The movie "An Inconvenient Truth" was popular because people
understand the simple message "The earth's climate is getting
warmer, this is a bad thing, and it's humanity's fault" even if
don't understand the math and graphs. (In fact it's probably better
from the film producers' perspective if they *don't* understand the
math and graphs, since much of the data is suspect!)
No WAY. Anyone can make a documentary saying "Earth is warming".
And there has been talk about it for years, that many people readily
dismissed as hype. Without those charts and graphs, and cross
section views of ice shelves, and animations of global current
patterns - all those countless minutes of more and more mountains of
evidence, the message would have been as dismissible as before. Only
by driving the message home with that kind of visceral palpable
visual data do people really understand the gravity of the subject.
Same goes for anything of a highly scientific nature, like voting
methods. You MUST give people the cold hard mathematical data to
talk about the superiority of one voting method over another, no
matter how slickly you have to word it, no matter how much you have
to simplify it. If the data's not there, there's nothing objective
and powerful that you can say. I supposed the most you could do is
say, "Range Voting will destroy two-party duopoly" - but most people
don't even CARE about that.
Asking people to adopt a different voting system runs counter to
fear of change, rather than exploiting it as Al Gore does.
Not if properly explained. You see, world-ending stuff like the Iraq
war (which has radically altered the world political landscape, and
has likely catalyzed WW3) AND global warming, are issues that we can
directly see have resulted from election problems - despite the
massive election fraud that took place in Florida, a good voting
system like Range Voting, would have elected a leader who would
obviously not have waged this ridiculous and pointless war in Iraq.
In fact, the leader who would most likely have been elected would
have been Gore himself, number one champion of the global cooling
So the challenge lies in properly framing the debate. What's a
bigger change, changing the voting method, or changing the very
nature of modern civilization?
Chris makes a valid point -- if voters are going to accept range
voting, it can't be so complicated that you need to use a bunch of
numbers and charts to explain it properly.
You could have said the same thing to Al Gore, but as his movie well
shows, with all his monetary resources and Hollywood connections
still chose to...use lots of charts and graphs, and science speak,
rather than resort to empty assertion. If he hadn't used that
tactic, whan on Earth would have been his alternative? To just stand
there and say, "global warming is real, take my word for it"??
If it's good enough for Gore's crusade, I say it's probably a well
chosen tactic. If you think I'd get farther by just telling people
that Range Voting is "so great, you just gotta believe me", then I'd
like to see some evidence of that. While the FairVote propaganda
machine has managed to get somewhere using this tactic (get there
first, and tell lots and lots of lies), their deception is now
catching up with them as more and more people are coming to find out
It's an inconvenient truth of our own, that we have to use some
relatively intricate math to show much of the concrete proof of Range
Voting's superiority. But that evidence is so incredibly valuable
that we cannot simply fail to mention it. We've just got to do our
best to make it pallatable to the layperson, as well as get math and
politics figures in academia, and leaders of political groups, to
embrace it - then a lot of their followers will trust it implicitly.
Just look at IRV for instance - many (most!) of its adherents don't
have the first clue of how it really works in the real world
(e.g.when people are strategic); yet they trust it because they have
been told by political leaders/pundits/journalists/etc. that it is
the greatest thing since sliced bread. If the IRV movement can get
that far with lies, I think the Range Voting movement can get far
with massive VALID SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE, and a lot of hard work.
It can of course be argued that much of what Libertarians
has equally low chances of being accepted by the voters any time
But that's because a lot of people don't want it. But Range Voting
is something they absolutely want - it literally increases their
expected satisfaction with the outcome of elections, HUGELY. Once
any sane person comprehends this, he should be adamantly demanding
Range Voting. That doesn't mean _everyone_ will, because not
everyone is rational. But it means that plenty of people will want
Range Voting purely for their own personal gain - for totally selfish
reasons - if nothing else. All it takes is a bit of education, which
is far less education than it takes to explain to people why a free
market is better for them (imagine how long it takes for instance, to
watch "Free to Choose" in its entirety).
But a policy issue like the Drug War or taxation has a direct
to peoples' lives.
Who do you think SETS those policies? You want to talk about TAXES?
Look at this WAR. Why are we in it? Because of electoral failure.
Even with all the vote fraud, Bush still only won by a paltry 537
votes in Florida. He would almost certaintly have lost with a better
voting method, because 97,388 Floridians voted for Nader - most of
whom would have supported just about anyone over Bush.
So take all those policies that you think are so important, and put
them to the side. If you don't change the voting method, people
aren't going to tend to get what they want, even if they WANT
Libertarian policies, because bad voting methods pick the wrong
winners, and thus the wrong policies.
And while people of every different stripe may vehemently disagree
about _policies_, they should all UNIFY behind Range Voting, because
it's beneficial to EVERYONE. That's something you can't say about
many political reforms.
I'm not weighing in on the merits of range voting one way or the
other. Frankly the concept is not solid in my head yet.
Tell me what's not solid to you yet. Range Voting is monotonic,
independent of irrelevant alternatives, simple to use and count, and
will make voters far happer, on average, than other voting methods.
I repeat again, Range Voting is as big of an improvement over
plurality voting, as plurality is over RANDOM SELECTION.
But if I'm
going to spend time talking about this instead of policy issues, I
to make sure the proposal has practical value, because in strict
philosophical terms my time would be better spent talking about
It couldn't be more practical. It's by far the most important issue
in the world, hands down. No comparison. None.
Can you boil it down to a few sentences that capture the essential
essence of range voting and why it's better than what's in use now?
Well, I hope you've taken the time to read these two pages, which
should copiously answer that kind of question
But let's just put it in the simplest terms imaginable. Let's not
talk about two-party duopoly, because that's not even an issue when
we're talking about using Range Voting for organizations. Let's just
talk about one issue - your satisfaction with the election results.
Voter satisfaction index, or "social utility efficiency" in economics
For anyone who has ever taken a basic economics or stats class, or
gambled, the concept of "expected value" is familiar - probability of
earnings and losses times the winnings or losses. A wise player
wants to maximize his expected value in a transaction. That's
precisely the point of a voting method. What is a voting method?
Simple a way of having a group make a choice. When an individual
makes a choice, he devises a rough aggregate value of each option
(say a bunch of cars he's deciding between), and picks the option
with the greatest net value, or "utility". When extrapolated to a
choice in which more than one person participates, the exact same
rule should hold. The best voting system is the one which maximizes
the expected satisfaction of the electorate, and in turn of each
voter. That is precisely what Range Voting does.
So lets extrapolate backwards, to the point of view of you, as a
single voter - a dictator, making a personal choice for yourself.
That's a pretty libertarian concept. Say we give you a choice of
five random meals to eat each night, and you have to eat one of them,
and only one. Say we picked each meal for you at random - we,
the "government" know what's best for you. That would be, by
definition, a voter satisfaction index of 0 - total randomness. Now
say we did that for a week, but on the second week we let you CHOOSE
which of the five options you wanted. That would be a voter
satisfaction index of 100%, by definition. Now say we found a way to
limit your options such that your expected satisfaction with your
meal each night would be approximately the average of random
selection and 100% free choice. That would be a voter satisfaction
index of 50%. Now look at the satisfaction indices (called "ratios",
but we're going to change the wording soon) at
I hope this example helps you to understand the significance of these
figures. Range Voting makes you HUGELY more happy than plurality,
and pretty much every other voting method conceivable.