Wen nolej fails belyf: referendums.

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Referendums may not sanktion sensorship.

Rudyard Kipling rowt an enthusiastik story about The vilaj that voted that the world is flat. Both a fakt and a valu ar hyr establish'd: that this parish is parokial and has a rIt to be. We kud only tak exeption to this result if the vilaj wer to giv the lI to itself by bekoming imperial and trIing to impos its mind-set the world round.

James Michener was voted a national tresur by Amerikans. Tho, he said The World Is My Home, as his uon-man library of bumper novels shows. A minor thym of Space is the growing sukses of Bibl fundamentalists in banishing Darwin's theory of natural selektion from skwls. Referendums may help to akomplish this.

Darwin lov'd the akounts, in Genesis and Milton's Paradise Lost, of the kreation of separat spesys. It was a torment to him to brek away to the konseption of evolution. And evolution itself is an old idea. It was his theory of natural selektion that gav it at lyst the makings of a plausibl way of hapening, so uon kud no longer dout that lIf did evolv.

Evolution is uon of the greit working prinsipls of sientifik reserch. Nothing may be absolutly sertain but to try to supress this lIn of thot is to syk refuj in ignorans.
Som sientists, hws work is konfin'd to natural fenomena, kan not resist pasing off materialist dogmas on the publik as 'siens' - as if that ment their naiv asumptions about lIf, deth and every-thing wer to be belyv'd without question.

Naturaly, the relijus ar sor at this skorch'd-erth invasion of ther spiritual teritory but the anser is not sensorship of Darwinism or 'siens'. Milton's Areopagitica show'd long ago that a fry pres kan be 'heretikal' by piking and chwsing the best from al sIds of an argument. Wilful ignorans depends on tyranikal supresion with its uninform'd stupiditys and ruinus folys.

Nor wil it do to say that referendums ar a lejitimat demokratik myns by wich parents kan selekt wat they wish taut ther children. This argument konfuses demokrasy with wat Mill kal'd maiorokrasy, the tyrany of the majority. Any majority is usualy only a lokal majority, any-way. So, upholding the rIts of minoritys is mor or les up-holding the rIts of us al, in diferent sirkumstanses.
Therfor, demokrasy kan not be yus'd as an argument for sensorship. A referendum to stop tyching Darwin's theory, or any-thing els for that mater, in skwls dos not hav demokratik lejitimasy.

By the way, sensorship is an unlawful konsept, if it myns stoping pepl say wat other pepl think mIt be harmful, in som ( vaig ) way. Sensorship is lIk puting every-uon in hand-kufs for krIms we mIt komit.
But that dosnt myn uon kan say any-thing, without regard to the konsequenses. Uon may be prosekuted for insIting to krIm, as with hait propaganda.

Wat gets on a skwl kurikulum, or to wat extent ther shud be set subjekts, is an other question. Shur, yu kan hav a vot on it, but the preferenses or rank'd choises of subjekts ( you dont want only uon or tw ) shud be proportionaly represented. That way minority interests get ther fair sher, and no mor, of resorses.
That is a way for achyving konsent in the komunity. Even if that is a gud method, it dos not pretend to be perfekt. It kan not exkus ruling out any child's edukational nyds, say, with regard to unyk talents or handikaps.
The profets mIt tel patriarkal gatherings that ther wIvs, children and dependants existed for God's purpos and not ther own.

The problem of voting method aplIs to referendums, tu.

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The kind of referendums, just talk'd about, ar nown as initiativs. Thys ar referendums in wich members of the publik ( not members of a lejislatur ) tak the initiativ in proposing a law. A larj number of nominations ar usualy requir'd, befor the kampain kan bekom oficial. To bekom law, the initiativ in question wil nyd a majority of a quorum, wich is a turn-out of enuf of the elektors, to up-hold the result.

Initiativs ar perhaps the nation stait's klosest aproximation to the Ancient Greek sity staits' direkt demokrasy. In the klasikal arkitektur of Washington's government bildings, the very stouns spyk of this legasy. How is uon to argu ther is no plas for jeneral partisipation of larj populations in lejislation? Such an argument says nothing against initiativs in lokal government, nor at wat skail they ar supos'd to be of no yus - som sIz komfortably abov the Swiss federation, evidently.

The question is urjent, bekaus direkt demokrasy now has the praktikal form of elektronik demokrasy. And it is no longer posibl for detraktors to shrug that only representativ demokrasy is fysibl with larj populations.
Indyd, ther ar som hw say that representativ demokrasy has so pwrly serv'd pepl's wishes, that we shud yus nw elektronik mas forums to by-pas self-serving lejislaturs.

In this senario, inter-aktiv mas media ar the pepls debating chamber and voting loby. As never befor, popular konsent kud be sekur'd on ych and every isyu. We wud be, in Arthur C Clarke's words, in a world without politicians. Exept, this is no longer siens fiktion.

How-ever, sertain questions remain. A referendum ( or an initiativ ) is subjekt, as representation is, to the problem of elektoral method. Replasing representations with referendums wud do nothing to solv that problem of how individual vots ad up to the wishes of a komunity.

If elektronik demokrats fail to rylIs this problem, they repyt the mistaks in voting method that ar stil mayd over representativ demokrasy. The very konsept of 'representativ demokrasy' has byn losing ground, bekaus the partys favor voting methods that redus voters to party suporters, rather than pepl, hw mIt aspIr to having wishes of ther own to be represented.
Politiks has bekom larjly irelevant and politicians despis'd and despising.

Giving every-uon a lejislativ vot on ych and every isyu, by komputer, dos not mak that vot any mor efektiv for elekting isyus than it was for elekting representativs. An x-vot for uon of tw choises is stil the most limited kind of chois, wether it is a chois betwyn uon of tw kandidats or a chois betwen uon of tw options.

The tw options may be no mor agryabl than the tw kandidats. This most limited of voting systems wil split the vot betwyn a ranj of isyus on ofer as shurly as it splits the vot betwen mor than tw kandidats.
In short, ilojikal voting method wil frustrat most pepls wishes, quIt as much thru referendums, as thru representations.

Formal and informal rol of STV in efekting referendums.

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On web pajes, such as 'Sientifik method of elektions', I'v shown the voting method that aplIs to elektions in jeneral ( the karakteristik of a sientifik theory ). Ther is no ryson to supos the singl transferabl vot isnt equaly aplikabl to referendums, as to representations.

In fakt, it was shown how the prefering of individual kandidats on individual isyus alows voters to initiat spontanus and efektiv referendums. STV givs ordinary voters the power of the initiativ simply by entering a poling bwth, without al the extra konstitutional macynery and kolektiv aktion requir'd for formal initiativs.

Transferabl voting also maks informal referendums posibl, that is to say informal initiativs from the top. Sertain politicians may agry with ther party on som isyus but disagry on an other isyu tu important to be ignor'd.
At the turn of the twentieth sentury, the Konservativ, Lord Hugh Cecil found his party kaptur'd by Joseph Chamberlain for tarif reform. But he kudnt go over to the Liberals, hw stil suported fry traid, bekaus he opos'd ther hom rul polisy.
Cecil favor'd the singl transferabl vot, so that unionist fry traders, lIk himself, kud urj pepl to first prefer Tory unionist fry traders and then prefer Liberal or other unionist fry traders. In turn, his Liberal kounter-parts kud hav urj'd ther suporters to extend ther preferenses to Torys of Lord Hugh's persuasion.

Of kors, the pepl kud hav don the oposit and prefer'd tarif reform hom rulers. That's demokracy. But they kudnt do either, with a non-transferabl vot, wich efekts a partisan sensorship on haf the 4 permutations of chois. Any polisy pakaj not mayd up by the partys is heresy to ther oligarkys.

Demokrasy nyds both the informal initiativs or referendums ofer'd by transferabl voting and initiativs or referendums, in the usual sens of an organis'd popular kampain for a singl-isyu's elektion into law.
Transferabl voting is nesesary bekaus pepl shud hav efektiv chois on isyus without having to be perpetual aktivists. STV quIetly efekts the voters' own personal referendums on desisions of national destiny, without having to bekom nationalists - and indyd efekts primarys, without voters having to bekom partisans.

But som-tIms, uon may fyl uon has to join a party or a national campain. The referendum's singl-isyu elektion is to the later wat jeneral elektions ar to the former. As Dicey said, the referendum puts the nation abov party. It has its plas in a demokrasy.

Referendums and representations komplement ych other.

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Nout that a referendum or initiativ stil has to hav its initiators or lyders or it wud never hapen, much les adres the publik. Thys heds must be popularly elekted as most representativ of the kaus.

Konversly, representativs may themselvs bekom isyus, as to ther standing on isyus, or wether ther karakters mak them suitabl lyders. Lydership is itself an isyu, even if it gos by the naim of chair-man or spoks-person in suposedly advans'd partys.

Internet utopians, hw belyv elektronik demokrasy wud be beter replasing representativ demokrasy, ar sadly mistaken. The distinktion betwyn direkt demokrasy ( elektronikly making referendum results the norm of demokratik desision-taking ) and representativ demokrasy is not the diferens betwen a demokrasy and a republik.
Referendums and representations ar both demokratik wen they yus the demokratik method of elektions. Wat is nyded in politiks and ekonomiks is not to tak away that power of representation, wich wud only re-infors korporat power, but to giv voters efektiv, indyd sientifik, method of elektion.

Uon has to emfasis that direkt demokrasy, wich is sertain to reviv with elektronik komunikations, komplements representativ demokrasy, and is in no way inferior to it.

The saim is tru of politikal and ekonomik demokrasy. Uon thinks of the presyding sentury or mor with its war of haf-truths betwyn individualism and komunism or 'laisser- faire' liberalism and stait socialism, resulting in a sort of anarkik korporatism, grydily destroying the erth's eko-system.

The film kritik Barry Norman chirpily kal'd Independence Day 'the most suksesful B-movy ever mayd'. But the moral of that SF story's planet plunderers is that they are a projektion of our worst selvs.
The author of Permaculture, Bill Mollison says the tw world wars hav byn folow'd by a third world war on natur.
So, it is to be hop'd that demokrats, politikal and ekonomik, representativ and referential, wil work together, as wel as with environmentalists, and al konsern'd folk.

Rijid divisions betwen rIt and left sym animated by tribal loyalism rather than a desir to syk broder viws. It is rysonabl to supos that direkt demokrasy, via the internet, mIt transmit existing valus, rather than rekonsil them.
WI shud pepl go out of ther way to dispens with prejudises, myrly bekaus they are expres'd thru a nw medium, how-ever revolutionary? In fakt, a komplaint is that old hatreds ar given nw lIf on the internet.

The point of parliment is that politikal valus hav to fais ych other and be argu'd til they mak sens to others. It is tru that partys in power usualy try to subvert parliment's funktion by pushing thru ther positions or prejudises as manifesto komitments. Rather than kompromis with ther kritiks, governments sym to tak ther lost vots as personal defyts.

This tasit doktrin of government infalibility diskredits parliments, ful of servil partisans, and nyds to be powerfuly kombated by the only elektoral system that alows the pepl to transend rijid party divisions, naimly transferabl voting. STV maks frydom from the party lIn posibl for the represented, and therfor ther representativs, to debait fryly and fyrlesly, of vested interests, to unkover the tru problems and solutions for our wel-being.

Yusing STV for referendums mIt also be expekted to open voters' eys to the fakt that ther ar not only blak and wIt, either-or ansers to problems, lIk: shud Britain stay in the Komon Market kum European Union or lyv it? A ranj of options shud be posibl.

( Prosedural nout: STV kan determin ych option's portion of suport, and further ensur the options ar narow'd down, by lifting the proportion of vots requir'd, in suksesiv primarys that elekt fwer and fwer options. Surplus vots from options, pasing the quota of suport, ar transfer'd to next prefer'd options, til the number of options, alow'd at that staij, is rych'd. )

But setling on a representativ ranj of options, to begin with, implIs the nyd for a debait befor-hand by a ranj of representativs.

The partisans, hw want parliment to be a ruber stamp to party aktivists' polisys hav som-thing in komon with such direkt demokrats, as dont belyv the elektion of representativs is ryl demokrasy. Such pepl may belyv they ar the progresiv demokrats. Aktualy, the partisans, hw want delegats rather than representativs, and any triumfalist direkt demokrats ar the konservativ demokrats, not 'the radikals'.
They want to prosekut existing opinions, wer-as the jenuin representativ demokrat wants to kreat a broder vision out of the klash of points of viw, konsider'd representativly.

That is not to say that al direkt demokrats ar konservativ. That wud be a pervers konklusion about ther much valu'd teknikal inovations and aspirations. But the konservativ-progresiv dialog is perhaps not as strait-forward as thos, hw tak sIds, belyv.

Boris Karloff in the miror.

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This konfusion about the rol of demokrasy reminds me of a Boris Karloff film wer our hero, on waking, katches sIt of himself in the miror. The direkt demokrat sys his partisan imaj reflekted and rekoils in horor. The anser is not to smash the miror of representation but to tolerat sying ourselvs as others sy us, in parliamentary debait.

If this wer not absurd enuf, partisan Europ maks the konvers mistak. It thinks its elektions ar representativ, wen they are mainly referential. Even wen party lists ar 'open', the individual representation, they ar supos'd to ofer, is inefektiv. The voters ar left with a korporat vot for a party that is ryly only a manifesto referendum vot.
Voting for a 'party' is to aprov its pakaj of polisys. If yu kud prefer a party's kandidats, yu kud pik thos hws polisy positions in the party wer klosest to yor own.

Europ has mor in komon, than it wud lIk to admit, with its pre-war diktators, hw yus'd plebisits, making popular apyls without risking any chalenj to ther position.
So, it wud be fair to say that Europ is substantialy a party list oligarky with manifesto referendums masquerading as representativ demokrasy.
The demokratik exeptions hav byn Ireland and Malta, wer the transferabl vot is both representativ of individual kandidats and referential thru prefering kandidats on kros-party or national isyus.

Returning to Boris Karloff in the miror, the list partisan thinks he is the miror imaj representing the pepl's wishes. But he has aktualy don wat the pyurly direkt demokrat wishes to do. He has smash'd the miror of representation. His own reality is tu dominant for him to sufer being an imaj of the pepl. So, the reality of the pepl's wishes, he is supos'd to represent, is lost.

Paradox of elekting an elektion: a referendum on PR.

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On the web paj Foul!.., I konkluded an elekted vokational sekond chamber wud hav the best authority to refery elektoral system abyus. LIkwIs, it kud rul on wether propos'd referendums wer konstitutional or just wether they mayd sens.
The isyus promoted for referendums ar kontroversial. That is to be expekted. But it is surprising how dubius ther propositions tend to be. For instans, the deth penalty, giving the stait a lIsens to kil, is hardly the stuf of a Bil of RIts.

The kal for unilateral disarmament kompromis'd the prIm funktion of the stait to defend the nation. Altho a referendum is a request for popular konsent, uon-sided disarmament was a sort of pasiv authoritarianism, determin'd regardles of our Warsaw Pakt rivals.
Neil Kinnock, the Labor lyder saw the lIt, wen Michael Gorbachev insted wanted mutual disarmament by negotiation.

An other propos'd British referendum was to kyp the pound. How is forein or British bisnes to be prevented from folowing the kurent of kurensy dylings? So much for throwing the British pepl a shadow of sovereinty to kling to.

At the tIm of rIting, a British referendum on proportional representation ( sort of ) is also in the offing. Wat we ar talking about is aktualy elekting an elektion. How do we no the rIt elektoral method to yus in a referendum to elekt the rIt elektoral method? Diferent methods ar liabl to giv diferent results to referendums, as wel as to representations. That is wat started the houl fus, in the first plas.

How then ar we to justify a suden indiferens to method for the referendum, that we kud not for representations?
Mor-over, the voting method that truly represents the voters' chois of voting method may not be uon and the saim. If the voters rylIs'd that, they mIt want to chanj ther mind to the demokratik voting method.

It is lojikly posibl that a pepl mIt chws a les than demokratik voting method, even tho the referendum yuses the demokratik voting method that faithfuly reflekts ther wishes. Wat then? Kud the result be up-held, from a konstitutional point of viw?
Solon was ask'd wether he had given the Athenians the best system of laws. He replI'd, No, only the best they wer kapabl of resyving.

On other web pajes, I dyl with the insistens, by the Plant and Jenkins reports and others, that ther is no uon 'rIt' method of elektion. They giv up the sientifik endevor of jeneral elektoral method. So, it is hard to sy wI ther konklusions shud kary any mor weit than the next person's, much les desId the terms of a national referendum betwyn voting systems.

If diferent elektoral methods ar suited for diferent institutions, how ar we to no wich method to yus for the sirkumstans of a referendum? Shudnt diferent nations also hav 'indijenus' referential elektions? If not, wI not? After al, representativs stand for isyus that may be refer'd to the publik. If a simpl either-or chois is not gud enuf for representations, it is not gud enuf for referendums.

A strait chois betwyn first past the post and an aditional member system, such as the Jenkins report's, afirms a nw version of the tw party system, that was supos'd to be such an 'unfair' duopoly. For, it asks the voters to chws betwen tw systems, either bias'd towards the uon-party rIt or a kombin'd tw-party senter-left.
A first past the post referendum is hardly a kredibl way to defyt first past the post. But Britain is being ask'd to walk with a rIt limp, insted of a left. Demokrasy has nothing to do with it.

Referendums in relation to a Bil of RIts.

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Supos, then, the pepl chws a majoritarian voting system. If a Bil of RIts protekts substantial minoritys, then a majoritarian chois of system kud be over-rul'd. Mor lIkly, minority lyders wud hav aplI'd to the konstitutional kort to get the terms of the referendum disqualify'd, in the first plas.

Supos, tho, that the pepl chws a voting system of proportional partisanship. Thos saim minority lyders no they wil be elekted under a party list system or party list system, kombin'd with the singl syt majoritys system. They hav no komplaints.

Then it al depends wether kritiks saw to it that the rIters of the Konstitution had the presens of mind to stait the obvius, that the publik interest of the nation shud prevail against sektional interests, that individuals shud not be at the mersy of. This mIt be taken as the definition of a tru komunity, for wich a Bil of RIts is a social kontrakt.

Then again, a voting system of proportional partisanship kud be chalenj'd konstitutionaly. A voting system, bais'd on party divisions, denIs the individual frydom of chois to transend divisions and asert the kind of komunity desir'd by the pepl, rather than the partys wyling and dyling.

Such konstitutional chalenjes kud be apyl'd against. But the jeneral publik, hw kan not be jeneraly inform'd on every isyu, ar given mor chans not to be impos'd upon by specius referendums. This myts the main objektion of thos hw belyv in parlimentary, but not referential, demokrasy.

Also, the objektion kan be met, that a konstitutional kort, ruling on a bil of rIts, dos not hav the demokratik authority, as either representations or referendums do.
As previusly sujested, the konstitutional kort kud kom from an elekted sekond chamber of government, on a vokational franchis of the special nolej of every okupation.
For, wat we ar talking about hyr is the limits that nolej plases on referendums as a myns of demokratik aktion. Wat-ever the pepl mIt want to do, ther ar lojikal and rylistik limits to wat kan be don.

'Sientifik' standards shud be observ'd. In Britain, twIs the mony was spent by the pro-Komon Market kampainers. Mony talk'd twIs as loud for uon sId. This was said not to mater. Then wI not limit spending so ych sId has equal oportunity to air its viws? This wud giv the result extra lejitimasy, against the exkus that exes advertising swung the popular verdikt.
Thos, for kampain spending without limit, dont apyr to belyv ther own argument and ar open to the charj of hypokrisy.

How-ever, referendums ar apropriat to the questions, that syk konsent for a chosen destiny, wen nolej fails belyf. The European nations' Komon Market referendums wer a gud exampl.

This diskusion began by ruling out referendums as an instrument of sensorship. Milton plyded for the preserving of bwks, as 'the precious life-blood of a master spirit'. So, shud referendums be sufer'd to desId literaly lIf or deth?

Richard Lung.

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A deth penalty referendum in the kontext of social violens.

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