Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Natural Election


Canada has just had a federal election. There were many people who made it clear (especially on social media) that they were for "anyone except Harper" (Harper being the incumbent Prime Minister for the last nine years.)
There is an underlying problem with this type of thinking in that all the people who felt Harper was unfit for the job might not have been as unified a force. Though it was clearly not the case last night, the clout of a mass of people who were agreed on one thing, to get Harper out, could have been severely minimized, had their collective choice not been so decidedly Liberal.

It seems to me a better form of democracy would be to have people vote for the person they would least like to see in power. Every vote would count as a strike against the candidate, and the one with the least votes would clearly be the winner. That person would be seen as a true representative of the masses and someone who is least likely to do a terrible job. 

This kind of contra democracy or inverse democracy goes on all the time in nature. Natural selection ensures that species naturally see to it that they get rid of the worst mutations. 

If it's one vote we have as a species, or a nation, it is more effective to be a vote to get rid of the problem, than have our vote be no more than a longing for something better, which in the end is dissipated and neutralized by our lack of agreement as to who or what that would be.

If I am building a wall there is a natural selection (natural election?) constantly going on too. I pick one stone at a time. I may think that I am voting for the stone I want, but really I am voting for ( voting against?) the stones I don't want. When I get to the wall and it's not the right one, I throw it away too. I don't have my preferences for just one good stone dispersed amongst the decisions of a lot of other 'selves'. 

If a committee is building a wall, even then the best stone for each job (of filling a gap or crossing a joint)  would always turn out to be the one the least number of people objected to.

Walling so often turns out to be a life lesson in common sense. If I see a stone in the wall I don't like, I get rid of it. I intuitively decide that there must be a better one. There may in fact be two or three better ones. But first I vote to get the wrong one out.

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