The Veto Nonsense and Unanimity

Herodotus reported about a people that had the custom (like many animals living in tribes) to kill a person who is ill. ‘Naturally’, he comments, ‘the unfortunate man protests that nothing is wrong with him but to no avail’. In such a case, a veto-right, the right of one person in a small scale group being able to torpedo a general decision, would be life-saving (for the man). It would even be advantageous to the group in Summum Bonum fashion. In our case, things are different. When 20 shipwrecked people in a lifeboat should agree with a proposal to drill a hole in the boat except one sane person, who means to survive, the existence of a veto right, then, might well save the lot. This example more or less reflects our state of affairs. But there are other reflections possible.

First of all, one wise man in a boat-load of 20 may compare to a ratio of 100 in the 5 billion, or even to 3 in the 1000 governors.

Secondly, the proposal and vote to drill a hole, can easily be made into the opposite proposal ‘not’ to drill such hole. The veto of a sane man for the first, could be compared to the veto of a crank, the one saving lives, the other destroying life. When you veto the ‘not’ drilling, you in fact drill.

Third, it may be thought that a decision should be unanimous when it is lethally serious. When 10 doctors decide that operation is very urgent, and 10 others decide it is deadly, what are we to do? Also, a mere simple ‘majority decides’ can easily be disastrous too. Ten to one, the majority consists of totally ignorant and disinterested illiterates, the minority would be the wise, the thinkers. For this, the curve of Gauss shows the story of the two minorities, the proper (?) insane on the one end, genius on the other end of the scale. Gauss shows the impossibility of democracy, the majority always the nuts, hardly ever the mediocrits, the wise in the minority. It is inconceivable how modern pseudologists remain mathematical game players, therefore know the Gaussian curve, yet do not translate it into their reality, meaning that democrazy is the most utter undesirable form for organizing a group, any group of persons in a society, let alone rule the world by it.

With regard to the veto right, when we call a 999 of the 1000 votes as being unanimous, we have eliminated this possibility of a crazy person wrecking things by veto. But there still is the possibility of voting ‘for’ drilling a hole, and voting against ‘not’ drilling a hole. What is the difference in the two propositions? This clearly is that the one proposal asks for a change (in things) the other asks for no change. Drilling is change, not drilling is ‘let alone’ is no change. These ideas should be worked out into a system for decision making in our world-government. When a really serious decision is to be made (governors will meet with no other than serious ones) the rule should be: acceptance when there is unanimity only, (i.e. 999 votes) ‘for’ a change in natural being, and dismissal of the change only when at least 750 are against the proposal. There then ‘must’ be the stipulation that these proposals should be made in such a way that this unanimity is necessary ‘for’ a change in the natural things, and 750 votes necessary for proposals that leave things alone (non-change of nature, the normal ‘let go’ of nature. A 750 is enough to decide to do nothing, but in order to do something, to alter things, 999 of the 1000 must be voted.

The animal world may know dictatorships, even the right of the better, it is fortunately free from democracy, not to mention Veto-rights. May Ling.

3 Responses

  1. Hi Ad,

    It looks like this is a chapter from a book:

    Could you give us some context?


  2. Dear Yoram,

    Yes this is a chapter from the book The World Solution for World Problems:

    It was meant as a reply to ‘The case for governing by lottery’. I just wanted to stress, that if representatives (governors) are voting on proposals, the proposals must always be phrased in such a way, that, if a proposal would be accepted it would mean a change in the state of affairs and if it would not be accepted it would mean that things stay as they are.

    By the way other chapters of The World Solution for World Problems are worthwhile reading such as, for example, the chapter The Rights and Duties of Man, in which it is argued that it does not make sense only talking about The Rights of Man, without mentioning the Duties, as a Right for somebody always implies a Duty for somebody else (sometimes even for the same person).


  3. the proposals must always be phrased in such a way, that, if a proposal would be accepted it would mean a change

    Well sure, that seems quite obvious to me. As I said in my comment, if a proposal to leave things unchanged gets rejected you still cannot really reasonably change anything, so it would have been a quite pointless proposal to start with.


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