Education requirements for elected officials

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Re: Education requirements for elected officials

Postby Soupspoon » Mon Feb 22, 2016 4:53 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:Can you be more specific about the populism that you worry about, and that peers of one kind of another would prevent?

For my part, let's take the recent 'immigrant' issues to mind as a quick-and-dirty demonstration of the concept. Trying to keeping away from my own opinions on the subject (and not calling for that old chestnut to be discussed - it's only here as an illustration!)

One week, there were 'swarms' of them, and conceivably the public voice might have persuaded a legislature fully populated by voted-in officials to make knee-jerk laws to 'deal with this', by doing something quick to heavily discourage such people.

The next week, there was that young child's body seen washed up on the shores of Greece, and it is quite possible that the public voice would have sent the same legislature off in a knee-jerk reaction to 'deal with that', by doing something equally quick to heavily encourage such people.

(Several countries have flip-flopped, causing practical and expectational problems along the ways. I'm not sure the UK has done it 'right', yet, but that's something well beyond my pay-grade.)

Obviously, IRL, laws take longer to happen than a single week and, under most circumstances, currently also needs to pass through the second house to add further delay - but that's just a handy demonstration scenario for a hypothetical streamlined 'all elected' system. We could just as easily talk about the death penalty (calls to reinstate, after a particularly horrendous murder; calls to ban again, as a grievous miscarriage of justice comes to light), or anything else; and on whatever time-scale you wish up to and above the five-year parliamentary term. As bad as they sometimes are at it, elected MPs always seem to have at least half an eye on their popularity (or, in a pinch, at how to be least unpopular), such that they could easily be reinventing (and banning) wheels with seemingly no thoughts to the future or precedence so long as they're representing the current flavour-of-the-month.

Peers who are not (traditionally!) in danger of deselection or unelection can afford to not be so purely reactive to such transient popular trends in opinion. A dampener upon the wilder possible oscillations and twitches that come from the vote-led representatives. (Alternately, have positions with much longer tenures and no possibility of repetition which, like layers in a laminate or strands in a rope, is suitably disjointed over the timelines of the other long-tenures so that there's always a good proportion of experienced-but-not-reckless individuals creating a strong join unweakened by the the gaps caused by the periodic replacements.)

There needs to be appropriate measures to prevent the more idle "bench-sitters". I'd accept we'd need to have "proof of work", for all people involved, to prevent the idle and unworthy from gumming up the works, but it should not rely on which type of work that is (blocking or facilitating changes), and should not be discouraging to anyone who might at any time have to consider using their own 'sane' opinion to support/oppose any sort of change in the face of some dog-whistle political issue that has been somehow conjured up out of nowhere and yet really needs to be given careful consideration after more analysis. This is also why I would suggest an 'apprenticeship' stage be added to a tenure, non-voting participation as an active assistant to an individual who is perhaps half the way through their vote-using term.


But the optimally tuned system (between reaction and consideration) is not something that I'd proclaim knowledge of how to achieve. I'm sitting here in my armchair, never aspired to power or studied PPE to the extent that all the current crop of politicians seem to have done. I just don't think that the way some of the reforms are going (especially the token (indeed, 'popularist'!) removal of some of the remaining (and arguably proven to be useful) Peers, whilst seemingly adding far more worse-than-useless party-allied Peers to an ever expanding Second House) and can't stand the hypocrisy of such a hidden agenda. You know my ideas of how to reform the system, by now. Not that I expect they'll occur this side of my ascension to the position of Supreme Tyrant. At which point I might no longer feel so kindly over any non-Tyrant system of legislature, although I might still perhaps look for a basic system I can set up to work in the background whilst I go on eternal vacation... ;)

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Re: Education requirements for elected officials

Postby ucim » Mon Feb 22, 2016 5:17 pm UTC

The arguments for this whole peerage thing seem similar to the arguments for the way the Supreme Court is set up (lifetime appointments, equivalent power to balance the legislature, politically unconnected (in theory). One thing missing is diversity in educational/professional background.

How would you put the two side by side?

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Re: Education requirements for elected officials

Postby elasto » Tue Feb 23, 2016 12:39 am UTC

ucim wrote:The arguments for this whole peerage thing seem similar to the arguments for the way the Supreme Court is set up (lifetime appointments, equivalent power to balance the legislature, politically unconnected (in theory). One thing missing is diversity in educational/professional background.

How would you put the two side by side?

For my part I think it matters less than you might think for two reasons:

One is that peerages are, as SoupSpoon says, mostly 'a dampener upon the wilder possible oscillations and twitches that come from the vote-led representatives'. They are less about having direct power themselves (ie. proposing laws) and more about preventing others who do have the real power from exercising it in too extremist (yet still populist) a way. Think of them more like a committee who amend proposed legislation rather than generating novel legislation per say.

Secondly, hereditary peers are more diverse in their political views than you might think. Yes, they are going to be more right-wing than left-wing on the whole, but, as Prince Charles shows, being insanely wealthy doesn't stop you having quite unorthodox and left-field opinions!

But that's why they'd only be part of the mix for me. I'd also have a lottery element and an apolitically appointed element - so we get both normal 'man on the street' views represented and 'experts' in various fields - all of which would add diversity of worldview rather than just that of professional politicians.

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Re: Education requirements for elected officials

Postby ucim » Tue Feb 23, 2016 12:52 am UTC

elasto wrote:For my part I think it matters less than you might think[...]
In that case, we already have a kind of peerage in the form of SCOTUS. Were you to try to amplify the effect, I'd start there rather than introduce a system that reeks of undeserved privilege. (While nearly everything involves undeserved privilege, not everything reeks of it).

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Re: Education requirements for elected officials

Postby elasto » Tue Feb 23, 2016 1:41 am UTC

ucim wrote:In that case, we already have a kind of peerage in the form of SCOTUS.

Not at all. Your SCOTUS, like our political appointment system, is highly partisan politically and virtually the worst of all possible worlds. If anything, I'm suggesting something more like our supreme court which is highly apolitical and merit-based. Our judges frequently vote down Tory government laws despite being theoretically from the same non-diverse and privileged background.

I'm proposing laymen, non-political experts, and unwhipped politicians who vote on conscience not party affiliation. But not with legislative power because the politicians are the ones who have been voted in by the public, and they should get the chance to deliver their manifesto.

Basically, the purpose of a second chamber for me is to improve legislation, not to block it. Too many bodies with the power to block each other just leads to deadlock and abdication of responsibility - leaving the voters quite confused as to whom to blame when a politician fails to deliver on an election promise.

Hopefully now you can see why it was misguided of you to think that people choose a political system to match their political goals? During my life I've been a supporter of Labour, the Conservatives and the Lib Dems - basically voting on merit not giving blind support to any one team. I'd like a second chamber that acts in the same fashion: Whether the public votes in a left-wing or right-wing government - so be it - all I want is for that government to deliver the best quality legislation possible.

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Re: Education requirements for elected officials

Postby ijuin » Tue Feb 23, 2016 3:43 am UTC

Soupspoon wrote:And I still rather like the idea of people who have been brought up from birth 'to know how to govern' having a part in the system (despite these people being far from my own class, or experience), perhaps though with the stipulation that birthright-eligibility then has to be further proven by active involvement (serving as 'junior Lord'/assistant to an existing (non-Hereditary?) member, prior to their ascendency-proper; and provably doing more than "turning up for a few minutes each day" to retain their position, or else being replaced by the next worthy individual). There's questions about 'class bias', given the skew towards the (non-popularist!) right-wing, so how about instead of Hereditary Peers, we make it Birth Peers, instead? By lottery (as per the 'ordinary people', above) each year select a sufficient number of random babies born in Britain, to give the 'privilege' of an ennobled birth, to be given the guidance and scholarships and leadership opportunities generally available to those 'with the right breeding'. Unless they are of 'the right breeding', as I'm sure the random choice will pick a traditional Hereditary candidate, in which case they can just get what they already have.

There'd be more than necessary, by the time they reach whatever age they become 'Lords' material, to deal with those who cannot/will not take up positions, for one reason or another, and then there would then need to be a further sub-lottery of all those who make themselves available. But the 'excess' candidates could find themselves empowered enough (if they take advantage of their granted privileges) to also go onto better things. They might even find themselves eligible to become 'expert'-appointees to the Upper House...

...obviously, the above will only mean much of anything to a Brit (and possibly some other nations, but not really anyone used to the US system), and I bet quite a few of those will hate various of the suggestions. But putting it out there.


The problem with raising anybody with the belief that they are Born To Rule is that they become prone to seeing their own opinions and concerns as far more important than those who are not Born To Rule. For example, in any dispute between a Ruler and a non-Ruler, they would be strongly biased in favor of the Ruler, even to the point of feeling that Equality Before The Law is a Bad Idea and that Those Who Are Born To Rule should get exemptions from criticism or even criminal charges if they commit the same actions that would result in charges against Those Who Are Not Born To Rule. Basically, those of them who do not have more conscience than the average person would see themselves as more deserving of the Good Things In Life and less deserving of the Bad Things In Life, and as for Those Who Are Not Born To Rule? Let them eat cake.

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Re: Education requirements for elected officials

Postby elasto » Tue Feb 23, 2016 6:28 am UTC

ijuin wrote:The problem with raising anybody with the belief that they are Born To Rule is that they become prone to seeing their own opinions and concerns as far more important than those who are not Born To Rule. For example, in any dispute between a Ruler and a non-Ruler, they would be strongly biased in favor of the Ruler, even to the point of feeling that Equality Before The Law is a Bad Idea and that Those Who Are Born To Rule should get exemptions from criticism or even criminal charges if they commit the same actions that would result in charges against Those Who Are Not Born To Rule. Basically, those of them who do not have more conscience than the average person would see themselves as more deserving of the Good Things In Life and less deserving of the Bad Things In Life, and as for Those Who Are Not Born To Rule? Let them eat cake.

Yeah. Not so sure that part is necessary myself.

For me, the key issue we are seeking to solve is the fundamental flaw with all government: Those who seek power are those who we should be most wary of granting it to...

One way to square that circle is to have people be born into power; But that can be corrupting - especially as you go deeper down the generations. My preferred method is just to pick adults by lottery therefore. Retains the element of luck but reduces some of the downsides (at the cost of some of the upsides Soupspoon states).

But I would haven't them holding the reigns of power themselves - merely as one of the checks and balances as I've said; Juries in criminal trials being random members of the public is good; The judge, prosecution and defence being random members of the public would be awful! :D

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Re: Education requirements for elected officials

Postby ijuin » Tue Feb 23, 2016 3:56 pm UTC

That brings up a possibility regarding such things as the current US Supreme Court issue--changing the hearings from bench hearings into jury hearings.

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Re: Education requirements for elected officials

Postby jewish_scientist » Tue Feb 23, 2016 3:58 pm UTC

One problem I see is what qualifies as a relevant field. If you are passing laws about limiting the amount of toxic chemicals present in customer products, then a chemistry degree would help. If you are working on reforming the educational system, then a psychology degree would help. If you are trying to repair the country's infrastructure, then a civil engineering degree would help. If you are negotiating treaties with foreign countries, then your history degree would help. If you are fixing the economy, then a mathematics degree would help. Because laws effect all aspects of society, knowledge in any particular field can be useful to a politician.

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Re: Education requirements for elected officials

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Feb 23, 2016 4:17 pm UTC

Plus, stuff overlaps between fields basically constantly. Looking at, say, the economic effects of that toxic chemical laws might be relevant. Or looking at the public health effects. Education is basically always good, but I don't think we can reasonably ensure that everyone making laws is an expert in all relevant fields.

It'd be nice if we could get at least a nice spread of diversity, though. That might help.

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Re: Education requirements for elected officials

Postby ucim » Wed Feb 24, 2016 1:32 am UTC

elasto wrote:...our supreme court [which] is highly apolitical and merit-based....
So how do you pull this off? It's nice in theory (and the SCOTUS works in theory too). And the SCOTUS does not have legislative power, except to the extent that all our law derives from British Common Law, which is case based.

Sometimes improving legislation means blocking it. There is lots of stupid legislation, but "stupid" depends on one's POV and one's values.

"elasto"]Hopefully now you can see why it was misguided of you to think that people choose a political system to match their political goals?
No, I don't see the connection or the application. And I don't think that's what I said anyway. But some political systems lend themselves better to some goals (depending on where you are in said system). The very idea that people are qualified to govern themselves is antithetical to authoritarian principles. A high value on personal freedom goes against the security that police state could easily provide. They are broad strokes to be sure, but there is certainly some influence here.

elasto wrote:[A]ll I want is for that government to deliver the best quality legislation possible.
How do you judge the "quality" of legislation?

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Re: Education requirements for elected officials

Postby ahammel » Wed Feb 24, 2016 2:46 am UTC

jewish_scientist wrote:One problem I see is what qualifies as a relevant field. If you are passing laws about limiting the amount of toxic chemicals present in customer products, then a chemistry degree would help. If you are working on reforming the educational system, then a psychology degree would help. If you are trying to repair the country's infrastructure, then a civil engineering degree would help. If you are negotiating treaties with foreign countries, then your history degree would help. If you are fixing the economy, then a mathematics degree would help. Because laws effect all aspects of society, knowledge in any particular field can be useful to a politician.

I suppose you could draw your expert peers from, say, experienced University researchers of any speciality. Who makes the appointments would be a problem. Making appointments might be a problem, as that process could easily become highly politicised, not to mention the effect it would have on the kinds of people who become professors.

How about this: we set up a registry of experts in particular fields (expert historians, economists, chemists and what have you). Instead of a standing senate, the house, in order to pass a bill, has to appoint an investigatory committee of people drawn from the relevant expert registries at random, as in for jury duty. The composition of the committee is chosen by a vote in the house (so if it's 60/40 economists to chemists you get 6 economists and 4 chemists). The committee can recommend revisions to the bill, or recommend that the house reject it entirely, but cannot themselves pass or veto it. The house then has a second vote in light of the committee's recommendations.
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Re: Education requirements for elected officials

Postby wumpus » Wed Feb 24, 2016 5:23 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
mcd001 wrote:Two things that I think *would* work better [than an education requirement for elected officials]:
1) Term limits. [...]
2) Limited government. [...]
These are problematic, mainly because they address a different issue.

1: Term limits sound good, and the reason given sounds convincing upon first glance. But it's not like there will just be "less power" - rather, the power will be elsewhere, residing in the (nonelected) bureaucracy with which each succeeding elected official needs to function. The alternative, I suppose, is to clear out the entire bureaucracy every election, but I don't see that doing anything except keeping anything from getting done. Yes, we do this with the (US) presidency, but the lower you go, the less practical this becomes.
2: Limited government [lots of obvious statements I agree with]
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Actually, term limits is unlikely to flow to the bureaucracy, but to the gatekeepers and lobbyists.
Gatekeepers: Basically the people who pay for all those ads and whatnot you need to be elected. US senate seats cost over $1B, other seats cost less. Since these gatekeepers get to choose new politicians each time (and don't let them through the gate until they are thouroughly bought), this simply takes power out of the hands of the voter.
Lobbyists: While the lobbyists *already* write all the laws, noob politicians can expect even greater hand holding. Expect your noob politician to be much more dependent on lobbyists to get anything done (lobbyists will completely replace senior officials in lining up votes and basically "doing politics").

These arguments are simply those who view voters as a problem that needs to be removed. Term limits simply yanks what little power remains in the voter's hands and hands it over to the lobbyists, while limiting government power removes all restraint against corporations. Somehow "limited goverment power" seems to be the phrase of those who always side with the cops to execute citizens at will, tap all the phones, and reduce human rights, but always increase the rights of corporations.

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Re: Education requirements for elected officials

Postby mcd001 » Wed Feb 24, 2016 7:31 pm UTC

wumpus wrote:Actually, term limits is unlikely to flow to the bureaucracy, but to the gatekeepers and lobbyists.

Didn't quite grasp that first sentence. Did you mean "term limits is likely to cause power to flow from the bureaucracy to the gatekeepers and lobbyists" ? This seems to track with the rest of your post. If that's what you meant, then I think you're overlooking a few things in your argument.

wumpus wrote:US senate seats cost over $1B, other seats cost less. Since these gatekeepers get to choose new politicians each time (and don't let them through the gate until they are thouroughly bought), this simply takes power out of the hands of the voter.

If a wanna-be politician can't hold a seat for life, the value of that seat will drop considerably. The amount the gatekeepers (aka the donor class) will be willing to pay to get someone elected will also drop, because they know they'll have to do it all over again in one or two terms. As it stands now, getting elected to the US Congress pretty much assures you can stay as long as you want. (Google "Service Tenure and Patterns of Member Service, 1789-2015" by the Congressional Research Service.)

wumpus wrote: While the lobbyists *already* write all the laws, noob politicians can expect even greater hand holding.

So if the lobbyists *already* write the laws, then term limits could not make things any worse. And I think it would tend to make things better, because 1) a citizen legislator knows he will have to go home and live under the laws he's passed, and 2) the lobbyists will have far less leverage and influence over politicians who have not succumbed to the 'inside the beltway' mentality or become lifetime members of the old boy's club. The opinions and wishes of their constituents will matter more, because they will still be fresh from their ranks.

wumpus wrote:Somehow "limited goverment power" seems to be the phrase of those who always side with the cops to execute citizens at will, tap all the phones, and reduce human rights, but always increase the rights of corporations.

Ooh, I can play that game too! Somehow, those that favor giving more and more power to government seem to be the ones who see every privilege as their right, and feel entitled to live off the earnings of others without having to contribute anything in return. See?

But seriously, I am constantly amazed at the number of people who decry all manner of abuses of government power, then fight tooth-and-nail to hand that same government even more power. And then they're left wondering why the abuses of government keep getting worse.

It's plain crazy.

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Re: Education requirements for elected officials

Postby ucim » Wed Feb 24, 2016 9:44 pm UTC

wumpus wrote:Actually, term limits [the power] is unlikely to flow to the bureaucracy, but to the gatekeepers and lobbyists.
(FTFY)

Yes, that is what I had in mind, for the reasons you state. It's not quite so simple, for the reasons mcd001 state, but a seasoned politician is more likely to be able to keep the horse before the cart than a noob, and the cart is made up of lobbyists (aka "industry experts").

...which is one problem with a "panel of industry experts" being given a legislative house. Randomized rotation helps, and I think it's a workable system, but experts tend to also have ties into whatever they are experts in.

If the decisionmakers keep rotating around though, it becomes harder to get something done. (Maybe that's a good thing, but it's a thing anyway).

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Re: Education requirements for elected officials

Postby Lucrece » Thu Feb 25, 2016 7:20 am UTC

I don't feel very confident in the idea that an academic would be remotely prepared to be a legislator. All a PhD speaks for is your expertise in an extremely specific subsection of a field. A bachelor's is a way superficial version of that. A PhD doesn't necessarily mean you are smart or even a good person guided by sound morals; it just means you are very disciplined. Look at Ben Carson.

You have to realize that all these past presidents, Bush included, hailed from Ivy Leagues, where they were no doubt exposed to liberal arts approaches of holistic training. The truth is, all those politicians you see making outrageous claims on science, are doing so far more out of calculation than sincere belief in a wrong idea. What good is their education if holding the wrong idea, no matter how educated it is, will get you voted out of your seat?

Instead of taking exception with the batch of politicians, you should be more concerned with the populace that elects them. The fact that Trump has gotten as far as he has speaks volumes about the kind of people we have in this country. Look at your TV and the majority of the content is the equivalent of sludge. Same goes for most media consumption. The most popular videogames, TV shows, and books are not the most refined.
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Re: Education requirements for elected officials

Postby ucim » Fri Feb 26, 2016 6:10 pm UTC

Lucrece wrote:I don't feel very confident in the idea that an academic would be remotely prepared to be a legislator.
How about as a "house of advisors", with no actual legislative power, but a position of availability to legislators as experts in {field}. Being randomly chosen from some {objectively qualified with voter input} pool, they could serve as a counter to lobbyists, without having a chance to become corrupt themselves. Nothing forces politicians to listen to them, but they would have a voice and not listening could have political consequences.

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Re: Education requirements for elected officials

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Feb 26, 2016 6:54 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
Lucrece wrote:I don't feel very confident in the idea that an academic would be remotely prepared to be a legislator.
How about as a "house of advisors", with no actual legislative power, but a position of availability to legislators as experts in {field}. Being randomly chosen from some {objectively qualified with voter input} pool, they could serve as a counter to lobbyists, without having a chance to become corrupt themselves. Nothing forces politicians to listen to them, but they would have a voice and not listening could have political consequences.

Jose


There are already plenty of scientists available for politicians to listen to, though they are not required to do so. If ignoring the entire pool of them doesn't pose a political problem now, I have difficulty imagining that ignoring some subset will present difficulties.

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Re: Education requirements for elected officials

Postby ucim » Fri Feb 26, 2016 7:07 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:There are already plenty of scientists available for politicians to listen to...
...but they are not being paid to speak. When a scientist says something to a politician, it's on xir own time and xes own dime. And there's no official channel. So, it's very easy for that voice to get lost. Certainly it would be lost against lobbyists, who are paid to advocate for a particular POV. (And it's not just scientists I'm talking about).

What I'm thinking of is more like jury duty. "Experts in the field" are chosen randomly for a two-year term, in which they get access to the ruminations of the lawmakers as if they were one themselves, Washington staff, salary, etc. Perhaps it should be half-time rather than full-time, so that they can continue their own research or whatever, but it would make this group one of the "ins" rather than, as it is now, one of the "outs".

Maybe it's unworkable; I'm just thinking out loud. But maybe there's something useful in it.

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Re: Education requirements for elected officials

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Feb 26, 2016 7:37 pm UTC

Paying them to speak will not make them more credible.

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Re: Education requirements for elected officials

Postby Soupspoon » Fri Feb 26, 2016 10:50 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:There are already plenty of scientists available for politicians to listen to, though they are not required to do so.


There's the (amusingly-titled, by some) Nutt Sack affair, that shows that valid scientific views get outright rejected because they aren't what the politicians want... So that's definitely something that a proper system ought to account for.

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Re: Education requirements for elected officials

Postby ucim » Sat Feb 27, 2016 2:37 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Paying them to speak will not make them more credible.
No, that's not the idea. But it will make them more available. That is, they would not need to take time out of their {whatever they do} in order to advise the legislature; that time will already have been taken out and paid for. And they will have been paid in a manner that has nothing to do with what it is hoped they will say. And (big point), they will have access to legislative things in the same manner legislators have access to it. (Yeah, that might be harder to do, because it involves changing things, but is it a Bad Thing? Is it Impossible or Highly Unworkable?)

Much legislation happens in back rooms. It would make this "new house" part of those back rooms. Or at least harder to keep out of them.

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Re: Education requirements for elected officials

Postby ijuin » Sat Feb 27, 2016 9:58 pm UTC

How would membership in this advisory body be chosen, and what is to keep Congress or the President from stacking it with syncophants the way that Judicial appointments are accused of being?

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Re: Education requirements for elected officials

Postby ahammel » Sun Feb 28, 2016 12:31 am UTC

ijuin wrote:How would membership in this advisory body be chosen, and what is to keep Congress or the President from stacking it with syncophants the way that Judicial appointments are accused of being?

Jose and I have both mentioned the jury duty model. Choose randomly from a list of names maintained by the relevant professional associations.
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Re: Education requirements for elected officials

Postby Lucrece » Sun Feb 28, 2016 6:48 am UTC

The problem is you assume that politicians are inclined to listen to this counsel to begin with. Whether the scientists are paid to offer their time or not, it is ultimately the politician who will make a decision based on what he thinks his/her electorate most desires.

I repeat, politicians don't need education. Most of them are rather wealthy and educated/well-connected. The people who elect these politicians under suspect platforms are the very people who education failed to begin with. A climate change denying politician, or one who has an electorate actively opposed to evolutionary theory isn't going to discard his/her position of power in order to follow the advise of some scientist. Scientists and academics don't pay the bills or grant upward mobility.

There may be the odd politician who goes into politics out of some earnest intention to do good for his people regardless if they vote him out of office or not, but the kind that makes it to Congress has cut his/her teeth on enough byzantine episodes that he/she is most likely there to preserve the power structures that he/she serves and in turn benefit him/her.
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Re: Education requirements for elected officials

Postby ucim » Sun Feb 28, 2016 3:12 pm UTC

Lucrece wrote:The problem is you assume that politicians are inclined to listen to this counsel to begin with. Whether the scientists are paid to offer their time or not, it is ultimately the politician who will make a decision based on what he thinks his/her electorate most desires.
Yes, and that is the way it is supposed to be. But having this official council, at the same level as the Legislature, makes it harder to do so and get away with it (to the public). The Council may well also be speaking to the public, the effect of which (hopefully) would be to raise the level of discussion.

You are right; nothing compels people to make the right decision. But maybe this would make it easier to do so?

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Re: Education requirements for elected officials

Postby Lucrece » Mon Feb 29, 2016 7:18 am UTC

ucim wrote:
Lucrece wrote:The problem is you assume that politicians are inclined to listen to this counsel to begin with. Whether the scientists are paid to offer their time or not, it is ultimately the politician who will make a decision based on what he thinks his/her electorate most desires.
Yes, and that is the way it is supposed to be. But having this official council, at the same level as the Legislature, makes it harder to do so and get away with it (to the public). The Council may well also be speaking to the public, the effect of which (hopefully) would be to raise the level of discussion.

You are right; nothing compels people to make the right decision. But maybe this would make it easier to do so?

Jose



How many people do you know who watch C-span? Not many. The electorate wouldn't even notice that a politician disregarded this special council, because the electorate overwhelmingly doesn't even bother to vote to begin with, most of them don't even know whether to retain a judge or dismiss, and more than half of what they see on a ballot box, they are clueless about.

An uneducated electorate with little interest in political and legislative literacy gets what they deserve -- less educated politicians, and besides that less influence on political decisions as politicians know they can spin whatever decision they make and the disinterested voters won't even bother to fact check or research because doing so takes precious time they could spend posting pictures of food they're eating on Instagram or Facebook.

I may be speaking from anecdote and all, but I've been a volunteer poll clerk for over 6 years and it's all the same crap. Abysmal turnout with disinterested, mostly ignorant voters who show up and make decisions not based on what they themselves investigate but rather a list that either their pastor or some political site/friend circle gave them to vote for. A country in which people are not invested in the very legislative decisions that will radically alter their financial and social lives is a country that's headed to a rude awakening.
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Re: Education requirements for elected officials

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Feb 29, 2016 1:31 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Paying them to speak will not make them more credible.
No, that's not the idea. But it will make them more available. That is, they would not need to take time out of their {whatever they do} in order to advise the legislature; that time will already have been taken out and paid for. And they will have been paid in a manner that has nothing to do with what it is hoped they will say. And (big point), they will have access to legislative things in the same manner legislators have access to it. (Yeah, that might be harder to do, because it involves changing things, but is it a Bad Thing? Is it Impossible or Highly Unworkable?)

Much legislation happens in back rooms. It would make this "new house" part of those back rooms. Or at least harder to keep out of them.

Jose


We live in a pretty open society. Lack of availability of knowledge isn't a huge problem for folks like politicians, who have plenty of access. Nobody is decrying global warming because they lack access to data.

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Re: Education requirements for elected officials

Postby Zamfir » Mon Feb 29, 2016 2:21 pm UTC

I may be speaking from anecdote and all, but I've been a volunteer poll clerk for over 6 years and it's all the same crap. Abysmal turnout with disinterested, mostly ignorant voters who show up and make decisions not based on what they themselves investigate but rather a list that either their pastor or some political site/friend circle gave them to vote for.

I don't see that as too bad? Suppose you want to buy a car and you don't know much about cars. So you take advice from a mechanic, or a friend who does have an interest in cars, or a car website. That's much the same thing, except that a car is a much more important decision to you than a vote.

It's often wiser to follow advice than trying to educate yourself on a topic. For one, you won't put in anywhere as much effort as those relative experts. For another, you might mislead yourself, thinking that you understand the issue while you're still missing a lot of important factors.

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Re: Education requirements for elected officials

Postby morriswalters » Mon Feb 29, 2016 5:47 pm UTC

That's much the same thing, except that a car is a much more important decision to you than a vote.
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Re: Education requirements for elected officials

Postby Lucrece » Mon Feb 29, 2016 5:55 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:
I may be speaking from anecdote and all, but I've been a volunteer poll clerk for over 6 years and it's all the same crap. Abysmal turnout with disinterested, mostly ignorant voters who show up and make decisions not based on what they themselves investigate but rather a list that either their pastor or some political site/friend circle gave them to vote for.

I don't see that as too bad? Suppose you want to buy a car and you don't know much about cars. So you take advice from a mechanic, or a friend who does have an interest in cars, or a car website. That's much the same thing, except that a car is a much more important decision to you than a vote.

It's often wiser to follow advice than trying to educate yourself on a topic. For one, you won't put in anywhere as much effort as those relative experts. For another, you might mislead yourself, thinking that you understand the issue while you're still missing a lot of important factors.



That would be nice if they actually consulted people informed on the topic or at least experts.

What I'm talking about is old Cuban ladies who vote for Marco Rubio because their priest held a sermon and told them to, and intimating to them that any Democratic nominee is a communist. A vote for Marco Rubio is a vote for God's candidate!

Or someone who votes on GMO labeling because their social group of equally uninformed friends all echoed some activist website instead of researching scientific consensus or even trying to contact/research the local agronomists and their stance on the matter.

Hell, the reason some people were even slamming The Affordable Care Act when I asked them why they opposed it, was due to all that death panels hysteria or the floated rumor that they were going to cut their medicaid. They trust and look for advice from all the wrong people.
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