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Governance
polydad
I’ve been working hard, if not very productively, at things that are difficult for me. So instead of dwelling on those, I’ll go back to something I’m good at.

I’d devised Positive Proxy as an implementable form of direct democracy, after being entranced by the *idea* of Liquid Democracy but not being able to figure out a way to implement it. (As best I can tell, it’s not possible; if you can figure out how please let me know.)

Then I figured out that *that* was insufficient, because as a populace we’ve been conditioned to behave stupidly and complacently. So the “Revitalize the Citizenry” idea was born – but I’ve yet to describe its mechanisms in detail, because I haven’t figured ‘em out yet. I should get back to that, but that’s not where I’m trying to go at the moment.

Even if we have a good representational system, and a populace psyched up to use it, that’s not enough either. This is because most political work is difficult and boring. Even if you *like* political work, there are lots of bits of it that just ain’t your thing. Maybe you like trade policy, but are a hardcore pacifist and can’t work with military matters. Or you like dealing with farm policy and regard space exploration as a waste of time.

A good government has to address *all* the issues, all at once, all the time.

The idea of democracy is simply that the government can’t become corrupt if it’s run by the people who would be damaged by that corruption – in other words, everybody. Much like the supposedly communist autocracies of the 20th century, we don’t know if this works because it’s never really been tried. I’m sure our American autocrats would be horribly offended to hear that, but if it weren’t true they wouldn’t be autocrats.

But “the people”, taken as individuals, *can’t* do the job. I really wish I could find that reference again, but somewhere in the correspondence between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson Mr. Adams complains to Mr. Jefferson that, despite still feeling at the height of his powers, he no longer felt competent to perform the job of ‘citizen’. Jefferson being Jefferson took several pages to respond what more or less boiled down to “Yeah, me too.” And the job of citizen was *vastly* easier in 1818 than it is now in 2018.

So we need to break the job up into manageable chunks, so that each citizen can tackle those elements of governance they feel qualified to deal with, and at the same time make sure that all of the issues *are* being addressed, even if not by them.

Positive Proxy works by everyone appointing a proxy-holder to manage all of those aspects of their political participation they’re not managing personally. There can’t be any qualifications to being a voter; if you’re here, you can vote. But that doesn’t apply to proxy-holders; they have a dual relationship with the voters they represent and the government they represent them to. The voters can choose their holders by whatever criteria please them; what criteria should the government choose to select whom it is willing to listen to?

This *seems* to present a contradiction, in that maybe the person I want to represent me isn't someone the government wants to listen to. But if my unapproved proxy-holder transfers their votes to someone who *is* approved, the issue is resolved.

The one thing I am most certain about is that any system being implemented will immediately be attacked by every rules-lawyer and influence-peddler who can get their hands on it. And I also regard it as a truism that any system one human can devise, another can circumvent. So we have to set up procedures and guidelines for creating and conducting the testing, and then re-do them from scratch at regular and frequent intervals.

Which brings us back to the question of “Who is doing the testing?” At which point I hit a digression:

One of the things I’ve always liked about European Parliamentary systems is that the agencies and bureaus have a lot more permanence and stability than parallel American positions. Once a Bureau head has gone through an executive nomination and a representational review, they should be able to stay in that office long enough to get something useful done, and without having to go through the same rigamarole all over again.

So I think the proxy-holder testing should get a department that… hmm. I’m not sure how to put the level of deliberation into this I think it needs. Off to go think, will continue this in a subsequent post.


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The problem with the proxy idea is how you can trust someone you voted for to represent your best intetests. I'll give a real world example. I lived in ithaca for almost 30 years... and the last mayor of ithaca i voted for ignored the protests of it's citizenry over walmart. Now ithaca has been vastly changed by the addition of walmart into the landscape... more and more box stores are popping up.... people like me have been slowly leaving... and people who approve walmart and the like have been slowly moving in...
And the thing that originally attracted me to ithaca is no longer true. It was a very small city with grassroots at its core.... its a fundamentally different place beecausr of this change that came about in the interest of corporate greed versus what the citizens wanted. Now it's too late. Ithaca isn't Ithaca anymore... i moved away 2 years ago and i still grieve the shift. And i voted for this mayor.... He betrayed me and others like me who used to love ithaca and what it stood for by sneaking walmart in using a legal loophole.

One of the major advantages of positive proxy is that you can revoke your proxy at any time, for any reason or none. So if you appoint a Mayor-equivalent and decide you don't like him, you revoke your proxy and he no longer represents *you*.

It'd be hard to get a Walmart approved if as soon as you mention you're trying to do it you lose most of your political clout.

It wont matter if you revoke yoir proxy once the damage is done. Ithaca now has walmart... and has changed irrevocably because of it.

I agree that *after* we fuck things up, fiddling with the system that created the fuckup will not magically un-create it.

Presumably the process of Walmart-creation didn't happen in one weekday afternoon; there would have been at least several different steps in the approval process. Under Syracuse's current electoral system, once a mayor is elected, we're stuck with him for a few years.

If Syracuse had instead had a Positive Proxy system, the first step in the approval process would have been the mayor's last day as mayor.

Walmart just really makes things worse by siphoning all local business and then leave when the business slows.... this is why i call them evilmart.

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