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There were here some discussion concerning using IQ or paid taxes as proxy of citizens merit, for purposes of making some a bit more meritocratic system. While some objections I'd consider excessive (no, come on, nerds would not to use it to take revenge on all people who were bullying them at school ;) ), I absolutely see one serious issue - those ideas were deeply unpopular, which was more than enough to make them doomed.

On the other hand there is problem of uninformed voter. Or the issue that person who through his faulty decisions suffered personal bankruptcy, presumably is not the best person to take part in decisions concerning prudence in public finance. Or people who try to vote themselves some money.

OK, so requirements:

  • there is some mild (or moderate) skewing towards smarter, more responsible, informed voters;
  • the interests of the other people is actually reasonably protected;
  • the system sounds clearly fair and is not causing much outrage (just sounds, for example: "each patriot could easily pass this civic knowledge and proud history of our great nation test", may be quite good at weeding out people who generally don't know and don't care, while making them look unpatriotic enough to make their objections look badly);
  • mass voting remains, as such ritual is useful for maintaining legitimacy of political system in most cases and just in case of total outrage allows for bloodless replacement of disliked political elites.
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    $\begingroup$ That a voting system with multiple tiers of electors can work is obvious -- after all, history is replete with complex voting systems with the electorate divided into multiple tiers. The question is how to bring it about starting from the currently existing situation. Your particular example of having some sort of test, for example, will most likely be rejected in the U.S.A. because in the past such systems were used to discriminate against black people. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Oct 3 '19 at 8:33
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    $\begingroup$ How do we know that folks who vote differently are not MORE informed? Perhaps WE are the ones who turn out to be uninformed, and the likely target of the solutions. $\endgroup$ – user535733 Oct 3 '19 at 12:17
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    $\begingroup$ Though not an answer, it reminds me of Starship troopers, where only military veterans were allowed to vote. That doesn't necessarily help skew towards competence, but does suggest a certain kind of candidate will always be favored. $\endgroup$ – Trevor Oct 3 '19 at 16:54
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    $\begingroup$ In the book "Starship Troopers" by RA Heinlein people earn the right to vote by giving service to (i.e. working for) the government. People who offer their service are tested and put where their skills can best be used. Service is a very broad topic, the book focuses on military service but mentions other areas. -- Just spotted @Trevor's comment, he is right about competence, but I think the book suggests more than just military service. $\endgroup$ – AdrianHHH Oct 4 '19 at 9:30
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    $\begingroup$ @peacetype explicit cultural diversity is supposed to be great (and does make for interesting places to visit), but I've never seen it produce a successful society. Socio-cultural homogeneity (including bring in outsiders and them integrating into dominant culture) is far from perfect, but it succeeds more often than heterogenous cultures. $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Oct 5 '19 at 1:45

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There have been several proposed systems for supposedly fair, unequal voting rights. The problem is that what some sees as manifestly fair, others will see as grossly unfair. Hence, they will fail the requirement of "the system sounds clearly fair".

One example is Ayn Rand, who argued that (1) people who don't pay taxes should not have the right to vote, since the contribute nothing to the community, and (2) people who own no property should not have the right to vote, because they don’t have a sufficient stake in stable property rights that promote productive enterprise.

While this may seem fair from a Randian viewpoint, it would imply no voting rights for housewives, who contribute to society by keeping house and raising children, while the husband owns the house and earns money that he pays taxes on. Retirees who live off their savings and rent their homes would not have voting rights either, no matter how much they contributed before retirement - and no matter how much unpaid, voluntary work they do in their retirement.

In most US states, prisoners have no voting rights, and in many states, people with criminal convictions have no voting rights. While this may seem fair to some — criminals are, after all, bad guys — the fairness of this, very much depends on whether the law and prison system is entirely fair. In the US, black people are much more likely to go to prison than white people, and people committing financial crimes like tax fraud or illegal banking activities rarely go to prison, even though their crimes may be very destructive to society. Few democratic countries in the world disenfranchise criminals in this way.

I have heard Danish right-wing politicians suggest that the unemployed shouldn't have voting rights because they don't contribute and instead receive unemployment benefits from the state. This would mean that the unemployed can't vote to unseat governments that implement policies that create or preserve unemployment.

Perhaps the most detailed proposed system for 'fair' unequal voting rights comes from Nevil Shute's novel 1953 novel In The Wet, set in the then-future 1980s. In the novel, people can get as much as 7 votes:

  • The first vote is given to every citizen on reaching the age of 21.
  • The second vote is for university graduates and commissioned military officers.
  • The third vote is earned after living and working abroad for at least two years.
  • The fourth vote is for raising two children to the age of fourteen without divorcing.
  • The fifth vote is for earning at least £5000 in the year before the election.
  • The sixth vote is for officials in any of the recognized Christian churches.
  • The seventh vote is given only at the discretion of the monarch (a medal, of sorts).

I am sure we all can find faults with some of these rules. What about people educated in the crafts, or people who are self-taught? What if you raise your kids to become criminals, or abuse them? Why should paid work count more than extensive unpaid voluntary work? What about non-Christian religious officials?

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    $\begingroup$ NCOs and the trades don't get vote 2, the infertile don't get vote 4, housewives, the elderly, poor, and sick don't get vote 5, atheists and non-christians don't get vote 6 and vote 7 is pure favouritism for the establishment. That's probably the most abuseable system I've ever seen. $\endgroup$ – Separatrix Oct 3 '19 at 9:28
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    $\begingroup$ Exactly my point. $\endgroup$ – Klaus Æ. Mogensen Oct 3 '19 at 11:31
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    $\begingroup$ @Cadence That opens up another concern, though. No matter what system is put in place that implements checks and balances to ensure fairness, it ultimately still ends up with the requirement of trust. The people have to trust some government officials to enforce the checks and balances as well as trust other officials to respect them. If there's no trust, then it doesn't matter what system is put in place as people will just assume as you did that corrupt politicians will just conveniently ignore or misplace things and ultimately do whatever they want in order to achieve a personal agenda. $\endgroup$ – Abion47 Oct 3 '19 at 20:41
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    $\begingroup$ I'd argue that the biases in the list of criteria are specifically the point: if you want to award votes based on "merit", you need to define what "merit" means in the first place, and in this case, it seems to reward cosmopolitan, educated individuals who have demonstrated a stable home life (spouse, children, and job) as well as supporting the state religion, with the monarch being given the discretion to recognize other forms of merit. $\endgroup$ – nick012000 Oct 4 '19 at 3:43
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    $\begingroup$ @Separatrix, I don't see anything in vote 4 which says that you have to be a biological parent. $\endgroup$ – Peter Taylor Oct 4 '19 at 10:54
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There is no way to filter the voters that isn't open to abuse, suffrage has to be universal to work.

Any definition that can be used to exclude people for any reason can be used to disenfranchise a target group. For example, criminals. Select your target group, make something about them illegal and use that to prevent members of the group from voting.

There's also the story of the "guess the weight of the cow" game at country fairs, where any given demographic, including "experts" are wrong, but the average of all is pretty close to correct.

So what you need to do is ensure that the voters are correctly informed.

But how to do that without allowing a populist to take control of the situation?

Now is where it gets a little bit less practical.

  1. No mass rallies. People can be hyped up and end up feeding off the emotions of others, not the actual content coming across. It's too open to abuse and populism.
  2. No TV debates. In fact no visual media at all. Audio and transcript only. People are far better at telling if someone is lying when all they get is audio or written content. The visual aspect disrupts our ability to naturally detect lies.
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    $\begingroup$ May you specify the claim "has to be universal"? Modern democracy, with universal suffrage, become prevalent in the last century, while for prior millennia were at best applied limited suffrage. I'm not saying that parliament full of nobility keeping king in check was the best idea, I'm simply pointing out that it seemed to work. $\endgroup$ – Shadow1024 Oct 3 '19 at 9:49
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    $\begingroup$ @Shadow1024, it was government by the establishment for the establishment, yes it "worked" if you only considered the people it worked for. Everyone else could be ignored for all useful purposes. The trouble with universal suffrage is the people aren't homogeneous any more and their needs and requirements are more complex. $\endgroup$ – Separatrix Oct 3 '19 at 10:00
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    $\begingroup$ There is no way to do anything that isn't open to abuse. Universal suffrage is more open to abuse than many alternatives (Advertising and financial influence are huge abuses). Your points seem to be from a basis of belief and not fact. $\endgroup$ – Bill K Oct 3 '19 at 17:20
  • $\begingroup$ @BillK, those are open to all parties, only a party in power can disenfranchise a group to ensure they maintain power, hence it's less open to abuse. $\endgroup$ – Separatrix Oct 3 '19 at 17:33
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    $\begingroup$ @Separatrix Unless you are assuming there are only a few wealthy parties then no, influence by advertising is not available to everyone, it's only available to the wealthy, and they use it very effectively in America to disenfranchise the poor. Many poor and uneducated vote against their own interests because they have been manipulated by arguments created for just that purpose. Or are you stating that--for instance in America Democrats and Republicans aren't both parties controlled in large part by wealthy corporations? $\endgroup$ – Bill K Oct 3 '19 at 17:53
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Enlighten your voters.

If you don't want your voters to behave like sheep, enlighten them. Well-educated voters will see through populist messages and will make a more informed choice than voters that are simply entertained by politicians at the campaign trail.

What if informed voters still fall for the populist?
This is the inherent risk of running a democracy in which everyone gets to cast their vote with no strings attached.

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    $\begingroup$ Isn't this path already mostly exhausted in AD 2019? Even in my country (Poland) among young generation already ~50% have higher education and at least on paper are overqualified by expectations of labour market. Moreover, all over the Western world Flynn effect stopped or even reversed, so it seems we start to approach our biological limits. sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0160289616300198 $\endgroup$ – Shadow1024 Oct 3 '19 at 11:16
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    $\begingroup$ Don't narrow it down to IQ. Also intelligent people can be very stupid. Think about it more as free press vs. propaganda. In both cases the recipients are equally smart, yet the populace informed by a free, independent press will vote differently than a population, which gets informed by the Ministry of Truth and Factual Facts. $\endgroup$ – Dohn Joe Oct 3 '19 at 12:54
  • $\begingroup$ The problem is, that on measurable indicators, like IQ or years of schooling, we seem to be approaching our limits (or terribly diminishing returns), so I fail to see how we can make here any meaningful changes. Pushing further free press at expense of uniform propaganda? I see some gain on MSM loosing its excessive power on deciding what's newsworthy and what people should think, but I used to be more optimistic about it, as apparently its being mostly replaced by finest quality personalised echo chambers. $\endgroup$ – Shadow1024 Oct 3 '19 at 13:19
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    $\begingroup$ No matter what you try here, you'll run into Goodhart's Law. If you pick some criteria that today indicate "this system is free and independent and offers good information to voters", those criteria will come to indicate "this system is approved" and will lose their previous diagnostic power. $\endgroup$ – Cadence Oct 3 '19 at 16:09
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    $\begingroup$ @Shadow1024, unfortunately no. Being connected or intelligent does not mean you'll get accurate information (echo chambers and human psyche being what they are.) $\endgroup$ – Tracy Cramer Oct 3 '19 at 18:15
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"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on who to eat for dinner."

This quote has been misattributed to Benjamin Franklin, but it's a good quote nonetheless as it illustrates the primary issue with a democratic system - mob rule. It's important to take a look at the incentives in any kind of program. And in a democracy, the incentive is to join the mob, which is why a democracy will usually split into a two-party system, because 1) people disagree and 2) people want power. The two party system allows people to disagree, and allows them to have the best shot at supporting a party which has a chance to implement their desired outcome.

Furthermore, now lets take a look at implementing safeguards - it's a horrible idea which occasionally works. Remember, we need to look at incentives, and if we allow the ruling class to control who gets to vote, they're bound to come up with sufficient reasons to only allows their base to vote, and thus remain in power, which is the incentive structure they have. Of course, that's not to say that it never works - take, for instance the rule that American presidents can't sit more than two terms (or 10 years, if they've taken over partway through another president's term). This means that a populist can't consistently win, putting more of a focus on the parties, rather than the candidates - in theory. In practice, populists still have an advantage, just parties can't abuse their populist candidates, so this was partially successful after all in curbing populists. But in general, safeguards have a habit of corrupting and turning into tools - such as gerrymandering, for instance.

What I'm trying to say is that there's no way to make the system skew towards competence, because the incentive structure to do that doesn't exists - like all democracies it skews towards mob rule, and laws and regulations attempting to preventing mob rule will be abused for the most part by those in power.

Rather, the focus should be the constituents. Focus on creating a smarter and better informed voter, and have a reliable and impartial third party responsible for detailing the basics of the issues, and the circumstances. Or at least that's what I'd like to say, except the system to do that is open to corruption as well (see, the democracies of the world we live in today), and the solution to that is to ban the government from any form of interaction with any media or education system, but that has its own problems. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this is a rather complex topic with no easy solution, but at the very least I'll tell you two things - one, systems tend to corruption, so it's best to settle with making the system skew away from the corruption that already exists. Second, one of my favorite Winston Churchill quotes: (and this one actually was said by him.)

"Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time"

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    $\begingroup$ If I was the wolf, I'd deal with the rabbit to vote on the other wolf. When we consume him, there's only me versus the rabbit, and I'd prefer that to facing down another wolf. $\endgroup$ – Innovine Oct 3 '19 at 14:51
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    $\begingroup$ (1) In practice, it's not wolved and lambs, but humans. Humans are not invariably predatory. (2) There is no inherent pressure towards a two-party system, that's caused by multi-tier majority systems like in the U.S. and the U.K.; systems that have a mechanism that transfer voter count to the final assembly tend to have more parties (three to five in Germany, for example). $\endgroup$ – toolforger Oct 3 '19 at 19:59
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    $\begingroup$ @toolforger 1) Humans are predators. In fact, humans are the apex predators of all predators on the planet, and furthermore we eat our own, if not in the literal sense than certainly in the figurative sense. See essentially every oppressed minority in history. 2) The pressure is towards a two-party system in a pure democracy, voter transfer mechanisms are an adjustment which helps towards multi-party systems. $\endgroup$ – Halfthawed Oct 3 '19 at 20:56
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    $\begingroup$ @toolforger Except discrimination against minorities happens in every country. If there's one universal fact of human nature, it's xenophobia. It can be trained out though, which is why it's often said that the benchmark for a country's morality is how it treats minorities. Or sometimes put another way, you can tell how moral a government is by how they treat criminals and illegal immigrants, because what they consider acceptable for people without rights is what they'd inflict on you if they were once allowed to. $\endgroup$ – Graham Oct 3 '19 at 22:02
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    $\begingroup$ Some good points, but I disagree strongly with your analysis of a two-party system. The 2-party systems have evolved mostly in countries where each district sends in a single representative to the parliament. With proportional representation that does not happen. This is probably not the place to discuss the pros/cons of proportional vs. winner takes it all, but the dynamics of political coalition forming is very different under proportional voting. Leading to voters having more alternatives. $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Oct 4 '19 at 4:42
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Require one year of paid compulsory public service in order to vote, or run for office. This answer relies on the theory that only things truly earned via efforts are really appreciated. Only through appreciation of one's responsibility can better decisions and practices ever hope to be accomplished.

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  • $\begingroup$ I fail to see how that would inherently improve a democracy. After all, the draft kind of falls in that category. And all kinds of government systems use that. $\endgroup$ – ArtificialSoul Oct 5 '19 at 8:50
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Allow citizens to proxy their votes.

When filling in your ballot, you vote for your leader of choice, but you may also proxy your vote to any other citizen of the country. By doing so, you would be saying:

"If it were up to me, my vote would be for [leader/party], but if possible, I would rather my vote be given to [this other person], and therefore cast to whichever leader/party they have chosen."

This would allow people to give their vote to someone who they trust to vote better than they themselves could. This isn't something fundamentally new, as people already can and do seek advice from others and possibly allow this information to influence their vote. But building it into the system would give people an option that is easier to use.

For certain, this system would change the political ecology considerably in more ways than I could possibly understand or foresee, but here are three simple points to consider:

  • This system is fair because it would be the free choice of every citizen to give one's vote in proxy or not. Everyone could ignore it and simply vote normally, and we have, worst-case, a democracy no different from most actual ones today.

  • This system is safe because nobody (outside of vote counters) knows who has given their proxy to whom. There could therefore be no extortion, threats, or ways to force someone to give over their proxy; any more than one could threaten someone to vote a certain way in the first place.

  • This system is more computationally expensive than a regular vote, because there could be multiple layers of proxying, and possibly cycles of proxying that need to be broken. (Any votes caught in a cycle of proxies would simply go to the leader/party named by the original voter; same as with any votes proxied to a person who doesn't exist/is deceased/didn't vote, etc.) Perhaps it would also need a more complex oversight to avoid fraud.

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    $\begingroup$ This would make vote buying into a business instead of voting fraud. $\endgroup$ – KalleMP Oct 4 '19 at 5:58
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    $\begingroup$ Could you expand on that? I'm genuinely curious as to what you mean/imagine :) $\endgroup$ – Qami Oct 4 '19 at 11:28
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    $\begingroup$ Ok, I think I see what you mean, but wouldn't that depend on being able to prove you'd given your proxy to someone? $\endgroup$ – Qami Oct 4 '19 at 12:54
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Requirements to run, not to vote

First, I would like to point out that what you are suggesting (or at least something similar) supposedly exists for United States Presidential elections. Rather than being based on the raw, popular vote, that vote produces an Electoral College of theoretically more intelligent and informed individuals who then choose the President. Obviously, this has various flaws, including the collegiate balance vs the actual vote, the qualifications of the electors and their political bias.

So rather than trying to change the voters, let's change the candidates. The US Constitution already places age limits on many elected officials, under the dubious belief that age somehow equates to wisdom. Maybe that could be kept, or maybe it should be discarded. But at the very least, we would add more requirements to run. Such as:

Education: The candidate must have completed a minimum level of schooling, and must pass an examination to prove that he or she learned and retained the knowledge.

Psychological: The candidate must undergo a series of psychological tests, to attempt to ensure that they are not violent, delusional, reactionary, etc.

Competence: The candidate must take an exam, showing that they know and understand the rights and responsibilities of their intended office.

There could be others (fiscal? criminal history?).

All I know is, when I apply for a job, they check for more than my ability to win a popularity contest. Politicians should be the same.

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    $\begingroup$ The problem with tests is that someone has to administer them... and thus, corruption on a massive scale is likely due to the power given to the test administrators. This is doubly true for any subjective test, such as a psychological one. If the test administrators don't want someone to run for office, they can arbitrarily decide to deny them. $\endgroup$ – GrandmasterB Oct 3 '19 at 16:56
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    $\begingroup$ I agree a competency test is rather useless. The campaign process itself is supposed to be a sort of technical interview. If you want the campaign to be more merit based, then forbid the use of private money, and everyone is given the same fixed budget from which to run their campaign (funded by taxes). I also think the political parties should have as strict of a standard as they want when determining who is allowed to represent their party. $\endgroup$ – jxh Oct 3 '19 at 19:54
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Since I first saw Slashdot in the (90's?) I've been kind of obsessed with the idea of an expert system for voting. Slashdot isn't perfect, but the most important/interesting/useful comments generally float to the top. Perhaps think of a combination of Slashdot, StackExchange and in particular the Skeptics SE site along with an "argument-graph" building system.

People could vote on and discuss various arguments until one side or the other is clearly superior--and if you don't have one side CLEARLY superior to another, maybe you just don't do anything until it is.

It's not like by nature we can't find a conclusive answer to most issues--Skeptics does a pretty good job of coming up with a single correct answer to a given question with an abundance evidence to back it. People who are trying to push lies, disinformation and various agendas through the manipulation of facts don't fare well on Skeptics.

Since our arguments and Votes on those arguments are contributing to a knowledge base, laws could also be re-evaluated as things changed (If an assumption turned out to not be true an argument might change and the law may need to be re-evaluated)

As for electing officials -- a candidate could post his views on various topics and his promises (Let's call them goals instead). These would be evaluated over time. As long as people still wanted the things he was doing, he might stay in office. If the results of his policies were problematic or his actions don't reflect the goals presented when he was elected, the arguments (and votes on those arguments) may turn against the politician and he is voted out at the next election.

By the way, as for why I haven't made this expert system yet, I don't have the expertise to model an argument. I think someone might... you'd have to ensure it was broken into points and every point was clear, simple to understand, weighted by how much it relates to the argument and supported by evidence. I'd LOVE to see a fully modeled argument broken down into it's components like this--has anyone seen such a thing?

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  • $\begingroup$ This breaks down when the sides of the issue at hand have their own understanding of "clearly superior" and cannot ever be reconciled. Making no changes is a tacit approval of the status quo. It's a touchy subject, and I'll be painting broad strokes, but I'll try to be careful, but consiter abortion: one side believes that a fetus is a living human, and that a non-natural termination of a pregnancy is murder; one side believes that a fetus is not a living human and that removing it is (emotion notwithstanding) no different to removing any other potentially-life-threatening collection of cells. $\endgroup$ – Pilchard123 Oct 4 '19 at 11:25
  • $\begingroup$ But at any given point, abortion will either legal in some cases or illegal in all cases. No debate will ever find a "clearly superior" outcome that is agreed by all parties. If abortion is currently illegal, the no-abortion party thinks the status quo is superior to all other cases, and the allow-abortion party sees that women are forced to suffer a potentially life-threatening condition. If abortion is legal in some cases, the allow-abortion party sees that women are able to protect themselves, and the no-abortion party sees a law allowing murder. $\endgroup$ – Pilchard123 Oct 4 '19 at 11:40
  • $\begingroup$ @Pilchard123 Then if you can't come to an overwhelming agreement, perhaps there should be no federal law regarding it. Abortion would be the argument I'd most like to see "Graphed" since I think both sides could agree on the structure of the argument with the base belief point you mentioned being the differentiation--Is a fetus a living human? Supported with "Do we have the right to kill a human" and "Should my beliefs affect others". These same base-level beliefs should then apply to many arguments such as death penalty. $\endgroup$ – Bill K Oct 4 '19 at 17:27
  • $\begingroup$ I see the whole argument graph as a tree with a core statement (Abortion is wrong, for instance) supported by a bunch of "Obvious" arguments that nearly everyone can agree on (Abortion generally prevents a human from being born) going down to "leaf" beliefs that can't really be proven or disproven but are personal or shared beliefs (We should not take human life). Your position on your beliefs should then be distributed back to all the arguments where the points are based on that same belief. Get rid of some lies, manipulation and hypocrisy that way. $\endgroup$ – Bill K Oct 4 '19 at 17:33
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You are asking about a "Meritocracy".

Some way to make this work is to have a persons' vote count more strongly (twice, triple, quadruple) depending on his/hers achievements in life. Finished college? +1 vote, got a PHD? +2 votes. Votes can also be earned by taking an exam for that specific election or referendum (asking questions about "which standpoint does party A hold?" "which option takes the most taxpayer money?"; making sure to not count opinion), this allows informed people that did not have advanced education to still have the impact they deserve

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  • $\begingroup$ Has it ever been tested on a big scale? $\endgroup$ – Innovine Oct 3 '19 at 14:52
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    $\begingroup$ If there's a test before the elections which grants additional votes - there's a lot of power given to those composing and administering the test - it's easy to come up with ways to skew the results to specific demographics so that people inclined to vote for "the correct candidate" get more votes. $\endgroup$ – G0BLiN Oct 3 '19 at 14:56
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    $\begingroup$ If you want a "meritocracy," there is no sense wasting effort devising a voting system. Just appoint the richest candidate to be president, and the job is done. Actually, that is pretty much how the US system works already, except a huge amount of resources are wasted on a charade to pretend that it doesn't really work like that. $\endgroup$ – alephzero Oct 3 '19 at 22:59
  • $\begingroup$ @alephzero: "richest" does not mean "most accomplished"; there are a lot of people that are sickeninly rich that are also facepalmingly stupid (trump, the cardashians, ...), who inherited their money $\endgroup$ – ThisIsMe Oct 7 '19 at 7:06
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The system you are looking for is classical Democracy, not current pseudo-"democracy", we have at hand. The ideas of classical Aristotelian democracy are exactly what your are looking for!

What the difference? Voting is allowed only for "demos" - i.e. for people owning their own business. But not "stakeholders" (only complete ownship counts - personal or family)

UPD: Why it is fair?

People who work for themselfs have deeper responsability, because they answer to life itself (if they fail - they lost their status), not only to law or to some "big daddies". They proved that they can take care of themselfs and their employers. They proved that they can make dessisions and this dessisions proved to lead to some success.

To ballance this system those voting rights should come with some civil obligations, like regular mandatory military and/or civil services (sort of police, firefighting , medical, govermant paperwork) or smth like that.

The result would be sort of Heinlein fashism.

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    $\begingroup$ Yes, the slaves and the rest of the plebs certainly don't need the vote. I mean where would we be? $\endgroup$ – Gnudiff Oct 3 '19 at 16:22
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    $\begingroup$ Trouble is that once a specific group has power, it will start rigging the voting system to stabilize that power. Oh, and "owning your own business" isn't going to work if business is inherited, and guess who's going to abolish inheritance tax... $\endgroup$ – toolforger Oct 3 '19 at 20:03
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If you want a government based on intelligence, why bother with votes at all? Why vote for a law when you can select one based on peer-review research, mathematical models, simulations and historical data? It could work if the government system is completely transparent and if every member of society has the right to submit his own research, data, proposals or review and critique other's submitted data.

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  • $\begingroup$ You'd still have to have someone who chooses. $\endgroup$ – workerjoe Oct 4 '19 at 11:45
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    $\begingroup$ One of the problems of the current political climate is that elections are merely a popularity contest. In sense that the campaign is about getting people to like candidate-A and/or hate candidate-B for any reason. This takes the focus away from the actual job the person is being elected to perform - and whether they can do that job well. It's weird that we treat politicians more like rock stars than like the public servants the actually are. $\endgroup$ – Turophile Oct 4 '19 at 13:07
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    $\begingroup$ Let Bayesian statistics decide! A lot of it could probably run on automatic, just priorities would need to be decided. I guess people or groups could be elected to execute certain projects that they propose, but they would only have power to follow the plan they proposed. They could be chosen based on merit, with decisions for choosing being completely transparent and backed by sound reasoning. Perhaps a group of curators/arbiters making the choices based on what everyone involved has arrived at. $\endgroup$ – Curiosity Oct 4 '19 at 13:14
  • $\begingroup$ @Turophile yes that's the problem. Democracy so far has always devolved to populism and drama $\endgroup$ – Curiosity Oct 4 '19 at 13:16
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It seems like the simplest solution would simply be to raise the voting age to, say, 35. It doesn't discriminate between individuals, is easy to administer, and is merely a modification of an existing qualification (a minimum age) rather than adding something new. And virtually everyone who isn't in their early twenties can probably agree that age brings at least a little bit of wisdom.

That said, in most countries there's a political party that benefits from the unwisdom of young voters, and would never willingly give up the chance to manipulate the young for their votes. That's why you can never take away suffrage, only expand it.

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    $\begingroup$ If you're going to do that, why not take the vote away from retired people as well, they're just as easy to manipulate. $\endgroup$ – Separatrix Oct 3 '19 at 19:34
  • $\begingroup$ It's a deal. Shake on it? $\endgroup$ – workerjoe Oct 3 '19 at 19:45
  • $\begingroup$ What makes you think that people under 35 are easier to manipulate? (Serious question, are there studies showing that?) That would have two side effects: making politics more conservative, and reduced interest in education and child care, since voters are less likely to have young children. $\endgroup$ – Llewellyn Oct 4 '19 at 18:04
  • $\begingroup$ Personal observation. Young people, especially college age, frequently adopt, drop, and change parties, tend to be susceptible to one-dimensional ideologies, and often follow the lead of celebrities and peer pressure. There is a dramatic transformation of maturity between ages 20 and 30, at least in America in the current generation, but I'd say wait until 35 just to be sure! $\endgroup$ – workerjoe Oct 4 '19 at 18:30
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In my system, there are no elected officials. It is pure democracy. Furthermore, elections are used both to legislate and administer justice (the entire population is the jury). While everyone is legally allowed to vote on any issue whatsoever, their vote is weighted by a "test" constructed by the litigants.

In the case of a crime, the plaintiff and the defense will each lay out their version of events, presenting all evidence publicly. All debate on the evidence is also a matter of public record. Jurors can also upvote the arguments to cause the most popular arguments to be most prominent. Every argument is digitally signed by its author, to prevent spamming/trolling. Citizens who abuse the system anyway are separately sued for abuse of the legal system, with heavy consequences.

In order to ensure that jurors are aware of all of the relevant facts, a question database is constructed by each side, containing questions strictly about the asserted facts of the case (no opinions). The case remains open for a set duration, like 3 months. When a juror is ready to cast a vote on the outcome, they take the test, in which an equal number of questions from both the plaintiff and the defense are presented (say, 50 of each). Their vote is then weighted by the minimum score of both tests (to prevent blatantly biased voting for one side). Jurors self-select, but there must also be a quorum of votes for the matter to be considered settled. If there are insufficient jurors, then a public bounty is offered until sufficient jurors have voted.

The idea is that jurors will self-select issues in which they have a personal interest and passion, and hopefully, above-average expertise. It's "fair" in the sense that literally anyone is allowed to vote. But you temper a tendency towards mob rule by forcing jurors to acquaint themselves with the facts of the case on a very detailed level. Hopefully, seeing all of the facts as presented by each side would tend to make jurors more reasonable. Finally, all votes are a matter of public record. So if some jurors are strongly biased in the cases they vote on, that also becomes part of their public reputation.

This system makes jury tampering very expensive. The best you could hope for is to bribe a large number of people to vote your side, but still learn enough about the case to pass the test perfectly. The fact that jurors are putting their name on their vote should discourage manifestly corrupt votes. If jurors are willing to cast corrupt votes in full view, then your problem isn't your legal system, it's your citizens.

For legislative cases, the "plaintiff" is a legislator that wants to introduce a new law, while the "defendant" is any counter-party that opposes the passing of the law. Everything else works the same way as court cases.

Note that there are no judges controlling courtroom procedure. That is by design. Power corrupts, so this system decentralizes power to the greatest extent possible. Also, while professional lawyers would exist, their job would primarily be to craft the best test questions for the case, rather than rely on courtroom procedure and paperwork to overwhelm the opposition or win on a technicality. All evidence is admissible, but if any evidence is found to be fraudulent, then the party introducing said evidence are themselves exposed to a fraud lawsuit, with extra penalty for perverting the course of justice. All witness testimony is admissible, but again, if a witness is later found to be lying, they expose themselves to additional punishment.

Although there are no formal judges, something like professional jurists/legal scholars would emerge, as some people would choose to participate in court/legislative cases almost exclusively. They would write the highest-quality opinions, and most people would "sign on" to their opinions most frequently. They would not be elected, except by upvote. On the other hand, you could not fire or impeach such an individual, either. Their influence would depend entirely on their public reputation. It would be incumbent upon society to downvote their arguments if they turned out to be citizens of low character.

My system includes other features which help this succeed, like radical transparency, a complete social safety net, and a special compensation system for participants, but describing those in detail is going too far afield.

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  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$ – Monty Wild Oct 5 '19 at 12:32
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The problem isn't the voter but whom they get to vote for

When you have a choice between two clowns, you always end up with a clown. It doesn't matter how many votes certain people have when the problem is in who they get to pick from.

Just look at the last American election. The vote was really between a narcissist and a sociopath. The result was never going to be good whomever you picked.

If voting was more split up. Everyone is split into local groups of 100. From the 100 one person is selected. Those selected form groups of 100 and vote for one person. Keep repeating until you have enough people left to run government. I'd imagine 100 is local, 10,000 is zone and 1,000,000 is federal from the federal candidates a president is selected.

This way political donations don't come in, party politics don't come in, money does not come in and non performing people get demoted or completely removed quickly next election.

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Let us instead pretend that we can see the future and humanity has survived so they must have found a way.

EDIT: The only way to stop the ignorant from messing with a system that is fair is to make the system so good to everyone that the ignorant do not bother to try. This is the long term goal of any civilised society, sadly no society currently rates as civilised.

In the future I see the following features in place to prevent the most egregious abuses of modern politics. In no particular order because all will need to be in place before humanity will survive and they accommodate and in fact rely on the strengths and weaknesses of human nature.

Open Source politics, there is total openness in all matters political, as in no secret slush funds and daily whistle blowing for those who care to read. (look into the roots of the GNU/linux movement and what powers the internet)

Global consensus on governance because we have reached a point where the pretence that resources and environmental harms can be ring fenced is over, all laws and policy must have "globally sustainable" as the first test and then other tests to follow.

All voting is personal, physica and secret, this prevents vote fraud, rigging, buying, coercion, hacking, supports apathy. A must at all levels of government. Secret voting eliminates the lobbying curse. (check out the Cardboard box reform for sound reasons)

Multi tiered governance as not everyone wants to have dogs barking and firework bans and people must be able to find communities of like minded people to enjoy life. Needing to DNA type all dogs so their poop can be attributed to their owners is taking it too far and that law should stay in some paranoid corner of the world where the people all want it.

Personal rights are supreme as long as you respect them (you must offer the same rights to all others). Presumed innocent, no slavery, right to replace your DNA (one clone or two sexually reproduced kids) but no right to breed others out of their share of the Earth, total freedom of movement. (look up Robert Green Ingersoll)

Citizens initiatives at any time are enough to raise a vote of NO CONFIDENCE in ANY elected official if they raise as many supporters as the elected official received votes to gain office. This will keep the elected officials honest to their election promises. (see writings on Demogarchy by Dennis Beckett)

Any tier can pass a law restricting only those they supervise as long as a higher tier has not passed a law preventing such a restriction of such rights. (There must be buy in to any restrictive law, this means the laws are just, necessary and valuable or they would not have been asked for, an easy way to get this started is that all law proposals must have come from a citizen driven initiative, lobbyists and politicians must educate the citizens)

and the last one that lets humanity survive:

Anyone can form a region of governance of any size they can unanimously motivate under or encompassing any others that have voluntarily accepted to this. The precondition for a region of governance is that they have a SUSTAINABLE (ie. 1000 year plan) budget to pay an agreed number of citizen dividends at the poverty line to every citizen they plan to govern. This is the only way that humanity can put a cap on population. If it is locally managed based on the available resource. Those who opt-in are the ones who have to see to it that their leaders have enough to sustain their poorest. (see Guy Standing and Rutger Bergman for reasons and ideas on Universal Basic Income)

(a few later additions)

There can never be a single leader at any tier for any purpose as this eliminated the voting, so 3 or more odd number of leaders. "Sadly the easiest way to subvert any important system, with leaders, is through the leaders." Kalle Pihlajasaari, 2015

All elected posts are volunteer posts. You get paid the citizen dividend like everyone else if you want to be a boss of others. If you have the skill to increase the GDP enough to increase the citizen divided then everyone gains and not just you.

Voting is totally optional and many people are expected to only vote when things are not working. The goal of the system is to be sufficiently OPTIMAL as in reaching a adequate working solution (like TeX that has a version number that asymptotically approaches perfection but never reaches it because the extra effort no longer brings detectable gains). Such a enduring system no longer needs the constituents to vote unless there has been a slow change in demographics of an area and the local majority want to ban dogs barking after 8pm.

(end off additions)

The last one makes politics into a mutually agreed on win-win situation instead of the serfdom that it is today where some incumbent says you have to pay taxes and maybe your vote counts for something.

(I may have forgotten some things but the idea is that it must be simple and survive for thousands of years otherwise the cost of continuously maintaining the type of system gets too high for no true value. We should have reached peak politics by now and be moving rather towards the plateau phase where things are predictable and beneficial to everyone.)

EDIT:

I suppose I should explain why the sustainable manifesto answers the OPs question. The basic premise is that eventually human nature will prevail as has been shown to work in all spheres of life. People will work to feed their families and gather to protect their communities (bucket brigades, barn raising, militia, hay days). What present day politics has done is take the will and common knowledge of the people out of the loop and replace it with propaganda manipulated bullying.

Human nature is such that people will do the right thing if they know what is the right thing is and it does not conflict with immediate survival. People just need a way to let those who want to rule that they get to rule if they get the job done and can keep ruling for as long as they get the job done but are out on their ear as soon as they no longer get the job done.

The thought that meritocracy will be a good system is flawed as it makes the primary presumption that someone else knows what is the best for someone else. Certainly a high standard should be expected in leaders but leaders should lead because they are capable and not because they are charismatic. The way to get rid of the junk and draw in the capable ones is if the junk gets voted out promptly and charismatic ones see the value in their effort.

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  • $\begingroup$ This is not an answer. It is an extremely long comment, and seems to assume that humanity overcomes "human nature", and contains features such as "All voting is personal, physical and secret" - which are rather counterproductive or naïve: If you mean that constituents get a secret vote, they already do. If you mean that the elected officials do - then how do their constituents verify whether they are voting the way they were elected to? (i.e. campaign on a promise to vote against an unpopular bill, but vote for it once you're elected, because it benefits you personally) $\endgroup$ – Chronocidal Oct 4 '19 at 12:25
  • $\begingroup$ @Chronocidal If the constituencies are small enough the voters will know if the elected officials are voting the way they promised because the motions get passed they way they said they would. If it does not work the official is out anyway. You could have a referendum for any and every thing if required and just use the elected officials for marketing. That way those people interested in something vote, the rest leave it up to those who are interested and raise hell later if it did not work out. $\endgroup$ – KalleMP Oct 4 '19 at 21:12
  • $\begingroup$ @Chronocidal Your party and your lobbyists are much more likely want to know how you voted because they are paying for your holiday house and kids college. The average voter is of little concern to an elected official after he enters office. $\endgroup$ – KalleMP Oct 4 '19 at 21:14
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Generally people frown on tests because the test givers have the ability to manipulate the vote.

Instead, you could let each candidate state what their platform is, and the test is simply that you know the candidates platform. The test could be administered in a written, other visual, or an oral format, and can be taken as many times as needed until passed. Doing this lets the candidate ensure the individual understands their stance or story without letting anyone elevate one over the other. It also ensures the voter shouldn’t be barred from voting as they can continue to take the test and can get it in any format needed, but it would guarantee the voter at least knows the issues at hand and what the candidates say about them before voting.

Not strictly skewed to intellectualism, but a check for at least having voters be informed. It would definitely require a lot of checks, be open to all, agreed upon by both sides, etc. Theoretically it would at least solve the informed voter issue.

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I would echo the sentiment that barriers to vote are always at severe risk of manipulation to exclude or minimise the voting impact of certain demographics eg. Jim Crow laws, gerrymandering and voter id.

Meritocracy/technocratic systems with voter/politician weighted decision making are still susceptible to issues regarding skewed or corrupt oversight. This is the inherent flaw of hierarchical social contracts ie. governments where transparent and direct accountability is not enforced. Rating systems are still inherently a weighting optimisation problem and will not guarantee improved decision making every time.

If you really have to pursue a voter trust/intelligence rating system I would suggest 4 conditions:

  1. Public transparency of how competency ratings were acquired.
  2. A system where score decays over time ie. where your rating isn't just another accumulated asset.
  3. A method for the general masses to appeal/veto certain proposals ie. a mechanism for social utility of minorities to triumph otherwise net positive utility proposals (utility distribution weighting and not just net aggregate calculations).
  4. Perhaps a system for tracking citizen benefits and a requirement to counter-balance negative utility outcomes. eg. Compensation/tax cuts when negatively impacted.

The recurrent theme as you can see is the need for an impartial and effective bureaucracy to properly manage all this. So the need for transparency and the ability to audit needs to be preserved. Think blockchain trust rating if you really need to handwavium the technology.

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What you describe is actually a fact of live in many democracies - all democracies only elect a few positions, while most positions are regular career positions for the bureaucracy. This bureaucracy just works it's thing, mostly irrespective of the current government. Additonally, many if not most policy decisions are done in expert groups and which very little input from elected officials.

There are few policy positions which really rile up voters and cause shifts in voting preferences. This only happens if a policy change is politically charged. For example, consider something like a safety standard for buildings vs. a porposed change of a tax. The latter will be discussed by voters and may cause shifts, the former rather not.

As such, if you want an effective state, ensure that you have an efficient bureaucracy AND make sure that your political climate is calm. In this environment skilled people will make most of the dicisions without a riled up public interfering. Regular elections make sure that new blood is injected in regular intervals, but honestly the biggest problem today is that parties are themselves bureaucracies and tend to maximize voting success without regard to the qualifications of the elected to actually govern (Donald Dump, Johnson?) .

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Most answers focus on changing voters and pretty much all came to the correct conclusion: Changing who is allowed to vote will lead to worse results, because, ultimately, the person in charge decides on who can vote.

Let's look at it from another perspective. You want the voters to elect good candidates, but you can't make voters more informed, because most voters don't actually care. That means you need to change whom they can vote for.

While a system that limits the selection of politicians can and probably will eventually devolve into an oligarchy, for a time there will be a meritocracy where the politicians will be competent.

A way to limit it would be to make "politician" a university course which can be taken by anyone at any time in life for free and teaches the basics of economics, science, sociology, history and all that to anyone who wishes to get into politics. The course can only be failed by non-attendance. It might possibly have tests that are made public whenever that politician tries to get elected to anything so voters that do care can see that he got an F in History 101.

This will devolve into an oligarchy once an elected ruler figures out that he can influence what will be taught to future politicians and changes the curriculum. Especially since learning about corruption in the history courses will give him the skills to corrupt the system. The faculty needs to have a strong tradition of non-partisanship and needs strong protection from interference into the curriculum to slow down the devolution. However, this, in turn, will lead to the professors essentially deciding on the eligibility of candidates, including any bias they might have.

You can have a parliament similar to those of some European countries (e.g. Germany) to limit the power of a single individual to corrupt the system, though if enough of the wrong politicians get elected, even that is no safeguard.

It's not a good system, it will eventually fail, but, in my opinion, any democratic (I'm considering non-democratic systems as already failed for the purpose of this answer) system will devolve at some point in time.
Allowing anyone to vote equally and anyone to be elected, like in many current systems, delays the fall better than any other system that has been tried and anything that deviates from that by adding bias or limits will only accelerate the fall.
Strong traditions and a well educated public is the best safeguard against corruption.

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    $\begingroup$ A specific uni course. like the way British politics is dominated by people who took PPE at Oxford? $\endgroup$ – Separatrix Oct 4 '19 at 7:21
  • $\begingroup$ @Separatrix Essentially, yes, but available to everyone at any time of their lives and a requirement to run for any elected office. If they want to get into politics at age 60, they can (and have to) still take the course. Also, while I don't know the scope of PPE, probably with a broader scope encompassing everything they need to know to make good decisions once they are in office. As I wrote, it's probably not a good system, but at least the elected politicians will have all the knowledge they should have. $\endgroup$ – Morfildur Oct 4 '19 at 7:29
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    $\begingroup$ @Morfildur A huge complaint about British Politics at the moment is the vast number of "career MPs" - they studied PPE at University, and jumped straight into Politics without any real world experience. Once kicked out, they get shunted into the House of Lords, and continue backing up their mates. This makes them increasingly disconnected from their constituents. While a thoroughly disreputable Journalist, at least Boris Johnson had a real job before becoming an MP at age 37. (See also: in the USA, you must be at least 35 years old to be eligible to the Office of President) $\endgroup$ – Chronocidal Oct 4 '19 at 12:45
  • $\begingroup$ Who writes the course, and decides what knowledge the Politicians "should" have? This seems a fantastic way to introduce political bias into a system: Some Universities offer "Left Wing" courses, others offer "Right Wing" courses, et cetera. $\endgroup$ – Chronocidal Oct 4 '19 at 12:48
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Your first point has some incorrect implicit assumptions. IQ has been shown to have no predictive power about success or competence only their lack thereof, meaning values much below 100 are informative (you know you can't depend on those people) while high values carry no information (unless all you're interested in one's ability to solve unrealistic problems). So, you may use IQ as an example for when they had tried it in the past with disastrous results; it would be a step in the right direction to misspell the myth of IQ. Real life needs robust decision making under uncertainty, ambiguity, and incomplete information; IQ measures none of that.

Moreover, meritocracy assumes knowledge and wisdom make a good leader. It sounds quite logical but a) merit is often hard to distinguish from luck, b) knowledge of local issues by even an extremely smart and wise individual who's far from that place is, and will always be, seriously limited v.s. the collective wisdom and accumulated knowledge of local issues by the locals (I suggest you to read Hayek's economic Nobel speech), and c) it completely ignores character, motivation, and possible conflicts of interest. Instead, agreeing with Nassim Taleb that people are dumb whenever they have no skin in the game, the solution is to arrange things in ways that decision makers are directly responsible for their decisions. This will quickly remove those who are unfit for the job, not necessarily by voting but by bankruptcy due to paying for damages caused.

Being uninformed is just another way of saying the issues they vote on are not things they are directly affected by. You don't get "better" voters by applying a filter but by keeping things local. People have clear knowledge and firm opinions about local issues that matter to their life, so keeping those in the hands of the locals will make informed voters. What counts as local may differ based on the scale of the issue. Small neighborhoods should vote on the local school, the speed limit on their back streets, and how much to spend on the local park; things can be public (skin in the game on the social level) and informal as there's no need to over-regulate things at this level. Cities should vote about building an airport, maybe with some say by other cities in the county; things at these levels need formal processes and regulations.

You may want to consider the concept of the renormalization group. Decisions from smaller subdivisions would bubble up to larger ones one step at a time, carrying only the final result while disregarding the number of votes. This would give minorities a voice against the majority, so this would work towards getting your 2nd point covered.

This one goes against your 4th point but I'll still mention it as a matter of curiosity. You may take the idea of the renormalization group further and remove representatives altogether and conjure up a direct democracy. If your world is high tech, devise a system where people could vote on things they care about and delegate the rest to people they trust, probably with the option to override such delegation on a case-by-case basis. Interesting side topics to explore are digital security, privacy, immutable digital record keeping.

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  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to the Worldbuilding Stack Exchange! While this is a very complete answer, adding sources, examples and a summary would increase the quality of this answer. I would recommend having a TL;DR as the first paragraph so visitors can quickly understand your view of the matter. $\endgroup$ – A Lambent Eye Oct 4 '19 at 12:20
  • $\begingroup$ While further in your answer you raise interesting points, it's hard for me to miss that your first paragraph contradicts mainstream science. Socioeconomic success and IQ, metastudy: gwern.net/docs/iq/2007-strenze.pdf (as bonus: Crime and IQ: law.jrank.org/pages/1363/… ) $\endgroup$ – Shadow1024 Oct 4 '19 at 12:37
  • $\begingroup$ Check out Taleb's study on IQ data. He shows e.g. where "success" was proxied by income, its distribution was truncated, introducing otherwise nonexistent correlation. Moreover, correlation itself is a measure about linearly dependent variables, which does not apply here. Thirdly, the variance of the data was completely disregarded. All that's left is a falsified hypothesis that IQ is informative. Mainstream psychology has a vested interest in maintaining the current view even against glaring evidence to the contrary. More fun and some links here: towardsdatascience.com/9409f324cb88 $\endgroup$ – Tiana Oct 4 '19 at 12:54
  • $\begingroup$ I checked out the metastudy linked. Table 1 shows no correlation over .5 and that alone is enough. People don't usually understand correlation is a nonlinear measure of linear variables so, firstly, .5 is not half as strong as 1 but much much lower and, secondly, the variables we're dealing with are nonlinear, so correlation as a measure is meaningless to start with. Taleb analyzed data from a large-scale study and found mutual information between success and IQ is practically zero. More here: medium.com/incerto/f131c101ba39 $\endgroup$ – Tiana Oct 4 '19 at 13:07
  • $\begingroup$ @Tiana From basic statistics, correlation of 0.5 means that 0.25 of variability of the dependent variable is being explained. Indeed nothing special, but for me hard to ignore. (I get it without running python with numpy ;) ) Second, if you are claiming weaker explanatory power of income at high IQ individuals - are you suggesting something as outrageous, that people who reached comfortable medium class level are no longer pressured in their carrier by money and start to pursue other goals, including not so well paid academic carrier? Impossible. :D $\endgroup$ – Shadow1024 Oct 4 '19 at 17:36
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The biggest problem in politics today is tribalism. Right now we even have the supposedly impartial and/or free independant media basically backing one side or the other like they're political activists. So an absolute set of minimum standards must be applied to the media to ensure that they attempt to report what's happening rather than what they're like to happen. Censure for inaccuracy and unprofessionalism should be mandatory and enforced, and although I'd like to say the ownership and funding of the press must be addressed so rich individuals cannot use their position to influence their press output the taxpayer-funded BBC has fallen into the same partisan trap. In practical terms this probably means that we need much more media, from many upstart sources that can report a wider range of views and analysis, and also a truly independant media that exists solely to report news with zero attached opinion.

The next would be to ban political parties altogether, while individuals will still band together, this would mean there's no formal banner under which the tribes can gather, and those alliances would shift according to policy making the tribal politics of today obsolete.

Lastly, my preferred option is to have a second chamber which is comprised of a jury service of citizens. If you voted, you get the chance to be selected for a year's term in the 2nd chamber, where you will be paid and housed and tasked with reviewing the legislature proposed by the primary, elected, chamber. This 2nd chamber would have a cadre of civil service to assist with the technical details, but the reviewing would be entirely performed by citizens. So they cannot make legislation but, liek existing 2nd chambers, would be able to vet and reject unworkable laws. That the chamber is randomly selected, from ordinary people, means there's little nepotism and the representatives serve for a short time means there's little opportunity for corruption.

One of the reasons for the poor democratic system today is a sense of entitlement from the elected officials, many of whom can guarantee their re-election in safe seats. A 2nd chamber of ordinary citizens holding them to account should make them remember who they work for, so they might do a much better job.

another option is to ensure that no seat is safe, a party might have to stand 2 candidates for re-election and the voters could choose which of them they preferred, meaning a scandalous rep in a safe seat would be passed over in favour of his colleague.

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    $\begingroup$ Personally, I think the single greatest thing to be done to help curtail entitled politicians is to impose term limits on all major political offices (or at the very least require that they win the elections by an ever-increasing margin to make sure only the truly liked politicians can remain in office for extended periods of time), but I see what you're getting at. $\endgroup$ – Abion47 Oct 5 '19 at 2:27
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An IQ test is required to all voters, score above 100 (the average) and you get 2 votes, score less and you get 1 vote, the idea is that smarter people make smarter choices and are more competent then dumb people... people might argue about the validity of this tests ("they don't represent how smart a person is"\"they only test for a specific type of smartness") but no one would be able to argue that smart people tend to make smarter choices (not 100% true of course but enough to make the system skewed as requested) so as long as you have an accurate enough test for a person intelligence it should be enough.

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I propose a system similar to the Chinese Communist Party: To vote you must be a member of the party. There are a lot of rules to be a party member and keep the membership and the power comes with greater responsabilities and risks. In the case of the CCP, for example, Xi is purging those deemed corrupt under his definition of corruption, that ranges from bribery to following alien religions. To climb the Party hierarchy you must show competence, like Xi himself did during his career. Even if you have, unlike China, rule-of-law, the life of a party member would be tough because the party would have his own courts and prosecution systems, like that thing in China where they abduct party members to special prisions.

You don't need to use the communist party: any organization would do, your system could be built around the Freemasonry, for example, and the results would be the same.

The key is: Only party members vote and climb the political hierarchy, climbing is based on doing useful things to State and Party, this power comes with responsabilities and special courts to punish the wrongdoers, apart from the common courts.

The problem: the creation of an entrenched elite answering only to itself. It will be a capable elite? Yes. But when State and Party interests colide it will always choose the Party.

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    $\begingroup$ I disagree with the spirit of this answer, as climbing the ranks of power means one is capable of operating within the party machinery. This is different from the competence to do the actual (law giving, administrating etc.) work require. $\endgroup$ – mart Oct 4 '19 at 7:39
  • $\begingroup$ Does a party member have to constantly prove their merit to keep their position? This looks like a hassle and everyone with a deciding power has incentive to abolish this, to cement their cozy position. Meet senile elites that only leave the office in a casket. You can try adding measures that prevent this, but there should be a solid reason why elites wouldn't just abolish those measures. $\endgroup$ – Daerdemandt Oct 4 '19 at 9:39
  • $\begingroup$ I agree that it will break down some day in the future, and will probably break down due to elite senility. But, at the moment, it is working and has been working for decades. And all government systems fail eventually. $\endgroup$ – Geronimo Oct 4 '19 at 12:06
  • $\begingroup$ Unfortunately while it may sound like a good answer, it doesn't address the "democracy" part. Communist rule like this fails the first hurdle of answering the question. $\endgroup$ – gbjbaanb Oct 4 '19 at 13:06
  • $\begingroup$ I used the CCP as an example, but any organization capable of enforcing the member's morality would do, like the Freemasonry. $\endgroup$ – Geronimo Oct 4 '19 at 13:11

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