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Comments on Saturday 9 November 2002:
I've seen the idea suggested before, but the Free State Project seems like a better researched and considered version of the theme. There are two major weak points; overestimating people and, oddly, a really unsound voting method to decide on a target state.

Unsound? Yes. The Cumulative Count method, as described, encourages strategic voting that even a precocious five-year-old knows to exploit. There is no personal advantage in splitting your vote-points, ever; hedging your bets towards your favourite is best, unless you're fairly sure your favourite won't win, in which case all points should be allocated to your second choice (or whichever is your best choice that has a chance). This is horrible, because it causes the two party system that we're probably all familiar with, but that's not the fault of the voter; the purpose of voting is to get the best candidate you can, and this abusive method is the best way, with this system.

A better system is approval voting, in which you can vote yes or no to every candidate independently, which means you can vote for a 'third party' without it weakening your 'useful' vote in any way. However, there is still an element of strategic voting available here, as if candidates A and B are both quite good, but both likely to win, it might be in your favour to vote against your second choice of the two even if you like them.

Better still, in my opinion, is preferential voting as implemented in Australia. With this method, you put all the candidates in order of preference. The nice thing about this method is that it's rarely damaging to your 'useful' vote to have a 'useless' vote before it. If B and C are the candidates likely to win, voting A, B, C will have no more or less effect than B, A, C or B, C, A; the fact that you prefer B over C will most likely still register. While it is possible that stating your true preference could weaken your 'useful' vote, the votes have to be in a complicated and extremely unlikely configuration for this to happen, and the benefit of having your 'real' vote cast first outweighs this, in my opinion. This is the only voting method I've seen for which I wouldn't distort my actual preferences for strategic purposes.

Despite these two objections (not my only objections, of course), the Free State Project still seems like a worthy cause, especially in light of my being unable to find anywhere I'd actually like to live. [01:19]

Tom
They don't seem to say very much about what they do once they've achieved their goal of forming a free state through the electoral process. What happens next? They seem to be missing a step in the manner of the underpants gnomes.

1. Create a free state through the electoral process.
2.
3. Enjoy the freedoms we have! Hoorah!

They don't seem to provide details as to how you move from 1 to 3. What do you do with the people currently living there, for one thing?
Some of them are probably on welfare. Do you just let them die? Who's going to maintain the infrastructure, the highways, railways etc - essential for trade? Who's going to clean the toilets, and who's going to pay them to do it?
Is anybody going to maintain freedom _from_ as well as freedom _to_?

Besides which, I just can't agree with people who write such horrible poetry. It would be wrong. I suspect the author of being Paula Nancy Millstone Jenning in a cunning disguise.

http://www.freestateproject.org/Ode.htm

I must respond.

Reading through your souless dreck
I vainly held in thrall the keck
Of queasy leopards in my neck,
And vomit stained my shoes.

Tsk. Fallen at the last line. Hate it when that happens.

Digi
The holland liberal thing is kind of a myth. It's true of certain small areas of Amsterdam, the ones that get on TV that is.

I think people confuse laid-back with liberal. The Dutch for the very most part are quite conservative, and in some senses repressed. They just don't shout or preach about it. Well, the Dutch reform Chruch do.

As far as living there is concerned, it's a good idea if you can deal with the peoples offish attitude (which I kind of like), by either never going out, or not minding it.

Another reason for my talking slightly in the favour of Holland may lie in medical prejudice. You see my mother, who is prone to misscarrying pregnancy, misscarried in Holland. Horrendous under any circumstances sure. But the Dutch gave her swift councilling, and what can only be scientifically described as 'care'.

Now in the U.K, when the same happened they let her get aquainted with the foetus, by dumping it in a tray, and letting her sleep next to it for three days.

If bits of me start to break, I'll put up with the bills, and deal with the offish behaviour.

mvo
The problem with the American voting system (as the British as well) is that they use states or burroughs in a winner-takes-it-all sort of way. I rather prefer a parliamentary system in which the votes are converted into seats in a proportional way. It seems to work OK here in Scandinavia (although no system is ever perfect). At least it allows different parties to voice their opinions and have some influence, even if they don't fight for the middle turf ("New labor", "Compassionate conservationism" etc.).

On the downside, we have the parliamentary systems of Israel and Russia in which there is almost too much anarcy, turmoil and noise and too little politics. No ready made solution here, alas.

Digi
mvo: What your talking about (proportional representation) as I understand it, has two major problems:

The first is that it centralises goverment. I live down in the south west side of the UK, which is very diffrent to London, it needs an almost independent financial system. So I obviously want a guy who knows the area, and spends time in the area.

The second problem is who gives the seats to the MPs? Say there are 15 seats, and Labour only win 10, that means 5 guys will be left out. Maybe the guy I like is one the 5 that gets left out.

This is more of a question really, seeing as I don't really understand the perculiarities of PR. Not public relations, proportional representation.

mvo
Digi; I am not an expert in these matters, but as far as I know ...

Here (in Denmark) we use a system in which you have the option of voting for either a party or a candidate for parliament. A vote for a candidate also counts as a vote for the party itself. The parties get representation according to their number of votes.

Now, say Labour get 10 seats, the ten labor candidates with the most personal votes get in. Or, if Labour has decided to decide the order themselves, the ten topmost candidates on their list will get in (the parties are free to choose their strategy).

The election system also involves som insanely complicated rules regarding how to split the excess votes that cannot be converted into whole seats. I don't think I ever understood how that works.

All in all, although I have a feeling that I have a grasp of the main concepts, it is still a complicated system. A bit like football (soccer). You have no idea how complicated a game it is until you have tried explaining the rules to a novice :o)
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