Tag: Gallup

Synchronicity of minds, part two

“There IS very intelligent life, but somehow it can’t seem to achieve dominance over the other kind.” Chris Snuggs.

In yesterday’s Part One, I offered three independent essays, about the USA, the UK and Europe, that contained a common message.  A message of “the abject failure of modern nation-state democracy — not only in Europe, but across the globe.“ (In the words of one of the essayists: Don Quijones.)

As with Part One, Part Two brings together disconnected commentators offering an interconnected theme.

One of the commentators was Chris Snuggs who writes the blog Nemo Insula Est.  It was his post about the slaughter of elephants for their tusks that I featured last Tuesday: Legitimate anger.  Chris and I recently exchanged emails on the curious issue of why those who are charged with governing our democratic societies so often fail to do so in a fair and balanced manner; to put it mildly.

Here’s some of that exchange from Chris:

My theory is that intelligent people are too nice. Take you, for example – someone so intelligent, informed and civilised should be in government, but you are not ruthless, nasty and/or ambitious enough!!!

Another way to put it is that people like you – and I on a more modest, brutish and disorganised level – are doing their bit to spread civility in general, but we have NO POWER because we are too nice.

A related theory is that most people are in fact basically nice but that the rest have a disproportionate influence, both because a greater proportion of them have power and because of the “rotten apple” theory – one apple rots the barrel eventually.

I should open a school to teach nice and intelligent people how to be more nasty to nasty people! ………. Indeed, it is our duty to be more ruthless to stand up to the bad guys.

Moving swiftly over the flattery of yours truly, there is a strong message from Chris.  The message that nice people are not being sufficiently active in registering their disgust over what is being done in the supposed name of the people.

The next item, as part of this theme, was a recent article on Permaculture News.  The article was called Majority Voting is Inadequate and was based around an interview with Peter Emerson.  I hadn’t heard of Mr. Emerson before but very quickly established that Peter Emerson is the director of the de Borda Institute in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He is a leading authority on voting systems for use in both decision-making and elections.

Here is a flavour of that interview.

Marcin Gerwin (Poland): There are many divisions and even hostility in the Polish parliament. The ruling coalition currently has 232 votes in a parliament with 460 seats. This slight majority allows them to run all the ministries, and they can pass almost any bill they want. Do you think that creating an all-inclusive government, where all parties have their representatives, could help to tone down the atmosphere and create a more cooperative environment?

Peter Emerson

Peter Emerson: In a word – yes. However, I think I should argue the other point first. There is no justification for majority rule. When I was in Russia, it was quite interesting, because when Gorbachev started perestroika, all sorts of experts rushed over to Moscow, to tell him what to do to be democratic. They advised the system that we have here in Northern Ireland and that you now have in Poland and pretty well everyone else has as well – and that is that you elect your parliament by one of many electoral systems, apparently they all are democratic, even though some are bad and some are worse. But when it comes to what happens in parliament, nearly every parliament in the world debates things and then takes a majority vote.

These experts talked in Russia about majority rule but Mikhail Sergeyevich doesn’t speak English, so they had to use the Russian word. And the Russian word for majoritarianism is bolshevism. It comes from the Russian word for majority which is bolshinstvo, so the member of the majority was a bolshevik and a member of the minority was a menshevik. The decision to split into bolsheviks and mensheviks was taken in 1903 in London by the mathematical accident of just one vote. The whole thing was nonsense. But God, such a dangerous one.

MG: If not a majority vote, what are the other ways that decisions can be made?

PE: There are lots of voting methodologies – Borda countCondorcet…. One of these could be used. And in fact Dublin City Council recently took a vote by means of a Borda count, which is brilliant. It was partly because they had more than two options on the agenda, so you almost have to move beyond majority voting.

And when you look at it, the majority vote is actually the most inaccurate measure of collective opinion ever invented. It’s over two thousand years old, it was used by the Greeks and the Chinese. But there is no justification to for its use today because it’s so inaccurate.

You did register what Peter said in that last paragraph? “the majority vote is actually the most inaccurate measure of collective opinion ever invented.

If you have only the slightest curiosity about better methods of voting then do read the interview in full.  For the interview contains links to other voting systems, most of which I hadn’t heard of before.  There is the Borda count, the Condorcet method, the Ranked voting system (otherwise known as Preferential voting), and the proportional voting process known as the Matrix vote.

Moving on.

The final coincidence was John Hurlburt sending me the following essay, that is published with his permission.


Apocalypse and Epiphany

Apocalypse, n. [Gr. apokalypsis, from apokalypto, to disclose and to discover.] Revelation; discovery; disclosure.  (The New Webster Encyclopedic Dictionary)

Apocalypse is a word which describes a human awakening to change.  Change is a constant. Our species has been living through apocalypse for fourteen million years.  Conservative groups deny change.  For example financial interests spent 14 million dollars to refute the scientific reality of climate change during 2013.  We are in the midst of worldwide financial wars, energy wars, cultural wars, and political wars.  Has there been progress in emerging human species intelligence?

Perhaps more importantly, has there been progress in human morality?   We’ve been around as a species for roughly 14 million years.  Have we truly learned anything in the process?   For the last two hundred years we’ve been industrially poisoning the environment which sustains our existence at a steadily increasing rate.

We’re needlessly killing ourselves and a significant portion of the life on our shared garden planet in the pursuit of artificial symbols of trust we call money.   No one knows for sure how deep and how devastating an impending economic, cultural, political and geophysical collapse may become.

We’ve reached a critical tipping point between species survival and a severely diminished quality of human life. We’re in the process of falling off the edge.  The good news is that we know what needs to be done and we know how to do it.  So why don’t we do what we know needs to be done?

There are a variety of reasons.  The seven deadly sins are a starting point for systemic corruption.  The seven deadly sins are pride, greed, lust, anger, gluttony, envy and sloth.  Add ignorance, denial and indifference.  Serve bread and circuses for dessert.  In terms of action, compete more than cooperate.  Rush ever faster without reflection, contemplation or meditation.  As a final touch, become consumed by “now” without regard for the future.

Epiphany, n. [Gr. epiphaneia, appearance; from epiphanio, to appear] an appearance or a becoming manifest. (The New Webster Encyclopedic Dictionary)  Epiphany provides us a way to deal with apocalypse.  As what’s going on is revealed, we realize that something needs to be done about it and that we are capable of creating and implementing solutions in concert with Nature.

To paraphrase Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, “The fault, Dear Brutus, lies not in our stars but in ourselves.” What do we need to personally change both spiritually and practically?  Today is the tomorrow – we imagined yesterday.

Considering our steadily increasing demographic and our systemic global failure, it’s half past time to clean house.  We begin with our “self”.  We take inventory.  We honestly look at our thoughts and actions.  What do we personally have to offer that’s useful and productive in terms of a resilient tomorrow?  What’s standing in our way today?

We accept that we are a very young consciously aware species on a fragile garden planet that’s 14 Billion years old in a universe that’s roughly 33 billion years old.  We accept that we are a species component of the matter and energy of Creation. We accept responsibility for sustaining our being and by extension responsibility for the being of life on earth.

We realize our purpose as stewards of Creation.

an old lamplighter


So put those three perspectives together and the message is clear.  This is a period of significant change and, as with previous periods in history, change only comes along when there is dissatisfaction with the present.  Ergo, there is widespread acceptance that the present way of life is not working for millions and millions around the world.

Reinforced only this morning (Thursday) by a recent announcement from Gallup regarding the voting intentions of Americans.

January 8, 2014

Record-High 42% of Americans Identify as Independents

Republican identification lowest in at least 25 years

by Jeffrey M. Jones

PRINCETON, NJ — Forty-two percent of Americans, on average, identified as political independents in 2013, the highest Gallup has measured since it began conducting interviews by telephone 25 years ago. Meanwhile, Republican identification fell to 25%, the lowest over that time span. At 31%, Democratic identification is unchanged from the last four years but down from 36% in 2008.

Let me include this section:

Fourth Quarter Surge in Independence

The percentage of Americans identifying as independents grew over the course of 2013, surging to 46% in the fourth quarter. That coincided with the partial government shutdown in October and the problematic rollout of major provisions of the healthcare law, commonly known as “Obamacare.”


The 46% independent identification in the fourth quarter is a full three percentage points higher than Gallup has measured in any quarter during its telephone polling era.

Taking everything into consideration, from yesterday’s evidence and what is presented today, it’s hardly surprising to read in that Gallup report [my italics]:

The rise in political independence is likely an outgrowth of Americans’ record or near-record negative views of the two major U.S. parties, of Congress, and their low level of trust in government more generally.

The increased independence adds a greater level of unpredictability to this year’s congressional midterm elections. Because U.S. voters are less anchored to the parties than ever before, it’s not clear what kind of appeals may be most effective to winning votes. But with Americans increasingly eschewing party labels for themselves, candidates who are less closely aligned to their party or its prevailing doctrine may benefit.

Fascinating times!  Thank goodness there’s always a dog to remind us of how to cope!

Cleo dealing with stress!
Cleo coping with these fascinating times!