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Voting for Good Character

In a previous article, I presented the four salient features of the TDG. The second feature is: Voting for Good Character and Capacity for Governance. 

The most obvious questions are: What is good character? What is capacity for governance? In this article, I will talk about good character.

Part of the executive committee’s job in the early TDG is to build the right culture for the TDG. Without this right culture, the TDG could just turn into a bunch of political parties, which will mean not much has changed. So in my TDG book, I tell early TDG executive committees to remind all TDG members to vote for good character. There are various ways to get this message out to members. The goal is to get TDG members to vote differently than they how vote in current democracies.

While the executive committee is reminding members about the importance of good character, it doesn’t tell the members what good character actually is. Rather, the intent is to get members to think differently when voting in TDG elections. With “good character” being stated in the communications, TDG members start the process of thinking. 

Here’s the neat thing: each voter is going to define “good character” for themselves. Then they will cast their vote accordingly. I will give my example.

In my younger days, I used to be a somewhat wild youth, looking for ways to alter my brain chemistry for a little buzz and gain some social acceptance from my peers. When I was about 22, I made the decision to be more responsible with my consumption of mind-altering substances. My consumption of alcohol dropped considerably. I got “out-of-control” maybe once a year after that.

I was still using marijuana on a recreational basis for another five years. One disadvantage with marijuana as compared to alcohol (for me) was that the lingering effects of marijuana lasted a day or two with just a little use. Alcohol had a much faster recovery from the “buzz.”

I was in the second year of my business when I had my last toke. Next day, I had low energy and didn’t get the business tasks done that should have got done that day. I made the decision to no longer partake in marijuana.

So, my life experience is that marijuana usage cuts into the performance of its users. Yes, I know that there are successful people who use marijuana recreationally and a few successful people who go beyond recreationally. But I wonder what they could really accomplish if they didn’t use it at all.

For this reason, I would not cast my TDG for a user of marijuana. For sure, some people will be upset with me for making this kind of statement. It sounds like I am trying to inflict my morals onto this TDG. That is not my intent.

So please consider these next four points. First, it is my right to define “good character” when casting my TDG vote. My life experience says a certain thing, and I have to go by that experience. Second, I am not asking you to base your vote on my values; you are free to define your own “good character” as your life experience dictates. You might even consider marijuana usage as a virtue to cast your vote. That is fine by me. Third, even if a heavy marijuana user gets elected in my TDG neighborhood, that person will be put to the TDG test shortly. He/she either has capacity or doesn’t have capacity. He/she won’t win the next neighborhood election because of smoking lots of dope.

I’ll admit that this marijuana user might perform well in TDG governance. While I still won’t vote for that person, I’m not going to lose sleep if enough of my fellow neighbors overlook this vice when they cast a vote. And fourth, I don’t think such a person will rise high in the TDG. He/she may find a way into the first or second tier. But at the third tier, governance will get more serious. A representative at that tier should have a real clear head. If a marijuana user still advances, he/she must be some very capable person. But I would still wonder at how much more this person could really accomplish.

Elections are annual in the TDG, so we will get lots of practice voting in the TDG way. The executive committee of each local TDG will be responsible for setting up the election. While place and time and agenda are important, they will also need to establish up the culture for “voting for good character and capacity for governance.” They can put some instructions into the election notice. They can make a verbal reminder before people vote. They can even print a few words to that effect on the ballot.

For those who are new to the TDG, these sayings probably won’t matter that much. Many will vote with the influence of other criteria, like the neighbor who has good looks or a certain stand on a political issue. Our old habits. In other words, some new TDG members won’t be voting in the TDG spirit just yet. But there should be enough mature TDG members voting wisely such that the rookies won’t have much effect on the final election result.

By the second and third elections, the repeated messaging will start to have an effect on the psyche of the “maturing” TDG members. They will also see the TDG finding capable representatives, even if they did not vote for these representatives. So as voters mature, they will be casting wiser votes. As they mature with their wiser voting, they will be diluting the effects of any new TDG members. Wiser voting will come with time.

So, it’s very important to give the message to all members to “Vote for Good Character and Capacity for Governance” and make that message part of the TDG culture. But leave definition of “good character” and “capacity for governance” for each voter to figure out. Be patient with the new voters. They will mature in their voting decisions. The old reasons for a casting a vote will be forgotten.

Published on Medium 2021

Voting for Capacity for Governance

Asimov, Foundation, & Democracy