FuzzyDemocracy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SITE GUIDE

Fuzzy Democracy stands for seriously representative government in the 21st century. It has two components, the first of which is a novel way of aggregating votes. FuzzyD is the alternative to First-Past-The-Post, Proportional Representation and Alternative Vote schemes. FuzzyD is opposed to so-called direct democracy and therefore to any frequent recourse to referenda. It is conceived for any advanced liberal democracy.

This extensive website contains many formulations of the basic ideas, which have arisen as FuzzyD took shape in the course of a dozen years.

Some of those formulations take as their starting point the situation of the citizen in the voting booth, others begin with how parliaments fail to be representative, while others again examine first what principles a seriously representative democracy would need to measure up to. Some are polemical, others are analytic in character. There should be a formulation to fit every taste, with different levels of sophistication. Which formulation best suits an individual reader is a matter of where they are coming from. So the recommendation is to surf the site and read on where it pleases you.

Apart from the description of FuzzyD itself, there are discussions in political philosophy of what is meant, or should be meant, by democracy, and equally important assertions of what democracy is not. It is argued that democracy is only one element contributing to good governance, and that much in modern government cannot be decided “democratically” because too much detail is involved. In a democracy, meaningful votes are held and the outcomes are honoured. This said, most of the time the voice of the people, as expressed through its representatives, can only give a direction of travel, not a road map. Democracy provides a check and a balance to the other forces which, they too, have a legitimate role to play in deciding how a country is governed. It is the interplay of those other forces which ideally creates a liberal dispensation.

A word on the abuse of language: The word “democracy” with its pendant “liberal democracy” has come to be used without any precision and in a largely evaluative sense, much as “populism” and a host of other expressions. This has given rise to mutual incomprehension and hostility between advocates of different political approaches. On this website the attempt is made to use words precisely, to provide working definitions, to uphold important distinctions and so to combat the degeneration of thought and language.

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Fuzzy Democracy is an original form of representative participation for all countries which are not divided on sectarian lines and where the electorate has a certain level of political maturity. FuzzyD is novel because it relies on technology which is now familiar but which was not available during most of the 20th century.

It has two elements. Most importantly, it involves a mechanism for aggregating votes while giving citizens a real and wide choice of candidates. The second element is the call for several separately elected assemblies to address the very different areas of political concern. This might be called "thematic devolution", in contrast to geographical devolution and the divisiveness it often creates (e.g. Scotland, Catalonia).

The guiding principles are precision in the voting booth (without the process becoming complicated) and avoidance of the concentration of power. It is able to restrain the power of parties and the populism they promote (parties pander). It is the superior alternative to policy-making by referendum, to proportional representation and second vote schemes.

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Here is a guide to the many articles on this site. The first (“Moving from FPTP to Fuzzy Choice and Counts”) makes in only a few lines a concrete proposal for the United Kingdom but also for any country with a similar system. Note that many countries use mixed systems, combining FPTP with PR or AV mechanisms.

The second section, Definitive Presentation, is what it says. This is the most recent and most exhaustive description and defense of the concept and should answer all the questions that sceptical readers may raise.

“Rescuing Representative Democracy” is a hard-hitting, i.e. polemical, presentation of the concept. It focuses on the dire situation in the United Kingdom.

“Making Representative Democracy Representative” is more academic; that is, it a reflective, more restrained presentation, and is somewhat longer.

Earlier formulations (from 2013) previously available here included ideas which have now been discarded and therefore have been removed. Among other things, they toyed with introducing a random element into the process. Their place will be taken soon by new thinking, for example, on the nature of populism.

“Democracy, freedom and knowledge” describes the political philosophy behind Fuzzy Democracy, with articles on the wisdom (or folly) of crowds and on what democracy is not.

"Democracy and the Structure of Scientific Knowledge" places FuzzyD in a broader context as indicated in the title. The others are, obviously, shorter versions in other languages.

Working through all the aspects involved in Fuzzy Democracy meant breaking with ingrained habits of thought and recognizing the potential of the new technologies. It may therefore take the reader a while to realize that it really does add up and then to embrace this new paradigm.

Anyone who is persuaded and wants to go an extra mile in spreading the word can send an email with proposals to paul@fuzzydemocracy.eu. However good you may think the idea, nothing will happen without support on the ground, with people spreading the word. There are powerful vested interests hellbent against change. Or you may just take the initiative and, for example, organize social media action on your own.