(part 2 of an open letter to President Obama)
Part 1 argued there can be no real change without radically reforming our political system. See:click here
Can we change our political system to enforce intellectual honesty?
Yes we can!
Our political system has evolved into a dangerous, high-stakes game of wits. Policy is often determined not by truth, but by deal making, by intimidation, by threats, and by clever exploitation of a complex maze of policies and procedures. Rational argument and honest debate are optional and easily evaded by those who can traverse this maze with agility. Truth is secondary. Being right is simply not enough in our political system.
Our political system encourages politicians to create their own version of reality with virtual impunity. As we have seen over and over again, Washington’s version of reality eventually crashes into actual reality with predictable, dire results. We cannot continue down this destructive path. We need to replace our political system with a system that enforces a standard of truth (akin to our science and court systems), where rational argument and open debate is not only facilitated, but mandatory.
Your campaign for President was brilliant. You showed the world how the Internet can be used as a powerful campaign tool. Mr. President, the vast power of the Internet can also be used to radically reform the basic operation of our intellectually dishonest political system.
Basic philosophy of this proposal
The Internet would be used to facilitate a simple, fair, easy-to-use, transparent, “free market” system to manage political ideas and arguments. Our government representatives (with input from the public) would be required to explain and justify their positions by posting their best rational arguments on the Internet. This would include government representatives from all government agencies as well as from Congress. The system would create a mechanism where political ideas and arguments compete and collaborate openly (free market).
Competition and collaboration would not be just between opposing arguments, but also between arguments on the same side of any given issue. This second level of competition (among agreeing arguments), would improve and refine these arguments making them better able to compete against their opposing arguments. Since there is substantial knowledge and expertise outside our government on any given issue, this “free market” system would also facilitate public input and collaboration on any given issue.
This competition and collaboration would produce an evolving, converging consensus for “best” arguments (one for each side of any given issue). By simply going on the Internet, the American people would be able to examine and compare our government representatives’ “best” arguments for any given issue.
Our government is supposed to be of the people, by the people and for the people. Mr. President, we the people have a right to ask our government representatives for a clear, convincing explanation and justification for what’s being done in our names.
Features of this proposal: introducing political wikiarguments
[Note: A detailed design for this system is in the works, including its basic operation; rules; argument structures; dispute resolution mechanisms; Internet resource estimates; etc., which will be submitted in a future document.]
This Internet-based, “free market” system for managing political ideas and arguments would borrow features from Wikipedia, the Internet encyclopedia. Like Wikipedia entries, the current “best” arguments (one for each side of any given issue) would be the product of many minds collaborating to form an evolving, converging consensus.