"If each person only knows to a reliable degree what is good for that person (which is already an implausible premise)"Oh dear. Who does he get to buy groceries for him? Who chose his job?
Also, how does this work in general? Do I know what's good for Niven, and he knows what's good for me, even though Niven has more information about himself than I do?
On whom did/will he depend on to choose his spouse for him?
Since it's implausible that he himself knows the right choice for these, wouldn't it be best not to choose at all? Oh, he didn't mean personally he meant politically? So there's some non-arbitrary difference between personal knowledge and political knowledge?
So, uh, who gets to decide who he will vote for?
Heh. When I first read that "(3)* is just insane, and if I have to defend why it's insane, I don't know that I'll be able to do it respectfully." I immediately wanted to ask, "Okay, then do it disrespectfully, as I'm curious." I'll remember that in future, I should definitely do so.
*(The numbers refer to a comment shortly previous.)
That's the most serious flaw, but I'll do the rest while I'm here.
"It would be a massive tragedy to forgo that in favor of voting strictly for one's own interests."
Actually, it would be ideal. It would ensure good for the greatest number. That's like, the whole point of democracy, isn't it? That we do the thing that benefits the most people? If only there was a way to somehow show when your interest was stronger, so that many half-assed votes didn't overwhelm your one fervent vote...
Like prices, for instance, where if you want it more, you can 'vote' with more dollars. Of course, given equal opportunity, people will end up with unequal resources, and we may want to do something about that. However, the basic reason is that the people with more resources, given effective law enforcement, are the people who got 'voted' for the most.
"And note, please, that it's badly insufficient to talk about "the majority's self-interest" - if 6 out of 10 people desperately want the other 4 to be tortured and killed, that should by no means justify it happening"
Indeed. It's almost as if voting isn't moral in any sense.
But actually, it would appear that this is the whole point of a state, especially a democratic one. If the 6 want something badly that the 4 can provide, the 'greatest good' principle comes in, and the state forces them to provide it.
In reality, having millions of amateurs decide complicated technical issues is just a bad idea, especially when the information organs are entirely controlled by the people they're supposed to be able to vote out.
I would really like to know what Niven uses as his super-democracy principle. Is it morals? If so, how does he justify them?
The main problem with democracy is this whole amateur thing. Indeed there are problems that democracy can kinda-sorta solve, but even a barest reconsideration of the facts throws up that it can hardly be the only solution, and because there are many others, it's almost certain that some of them are better.
Basically, give me any problem that is solved, for you, by democracy, and I'll give you three solutions, of which two are better, statistically speaking.
"(similarly, if 75 million voters want to inflate their own already-significant wealth at the direct cost of 74 million voters, that doesn't mean that they'd be justified in voting that way)"I'm going to assume 'significant' means 'they're already the rich' as otherwise it's arbitrary. I find it amusing otherwise to simply define 'significant' as 'more than the average African' and then suppose that the 74 are the rich, in which case this would be a statement Niven would agree with.
Rather, stealing is immoral no matter who does it. Basically, someone voted for that person already; who are you to change their vote? Why are ballot-votes so much more special than dollar-votes?
(Real reason: ballots represent guns, as an election is a symbolic battle. Obviously guns get to redistribute dollars when they so choose.)
"The question still reduces to (2): which candidate would it be better to elect?"First, actually, (2):"Which candidate would be better for the country?" We can see some basic equivocation here. Standard demotist stuff; better is redefined to be absolute instead of relative to some values, and then it is shown that only democracy can achieve 'better.'
Second, people don't know what's good for themselves, but they do know what's good for a country? Thats...interesting. As per Mencius, we can easily see the descendant of the "Inner Light" at work.