Re: Why plurality is not "wrong"

From: David Mertz <voting-project_at_gnosis_dot_cx>
Date: Sat Apr 17 2004 - 16:24:51 CDT

On Apr 17, 2004, at 5:03 PM, Jeff Almeida wrote:
> Phrases like "allegedly technical analyses" lead me to question your
> motivation....

In many areas, it is not hard to introduce spurious mathematical terms,
equations, etc., or other pseudo-technical language in an effort to
make yourself seem more "scientific." I know the hope of many such
postivists-on-steroids is to mystify their audience (who don't
understand the math) enough to make their conclusions seem inevitable.
I know the math, and resent the mystification.

In reality, different people have different intuitions about what is a
"fair" outcome for various hypothetical (or actual) elections. In no
case that Jeff--nor anyone else--can construct does plurality give you
a result that is uniformly felt to be "wrong" (even if the cases are
presented strictly as hypotheticals rather than candidates people are
concretely attached to). Deciding between conflicting (fully informed)
intuitions is a POLITICAL question.

I am not, personally, an -advocate- of plurality voting. Charlie made
some good points about how different systems have long-term effects on
the relative influence of larger and smaller parties, the stability of
governments over multiple elections, and similar issues.

When I don't wear my OVC hat, I'd probably prefer a greater diversity
of political parties as office holders. And I'd also prefer a reduced
influence of private funds in election campaigns too. And I have
opinions on tax policy, on military actions, on prison sentencing
guidelines, and on many other issues. As soon as I put on my OVC hat,
I bracket all these political opinions, including my preferences about
tallying systems (none of which are "broken" in the mystified way Jeff
pretends).

Yours, David...
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Received on Fri Apr 30 23:17:10 2004

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