Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Not all votes are democratic, for — as Stalin pointed out — it’s not who votes that counts, but who counts the votes.

Same for “town halls” and public discussions: Politicians regularly hold meetings with constituents the main point of which is to make sure that nothing too challenging gets aired.

This being the case, you might guess my reservations about “deliberative polling” in the “What’s Next California” vein.

This weekend three hundred “randomly selected” Californians gathered in Torrance to undergo what looks to be a three-part process:

  1. Submit to polling on the major issues facing the crisis-ridden state.
  2. Gather to discuss the issues, with fact-sheets in hand, and lecturers to listen to and answer questions.
  3. Submit to polling at the end of the session, to see how many of the participants’ ideas have changed.

Project founder James Fishkin is obviously interested in the initiative process, but just as obviously interested in seeing it lean more towards a “progressive” direction. Of the three opinions on the program featured at Zócalo Public Square, I lean towards Tim Cavanaugh’s: “By combining polling with top-down instruction from a panel of ‘experts,’ deliberative pollsters hope to determine how voting would change if voters’ opinions could be forced into compliance with establishmentarian thinking. . . .”

Athenian-style public deliberation? Not really. The experts aren’t polled, so it’s obvious that they aren’t expected to modify their opinions.

Besides, in a real democracy, the people would do their own research and bring along their own experts.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


  1. Drik says:

    Availability Cascades and Risk Regulation – Wikipedia

    “Availability cascade” is a concept that Timur Kuran developed jointly with CASS SUNSTEIN(the guy who Presbo put in charge of regulating America so as to “nudge” you in the desired direction), initially through a 1999 article entitled “Availability Cascades and Risk Regulation.”

    An availability cascade is a process of collective belief formation whereby an expressed perception triggers reactions that make that perception seem increasingly plausible through its rising availability in public discourse. The driving mechanism ordinarily involves a combination of informational and reputational motives.

    Individuals endorse the perception partly because THEY BASE THEIR OWN BELIEFS ON THE APPARENT BELIEFS OF OTHERS.

    The majority of people have a built in propensity to “follow the herd”. Go along to get along.

    It matters not who conducts the polls—what matters is who pre-selects the sheeple to be polled.

  2. Drik says:

    Same thing that’s been tried before, ‘cept this time without the brown shirts.

    Purple is so much more becoming.

  3. Stephen Grove says:

    Progressive-ism, means progress forward to feudalism. Death to freedom. I am afraid the historians “cycle of nations” and the foolishness of humans will lead us back to a dictatorship.

  4. Karyn says:

    I was one of the 400 citizens who attended and took part in the deliberative poll. While there was obviously an agenda there was a lot of great discussions held in the small groups and inciteful questions asked of the panels in the plenary sessions. I believe most of us came away with a sense of pride in what we had brought to the table and the sense that we were all heard.

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