Thank you for your thoughtful response. I haven’t got much discussion about the TDG in the past 23 years.
It seems you have found the “new” website. It is not quite functioning yet, and I have to really work on that FAQ, but other priorities are needed at this point. The old website still works, in which I have interspersed about four sections called “Anticipating the Critics”.
Part of me would like the world to accept my TDG ideas — and get me a little fame and money. But another part of me says that if my work inspires a recognized thinker to take my ideas, make some modifications, and get the world moving in a TDG-like direction, then I will accept that result — and step out of the way.
I will try to address your moral and just characteristics of elected representatives. The size of electoral districts in western democracies allows political parties to nominate characters who need more than a little work on their moral and just attributes. Yet these individuals can still be elected in partisan elections. In my part of the world, we have 40,000 people in a provincial constituency and 100,000 in a federal constituency. Very few voters know enough about one of the candidates proffered by the parties to vote wisely. Most voters cast their vote according to the party affiliation rather than the quality of the candidates. So far too many less-than-acceptable people have made it through to decide on laws and other important things. In my part of the world, the conservative party could nominate a fencepost and still win.
In the TDG, such a nefarious character is less likely to get past the neighborhood level. A few will, but it is much less likely they will elevated any higher. Their shortcomings will become apparent in meetings of the district level. For example, when a neighborhood representative shows up to meetings with alcohol on this breath or treats people with differing ideas with disrespect, it’s kind of hard seeing them getting votes from their peers.
You bring up a good point about the appointment of the advisors. The essay really doesn’t describe the appointment very well. In the book, you will find that there is considerable more distance between the elected bodies and who is appointed as their advisor. The elected bodies cannot appoint their own yes-men.
Going back to the size of the electoral district, it would be hard for factions or political parties to organize themselves in the many, many, TDG neighborhoods. In a neighborhood of 250 neighbors, a political party would be lucky to find five loyal and dedicated party members to put in the time and effort and knowledge to build an election machine in that neighborhood. And they would have to nominate someone who is both resident in the neighborhood and credible to the neighbors.
Here’s another way to explain this. The 40,000 voter electoral districts make more sense for political parties. In these districts, only 20 to 30 people are needed to keep the election machine stoked. This same number of people could not manage 160 TDG neighborhoods in this former 40,000-voter body.
The political parties are not expressly outlawed. Rather they are culturally discouraged. If it seems factions are forming, the TDGers should not vote for people associated with any faction. This culture must be established in the early building of the TDG.
Factions to assist in gaining power may indeed a part of human nature. But that needs to broken for the TDG to work. Part of that breakage is the culture of consultation, where ideas can be freely discussed without any fear. What comes out of good consultation are ideas that are better than anything presented by any faction. When TDGers start getting used to this way of discussing things, they won’t revert back to partisan thinking.
The TDG is very much a great social engineering experiment. It is training people in a new way to work together. These people are going to discuss and implement new structures I cannot yet imagine. But in the first years of TDG building, the TDG is going to learn how to govern itself. From there it will learn how to govern society.
I found your comments about building codes quite topical. Back when I was living in Edmonton, the roof of one residential house collapsed because of too much snow. The authorities did an investigation and deemed a stronger construction would have prevented that collapse. But that construction would have added another $500 to the cost of new houses. My take was that if only one house had this problem, is this really a big enough problem to warrant this new code?
Sometimes, governments seem to get into knee-jerk solutions. I suspect that one do-gooder politician got a bill into the legislative queue and the other politicians didn’t have the time to read it, let alone understand it. I hope the TDG can discuss things more thoroughly. New democratic structures need to be built to better handle new legislation and repeal outdated legislation.
My discussion with Americans leads me to believe that legislative modifications in the USA occur much slower than in Canada. In other words, if ineffective legislation is passed, it takes decades to change it or get rid of it in the USA. Bad legislation discredits governance of any kind. Again we need new democratic structures to handle this world that is much different than the USA in 1789 or Canada in 1867. The TDG will be a great forum to experiment with new ideas.
Thank for your great questions.