Down With Elections!, the book

My book “DOWN WITH ELECTIONS!” will be available as an e-book on Amazon and Smashwords from 1st September for the princely sum of 99c US or equivalent. It’s a revised and corrected version of the articles published earlier on this forum.

The links are:
Smashwords (epub, most ebook readers), Amazon (mobi – Kindle).

Readers of this forum can have it free from my Dropbox account. It would be nice if you post a comment on Amazon or Smashwords. (Thanks)

Dropbox links:
epub, mobi, HTML, PDF, ODT, DOC.

The principle of distinction


Why we vote

Electoralist dogma accords voting with significant ethical importance. If elections are the centerpiece of democracy, a legitimization of government, an expression of the “consent of the governed” then seeing voting as anything less than a pledge of allegiance would be cynical. By casting a vote for a candidate the voter makes a declaration of support for the record and agenda of the candidate and to some extent takes on responsibility for policy the candidate implements if elected. The more extreme versions of this romanticized view apply these implications of support and responsibility to each and every act or position of the candidate. Other versions apply them only to the record and policy in total.

An alternative, less exalted view would be that voting in a mass election is a specific act with specific practical implications. It is no more than a political expedient. According to this view, when considering who to vote for – and indeed whether to vote at all – citizens simply need to consider which alternative can be expected to yield better policy. Voting is then not an assertion about the record or agenda of the candidate in isolation but the expression of a comparison between the anticipated outcomes of the available courses of action.
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“Lottery Voting: A Thought Experiment” by Akhil Reed Amar

Lottery Voting: A Thought Experiment” is a 1995 article by Akhil Reed Amar, perhaps the most influential Constitutional Law theorist in the US.

In the article Amar proposes using the lottery to determine representation only after a standard election campaign has determined the percentage of support each candidate has received.

In this case then, the ‘statistical representation’ (which he champions) would be only of those citizens willing to go through the process of standing for election.

This is much less representative — and less attractive to me — than eliminating campaigning altogether… and using only two parameters to enter the lot: 1.) registration for it, indicating a willingness to serve if chosen; 2.) a simple civics test (such as the Naturalization Test in the U.S.).

A permanent allotted anti-corruption body is a realistic meaningful reform

From an interview with investigative reporter Lee Fang about the recent retirement of Eric Holder from his job as Attorney General of the US and his resumption of his job at the law firm Covington & Burling:

Lee Fang: One of the perhaps most cynical and and most prevalent ways that you can legally bribe a government official or an elected official is to wait to give them a multi-million dollar check, not while they’re in office, but as soon as they retire. So if a politician helps a bank or an oil company, that oil company can’t directly buy them a boat or give them a million-dollar check. But if they wait until that official retires from office, as soon as they step out the door of Congress and find an employment contract with a lobbying firm or a big bank, then they can accept a multi-million-dollar payday; and so it’s simply delayed bribery, in my perspective.

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