One person, one vote. It’s a compelling ideal. Americans have preached this form of democracy for decades, if not centuries, to other countries emerging from anarchies or oligarchies. It is supposed to be the highest ideal of political speech: when your representatives fail to represent your needs, you vote them out of
Our Political Regression into Anarchistic Paralysis Politics is popularly defined as “The art or science of government or governing, especially the governing of a political entity, such as a nation, and the administration and control of its internal and external affairs.” However, the politics we practice has become less about governing than about intense competitions in pandering away government revenue, social theft by unconstrained spending requiring more and more Treasury Bills to be issued, campaigning, and obstructing governance in order to make the opposing majority party look incompetent as insurance for a future election. office. However, as a practice, Americans are not very good at using their votes despite holding a low opinion of the Supreme Court, Congress or President whose votes are supposed to directly or indirectly affect. Many reasons why Americans fail to change their government are found within the American eco-system of public discourse and limitations of its design. Your vote is utterly worthless to you, while priceless to politicians and corporations–and here is why.
The Republican party’s answer to most legislation today is to declare current work wrong and to parrot the “Start over!” talking point until everyone’s attention on the issue is broken by the news cycle for the next crisis. The Democrats are of course naturally guilty of the same thing when they’re not in the majority. Senate votes are never taken under a threat of filibuster without actually having a filibuster. House votes are taken in the dead of night when perhaps many of us will forget to check. These people only get into power by your vote, but how your vote is influenced, allowed, captured and certified is systematically attacked by everyone with some political benefit at stake.
When in doubt: deny, spin or distract.
Electioneering 24/7/365/∞ Successful Presidents today are measured more by their ability to campaign and appeal to as many voters as possible. Unfortunately, “Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity.” (Colin Powell) With the frustration of living under the second term of George W. Bush, everyone with Presidential aims started running a year earlier than tradition. Mainstream news media (the media everyone
watches “by default” for their general information) enjoyed the bonanza of events, sound bites and controversies that followed every candidate like American Idol contestants. Think this is simply a problem with national politics? This happens for more “local” elections as well, for Congressional Representatives down to local Sherrifs. Where ever there is some power to be “won” via an election, someone is getting bankrolled by a special interest hoping for influence.
Ballot box? What ballot box? In the 2004 presidential election, America was embarrassed by its inability to technically “count the votes” with antiquated and problematic punched card systems, hanging chads. The CEO of Diebold, a manufacturer of voting systems, was quoted from a fundraising letter to be “committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year.” HBO Films later released “Hacking Democracy,” and demonstrated in front of a stunned Florida election judge how Diebold machines that tabulate the votes can be manipulated to change election results. Typically, there is always a paper trail of votes that can be used to re-count the election, unless they’re destroyed. In Ohio, 2/3rds of counties destroyed or “lost” the voting records of the 2004 election despite a federal order that they be preserved.
That is presuming that you are even allowed to cast a vote into your ballot box. Political organizations and over zealous political staffers have repeatedly distributed disinformation to confuse targeted segments of the electorate to vote on the day after an election, to vote at the incorrect locations, to avoid voting or be arrested for parking tickets or even that they’re not registered to vote at all. Even if you are legitimately registered to vote, these same organizations will attempt to disqualify your registration after the fact. If there was confusion at the time of vote, a “provisional” ballot may have been used (if in fact, they had enough provisional ballots to begin with) and later discarded. These problems are experienced on every election cycle and they are never fixed–always forgotten in the blur of daily tasks of survival within a systemically flawed (and often corrupt) process of representation mostly unmodified since the origins of the republic.
Let’s assume that you do get your vote counted, in many races, the difference between each candidate is most often or not, within the margin of error of the flawed electoral systems we ignore. So naturally, the “loser” does not concede, but instead sues the government for a recount and/or attempts to throw away unfavorable votes by contesting registrations. Our tolerance for bad systems now affects everyone with disruptions in leadership. Al Franken wasn’t declared a winner for five-months after the election creating a situation where everyone was distracted by the lack of leadership instead of what the leadership was going to do. What does leadership often want to do? Well, spend other people’s money.
Bread and circuses. Pork Barrel Spending. It has always existed in some form wherever there have been governments that allocate spending from taxation but the modern use of it in America didn’t start until 1873. In Rome, it was called “bread and circuses” when Juvenal coined it. We’ve learned little from our history. Today, representatives roll-up enormous amounts of public spending into “omnibus” bills or riders on “guaranteed-to-pass” bills in order to benefit the people “back home.” More than a few times, politicians have been called out on touting their ability to “bring money back home” on bills they also “publicly decry as being wrong” and have voted against. Their votes didn’t have any
effect on not getting the money yet they somehow got the money attached to the bill via the process of political sausage making.
Voting in itself does little to direct the leadership to what they should do. Whenever two politicians compete for an office they invariably rely large expenditures on negative campaign advertising to create fear, uncertainty and doubt in the minds of the electorate. The only people who are benefiting from this situation of cyclical fear-mongering when elections come near are the politicians and mass-media corporations. Repeat a lie often enough and in the minds of the people who are themselves too busy trying to survive the system, becomes truth. No matter how illogical. In turn, people also have little control on what their vote “means” when it comes to public spending. You’re voting for a brand, for a feeling of belonging, and often against “the others.” Only if you’re very lucky do you get the result you want.
“Taxation without representation is tyranny.” Which brings us back to why your vote is worthless. You only have two forms of input for representation that are appreciated: your vote and your money. The more money you have, the more representation you can
The money involved in securing votes is a massive corruption of the ideal of representative democracy. Even if you remove the “elections” problem with public campaigns funding for candidates with the concentration of representation into 535 individuals, we’ve have still made the legislative policy of “what to spend our tax money on” too easy to influence. With the inability to focus large groups of people into thinking about problems instead of “feeling about problems”, the majority of those 535 individuals in Congress maintain their same political dynasties with the same dirty tricks every single election cycle. And worse, other countries like the UK are “importing” these ideals and are corrupting their own election processes with them. bend to your will. Most of us, however, have little money to contribute to anyone running for office–we’re too busy tying to “make a living” to survive, so corporations and other special interests funded by corporations have taken over the government. Even the Supreme Court has turned political speech into a first amendment right available to corporations. A political donation or an advertising campaign can turn a $50M investment (something no one person could possibly spend to gain influence) into a $5B return-on-investment if the right legislation, often written by corporations to benefit themselves, passes.
Vote early and often? So, votes are too
“abstract” and too “infrequent” to gauge representation and the will of the people. Will the person you “vote” for actually do what you want? Or would you rather have more direct representation of what you want without a corruptible “middle man?” What is the ξ answer? Convert the vote into a monetary quantity that can only be spent (created) by consensus.
One person = ξ ln(People) starting social capital for any well-defined geographic region. A place like Burlington, VT would have about ξ10.568 per resident to allocate to public spending within the region, or ξ410997.102. Regeneration of ξ for each resident to allocate to future spending would be at ξ0.215 per day–or about ξ8356 between everyone every day. There’s no taxation here–its just the right of the people to allocate social credit to their own needs–and the people of Burlington, VT are certainly not going to waste their ξ on public spending in Rutland, VT–they can spend their own ξ there. The formulas always limit the amount of credit available–if the people make bad decisions with their social credit, they will suffer until they figure out which of their wants and needs should be funded.
So instead of having to have elections every year or so to decide who gets to decide, the people simply work within their available credit to decide what gets done next. Some might say “that’s just money-printing,” and they would be right to a point, it is “money-printing” but no one person or small group of people deciding to “print” large amounts of money to benefit any special interest. The cost of lobbying is now multiplied by 300 million. The direction of public spending is no longer influenced by a few–it now becomes a more efficient market of ideas matched to local needs and problems get solved rapidly without years of debates tainted by the politician’s need to win the next election.
There is no Federal Reserve system built upon secrecy and obfuscation to hand-wave the money into existence for the benefit of the government. Witness the weapons-of-mass-obstruction-level of political heat in the “Audit the Fed” movement from all players involved.
There is no US Treasury issuing and rolling over more and more bonds to service national debt and interest. Witness the speculation of whether or not its actually the Federal Reserve buying most of the US Treasury’s debt and not ourselves or China or the world?
Remember, for everyone to have the same kind of money, everyone has to work with money created by the same rules. Money creation in social ξ is always limited by the community’s ability to find a consensus on what to spend it upon. If there is no agreement on how to spend the social ξ credit there will not be ξ created. Things that everyone can agree upon like police, fire/rescue, or road repair will have no problems at all getting funded. A for-profit parking garage next to a public swimming pool built by “someone’s important friend’s construction business” without a bid probably isn’t going to happen with “everyone’s money.”
Now your vote is no longer stuck in a futile cycle of “being wasted” or “not wasted”–your vote is now a continuum of possible spending on what you need divided out equally into the community. Transformation of a “vote” into “amount of money to be allocated” removes the problem of representation. Limitation of the “amount of money to be allocated” ensures the value created from public spending is maintained. Communities can decide for themselves to be 100% socialized (all public ξ credit fully enables the services) or 0% socialized (all public services are paid via fees from the community). A community that creates services that are sold “at a profit” can add to the available amount of social ξ capital in excess of the rate of regeneration. That is, if the “public swiming pool” charges ξ1 for daily admission and makes ξ700 “profit” after all costs are paid for the city of Burlington, VT, the residents of Burlington can expect to see social ξ increase by ξ0.018 in each of their accounts for social ξ for that day to be allocated in the ways they need. In many cases, once a public service paid with fees is “bootstrapped” the residents will find they have more social ξ to allocate to other needs.
If “self-governance” can be that simple, why would you hold a election with dirty tricks, lies and fear amplified through the echo chambers of local media ever again? If “self-governance” can be that simple, why would you tolerate a “representation transaction” system that allowed your votes to be so easily stolen or destroyed? If “self-governance” can be that simple, why would you tolerate a corruptible and manipulatable body of people elected from a flawed and confusing system to represent your needs?
Maybe it is that simple, and we’ve not been deliberately thinking about our problems and solutions to them with intent.