In this season of elections in America — much too much ink has been spilled, video shot, and high Bollywood drama taking place all across the land.
If the Bard were alive today we would have surely had a slew of new plays to rival Titus Andronicus, by bringing about the essence of self imposed political importance to those seeking Leadership.
Never mind “Reason” it is a Hobbsian dystopia out there, made up mostly of incomplete human beings, and thus all my instincts tell me to stay as far away as possible, because they mostly play Animal Farm and they just don’t know it.
Yet the unprecedented opportunity of analyzing a presidential along with a general election cycle in the US, helps us better understand the rather arcane and complex intersection of Democratic science, human nature, and politics.
Being a dispassionate observer helps me carefully observe, quantify, and understand — and perhaps explain how human instinct shapes voting decisions. Yet the real scientist can only infer data from experimentation and diligent observation of Nature.
So for the few of us — the true students of Democracy and Science — this season is a boon.
The basic premise is to find out what affects electoral contest outcomes.
So I always start by asking these questions of all comers. Fellow citizens, colleagues, friends, and foes alike:
What do I need to know?
Can you tell me how to frame the contest in order to win?
Can you help me elucidate the issues so that I communicate them well?
Can you help me improve the “game” in order to affect the outcome of the election in a positive way for all concerned?
What about ad hominem attacks?
Or negative TV ads?
What about underhanded smear campaigns?
Can these tactics affect the strategy of the game?
Can they win the game?
In a rational world the answer, of course, would be a resounding NO.
But often times I wonder if we live in a rational world or not.
Because in most people’s mind, our highly charged, and bigoted political and dirty electioneering world — is anything but rational.
Yet by drawing on science, politics, and history, we can explore the hidden forces behind our often illogical and incoherent political choices rather well so that we can always learn to seek the light when faced with the deluge of darkness.
Democracy was born as an ancient Greek mathematical Innovation exercise in the Pythagorean school of Philosophical Thought, that was seeking to find the best way towards correct decision making, leadership, and truth. It worked. It brought about the Golden Age of Greece. It worked so well people forgot about it and abused it. Naturally it got broken. People lost faith and consequently their Democracy was also lost. It fell into disuse. Much later it was reused, mimicked. improved, or improvised, yet much later it was reinvented through social revolutions, people’s rebellions, and in science in what is termed today as the Condorset Theorem.
Democracy is indeed a straight forward algorithm.
The Condorset Theorem is a verbatim copy of the ancient Greek Mathematical theorem that states that the opinion of the majority of people is always better than the best opinion of professionals and experts alike. And this scientific view led to the rise of Democracy because after a few Millennia of Jungle King rule — we wanted to have the best outcomes for our Society. And that included participation by all of us…
Mind shattering thing this theorem and the underlying algorithm is…
Today, it’s called Condorcet’s theorem, because it’s a political science theorem about the far greater probability of a given group of individuals arriving at a correct decision. The theorem was first expressed by the Marquis de Condorcet in his 1785 work Essay on the Application of Analysis to the Probability of Majority Decisions. He was a friend of Benjamin Franklin, the famously called “First American” who always sought to support the ideas of Democracy. And in some measure this why we start the Constitution with the words: “We the People…”
In Political Philosophy, it is called “Scientific Democracy” where the science comes in generalizing the Condorcet Theorem to encompass majorities in Democratic elections.
And in short it proves that the crowdsourced decision of a majority is usually far better than anything else we have at our disposal.
Because although we are all animals first and humans second — we are truly social and political animals as Aristotle never tired of reminding us. But above all else we are always following the laws of Science whether we like to admit it or not.
And if you doubt that — please be my guest and go ahead to test gravity by walking out a third story window from any building you like around the world.
Add to this our Socratic social proclivities and our Platonian Republic ideals and here we go, having both Society and Civilization thriving today despite the dirty low brow politics of the day.
But thinking of this — challenges us to go beyond the headlines, which often focus on what politicians did, do, or say that they’ll do. This step alone helps us concentrate instead on what’s really important, that is what shapes our responses to events taking place around us and to the challenges we all face… Real or perceived.
It appears that contrary to what we tell ourselves — it’s our instincts rather than arguments appealing to reason — that usually prevail on our choices when faced alone with a list of candidates, inside the voting booth. Because somehow we associate our response and the computer paper tick in the voting booth — with the flight or fight instinct of our long upbringing in the meat locker of the steppes where we were just as much fair game as the game we hunted.
Yet we forget that this is not the world we inhabit today.
We’ve long found solace, comfort, and safety in Society.
And in the Constitutional Framers opinion, participatory Democracy comes naturally to me because this seems intuitive. We have to use our brain before we even think about reacting. But for others this isn’t the case and they react viscerally because all around us popular culture tells us we can trust our instincts and so we run with them often times over the cliff.
Still today’s latest science has proven that when it comes to political choices our scardy cat and monkey mind mind, turns in on itself and becomes a stone age self serving brain, that often malfunctions, misfires, and leads us astray — against our true self interest.
In the age of our Trumped up Reality TV politics, this is spot on…
Climate, wars, threats, islamist attacks, terror, natural disasters, the tides, the moon cycle, even sports events and other pop factors — radically change the way people think about the world and about those running for elected political Leadership office.
In an attempt to alter the course the “animal” side of the human brain tends to take, we need to highlight the work of scientists who are pioneering new ways of understanding the world around us.
While we are at it, let’s also try to explain how to take control of these instincts to make the brain work in our favor during stressful times like election season, and how to trust the crowdsourced wisdom of the Democratic process.
Democracy is not an ideology. It is simply a scientific method of Decision making. Got that?
We are all Democrats because we live in a Democratic society. A smart and scientific society that chooses to take the decision of who is to lead in a scientifically valid manner. We follow an ancient algorithm for decision making, and for electing the best Leaders, and that method has been validated as the best possible one in order to bring out the best outcomes — through a couple of thousand years of sporadic utility, and the resultant Golden Ages, when we fully embraced it. There’s a great track record when you correlate the times that Democracy was applied fully, and the success of the nations utilizing it.
Still republicans, decision making pundits, and leadership quorum theorists — rage in everlasting classical debates over the question of whether we want our political outcomes to be right, or whether we want them to be fair.
I say we want them to be both RIGHT & FAIR. Let’s settle that debate once and for all.
Democracy can be, and has been justified in either way, or both at once. We want our Decisions to be Right and to be Fair at the same time. Simple eh?
One would hope… but for systemic democrats, civil servants, and for the American framers of the Constitution — the aim of democracy is to “track the truth” and thus to also bring about the best desirable outcome out of a plurality of possible choices.
And truth be told — for all of them, as it is for us — Democracy is far more desirable than any alternative forms of decision making, because it does that rather well.
One democratic decision rule is more desirable than another according to that same standard, so far as systemic democrats are concerned.
Let’s not forget that our drafters of the Constitution and the Founders of this great Republic were all true democrats, believing that the aim of democracy is also to embody certain procedural virtues.
And that is why we have the electoral college. Procedural democrats are systemic democrats, appealing to Condorcet’s jury theorem, that simply and always says this: “The correct outcome is most likely to win a majority of votes.
Democrats, including true Republicans of virtually every stripe, have to agree.
And for that I’d like to invite your comments and thought of whether I should run for political office or not…