, and Z.

If you want to say that the public can suss it out for themselves, just look at this or any other forum. Even in groups that self-select for consistency of belief there's intractable disagreement.
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Re: Do we really need rulers controlling us?

#63  Postby The_Metatron » Sep 22, 2013 7:46 am

Loren Michael wrote:
Veenet wrote:Thanks for your replies.

With the potential system I was suggesting, everything would still potentially be the same, i.e the judges, the firemen, the people working for the council. Its just instead of having a set of people who are literally in charge of making up laws and saying what we can and cant do, we would be in control of it.

I understand there would be fears of that mob mentality sort of thing but its not a mob I'm talking about, its us, everyone as a collective. You could still have a set of the best qualified people in charge of making sure the system works, but basically if we as a collective decide that they are not doing a good job, then they are out..

In a so called democracy, you vote for who you want to tell you what your allowed to do. In this system we just collectively appoint people do help manage us but they are part us and can go at any moment if that's what we want and then we essentially vote of the major decisions such as laws, etc that need deciding.


It's not a "so-called democracy", it's a representative democracy. You're talking about wanting to use a direct democracy.

It doesn't work. People who don't specialize in public policy are bad at public policy, because public policy is hard. It's not even a matter of people being stupid, it doesn't matter if you have an informed populace (which is itself a pipe dream). Take any intelligent person you can find, and ask them about something that is outside of their field of expertise. The answer they give will be no better then that from the general population, and in many cases will be far far worse because they don't realize their expertise is not transferrable.

The wisdom of crowds doesn't apply because even if we assume a perfectly informed and perfectly consistent populace, it's still the case that rational preferences at the individual level can when combined fail to yield rational policies. For instance, a majority of people might support A, a majority might support B, and a majority might support C, even though the combination of A, B, and C is catastrophic--and further, this is possible even when no particular individual actually supports the conjunction of A and B and C (because they can tell it would be a catastrophe). Or, similarly, a majority of people might prefer X to Y, a majority might prefer Y to Z, and a majority might prefer Z to X--and this intransitivity of group preference is fully compatible with each actual individual having a well-ordered (and transitive) set of preferences across X, Y, and Z.

If you want to say that the public can suss it out for themselves, just look at this or any other forum. Even in groups that self-select for consistency of belief there's intractable disagreement.

No, there isn't.
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Re: Do we really need rulers controlling us?

#64  Postby Loren Michael » Sep 22, 2013 8:36 am

can't we all just get along
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Re: Do we really need rulers controlling us?

#65  Postby Veenet » Sep 22, 2013 6:34 pm


It doesn't work. People who don't specialize in public policy are bad at public policy, because public policy is hard. It's not even a matter of people being stupid, it doesn't matter if you have an informed populace


The president or Prime Minister only has a select set of skills and knowledge, he/she relies on other people to inform that are more knowledgeable in key areas. I'm not suggesting we get rid of these people. I just mean technically we rule ourselves and use these key knowledgeable people to our advantage opposed to being ruled by the government. I think the system we are in is meant to be like that anyway but its just not in reality. So it would be more clear that the President works for us and we get more of a say in what happens by the presidents advisers advising us as well as him/her.
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Re: Do we really need rulers controlling us?

#66  Postby Nicko » Sep 23, 2013 12:04 am

Veenet wrote:

It doesn't work. People who don't specialize in public policy are bad at public policy, because public policy is hard. It's not even a matter of people being stupid, it doesn't matter if you have an informed populace


The president or Prime Minister only has a select set of skills and knowledge, he/she relies on other people to inform that are more knowledgeable in key areas. I'm not suggesting we get rid of these people. I just mean technically we rule ourselves and use these key knowledgeable people to our advantage opposed to being ruled by the government. I think the system we are in is meant to be like that anyway but its just not in reality. So it would be more clear that the President works for us and we get more of a say in what happens by the presidents advisers advising us as well as him/her.


Then it would seem to me that what you are really arguing for is that more people need to be engaged with the current political process. I'd agree with Loren that we can't hope for a "perfect" level of engagement, but I think it is possible to achieve higher levels than is now the norm.

Direct democracy, by contrast, seems guaranteed to produce the perverse outcomes outlined by Loren in the absence of an ideal level of engagement*. It seems quite silly to advocate a move to direct democracy when the general public is insufficiently engaged with representative democracy.

To analogise, if someone you knew was having trouble driving a car with an automatic transmission, you would be unlikely to attempt to solve the problem by giving them a car with a manual transmission.





* Which may be impossible to achieve.
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Re: Do we really need rulers controlling us?

#67  Postby Loren Michael » Sep 23, 2013 4:27 am

Veenet wrote:

It doesn't work. People who don't specialize in public policy are bad at public policy, because public policy is hard. It's not even a matter of people being stupid, it doesn't matter if you have an informed populace


The president or Prime Minister only has a select set of skills and knowledge, he/she relies on other people to inform that are more knowledgeable in key areas. I'm not suggesting we get rid of these people. I just mean technically we rule ourselves and use these key knowledgeable people to our advantage opposed to being ruled by the government. I think the system we are in is meant to be like that anyway but its just not in reality. So it would be more clear that the President works for us and we get more of a say in what happens by the presidents advisers advising us as well as him/her.


Now it sounds like you're talking about a representative democracy. It's not clear what you mean, I'm sorry. Please elaborate.
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Re: Do we really need rulers controlling us?

#68  Postby Cito di Pense » Sep 23, 2013 5:37 am

Loren Michael wrote:People who don't specialize in public policy are bad at public policy, because public policy is hard.


Is it? It can certainly be made so. It all depends on what your goals are. If your goals are as simple as not being forcibly removed from office, then no, public policy is not hard. :cheers:

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Re: Do we really need rulers controlling us?

#69  Postby GrahamH » Sep 23, 2013 8:07 am

Nicko wrote:Then it would seem to me that what you are really arguing for is that more people need to be engaged with the current political process. I'd agree with Loren that we can't hope for a "perfect" level of engagement, but I think it is possible to achieve higher levels than is now the norm.

Direct democracy, by contrast, seems guaranteed to produce the perverse outcomes outlined by Loren in the absence of an ideal level of engagement*. It seems quite silly to advocate a move to direct democracy when the general public is insufficiently engaged with representative democracy.


Loren Michael wrote:It doesn't work. People who don't specialize in public policy are bad at public policy, because public policy is hard. It's not even a matter of people being stupid, it doesn't matter if you have an informed populace (which is itself a pipe dream). Take any intelligent person you can find, and ask them about something that is outside of their field of expertise. The answer they give will be no better then that from the general population, and in many cases will be far far worse because they don't realize their expertise is not transferrable.


How many representatives go into the role as specialists in public policy?

I watched a documentary on Angele Merkel yesterday. She, like Margaret Thatcher and many (most) other MPs went into politics with no specialist expertise in public policy. The key idea of representative democracy is that the people elected are representative of the electorate. They are supposed to be business people, scientists, miners, factory workers. There are some serious problems with the idea that democratic government should be full of professional academic politicians.

Engagement requires that people involved feel involved. The sense that your vote counts, that your side is distinct from the other side, that you must vote or face dire consequences, will get people more engaged. A clash of ideology may make for large turn-out, but it is bad for a country.

Perhaps the key objective would be to make people's votes more directly coupled to outcomes and issues. If you are voting just to confirm or protest the incumbent candidate/party you are very remote from outcomes on specific issues. If you are voting to decide specific issues you may be more motivated and engage in greater depth.

Are people more engaged in 'swing states'?
Why do you think that?
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Re: Do we really need rulers controlling us?

#70  Postby Loren Michael » Sep 23, 2013 8:30 am

GrahamH wrote:
Nicko wrote:Then it would seem to me that what you are really arguing for is that more people need to be engaged with the current political process. I'd agree with Loren that we can't hope for a "perfect" level of engagement, but I think it is possible to achieve higher levels than is now the norm.

Direct democracy, by contrast, seems guaranteed to produce the perverse outcomes outlined by Loren in the absence of an ideal level of engagement*. It seems quite silly to advocate a move to direct democracy when the general public is insufficiently engaged with representative democracy.


Loren Michael wrote:It doesn't work. People who don't specialize in public policy are bad at public policy, because public policy is hard. It's not even a matter of people being stupid, it doesn't matter if you have an informed populace (which is itself a pipe dream). Take any intelligent person you can find, and ask them about something that is outside of their field of expertise. The answer they give will be no better then that from the general population, and in many cases will be far far worse because they don't realize their expertise is not transferrable.


How many representatives go into the role as specialists in public policy?

I watched a documentary on Angele Merkel yesterday. She, like Margaret Thatcher and many (most) other MPs went into politics with no specialist expertise in public policy. The key idea of representative democracy is that the people elected are representative of the electorate. They are supposed to be business people, scientists, miners, factory workers. There are some serious problems with the idea that democratic government should be full of professional academic politicians.


Do you not get that it's a politician's day job to be a public policy person? They also tend to have staffs to support and aid their decision making. They are representatives who are positioned, because of the time and other resources they have at their disposal, to make informed public policy decisions. This is also one reason there are committees in the US congress, so that legislators are able to specialize on specific subsets of public policy. Other legislative apparatus' have other ways of tackling the problem of legislation not being easy, with varying degrees of success.
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Re: Do we really need rulers controlling us?

#71  Postby GrahamH » Sep 23, 2013 9:02 am

Loren Michael wrote:Do you not get that it's a politician's day job to be a public policy person?


Sure, it's not that they have expertise in applying some public policy theory. So what is it they do that makes for better decisions? It isn't merely that they sped their days 'doing the job'.

They integrate a range of opinions from theorists, statisticians, constituents, their own non-expert experience, how they think the electorate will view it, and so on. Committees involve more people in that, bringing more viewpoints into the mix.

Does that seem reasonable? Are there some other key functions they perform to make public policy decisions?
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Re: Do we really need rulers controlling us?

#73  Postby Loren Michael » Sep 23, 2013 9:33 am

GrahamH wrote:
Loren Michael wrote:Do you not get that it's a politician's day job to be a public policy person?


Sure, it's not that they have expertise in applying some public policy theory. So what is it they do that makes for better decisions? It isn't merely that they sped their days 'doing the job'.


I know, it's also the fact that they have staffers who aren't elected. I mentioned that above. They help to compensate for the fact that the representative in question isn't necessarily an expert; the staffers tend to have quite a bit of expertise. There are also the parties who are filled with senior members.
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Re: Do we really need rulers controlling us?

#74  Postby GrahamH » Sep 23, 2013 9:38 am

Loren Michael wrote:
GrahamH wrote:
Loren Michael wrote:Do you not get that it's a politician's day job to be a public policy person?


Sure, it's not that they have expertise in applying some public policy theory. So what is it they do that makes for better decisions? It isn't merely that they sped their days 'doing the job'.


I know, it's also the fact that they have staffers who aren't elected. I mentioned that above. They help to compensate for the fact that the representative in question isn't necessarily an expert; the staffers tend to have quite a bit of expertise. There are also the parties who are filled with senior members.


Of course. I don't think anyone is proposing abolishing the expert management of advisers and civil service. Any more open system would have to make that, and other, expertise and data openly available.
Why do you think that?
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Re: Do we really need rulers controlling us?

#75  Postby Loren Michael » Sep 23, 2013 9:50 am

...how do you propose giving everyone a team of expert advisers and the time in the day to suss out legislative dilemmas? We have to work.
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Re: Do we really need rulers controlling us?

#76  Postby GrahamH » Sep 23, 2013 9:56 am

Loren Michael wrote:...how do you propose giving everyone a team of expert advisers and the time in the day to suss out legislative dilemmas? We have to work.


Are you working now?
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Re: Do we really need rulers controlling us?

#77  Postby Loren Michael » Sep 23, 2013 10:07 am

GrahamH wrote:
Loren Michael wrote:...how do you propose giving everyone a team of expert advisers and the time in the day to suss out legislative dilemmas? We have to work.


Are you working now?


No, but this is one of my hobbies, something I enjoy spending my spare time on. Most people aren't like me. Also, my interests are limited to things like government incentive and accountability systems, and economic issues related largely to migration and development.

I can tell you in detail why the US Congress is broken as a system, but I don't know the relevant names of congresspeople to know who operates what outside of the party leadership. I am familiar with what the economic literature says on migration, but I don't know what's viable. I'm not qualified to talk about many things, and so I try to avoid those things.

And I'm humble enough to shut up (at least some of the time) when I start getting into areas I haven't read up on. Many people who consider themselves smart think that their field-specific intelligence is transferable.
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Re: Do we really need rulers controlling us?

#78  Postby Blackadder » Sep 23, 2013 10:18 am

laklak wrote:Gods no, I'm not trusting major decisions to any idiot with the price of a DSL line. Government by meme and cute Kittehs? Judging from some of the threads here there would be pitchfork and torch mobs in every city on a daily basis. What? That person said something nasty about gay people? KILL THE FUCKERS!!!!!! And this from a "rational" forum. Take a wander through reddit or 4chan some time, and tell me you want these people making decisions about your life.

EDIT if you really want a good scare, look at A+, Answersingenesis and Stormfront.


This.

A sizeable proportion of the "ordinary" people I encounter on a daily basis would be out of their depth putting a McDonalds wrapper in a fucking litter-bin, let alone wielding executive power. In the UK alone you only have to pick up one of the mass circulation tabloid newspapers to be very afraid of giving their readerships the keys to the nation. The current system of government may be far from perfect but I still prefer the tyranny of the majority administered by an educated elite than the tyranny of the idiots administered by social media.
That credulity should be gross in proportion to the ignorance of the mind that it enslaves, is in strict consistency with the principle of human nature. - Percy Bysshe Shelley
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Re: Do we really need rulers controlling us?

#79  Postby Doubtdispelled » Sep 23, 2013 10:25 am

The_Metatron wrote:
Loren Michael wrote:
Even in groups that self-select for consistency of belief there's intractable disagreement.

No, there isn't.

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Re: Do we really need rulers controlling us?

#80  Postby GrahamH » Sep 23, 2013 10:47 am

Blackadder wrote:A sizeable proportion of the "ordinary" people I encounter on a daily basis would be out of their depth putting a McDonalds wrapper in a fucking litter-bin, let alone wielding executive power. In the UK alone you only have to pick up one of the mass circulation tabloid newspapers to be very afraid of giving their readerships the keys to the nation. The current system of government may be far from perfect but I still prefer the tyranny of the majority administered by an educated elite than the tyranny of the idiots administered by social media.


Nobody is forced to vote (in EU & US at least) so there is already an element of self selection. I assume that would apply even more so in any open government system.

Perhaps participation could involve answering questions to establish that you understand the issue to some level.

There may be as many people that would not want you to have a say over their lives as you do not want having a say over yours. Is that stalemate?

Many posters here seem to want greater engagement from part of society and less engagement from another part.

You also seem already decided that no alternatives are worth discussion, so I guess the verdict is to stick with the status quo.
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