Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Why we shouldn't have a government

"Nothing that is worth knowing can be taught."
Oscar Wilde


I like that.
Anyway, I think there should be a website (maybe www.voteoneverything.com) and instead of a massively, inconceivably expensive, complicated and horribly confusing elections system like we have now, people who care about politics just go on that website and they can vote on decision our government would normally make.

On the website, you'll see thousands of things you can vote on, with the biggest decisions at the top.
If you like, you can choose not to vote on anything.

For weird people that don't have internet access, there's always libraries and friends' computers, etc.

Basically the 'government' would actually just be a team of people who have the neccessary skills to carry out the running of the country (finance, legal, contruction, etc) under the direct instruction of the public.
I'm open minded to people having more voting power in areas in which they're able to prove they are well qualified, and know their shit, as opposed to just really opinionated. Wikipedia kind of does this. That's why it's basically an absolutely incredible mine of endless, high quality information that is 99.9% accurate.

Discussions should be hugely encouraged and well facilitated on the site, helping people to consider their findings and knowledge before casting their vote.



WHY THIS IS GOOD

I actually get my say
I wasn't even able to vote for the party I wanted in the last election, because someone decided that they weren't going to be popular enough. Even the party I wanted to choose had policies I didn't feel represented my views, but because of our ridiculous so called democracy, all I can do is give all or none of my single vote to them (except as I say, I actually couldn't, because it's even more ridiculous and dysfunctional than that)

The final votes don't get twisted
I don't know who invented the "first past the post" system, but they're a fucking dick. There's a reason why we're in a tiny minority of the developed world that still uses this election system; because it's a lie.
I don't understand how anyone can even pretend to think it's a democracy when, for example, almost 2 thirds of the UK could vote for very similar left-wing, liberal parties, and just over a third of voters (in each region) vote for an extreme right-wing party, and the final results would come out as "100% of Britain unantmously agrees that this party should win". It makes me want to bomb my own country into the floor. I am the opposite of a patriot. I wish we could just admit what a disgusting lie our democracy is.

Cost
Much, much cheaper. No more campaigning, no more ballots. Pay a web designer

We stop blaming the government for our problems
I'm so bored of everyone (including me) complaining about political parties, or just not voting. Now the power can be in our hands, and of course we'll make mistakes, we'll ruin our economy occasionally and stuff; excellent. I really think that's great. Because then it's OUR fault, and we won't make the same mistake again, and we will get better at informing ourselves and taking an interest in the running of our country and its complex issues, because they affect us all, and we're all involved. We'll start to see through the bullshit simplifications and agenda-twisting words of the mass media, and begin thinking for ourselves more, which will be scary.

Efficiency
People who say true democracy is less efficient are really dumb. When loads of people have all participated in a decision they care about, and feel represented, they will pull together in a way no dictator or single leader can ever match, so long as the country is organised.
The way a policy in the UK turns from an idea to actual implementation is a joke that takes several years as I understand, where as online via this website, it could be a matter of hours theoretically, from conception to passing/starting to implement it.
It's also just so much easier to mantain as a system, and also for voters to vote, just going to a website and pressing a couple of buttons.

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I would love people to tell me what's wrong with this idea x

13 comments:

  1. maybe that sort internet referendum-based system can be implemented as an open-ended experiment in one county somewhere so that people can see how well it works before adopting it (or having it forced upon them) on a nation-wide scale. more radical solutions have looked good on paper than have demonstrated practical results; i prefer propositions that are precedented to those that are purely promising.

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  2. Hold on, that sounds awfully democratic! No place for THAT in this country surely? I like though. People will say that its open to corruption but,hey,politics is full of that.

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  3. "Nothing that is worth knowing can be taught."
    Really.... How about medicine, engineering and any other science that benefits society?

    Anyway, I'm now a devoted follower of your blog, I have a blog too and you should return the favour.

    Haven't seen your face for at least a year.

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  4. Edward Merricks (Facebook)
    Coupla things dude. I applaud your passion in this area and agree a change is needed, however, I feel if this change were as simple as noted in your blog, it would probably have been done by now.

    Primarily, as a computer science graduate, th...e online system you refer to could not at this point (and I would argue would never) be secure enough. Take one calculation error and the system falls. Take one "inside" code monkey who is "brainwashed" with political ideals, and the system falls. Take one bloke with computational and networking knowledge and they could effectively run the country in a dictatorship, from anywhere in the world, having never been elected.

    On a separate issue with this, what you describe comes close to a hung parliament (although I grant you that your system would bring things to a better level of decision making if including the weighted voting system you mention), but this still raises issues with the basis of decision making. I am aware this is a bit base when it comes down to statistics, but the fact of the matter is that take a whole nation, then a pretty equal number of people will want to do each thing, no decisions will ever be made. If this were not true, the system would just be to have a hung parliament every time, and voting wouldn't follow the first past the post system. I am aware that as you say, at present our voting system is "massively, inconceivably expensive, complicated and horribly confusing" but, this issue with hung parliament does touch on why. I for one, don't think it is all that confusing once you look at the reasoning behind certain systems (although it does indeed result in unfair weighting which I am definitely opposed to in a "democracy").

    This leads me to my final point, involving your idea of weighted voting for those in the know, as it were. I definitely have found myself wishing for this system in the past, feeling scientists especially are being given a worthless vote in research matters by equalling it to that of a layman. One would find a natural continuation here by equalling the weighting of a vote to that of a proportion of the average IQ, for that voter. This results in a system "for the greater good", and touches on at least the edge of the idealism of eugenics, an area I presume you intended to steer clear of as your hope seems to be linked to the opposite to dictatorship.

    I hope you don't view this as overly negative, I entirely agree that a change is needed, and imagine I'm of a similar political persuasion to you, but I personally think any system will fail once thoroughly tested due to human flaw, and as a result am lost to be honest. Perhaps a discussion board could be started to continue this and try and fix the situation with more input, as my comment seems to have outgrown it's plant pot...See more
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    Sorry to add yet more waffle to the above, but just remembered a little online "game" I used to take part in called "NationStates"... I seriously recommend you take a look at this if you haven't already as it is almost an exact simulation of your system here , and to me it emphasized how quickly such a system impinges on whomever you accidentally forget... (though you do represent the entire nation yourself...) Do start the discussion board though if you get the chance, I'm most interested.

    5 hours ago

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  5. He Ed,
    Really interesting stuff with points I'm generally similar on but I almost couldn't disagree more with your ideology that "if it were that simple it'd have been done by now".

    I think humans do countless things in a really stupid way. Lots of our systems are really inefficient and sometimes I think this is because working against the grain to define a new system can be hard to convince everyone to do, but probably more often I think it's just not anyone's job, or most often (in my opinion) doesn't have an immediate financial incentive (as is the case with this proposal).

    -Whose job would it actually be to impliment my system? I can't imagine anyone being paid to impliment it.

    However, I still think it would be simple, and not too hard to pull off I think. Get some volunteers or a small amount of developmnent funding, create the website, and get a few people to use it a bit, until you're ready to start protesting that it isn't recognized formally.


    SECURITY
    This is the other point I don't really agree with you on to be honest.
    I think 99% of the time, Paypal for example, is successful in being secure, despite there being an enormous incentive for fraud/hackers; and obviously a lot of unsuccessful attempts are made on it.
    I also think there can be back up measures and/or warning flags (i.e. if suddenly there's 10,000 votes for the BNP).
    Finally, do you really think it's less secure than our current system? I think a lot of people screw around with our current voting system, with postal votes and other forms of fraud, in fact the last time people drove to a ballot station, holding their vote in a queue for several hours, many of them were sent home without a chance to vote because they didn't "print off enough ballot papers" or some other ridiculous issue.
    I just think an online system would be overall, much better, especially if people are to vote on perhaps up to ~50 proposals per day!


    WEIGHTED VOTING
    It'd surely have to be on something other than I.Q. I don't think it's fair or accurate/particularly relevant to base it on an I.Q test.
    Perhaps one way would be to empower those that comment frequently (and perhaps have popular comments; like on Youtube) to nominate individuals as 'Weight Allocators'.
    A Weight Allocator can increase the voting power of someone they regard the opinion of highly; perhaps only in certain areas of proposals, such as proposals on social/welfare issues.

    Example:
    Because I use the website a lot and I write a lot of intelligent comments which are popular, I am automatically granted this ability to nominate 3 weighting points. So I think 'Hmm.. my friend Storm is hugely knowledgable about the environment, I'll give him +2 points towards his votes on proposals relating to the environment. And... I'll give +1 on finance-related proposals to that benevolent chap Duncan who has worked a lot in accounting and finance on a large scale.

    This way it'd be harder for friends to nominate each other just cause they're friends.


    Do you really not think our current system is that confusing?
    I'd honesly say less than 1% of votes really undestand how it works! (for example, what a hung parliament/coalition actually means for getting a bill out -how much power does Nick Clegg have to deny a Tory proposal he hates?)

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  6. Hi there,

    Sorry took me so long to get back to you on this, been away from my computer for a while...

    I do indeed agree humans do countless things in a really stupid way and suppose you're right about people not being bothered to change it. In fact this is one of my main issues with most financial models at present, which directly affect the political landscape. Your idea of getting it up and running as such, then protesting the lack of recognition seems a good method and I think I confused myself, it is more that I don't believe such a method would really successfully change anything in our current system, so my problem here is with how things are done at present, not with the idea itself.

    The security however, I have to still take issue with. I agree PayPal is secure on the most part (not 99% of the time for the whole situation however) but the large number of unsuccessful attempts is more down to most people not understanding advanced concepts of networking rather than a good security system. The situation is actually that both PayPal, and banks involved in transactions online, have insurance against these situations, so when things do go wrong, money is not lost (ignoring the finer details of the recession). In a situation where the government is chosen in this manner then as soon as something goes awry it's too late; the rules can be changed by those newly in power - perhaps a time limit between changes and their vote could be made to combat this?

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  7. I do indeed think it's less secure than our current system, the majority of the time those screwing around with postal votes get found out and heftily fined (from what I hear, no proof there though), and it's very hard to create fraudulent ballot papers that are actually counted. An online system can have virtual "ballot papers" faked somewhat easier no matter how complete the security (even using encryption and key loggers, you can still use rainbow look up tables and the such to fool the security system - the hackers tend to always be one step ahead, security is programmed against what has been done usually, as opposed to what might be done.) I met quite a lot of proficient programmers on my course who could hack into all sorts, just didn't bother because financial gain wasn't important to them as they could earn more, easily (without danger), using their programming ability legally. When it's not to do with money and is to do with national power however they're far more likely to get involved. The security systems at present work because there's not much incentive for the better programmers to bother when you include the danger. I feel when you add politics this will change greatly and not be secure enough. 4chan is indeed a good example of what the "anonymous" internet can do (though only in volume, not in ability, as this is not down to hacking ability, just the number of people getting involved around the world to the detriment of one site), for example voting on the Time 100 list ( http://techcrunch.com/2009/04/21/4chan-takes-over-the-time-100/ ).

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  8. A good example of the power of hackers when they can be bothered lies in Gary McKinnon, who is currently awaiting extradition to the US after hacking into many "perfectly secure" networks in the US, including the US army, navy, the Department of Defence, the US Air Force, NASA, and the Pentagon computer network. This was entirely unmalicious, as he was doing so to try and find proof of UFOs, which he had become obsessed with due to his Asperger's syndrome.

    With weighted voting, I used I.Q. simply as an example of how far it could accidentally go. I agree this is totally unfair when it comes to humanity and more than a little bit unethical, but that was my point. If you get into the ethics of the politics in this situation it would seem fair that those who are more intelligent should get a heftier vote, as they are more "enlightened" about all aspects of the situation... I hasten to add I don't think this appropriate or sensible in a society even slightly... but the idea simplifies down. I don't like the idea that some arbitrary person who happens to have made a couple of good comments (perhaps by accident through misinterpretation of his malicious point) suddenly has the power to a more weighted vote than mine, when I didn't have the time to comment due to my job and research in the area despite being very knowledgeable in the area (just an example, not saying I am very knowledgable in whatever area). The idea that one can become a more important citizen through spending time commenting and therefore give more voting power to someone else is dangerous to say the least.

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  9. My other major problem here is the elderly and those without a computer. I am aware you mention libraries etc. in your original post, but if they can only access their voting system from the library they are less likely to make comments and receive their "weighting points". This gives an unfair weighting towards heavy internet users, and those more able to use computers. Old people genuinely don't have the motor control, and the brain doesn't have the links which creates the ability to process how computer the works relevant to their input according to research, and therefore the elderly, even when with access to a computer, don't have the same power in voting as the young in this system.

    Also, someone (probably a few companies) would have to be hired to implement the whole system when it got to this level, programming anywhere near such security requires huge talent, and a lot of it... These companies will have to be very highly monitored to stop them from being bribed to meddle, as they hold absolutely every bit of power... They could turn off your warning flags very easily, or turn a blind eye. These companies would also have to be paid a fortune of tax payers' money (probably equable to the current voting system) but the upkeep of the system would vastly conquer it in price. Such a system would require a server to be kept up and running throughout, able to take vvvvaaaaasssst quantities of traffic (a server large enough to take traffic of an entire voting public doesn't presently exist outside of super computers) and this could easily be crashed (much like google bombing - and google have some very, very capable servers...) a server dedicated to this system would cost the government an infeasible amount without upping taxes to a point of riot...

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  10. Finally, I suppose yeah the present system is more complicated than I had previously made out, but with reason, it takes a lot of complicated balances to keep a public of around 60 million (that of the U.K.) active in a working system. Perhaps overly complicated after so many years of tweaking yes, but I think it a bit much to scrap it and start again after so many hundreds of year, it'd be better to look at what we've got and break it down and remove the worst parts first in my opinion, perhaps dismantling it all the way back and starting again with your proposed system, but worth looking at what all our ancestors combined have come up with.

    Have you checked out Nation States at all? :)

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  11. M Tedworth? do i know you? Why do you apologise for taking so long to get back to me?

    Interesting points, thanks.

    Really confused though about what you say about the website being a strain on servers. You really think the traffic would even be 1% as intensive as Facebook? or Youtube? The average person would probably contribute maybe 5 things a day, text only.

    Just completely off the top of my head, here's a security system that can't really be hacked:
    -Go to the website and cast your vote
    -You are texted or phoned (number taken from electoral roll and referenced against other databases) and asked to confirm that you made the vote
    -it's compared against your previous votes to raise warning flags, and spot checks are made with severe consequences.
    -if someone's fraudelently taken my vote, a flag is raised when "Luke Hilary Flegg" votes again

    Also, I really can't understand how you think running a website could cost as much as our current voting system, but i would be fascinated to see any kind of calculations you've made at all on it.

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