Re: What a weird situation

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From: Kragen Sitaker (
Date: Sat Nov 18 2000 - 01:58:30 PST

Jeff quotes Kragen:
> > If the Republicans thought there were voting
> > irregularities that suggested Democratic bias, they would have
> > requested recounts too --- just as they did in Illinois in 1960 for
> > Nixon's election.
> Assumption.

True. s/would/could/

The point is, the choice of recounts was not in the hands of the
Democrats; it was in the hands of the parties. (Or, if I understood
Grlygrl right, in the hands of the public.) If they choose not to
exercise it, that's their choice.

> > > More generally, one of the principal lessons of macroeconomics is
> > > that rules generally work better than discretion.
> >
> > Oh, obviously. That's why we humans have all been obsoleted by
> > intelligent computer programs, why rule-driven bureaucracy
> > is so much more efficient than discretion-driven markets, and
> > why widespread mandatory minimum sentencing has resulted in a much
> > fairer criminal-justice system.
> Total non sequitur coupled with reductio.

Those are three cases where rules don't work better than discretion,
due to the inherent limitations of rules. I think they constitute a
fair and effective reductio ad absurdum of the statement.

BTW, I agree with you about the revote --- we should simply hold a
national revote. Won't happen, though.

The real problem is our first-past-the-post electoral system, in which
a vote for Nader is half a vote against Gore. Other voting systems
work better, both in theory and in practice, and have been in wide use
for centuries. Approval voting, single transferable vote (what the
British call proportional representation), and the Borda count come to
mind. As long as we have an FPTP system, we will never have a
multiparty system.

<>       Kragen Sitaker     <>
Perilous to all of us are the devices of an art deeper than we ourselves
                -- Gandalf the Grey [J.R.R. Tolkien, "Lord of the Rings"]

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