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National Opinion Collection System
Nanook (italics) is talking to Ben (& ), Father Vincent (+), and George (%). From Escape to Insanity ch. 34.
"By discussion, do you mean like hold a bunch of debates?”
+"NO. I specifically do NOT mean debates. Let’s talk about that. The country is crazy about debates. Every political candidate is expected to hold these. The problem is that the structure of debates is based on a competition model. The goal is not to find truth. The goal is to win. This is why debates fit so well with politics. The goal there is also to win.
A debate is a speaking event set up as a CONTEST to train people, particularly lawyers, to grab and sway the mood of a crowd. The crowd is a representation of a jury. The whole goal is to WIN. There is NO LEARNING going on. So, in a political election situation, holding a debate may make sense. The whole idea is to capture votes. If two different viewpoints just need to be aired, again, a debate probably makes sense. But for a process aimed at searching for truth, it absolutely makes NO sense. And of course, this is exactly what a jury trial is supposed to be doing.
No. What is needed with questions like Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness is an IMPROVED form of the process we now call public hearings. The goal of an improved public hearing would be to very accurately capture and measure public opinion. The best way society deals with that now is to have some agency go out and do a poll. But that process is flawed because it relies on the polling agency to develop appropriate questions and select appropriate people to question. NO. This whole process has to be new.
National Opinion Collection System
I call this new institution the NATIONAL OPINION CENSUS. The process to gather the census I call the National Opinion Collection System. It would be conducted by a new version of the university with government support. Here’s how it would work.
First, the university would do an extensive literature search on the background of the question. The meaning of LIFE, as used in the new Constitution, would be an example. From that they would create a starting document that would summarize the existing world view. This would be something like an encyclopedia article. The summary would be made publicly available.
As stage two, local public hearings would be held in many different settings to capture public views on the subject. But the goal is not just to let the public have a say. That’s a sham. The goal is to search for wisdom. So, the hearings would be more like college seminars. Presentations would be made by program leaders to describe the progress of the census and summarize highlights to date. Panelists would present summaries of key views. People from the audience would be allowed to ask questions AND present comments. Everything said would be captured. Every citizen in the community would be given the ability to hand in written statements. Each of these statements would be reviewed by the program staff at the local level. The essence of each statement would be summarized. The collection of concepts would then be sent up to a regional level. The same summarizing process would be done there and the concepts sent up to the state level, and finally to a national level. The overall result would be called the National Opinion.”
&"So, if I understand this right, as the process moves up the chain, the number of ideas collected would actually increase?”
+"Precisely! And that’s a key point. The summary process used here would not be done to reduce the number of concepts, but to summarize the wording and organize the knowledge. The final document would be a true collection of all the opinions of everyone in the country that wanted to be involved. It would also include a checks and balances system. That is, each regional or state level would be required to publish a gazette. In that document, they would list their summaries. If a local citizen didn’t think their opinion was included, they could send a letter to the state or federal level and get it added.”
"This seems like a big effort to set up every time a new question comes up.”
+"You’re right. So, I would propose that the new society make it a permanent structure. That way, to get new issues addressed, all that is needed is to send out an OPINION CALL to the public.”
%"So, sending out a National Opinion Call on the issue of ‘life’ could pull in everyone’s view.”
+"Precisely! AND, comprehensively. Finally, the people would really have a say in the government.”
&"This would also work locally for smaller issues as well, wouldn’t it?”
+"Yes. And most important, it would be structured so that it was not a manipulation of political goals. I’m sure we will come back to this later. So, what might be the result of such a census on the issue of life?”
%"All the religions would jump in with their simplified pro-life views for sure. But, scientists would also be able to express the complications.”
&"And the tie between living and quality of life would surely be made.”
+"That’s the point. Society would be given a full view of the issues. And the control of what views were allowed to be stated would NOT be in control of either the government or the media. They would be in the hands of the public because ALL viewpoints would have to be included.”
"Couldn’t every country that did this have a different result.”
+"Sure. And eventually, there might be some international level for this process.