The more factions there are in a political contest, the more likely candidates with at least some positions in common are to band together to form a coalition. This is a principle of participatory democracy. Imagine there are 15 candidates competing for a seat on a town council. Seemingly, it should be easy to gain the roughly 6.8% needed to become the plurality winner; this is a tiny fraction of the voting public. However, voters…View More Ranked-Choice Voting Does Not Improve Representation
A set of values always has a middle, but just how representative of a data set is that middle? Democracy imbues morality into numbers. The idea that the majority view should carry the day anytime policy is up for debate is axiomatic to the idea that fairness lies in siding with the greatest number. Politics therefore often favors centrism. If the citizenry as a whole is considered as one enormous data set, it is impossible…View More The Myth of the Political Center
A divisive politics is not necessarily a dysfunctional politics. Life is individualistic; an individual’s experiences are filtered through the lens of his or her own person. Personality, past experiences, values and desired ends: all of these create nuances in the rational process. The conclusions around which individuals orient their lives are moved by the substance of their lives, despite the absolute nature of reality. Two important codicils can be drawn from this: First, any politics…View More Is Individualism Compatible with Democratic Strains of Thinking?
In the vernacular, the role of representatives is most often understood in terms of how they service the interests of the polity: the average citizen is busy and involved in his or her own life and has neither the time, inclination or requisite knowledge to make informed political choices. Or so the reasoning goes. Enter the representative, who fulfills one of two roles, depending upon whether one buys into the delegate or trustee model of…View More Congressional Representatives Should Secure Rights, Not Interests
We are all products of our own comprehension. Cognition, after all, is affected by the unique set of circumstances that align to makeup an individual’s background, heightening one’s perception of certain challenges and issues. Then, the talents one possesses lead towards particular types of intelligence, impacting the way each mind synthesizes the information presented to it. One cannot step outside the lens of one’s personal experience, even when relating to others. As Adam Smith, that…View More Perception, Virtue Ethics and Identity
Modernity’s conception of democratic morality seems preoccupied with fairness, and particularly so in reference to viewpoint parity. This is primarily a concern for those who perceive themselves to be in the minority, or, in populist cases, fear becoming a minority. One can see this concern in the cries of discrimination expelled from the lungs of conservatives who believe themselves censored on social media. Part of this argument is driven by the incontrovertible fact that left-leaning…View More Parity and the Morality of Democracy
Given the place of preeminence the pursuit of happiness holds in American culture, it is perhaps not surprising that contentment seems to be at the height of political virtue. One only needs to peruse the most recent spate of public opinion polls to see the degree to which political energy is focused on individual contentment. Job approval of both the president and of Congress is tracked on a weekly, if not a daily, basis by…View More Is efficacy a laudable political virtue?