Vote Killing Policies That Need Re-examined


#1

The following statement from TMI website [meritocracyparty.org] is in my opinion a shooting-ourselves-in-the-foot policy; if we wish to gain any votes at all, for the few political parties we’ve actually formed -

FAQ Section - ‘Isn’t meritocracy Undemocratic’ -

"Democracy has failed to achieve the social goals that we all want. Democracy was an improvement over monarchy, but modern democracies are now stagnating and threatened with collapse. This is intrinsic government failure, and simplistic democracy is the root cause. To fix our social issues we must look beyond simplistic forms of government to create something more powerful and intelligent. Meritocracy uses democratic processes in a better way to minimize the huge downsides that have been discovered in democratic countries. Empirically, the final result of democracy has been to empower a few super-rich families and exploit the rest of us.

The system that improves on democracy will have to be undemocratic. Meritocracy fixes the bugs in democracy by using what has worked and discarding what has failed. The super-rich are willing to use their money and influence to break the government—Meritocracy is designed to prevent this. Meritocracy creates more freedom, ensures equal opportunity, achieves equal representation, and delivers the benefits of civilization to every person. Democracy has not done this and never will. "

I think TMI should re-examine this, as in - do we wish to stay in the political wilderness forever, or actually gain some votes? Who in their right mind, would actually vote for a party that threatens to take away their vote, once in power?

With a policy like this, which almost equals political suicide, we’d be lucky if anyone voted for us. Many good people made sacrifices in the past to gain the vote, which was formally only given to land-owning gentry. Is the ‘party of the 99%’ as we claim, really going to take away that voting right, so hard fought for in the first place?

When it comes to having enough knowledge on a subject to vote, voters are rarely asked to vote on a specific question, except in referendums. If any measures need to be taken to re-educate the masses on political subjects, then perhaps consider voluntary classes & hosting them ourselves. Dictatorship of ‘what should be’ rarely goes down well with the masses, if it’s seen to be enforced without discussion.

I hope this is seen as constructive criticism in order to bring meritocracy forward, so that it’s more palatable to those we intend to reach and convert.

TMI FAQ

Thanks.


#2

I agree here, there is no non violent way to accomplish the removal of the rights of the ‘common’ person’s right to vote. There has to be an alternative, I’d think that we’d be feeding conspiracy lore to even hold onto the very notion that we could somehow take the right away. Here in the US where I hail from you’d have an uprising of massive proportions if you succeeded. I would have to say that to hold onto this and without a modification and clarification of the inheritance tax we’ll never amount to anything more than a fringe movement.


#3

I agree with this suggestion. Many of the people we are trying to reach are people that feel let down by the 1% elites and are willing to radically change things to be rid of their control of the system however, a large proportion would hesitate should you tell them from the off, that you will not get to vote unless you have credentials in subjects related to the vote.
A good idea, like SeánMac said, is voluntary courses offered to the existing electorate. If at any point a long way down the road, should Meritocracy flourish, you feel the need to say, ‘Now corruption in politics is abolished, there is no need for the public to vote…’ then that could work in an ideal situation.
A lot of what people over the centuries have proposed to change society for the better has been from the point of view of the end result, not the present situation. I can see winning people over with Meritocracy eventually, but as the saying goes, ‘Slowly, slowly, catchy monkey’.


#4

A dumbed down voting base is an issue as well but better to work harder and smarter as activIsts than to take away any sense of liberty and sovereignty that they may have. I have had some success on a local level by engaging people out in public and discussing issues face to face. Whether they agree or not a seed has been planted. In short we might be better served to wage an Anonymous type war on the media and work to educate/wake up the electoral base.


#5

Yes Nubreed, an unaware electorate is no use as they say, ‘100 idiots can outvote 99 genius’. But like you said, giving up on the idiots is just that, giving up. Hard work is what must be done, however hard it seems, to awaken people’s spark of interest. Everyone can think, you just have to find their frequency I believe, then guide them, or like you said, plant the seed, then let them decide.


#6

I think this fits in with the difficult issue of defining merit. It would be very difficult to say who has the relevant knowledge to be permitted to vote on certain issues. Lets take Education for an example. Who would get to vote on educational matters? Teachers surely. Policy makers. Those with degrees/qualifications in education? What about social sciences in general? That seems to make sense to me. But then what about parents? Shouldn’t they have some say in their child’s education? But everyone has been to school, if they’ve experienced it then aren’t they in a position to formulate a useful opinion on what could change? Then that pretty much includes everyone… If we say that age is a bad way to decide who votes - then pupils? Could we argue they have some say in their own education? I think that would be pushing it a little, most would try and hold a no homework vote!
My point is where do you draw the line in who has expertise in a field? or who is sufficiently effected by a certain aspect that they deserve a right to vote on it? As every aspect of society is interlinked, the people who it would be argued deserve to vote would be constantly expanding until it included everyone anyway. But then you have the 100 idiots problem again.
Unless you have set ways of defining and measuring merit and strictly impose voting rules based on this - but then there is the very difficult issue of how you define merit, who defines merit etc.

I think a better way (without totally throwing away the idea of merit/expertise based voting in certain fields) would be to focus effort on reforming and improving the education system itself so that the people coming out of school at whatever age are sufficiently balanced, intelligent, socially aware etc. so that their vote IS an educated one. Instead of trying to find a moral way of cutting out the 100 idiots - help them not be idiots. There will always be some, but they needn’t be the majority.


#7

Here’s another script from TMI faq section that I’ve personally had grief about -

"What If at if I have no merit? Will I be excluded from politics?

If you didn’t know how to drive, would you get behind the wheel of a school bus? Of course not—you’re a good person with a conscience. Before assuming that responsibility, you would learn from the safest drivers you could find, because you don’t want to kill children!

In Meritocracy, those without merit will have equal access to the best education money can buy. They will go to school, get educated, and start making informed decisions in elections. Want to vote for a leadership position in a given field? Take an assessment that demonstrates knowledge, ability, or experience in that field. Just like you wouldn’t drive a school bus without having a clue, why would you want people voting without having a clue? Meritocracy works by ensuring that all the people making government decisions understand the choices they are making. This is the only responsible way to run a government."

Again, this is big on ideology, but defining in practical terms is an issue, as it’s too vague on ‘who decides merit’? etc… as not every scenario in life is based on ‘who’s driving the school bus.’

Given that we have council elections this year in the UK, plus Scottish parliament and Westminster elections around 2019-20, our parties here simply cannot go out canvassing that they’ll take away people’s rights to vote. The sense of outrage from that suggestion is palpable, on any feedback I’ve received.

The above passage was actually copied & pasted and quoted back to me from a sharp-eyed voter in a Facebook group, when I was simply promoting meritocracy in general. That one voter caused a fair amount of damage to potential growth, seeing as he was replying in a group with 3,000 + members, who all could potentially read it.

So, having these kind of vague idealistic statements hanging around the internet is not doing meritocracy any good at all. Some re-defining should be possible, as these ideas are surely not set in stone? Any movement is liable to change and adaptation as it grows, or should be to take in circumstances of the day and public opinion.


#8

What if rather than restrict peoples ability to vote on certain issues, we gave them more choice on things they could vote on? E.g. Economy, Health, Science, Education, Public Services etc. Each area with its own subcategories (that would obviously dovetail at times but still). So again using Education for an example you could have The National Curriculum ( with futher sub-categories), Teaching Methods, Philosophy of Education, Future Research etc. as categories, so you give people many different things to vote on. This way, people with certain expertise, strong opinions, specific interests in certain areas can seek out opportunities for active involvement in their area. I realize that this doesn’t necessarily prevent uneducated votes, but you would have to go out of your way to find something that you wanted to vote on, which I think would definitely narrow down the proportion of ignorant votes in given fields. It may also end up generally improving everyone’s political awareness, as they have a responsibility to vote for more than just say, Labour or Conservative, Remain or Leave etc.

If you had a platform like the government website on which to do this, which was easy to navigate, and also maybe explained the issues in unbiased ways I think that would be a very good way to get people involved. If anything it is more democratic than the current system. This platform could even have some kind of forum where popular/respected (‘Liked’?) points of view/arguments are debated, where people can gain a fuller understanding of the various factors and points of view in any given choice.


#9

That’s some healthy, positive input there Rors!

It fits in with an idea that I’m supporting from David Frank in the USA. His concept for ‘push button digital voting’ if ever realized, would empower the people to vote in weekly digital referendums in local and national issues.

David Frank - One Voice Now

The concept is based in phone & internet banking, which is highly secure. So why can’t digital voting be made just as secure, if not more? The technology is there, it just has to be adapted slightly. If people can vote for nonsense like ‘Strictly’ and ‘Talent,’ the same push-button tech on a much higher level of security could empower them, on real issues that affect them.

I’m all for more voting rights, not less - which was how this Facebook arguement i described above, came about. The guy went digging to find out more about meritocracy, found that statement on TMI and called me out on it.

Anyway, your idea of voting subjects & sub-categories could fit right in with David Frank’s push button idea. If we merged that together, we might have an all-together brand new policy that doesn’t take away general voting rights & actually adds some .educated voting. to the mix!


#10

I like the idea of giving voters categories to vote on. I think we cant forget who we are dealing with though. A large proportion will be die hard democracy advocates. They will need assurance that they will get the chance to vote with the same powers they have now, and more. This is how it needs to start I believe. Parties evolve when the electorate changes and evolves. By then the voting system can be changed again.


#11

I like both the idea of categorized issues to vote on and digital voting. I think most people here in the US have gone numb to whatever legislation is getting passed around unless it’s something sensational such as same sex marriage for example. Perhaps the more personal touch of voting themselves on more issues would encourage the average voter to step away from sports and entertainment television to try and figure out what’s going on. Of course we’d still have the media to deal with in the short term, but that’s another matter.


#12

Just thinking further about how an online ‘debate forum’ would work if such a platform came about (assuming this ran parallel to the voting system for the purposes of information on the issue).

It could be a kind of flow-chart with a kind of thesis/antitheses/synthesis format - each new point of view espoused would be posted in its proper place in the platform; it could maybe contain links (in order of popularity or ‘merit’) to similar arguments that support it, and it could be either posited as the thesis/antithesis or synthesis of points - which then in turn would be refined and refined etc until the most satisfactory solutions were derived. At that point you may have a small number of options on how to proceed with a given issue and it could be between these developed ‘solutions’ that people could vote.

I think a good idea would be to have some kind of research team whose job it would be to fact-check and make sure that any points made in certain arguments came from respectable sources or any outlandish claims could be debunked so that no one could be misled. Something as simple as colour could do this; for example a statement or statistic marked as false could be highlighted red by the research team, something that was a sketchy interpretation of data could be highlighted yellow with a link to the source etc. They could also start the process of assigning ‘merit’ to a given point (though they should not be the only ones with the power to do this).

There could be all kind of rules to make it as constructive as possible, such as naming sources whenever ‘facts’ are given in argument. Maybe more colour coordination for whether a point of view is related to say a moral/philosophical standpoint, or an economical standpoint, or a health & safety standpoint etc.?

But the overall format of the website should be designed so that no valid point can be ignored, and solutions must be formed before the debate ‘moves on’. Or it could even move on but then maybe a sidebar could contain the ‘unresolved’ points and people would be able to view these and either expand on them or propose solutions?


#13

Just realized this actually looks very much like something that there has already been some discussion about: Open-Source-Governemnt

Issues relating to this post and the one highlighted above seem to have come up again and again so I think it would be constructive to try and form some solutions. I think the main thing dividing people is those in favour of taking away votes for all but the qualified (meritorious) in their respective fields (@EMX ?) , and those who think it is a bad idea because it is not palatable to the general population (or they themselves) who would not accept their votes being taken away (@SeanMac )

It doesn’t really get us anywhere to say the former is better or that its ‘for their own good’ and they need to ‘understand positive liberty’. People don’t just suddenly understand something and old traditions/values don’t change overnight.

So, if you are in the party of the former:

  1. How would you specifically decide who has merit to vote in a given field? For me this is the big one because defining merit cannot be so simple and narrow as ‘having a degree’ - see Meritocracy Debate

  2. How are ‘experts’ chosen to make these decisions?

  3. How would you go about making this palatable for the general public who don’t want their vote taking away? How would you convince them of the ‘positive liberty’ they would be party to?

If you are in the latter party:

  1. Without voting based on expertise, can you think of any other solutions to ensure that the most intelligent and meritorious (with the interests of the people at heart) are the ones who end up in positions of power, and the most effective policies are chosen?

I’m probably in the latter party. I think the suggestions I’ve made above are a good start and may be a palatable solution for many people - not that its anything new I’ve come up with - they seem to be similar in nature to the idea of open-source-government. Does anyone from the Open-source discussion have any suggestions that could build upon this? @Ed_Chy ? Or have I totally misunderstood the concept of open-source-gov and if so please could you clear this up for me?


#14

I’m in the latter party Rors, I think it’s the only realistic path to go down if we wish to see meritocracy flourish. Notice that Roberto did mention ‘democratic meritocracy’ on that open source link - meaning if we’re working within democracy, we should uphold it too, while promoting meritocracy. That would mean not taking away anyone’s present right to vote.

However, if we take on the concept of adding on ‘issue voting’ - either by paper ballot or digital referendums on issues, this certainly expands the vote and empowers the people. To streamline that at an early stage would be jumping the gun a little; you’d find people who aren’t interested in green issues for example, probably wouldn’t bother to vote on them. If the same person was interested in land reform, they’d likely go out their way to vote on it. So, as you previously mentioned, there’d be a sort of ‘voluntary merit voting’ to begin with, depending on individual voters interests.

I see that as the best way to introduce this policy, which is a big enough change in itself & its probably a quantum leap for the current self-serving politicians to get their heads around. I’d expect protest and resistance to it from the mainstream politicians, who’d see some of their power slipping away. Honest politicians could only be in favour of extended voting on local and national issues.

Expanding on this point if I may, the way to slowly ease it into practise could be that the voting by the public on the issues is seen as a ‘poll’ by the public to guide mp’s on, thereafter we’d expect them to vote accordingly with public opinion in parliament [UK] / the senate / congress [USA] / EU parliament or any other nation’s government world-wide.

Eventually, these ‘polls’ could be upgraded to actual referendums, with real power as ‘the voice of the people that has spoken.’ [ eg Brexit ] That’s on national issues of course, local issue voting could follow the same path of introduction - polls to guide councillors, which over time become recognized local referendums.

This slow introduction method without shocking anyone too soon, is the best approach in my opinion, instead of screaming revolution from the rooftops and expecting change overnight.


#15

Thanks for the reply, I’m sorry, I feel a little like I’ve hijacked your thread here and I’m maybe just repeating old arguments. I don’t mean to step on your toes. Thinking about it, the whole ‘Defining Merit’ question really needs its own thread.

I see what you’re saying with the poll idea. I think this could very quickly turn into straight up voting anyway because, where the results of the poll and the decision made are visible, people would soon begin to notice if the results of the poll were being repeatedly ignored and demand more consideration of their views.

I think the important thing if we do ‘issue-voting’ & ‘issue polling’ online would be the way it is presented. If you look at the Gov.uk website at the moment, for example, its a nightmare to navigate. I mean it looks nice and appears straightforward at first, but I dont really think it is. Aside from the partitions which are a bit of a joke, the consultations are the only real way to have any involvement currently, and all they ask for is an email with an opinion, which could be so easily ignored. There’s no discussion, no forum, no feedback, nowhere to see other points of view etc. The consultations themselves are just presented in one long chronological list-view; there is no separation for what field or subject area each is related to. Its as if they have realised ‘ah, bollocks, we need to appear to have transparency’ and they’ve gone ‘OK, lets make it as confusing to navigate as possible so no-one can find what they’re looking for’.

Maybe I’m just lacking patience and/or researching skills, but so might the average person on their computer at home. They wont want to spend an hour scrolling through pages of stuff they don’t have an interest in to find somewhere they can have an input. It needs to be simple and easily navigatable:

Gov Website } Take Part } Subject } Area of Subject } Specific Issue } Vote (/Poll /Comment)

Bang, done. Y’know?

I think it would be so cool for people to have a look on the Government website and be pleasantly surprised by how easily they could take part and have genuine constructive input into the issues that are important to them, whether through registering an opinion on a poll, collaborating with others to produce solutions to problems, or actually voting on something.


#16

No problem Rors - though if you feel the need to start a new thread on the ‘merit’ issue, feel free to fire ahead …

Yes, I agree the Gov website is too complicated, but no doubt they like it that way. That would only change if like minds along with us ever came to power, or an overwhelming demand from the people made it happen. That seems unlikely though; even a petition on the UK Gov website needs 100k signatures before something gets debated in Parliament. At that stage, the ‘snout-in-the-trough’ type MP’s could still vote it down, or stifle the debate with long-winded speeches, which is an underhand tactic they often use.

Overcoming that obstacle, you then have to deal with the House of Lords, who can simply boomerang it back to Parliament for amendment. And so new legislation can ping-pong indefinately, while nothing of any serious consequence ever changes. The ‘constitutional; monarchy’ system of ours needs a serious overhaul, but that also is a whole topic in it’s own right.

Your proposed menu for the Gov website is great. Let’s hope one day we can collectively make many of these ideas a reality.


#17

ps - I decided to take action on the ‘digital voting’ issue & have lodged this on-line petition with the UK Gov website -

Introduce Regular Digital Voting Referendums On The Issues That Matter :

The technology for ‘push-button digital voting’ by mobile phone or pc already exists. People vote on tv show contestants all the time. Mobile and online banking are deemed to be secure. Thus there’s no reason why this technology cannot be adapted for digital referendums to truly empower the people.

Prime Minister Theresa May has spoken of the ‘shared society.’ It would be nice to see some power being shared with our representatives at the UK Parliament and the devolved Parliaments and Assemblies. Regular digital voting on issues that matter at a local and national level, would leave everyone clear on what the majority wish for on any number of issues. A more intelligent vote could also arise; Eg: someone with good knowledge of farming would vote on it, though perhaps not vote on fishing.

Digital Voting Petition

The petition should be fully live in a day or 2, so please keep checking back to sign it. I’ve also posted the petition on a thread of its own. Support from all UK based meritocrats would be appreciated Thanks.


#18

What matters is that people can make qualified, informed opinions on important subjects and that there is a process that aims to find what are the best policies to enact in order to achieve a vision such as Equal Opportunity for Every Child that is coherent with meritocratic principles such as People before Profit.

Therefore, I’d keep it simple:

  1. Look at how current organisations evaluate expertise (degrees, certifications and so on).

  2. Set up think tanks to brainstorm on solutions to important issues and to create policy proposals that are aligned with the meritocratic principles and ethos.

  3. Create a process within these think tanks in order to arrive at what is considered the best decision. This process will have to be refined over time, however, a straightforward way to start are thesis-antithesis-synthesis cycles.

  4. Allow people that meet the “can make qualified/informed opinions on this subject matter” to join these think tanks. Maybe there’s different levels of expertise based on a combination of factors, maybe there’s different committees, or maybe it’s just one giant voting blob.

  5. Once these think tanks have been running for a while and the kinks worked out then they provide a solid alternative to current government decision-making. They can work besides the current system and even replace it should the need arise (if they’re well structured of course).

In a nutshell, there’s plenty of room to experiment. We have decades ahead of us. Reinforcing this last point because I think it’s important to understand that we are most likely setting up the groundwork for the next generation of meritocrats to take it further, i.e. we’re the ones who will be setting up the first parties, think tanks, NGOs, meritocratic companies…


#19

Interesting discussion guys. Here are my thoughts.

It will be extremely diffucult to pursue any course that is viewed as “anti-democratic” as democracy has been so ruthlessly inculcated in people’s minds as something “good” that our opponents will use it against us. This is despite the fact that voter turnout in any election (leaving aside the Brexit vote) is usually low. I disagree that voters in the US would rise up if their vote were taken away; if that was going to happen, I think it would have happenned by now given the catastrophic state of “democracy” in the US. Trump as President? Where is the uprising against that farce?

Education, as another poster has pointed out, is key to having an informed citizenry who can understand the issues.

I believe the average person would not want to vote of every issue; I actually believe that they would welcome these decisions being made by those with the expertise to make them. Isn’t politics the only field of human endeavour where democracy is seen as desireable? Where is democracy in business? Where is democracy in the armed forces? In these fields, those who have proved themselves to have merit (and both fields seem to have developed means to measure that) lead and take decisons in their field of expertise.

I do agree that reform of the political system will be an uphill slog but let’s not underestimate the underlying feeling of the populace that there is something wrong with the way the world is run. Personally, I would rather stick to and argue out radical philosophies of change than water down principles just to get elected.


#20

What’s the priority here - appealing to voters, or creating a hotbed of action?

Surely experts MUST be listened to over the votes of the many. What’s the point in creating another liberal experiment where the opinions of the many discourage the geniuses? Where is the geniuses’ role in a true meritocracy, and how can they feel comfortable their views will really be heard over the numbers of votes? Surely that’s to be the success of any true meritocracy.

We’ve seen with Jeremy Corbyn that the media owns the narrative, painting him as the impossible outsider because the Labour Manifesto won’t appeal to the apathetic political centrism of the current Tory Government and its cronyism/privatization. This is shifting the goalposts, and unfortunately the popular opinion is swayed by it, and over 65s will NEVER vote for a Meritocracy just like they won’t vote Labour. They can’t change their minds.

Why speak or act from a position of bargaining? That’s where this particular thread/page has shifted the idea of meritocracy to, and it’s a Liberalist failure in that very truncation of the word Meritocracy. No half measures will ever work, by appealing to a vast majority who aren’t bothered to learn the real issues. Presenting soundbites and Angelic websites to a population doesn’t turn them into heroes. But that’s what a meritocracy is all about: creating the world’s future heroes.

We are at, now, 6 humans on the planet with half the world’s wealth [Oxfam study, 2017, Credit Suisse data]. Letting people vote on their phones won’t empower them any. They have to empower themselves. There’s no point pandering to a dead political movement. Liberalism has failed, and it’s not okay to simply vote.