conceptualizer

May 2, 2008

English Nationalism

The fact that English Nationalism has been weak in recent history should be a cause for celebration. Nationalism creates a division, an ‘us and them’ mentality that breeds mistrust and that tends to encourage confrontation. Nationalism is a throwback, something to be avoided, a sign that one is not mature.
Although it is difficult when you are provoked by people like Alex Salmond and French politicians, remember you are an individual first before you are English. Strive to be an individual before a member of any group and you will feel a far greater sense of pride than comes with nationalism.

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Easy Target

The good citizens among us have felt this sense of injustice; if you never felt it then you have been incredibly lucky, or perhaps you are just thick skinned about these things, or maybe you are one of life’s corner cutters, not an easy target. For example, you get a fine and points on your driving license for driving 1 mile per hour over a speed limit, but some reckless driver you have met never drove under a speed limit in their life and boasts they have a clean license. Or, perhaps you always declare all your income and pay your tax on time, but are chased relentlessly for a trivial amount missed by accident, when someone you know does not declare huge amounts they earn, because they got paid in cash. Or, perhaps you are a father from a failed marriage and you pay your child maintenance dutifully, but when you are a little stretched through no fault of your own, you get no latitude; but you know another father who skips most of his payments and always gets away with it.
The problem is target based metrics used to measure success that don’t value the difficulty of the job or its wider impact. It is difficult to ensure value is placed on these two features throughout society, but government has the opportunity to lead by ensuring they are used in the public sector. If they added these two criteria to any metric used to measure public sector performance, I think this would go some considerable way to making many of us feel happier with our society.

April 3, 2008

Embryology Bill

Embryology Bill

WARNING: If you are religious and intolerant of other people having a negative view of religion, don’t to read this post.

The discord around this subject fits a pattern I have seen before. Some people, I will call them moral fundamentalists, think they have the right to try to impose their moral systems on everyone. Their guidance and edicts should be directed only toward people who have agreed to adhere to their moral code. They have no mandate to affect anyone else. In this particular case religious moral fundamentalists also presume to know better than anyone else the correct treatment of complex issues concerning genetics, despite having no expertise in the area. They have extrapolated some principles from ancient texts that they have been able to associate with the issues. In truth they have no original text guidance on these issues, the associations they make are loose, the extrapolations fanciful and containing surreptitious motives, and they are made by contemporary administrators, not deities or prophets. Like all fundamentalists, they are a danger to themselves and everyone that comes into contact with them, because they have an uncompromising extreme stance that they insist on everyone conforming to and they cannot see that they are fundamentalists. If you are disagreeing with this now you are probably a fundamentalist, but you will also deny it.
These religious moral fundamentalists are using this issue to support the supposed currency of what is an anachronistic and mostly static system in an increasingly sophisticated and rapidly evolving world. As ever more complex new issues arise this overextending of their original texts becomes increasingly obvious, so that today a smaller proportion of well educated people than ever are interested in their views. Their problems are rooted partly in the need to imply authority through the use of absolutes, tradition, longevity and divinity, and partly in using static texts as a basis for all their views. For those views to be taken seriously they also must either be static or evolve very slowly to give the impression of considered authority. Obviously, this requirement is out of step at a very basic level with an increasingly rapidly evolving world.
Good science can prove itself and delivers tangible benefits, where religion cannot prove it is correct and its benefits are mainly intangible. I suspect that most modern religion is a way of obtaining power and money and to do this it takes advantage of the less well educated in society. As the quality or at least the pervasiveness of education has improved there has been a corresponding decrease in interest. To survive they need to change their strategy to provide other services.
One would think that members of the Catholic church would have the sense to keep a low profile on science based issues, having an extremely poor track record in this area. Are we still supposed to be at the centre of everything according to them, or has that changed now the scientists have shown this to be false? One member of the Catholic church cynically appealed to the least well educated in society with scare stories of Frankenstein creations, shamelessly courting publicity. Worryingly a number of politicians who are supposed to running this country turn out to have sympathies with religious groups. Gordon Brown should remove anyone from government that allows any such views to influence their roles in government; mostly because promoting a religious view is not in their job description, but also because they have a dubious grasp on reality, probably because of a deficiency in their education. Why is he allowing them a free vote anyway? They were given office to serve the people and that includes the people’s well being, not to promote their respective religions. Members of the government need to adhere to government principles and they should be to promote the health and wellbeing of all the people, not the influence any religious group.
Some religious groups believe there is one fundamentally important and valuable aspect of a person, often referred to as ‘the soul’, which is present even in an embryo. The concept of soul is useful to provide differential status and hence treatment, between for example people and animals. Disproving the existence of a soul is probably an intractable problem and a battle that need not be fought. One may circumvent this issue by encouraging the religious to reinterpret their own texts. A new interpretation could extricate them from their moral dilemma. For example, selective divine intervention to prevent misuse of souls, whether retrospective or proactive. One could also envisage a special case where addition of a soul is conditional upon a priori knowledge of the embryo’s destiny. There are probably some other schemes that could be employed, but the latter has the advantage that it could be applied in tragic cases such as prenatal death. All they need do is pick such a scheme and use their talents for interpretation to find some text to support it. Then they can gain even more publicity by announcing that in fact their religion was in already aware and prepared for these discoveries hundreds of years ago and that science has just caught up. Sadly, some people will believe them. Hopefully they will reinterpret, then we can all move on peacefully and the scientists can continue to save lives.

March 24, 2008

Deification of Youth

Postulate

Youth and its concomitant culture and attitude has come to dominate all media output to the point of deification, despite the increasing average age of the population. This increasing discordance has a negative social impact for at least three reasons:

Firstly, youth deification tends to encourage the empowering of young people and the granting of rights to them, despite the fact that they are the least well equipped to wield power and use those rights. For example, recently there was a proposition to confer voting rights two years earlier in life at 16. Although I doubt most people are well equipped enough at 30 to vote in an informed way, age is not the correct criteria. The criteria should be: experience, knowledge, intellectual balance, intelligence and sanity; all (except perhaps the last) characteristics that tend in increase with age. In another example 16 year olds are allowed to have children of their own, this is almost certain to be a disaster. The criteria that I suggested in the first example also applies to this, but one can add to them: financial security, compassion and emotional balance, emotional stability and social skills. Again these extra criteria tend to be more prevalent in the mature person. Handing out power and rights temerariously to people who are ill equipped to have them (predominantly the young) leads inevitably to problems. This fashionable lust for youth is too widely applied and indeed is misguided in almost all aspects of life. Society and its administrators are too quick to see the value in youth.
Secondly, youth deification distorts people’s ability to make unbiased judgements about their life. People are encouraged to make decisions that tend to portray them as youthful. Clearly this will have the largest affects at the margins, where a balance of judgement could be tipped by the pressure to be youthful. For example, the attitude toward responsible drinking. Alcohol is a drug that has social acceptance and its youth informed over use is one of the most negative features of modern British society. People are swayed too easily to see the value of youth in their own lives.
Thirdly, ageism favouring youth consigns useful members of society to minority roles when the have great experience to offer. People are too ready to see youth in others as an advantage over experience and stability.

Justification for the Postulate

How and why Youth Deification came about and spread

The visibility of youth in media output began as a result of the increasing economic independence of younger people being targeted as a distinct group by enterprising businesses. For obvious reasons youth combines easily with the pan-generational preoccupations of health, personal hygiene, beauty, sport, fitness and optimism about the future, amongst others. So naturally usage of young people was extended to marketing using lifestyles and images which have those preoccupations as important elements. As most popular lifestyles and images employ some of those preoccupations, most tend to celebrate youth.

How Youth Deification became dominant

People like to be optimistic and popular, so naturally they are attracted to popular trends that promise a better future. As more people like something it tends to inflate its popularity. This inflation process has occurred with some images and lifestyles and so by association has the significance of youth. Youth is also associated with some negative and failed images and lifestyles, but they tend to be forgotten more easily because peoples focus for their own aspirations is on the optimistic and popular. Youth is also obviously associated easily with the future. Combined these factors tend to emphasize youth as a positive human state, even though in practice its virtues are mostly trivial.

Exaggeration

Competition in marketing tends to encourage exaggeration of what is popular. So inevitably utilising youth led also to the use of youth culture and youth attitude, all of which are exaggerated in the advertising arms race. For example, it is often visually manifest in advertising images as people who are carefree enough, that they have their mouths agape and are laughing so hard they have lost control of what they are doing. Another example is juvenile attitude and behaviour, such as drinking so much it can do you harm. This attitude is portrayed as a normal or even aspirational in some subcultures and yet must (or should) be considered extreme behaviour by the majority of society.

Unrepresentative

There are few areas of popular culture that youth, youth culture and youth attitude are not applied to. However, pervasive youth culture in marketing is not an accurate reflection of the composition of society. In fact, the average age of the population is increasing and so omnipresent youth culture is increasingly incongruent. This contradiction implies that youth culture is far too prevalent and important, one might even say it has become deified.
The dominance of youth culture in popular culture is in part a reaction to the increasing, sometimes onerous, complexity built into our lives. Managing complexity requires application, experience and responsibility, which are not easy to obtain and difficulty is not popular. A youthful carefree attitude helps to differentiate from the unpopular aspects of social complexity. Hence, by differentiating ones self from unpopular facets of life one possible inference is that one is associated with the popular facets of life. This can be reinforced by adopting other features of popular culture. The need to be popular may in turn be a dependency of insecurities.

Conclusion

The progression toward younger customers is still continuing and the internet provides a relatively easy means to allow it to continue. At the same time older people, although representing a larger fraction of society, are becoming marginalised. Eventually perhaps we should expect a correction to the status quo, when the large unattended mass of older people become tired of the continued dominance of youth culture and flex their voting and collective financial muscle.

January 30, 2008

The meaning of life

Filed under: Concepts, Debate, Ideas, Observations — Tags: , , , , , , — conceptualizer @ 4:12 pm

I have recently been pondering a big question again, usually expressed as “what is the meaning of life”. Being a little older and more experienced I could not ask the question in that way. It is clear to me this time that it must be asked in a less flippant and more constructive way if I hope to make any progress.
On this particular revisit I also thought I might gain more traction by enlisting the help of the rest of the biggest human community that has ever existed, via the internet, the greatest communication tool so far. Do you feel you have some insight that may help progress on this question and would like to share it? If so please reply to this post.

The Question (provisional)
Is there now, or has there ever been, a purpose for life, intended or not, particularly human life and especially an individual human life, whether from an objective or subjective point of view?

Anatomy of the question
Obviously this question has several related parts, but in framing it this way I intended to highlight some possible points of discussion and confusion from the outset. The traditional form of the question uses the word ‘meaning’ rather than the more tightly focused ‘purpose’ or ‘objective’. Using one of those words helps narrow the question a little, while not diverging significantly from an acceptable form of the question. Also, the traditional form of the question is implicitly understood to be concerned mostly with individual human life, but to some extent all human life. Broadening out the question to explicitly include the individual, all human life and all life may help by identifying general patterns for all life first and analysing how they might be transposed to and augmented for the more specific categories. In addition the traditional question is unconcerned with intentionality, that is it does not discriminate between life with intended or unintentional purpose. This can be clarified with an example: A pebble used under a garden table leg to prevent the table from rocking may be considered to never have had an intended purpose, although it gained an unintentional purpose. We may extrapolate from that example to emphasize the viewpoint of the observer. It may be that the pebble has an unintended purpose, but for levelling individual it has an intentional purpose. Further, to another individual the pebble, table and person doing the levelling may all be considered to have no purpose. The example also highlights another component of the question, temporal status. That is, the pebble may be considered to have no purpose except for a window of time where it is used to level the table. Whatever the status of anything in the question is at an instant, we can not assume it is so throughout time. Lastly, an implicit thread through both forms of the question is the identification of distinct entities that are independent although impinged upon by each other. This may be the normal mode, but it may not be a reasonable understanding of reality and thus may be material to the answer. However, it is difficult to include this concept directly in the question without obfuscating it and so I have not included it in the current version. Rather, I hope and expect to include it in a subsequent elaborated version. I also feel that the issue of the observer is a rather weak addendum in this version of the question. Quite probably the question needs to be reframed without the artificial constraint of trying to include all relevant aspects in a single sentence. Clearly the form of the question needs further work and I expect to enhance it as thoughts on it evolve and clearer language emerges. The most important facet of the question is the inclusion of all the component concepts as described above. The actual form of words must be subservient to that and this understanding has informed the effort so far. I welcome any suggestions on how to better frame the question to embody all the important concepts identified so far as well as suggestion for new concepts to be included.

Rules
I don’t like to impose rules, but I think three are necessary to keep this discussion in order.
Firstly, I will exclude religious answers from this discussion. They resolve to faith in something which is not testable and non-provable, at least not to those without the right flavour of faith. However, I do not exclude faith itself. A legitimate faith for consideration might be in a scientific or research process or a living individual. The important element of a viable faith for consideration is that whatever the faith is in, it must be evolving toward some evidential state or may be questioned or tested directly. Ultimately we need empirical evidence or the prospect of it for faith to be allowed as an immediate surrogate answer.
Secondly, I will exclude answers that in whole or part have unreasoned and unequal treatment of subsets of what may be considered as life. A non-parity status for subsets of life needs to be rationally justified.
Thirdly, although I have reservations about some basic elements of this discussion, such as the nature of time and accuracy of language to represent cognition, unless there is a compelling reason to the contrary they are considered tangential and should not be offered as a part of this debate.
————————-UPDATE———————————————————
The question itself is clearly difficult to construct and answer, so I have been asking it in various ways to people and thinking about it. The answer is often glibly stated as ‘happiness’, but that moves us no further forward, as we then need to ask ‘what is happiness?’. The reason we need to ask this is that not only do we not know what it is, but we do not know how to obtain it. Anyway, I have come up with this so far:

Be comfortable with yourself.

You are probably thinking that also seems a bit glib, as it is rather short to seem well considered, or, maybe too pithy and knowing, because there could easily be an over economy of words that loses essential detail for the uninitiated. One might conclude it is a defeatist answer, because it seems not to address the current form of the question, which is by own admission incomplete. Perhaps you even consider it a terse expression of a consolation philosophy, because it does not seem to require one’s agency in the world.
A little examination of this answer is required.

Firstly, I will say it does feel a little like a stoic or Buddhist attitude. Secondly, those people who know this answer may superficially look like those that do not, because that answer seems to require no visible agency. Thirdly, perhaps one can achieve this state without realising it; that would explain why some people are seen as endowed with an aura of happiness, despite having made no obvious effort to achieve it. If so, I could console myself with the thought that if I were in this blessed state, then knowing why is better. However, that could simply be because that is my nature to want to understand, it might offer no other advantage. Indeed, in some ways obtaining it without effort seems preferable, although again it is in my nature to believe that effort in itself is worthwhile, although it is also difficult to justify that view, so it could be aberrant. It could even be that a higher state of awareness and happiness are incompatible, but let us assume they are not for now, that thought is making me feel uncomfortable.
Anyway, how does one go about achieving this. Clearly there are many possible events that would prevent or at least make this difficult. Therefore a lengthy, if not infinite, list of reactions might seem necessary. That is not practical, so we need a more direct answer. This is where it gets difficult and currently I am thinking it is perhaps something to do with the acceptance of things as they are. If one makes efforts to improve oneself and one’s situation that should not be bound to a sense of disappointment when some objective is not reached. Admittedly that seems very hard to achieve, so I suspect that one needs to observe what level of ambition is appropriate for oneself. That could change based on circumstances, age and abilities. This formula then starts to look complex and may explain why we have so much difficulty obtaining ‘happiness’. I can say however that if one is unhappy that the level of ambition is probably wrong. Here I apply ambition to any desire and would point out they are often created or strengthened by observing other people who are not necessarily happy or like us.
I should point out that the word “comfortable” was chosen over ‘content’, because I did not want to convey the idea that one needs do nothing other than change one’s point of view. The word “comfortable” allows for a desire to self improve and so is accessible to all people, whatever they have done. Now supposing this is a good line we have here, the burning question is ‘how do we become comfortable with ouselves?’, this does sound like a much more tractable question.
I will consider this more and update this post again.

October 26, 2007

Iranian thinking

Filed under: Debate, Observations, Politics, War, Worries — Tags: , , , — conceptualizer @ 10:41 am

War is coming, again!
If I was working at a nuclear facility in Iran right now, I would be looking for a new job.
I don’t want to take sides on this issue, enough people already do. So regardless of the rights and wrongs of each side in this fracas, I have to wonder what the Iranian leadership thinks it will gain by provoking the Americans into bombing them. Do they really think the Americans will become coy when it comes to the deed? Do they honestly believe that some giant omnipotent hand will reach down and turn back the bombers? I really don’t see how this will end well for them. They have been pulling the hair of the biggest bully in the playground for some time, they should not be surprised when the bully turns its attention fully to them and behaves according to type. Yes, there are examples of how things don’t go too well for the Americans when they engage in war. However, I must point out that they go considerably less well for targets of American aggression. This will set back Iran by decades and all their effort will have been for nothing.
Does anyone out there have an insight into the mind of the Iranian leadership? I would honestly like to understand how they think they will benefit from this. Remember though, this post is not about who is right and wrong, it is about how the Iranian leadership expect this to turn out for them. I think we know how the Americans expect it to turn out; with some big holes in Iran where there were once nuclear facilities.

October 24, 2007

Unpaid police

Why should the ISPs have to take on an unpaid policing role? It is for government to arrange policing. Laws exist on copyright and patent, but they are not effectively policed by the public sector. I think the ISPs should be paid for checking and again for each infringement they find. Lawyers are also required to act as unpaid police. They must apply money laundering checks to their clients.
The UK government is increasingly making business carry the costs of policing laws. This effectively makes services and products more expensive and is yet another stealth tax. It also makes those products and services less affordable to the lower income members of society and so discriminates against them. However, in principle I like the shift of policing to the private sector, as they will doubtless do a better job of it than the public sector. So to make it work well and discriminate less against the economically poorer members of society, there need to be incentives to catch law breakers. The current approach is to penalise the unpaid enforcer for any failure. If there is some benefit to this kind of work then it should be reflected in compensation for doing it. Payment is also likely to encourage a better enforcement process. The well known carrot and stick approach!
Ultimately we must decide if policing laws should be funded by public taxation or fees applied to those who seek the protection afforded by them. Clearly some enforcement is for the good of us all, where some is only for the good of a few. I would suggest for example that enforcement of fraud laws be publically funded, where copyright of music be privately funded. The latter need not be mandatory, but non-payment = no protection.

October 1, 2007

Why War?

Filed under: Concepts, Debate, Observations, War — Tags: , , — conceptualizer @ 1:28 pm

Everyone knows the America versus Iran conflict is looming, that the suffering from it will last for decades and negatively affect the lives of many. So why do the two protagonists press on toward it? Why do people go to war?
There are many immediate reasons given: concerning ideologies (political and religious), access to natural resources (land, food, water, oil, gas, minerals) and influence (regional control and stability). However, I am concerned with the underlying factors, if any. Could they be: human biological factors (genetic, epigenetic, hormonal, chemical), social structures (interest groups, family, friends), mental processes (insecurity, trust, loneliness, demonisation, detachment), language semantics (interpretation, ambiguity, imprecision, cultural, consumer modulation, context, implicit, complexity), communication mechanics (slowness, unsophisticated, directional), evolution or something else? Indeed, is this behaviour in fact good for humans on a macro scale? Obviously it’s not for the individual. Might there even be some inevitability or plan governing this behaviour?

September 29, 2007

The age of politicians

Filed under: Debate, Musings, Politics — Tags: , , , — conceptualizer @ 3:15 pm

What is the ideal age for a politician? Clearly neither extreme is good, so as we converge toward the middle ground there must be a best range, perhaps even a best year. It probably varies a little from person to person, but roughly where is it? I was thinking perhaps 45 to 55 might be the golden years. What do we think? Is Menzies Campbell too old, Davis Cameron too young and Gordon Brown about right?

International economic interdependence and the probability of war

Filed under: Debate, Economics, War — conceptualizer @ 1:40 pm

Will the current level of interdependency between national economies deter their leaders from promulgating war on each other? If not and that interconnectedness increases could it reach a point where war would be too drastic to consider?

February 12, 2007

Improving Democracy

Filed under: Debate, Ideas, Observations, Politics — Tags: , , , , , , , , — conceptualizer @ 1:20 pm

Government

The fundamental feature of a government system is a hierarchical structure of permanent fulltime positions. All government systems require this feature to effectively manage the requirements of the people they govern. A flat structure becomes increasingly problematic to coordinate as the number in government increases. As workload increases in volume and complexity, temporary and part-time positions become untenable. Below are some of the reasons why a government system benefits a country:

  • Greater specialisation is possible, giving the potential for better results; for example specialists in national security.
  • Centralisation enables cost advantages in the acquisition of inputs; for example purchase of construction materials.
  • Benefits from being managed by a single authority and hence with a single strategy; for example a homogeneous transport infrastructure.
  • Some requirements are only manageable at a macro scale; for example space exploration.
  • Mundane requirements can be deferred to government; for example refuse removal.

Democratic Government

The fundamental principle of democratic government is the control over those that govern by the governed. Specifically, the power of investiture and removal of people from government positions and control over strategy. This principle tends to encourage good stewardship in those elected and so over time may be responsible for the fact that the world’s most powerful and successful countries are predominantly democracies.
Another common feature often associated with democracy is the equality of all its members. Although a popular idea this is not essential in a democracy, nor is it strictly true, as some groups have more rights than others in some situations. Further, it is not always practiced where it is intended to be and many good arguments exist concerning its inadequacies.

Problems With Democratic Government

Democratic government, like all forms of government, is problematic. The consequences of those problems are occasionally obvious and reported on as news. If we believe that democracy is good and to be more democratic is better, then we need to enhance adherence to the democratic principle. That requires strengthening the control of the populace over who is in government and what strategies they use. There are three root causes to the problems with democratic government and all concern the democratic principle:

  • the timing of elections
  • control of strategic decisions
  • the suitability of the people in government positions

Elections to government positions are mostly at fixed time intervals. Where flexibility exists it is at the discretion of the incumbents, rather than the voter. Unfortunately time interval based elections are not likely to be aligned with the people’s need or desire for change. They are an historical remnant that should be replaced by elections based around need or desire for change; i.e. election timing should be event based rather than time interval based.
The strategies employed by democratic government are supposed to express the will of the people. Unfortunately government strategy is sometimes out of step with the will of the majority of people. This is in part because policies are bundled together by each government. It is also in part because potential new systems have not yet been implemented to devolve more power to the people. Some politicians may believe that they should be setting the strategic agenda rather than the people. They are not democratic in their political philosophy and should be excluded from a democratic government. There is a degree of indolence when it comes to advancing democracy and I believe that it is in part down to the inadequacies of the current politicians and in part a reluctance to advance democracy. The later is perverse in the sense that they only have there political position because of democracy.
If government positions can be filled with more appropriate people we will have improved government. As positions are filled by election, improving elections is vital and they have two main influences: the candidates allowed to stand for election and the people allowed to be voters.

Improvements to Democratic Government

Election Timing

Computers and the internet have made it possible and cost effective to replace time interval based elections with event based elections driven by need or desire for change. Such elections are more responsive to the people and so are more democratic. They also encourage better stewardship, because the behaviour of those in government is not skewed by a predetermined election timetable. They are forced to face the consequences of their actions every day.
Some care needs to be exercised to prevent knee-jerk reactions spawning elections. This could for example include a sustained period of strong disapproval to trigger an election. Straw polls and intermediate votes can be used to gauge attitude without triggering elections, creating a hierarchical system of voting. This would be preferable as people are better at making decisions after considering things more than once. Recording of opinion by voters can also be tracked so each voter can see the variability of their own views over time and correlated to events.

Strategic Control

Technology also allows government to gain a better understanding of public opinion on strategic decisions. Carried through to its logical conclusion this would obviate the need for party politics. Each position could be individually elected and their strategic goals defined by the voters. This would also circumvent the old problems in party politics such as those around proportional representation and the role of tradition in choice.

Appropriate People

To be more discerning when electing people to government positions we need to consider both candidates and voters.

Candidates

Enthusiasm is not enough. Important positions need open minded, informed, honest, hard working, balanced and mentally agile people. I propose that before anyone may become a candidate for election, they must take and pass a course that covers the range of possible ideologies and the historical causal effects of choices made. If government positions are considered important and worthy of respect then it is the duty of government to ensure that people who aspire to those positions are as good as they can be.

Voters

My proposals so far have significantly shifted power into the hands of the voter from the politician. That power shift must be balanced by checks on the veracity of the voter. Tradition and prejudice are not enough. In a democracy everyone may have the right to a vote, but only the interested, open minded, informed, honest and balanced should be allowed to exercise that right.
Voters must for example be able to prove at least a basic understanding of the major policies of the main candidates or parties. Also, voters that show little interest in the process by failing to vote could be suspended from subsequent voting rights, until they have applied to have their suspension lifted. Suspension could also be applied to those convicted of serious breaches of the law. The application for resumption of voting rights could require for example a hand written summary of the major candidates or parties top policies. The important point however is that some effort must be made to get voting rights reinstated. This system does not prevent anyone from voting, but presents an opportunity to make voting sufficiently discriminatory as to get a more considered result.
Lastly I think that in a true democracy the principles of democracy should be held at high value. People intentionally subverting, or attempting or planning to subvert the systems principles should be treated very harshly. That should include a long mandatory prison sentence and a punitive financial penalty followed by deportation if they have another nationality. Strong treatment should also be applied to those who learn of subversion but do not inform the system immediately.

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