about PR and Races Against Time

Here is a message I lately sent to the Fair Vote list, my favorite discussion group these days.

August 21, 2012

Awhile ago I was writing something on this list about why I am no longer of the opinion that just fixing the voting system is going to solve anything. Some people responded with ideas something like; reforms come incrementally, a proportional system is needed for more extensive reforms to become possible. I used to think that, but lately I have been looking at the current global economic and political situation more closely than most people.

I have also been busy with other stuff, and haven't had the chance to respond to this, but I have been meaning to. I have been doing other stuff that has had higher priority. Some of it has to do with trying to get some justice out of the inadequate civil court system we have. I was also writing a paper for a university course I have been doing.

The latter was a more difficult task than I expected. I felt I had to do an extra good job on it, because I was disturbed to discover that the odd character teaching the course really believes what he is saying, which really does not belong in a university in the 21st century. He will not like my thesis.

It is all a bit funny, because the course was on the "History and Philosophy of Science", and this character had the idea that things like alchemy and the geocentric universe should not be dismissed as superstition, because they made sense to the people living at the time these ideas were official truth. My view about it is that the scientific revolution of about 1500 to 1700 was the most important event in history since the neolithic revolution ten thousand years ago. It was about people moving away from what was essentially magic thinking and started to think in analytical ways. It happened very abruptly after millenia of very slow progress. But what does this have to do with voting reform? I am getting there.

When I ran the outline of this by the perfesser it got snarky. I felt a bit like Galileo in front of the inquisition. "What are you, an empiricist"? I have heard about problems with the U of T philosophy department being controlled by people with religious ideas. I am also aware that Canada, like most societies, tends to be really controlled in large part by inbred elites with ideas far behind the rest of the population.

For this reason, history moves in abrupt revolutions punctuated by long periods of very slow progress. Change happens abruptly when old social structures finally collapse. The collapses are usually rapid and chaotic. Societies adapt ad hoc to them and then things get set in stone for another couple of centuries, or twenty. This idea of orderly and 'logical' progress does not usually happen.

What can be seen coming in the world right now is one of these periods of collapse and rapid, chaotic change. In fact, I think we are now wired for world war three. I am no doubt starting to sound very depressing. But if world war is going to get going, it will probably happen in the next year. I could write quite a bit about why I think that, but if you want to find out for yourself, the best world war watching web site is at www.globalresearch.ca. It is even run out of Canada.

I am sometimes inclined to think; forget about anything political until the shooting stops, and then try to get everything rebuilt on a more sensible basis. However, it may be better to try to be proactive about it. That is, to try and bring about rapid change within a few years to head off calamity.

Within such a time frame, the idea of Proportional Representation as the start point to more reforms does not work. So I am not interested in just PR, but the whole package, all the things that need to be changed in one shot. I am not going to start listing them all here.

In fact, representative style democracy is going to start becoming obsolete. What is really needed is a more direct, participatory, and locally based democracy. PR would be just a temporary, transitional measure. It could buy us a little time in which to get it together about the other reforms that are needed right away.

To put it again in a somewhat different way, we do not have time for incremental change as some people on this list expect. Events are outrunning that sort of process as the right wing maniacs move fast to dismantle the limited democracy we have and create what goes beyond mere neofascism. Many people still see talk about neofascism as wild radical talk, but it is well beyond that now; more like neofeudalism. The things these people are contemplating are really frightening.

Of course, we have the same maniacs operating in Canada as in Europe and especially in the U.S. They are a little behind the whacks in the U.S. and maybe ahead of the ones in Europe. In the states they have pretty much ended all vestige of democracy. There they are only going to be overthrown by economic collapse, internal revolution, and external military defeat.

In Canada they have not totally destroyed the limited democracy we have, but they are getting there. We still have counted ballots instead of voting machines. There are restrictions on political spending. The news media is not as totally ridiculous.

There is still some room to avoid a super right wing tyranny in Canada, despite our close proximity to Uncle Bam. The key to it is getting outright stooges for the neofeudals out of office. The trick to this is not exchanging one or another, as with a few recent examples in other lands. It does not seem that the two main opposition parties are taken over by such people. They have to be convinced to form an electoral alliance to get you know who out of office.

If that can be done, it should actually be fairly simple from there to convince them to adopt some sort of proportional representation. So I am not against advocating for PR; but even the countries with the best PR systems in the world are having trouble coping with the neofeudalists, with their literally unlimited financial resources with which to buy up politicians and the mass media.

There is a race going on between a comprehensive reform of political institutions, and the drive to end democracy and create a global feudal order. The countries which are doing best, at least not losing the race, are the ones with highly decentralized systems and an active public.

By the way, when I say Feudal order, that is exactly what these people intend. By their own statements leaked out in the serious media, they distain the idea of ruling the world; they just want to own it. Meaning, dismantling everything from nation states on down and dividing it all up into domains, and then everyone can either work for the local title holder or go off and die somewhere.

To conclude, I think the movement for proportional representation is close to success in Canada. It is much in the opposition party's interests. But it will not mean much without some other serious reforms which must happen soon. I want to focus more of my time on convincing people of this. Convinced yet, huh?

That is, if the lord of the inquisition accepts my argument that not only does the sun not go around the earth, but this was never a viable hypothesis either. And if I don't get hit by a nuke in the next few years, or hauled away to a concentration camp.