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Our Quota of Retards

The latest political controversy here in New Zealand involves the Labour Party’s idea of creating a gender balance in government by potentially having electorates where only women can stand as candidates.

Many people’s initial thought on the subject is that it is crazy, or political correctness gone even more horribly wrong that usual. In fact, I would say that it is not just crazy but also sexist and antidemocratic. But it’s really a similar idea to what we already have for Maori. There are seats where only Maori can vote and this presumably means that a non-Maori candidate is unlikely to win. Is this arrangement, which is clearly racist but has been in existence for many years, any worse than the new Labour proposal? Well, they are both bad in different ways.

But having thought about this idea in general a bit more I am beginning to think it might have some merit. I wouldn’t necessarily suggest it should be used to ensure more women get into parliament because there are plenty there already and many of our worst politicians have been women (need I mention the hideous Jenny Shipley and Ruth Richardson). But I think it could be used to get a better representation in other areas.

In some research associated with a previous blog entry (titled “Another IT Debacle” from 2013-06-27) I found which professions are most and least respected. It turns out that politicians are near the bottom of the list. But I also noticed that the occupations that many politicians had before entering politics are also near the bottom: accountants, bankers, lawyers, and CEOs for example. And our prime minister was previously a currency trader, and while that profession wasn’t on the list, I suspect it’s hard to think of anything worthy of more contempt!

But on the other hand, many of the people in the top rated professions – nurses, pilots, doctors, scientists, and teachers – tend to rarely move on to politics.

So I think there is a need to have a quota system for people’s professional backgrounds and areas of expertise and interest. We could have certain seats where only scientists could stand, for example, and others which only had nurses. It would be one way to get some greater diversity into our government and possibly get some of the new ideas which we really need.

I’m not totally serious about this proposal, of course, but I think the point that we have too few people from scientific, engineering, mathematical, and other rationality and logic based professions is a relevant one. How can we persuade more of these sorts of people to get into politics?

Maybe we can’t because there is the old adage that anyone who wants to be a politician shouldn’t be allowed to be one! So many of the people we possibly need in government have too much integrity to want to get involved in the process.

I remember in a past blog post I mentioned the research which showed that a better level of management could be gained by randomly choosing leaders in a company or other organisation rather than using the conventional selection mechanisms. Maybe the same idea could be applied to politics. Maybe we should just choose 100 people at random and have them run the country.

If we did that the quota problem should go away because there would be an even split between men and women (assuming they are about half and half in the population) and the same would apply to racial groups, professional groups, and everything else. And people who really wanted to get into politics (and therefore shouldn’t be there) would have no more chance of getting in than anyone else. It seems like the perfect solution!

There is a chance we might get some people with poor morality, lack of intelligence, and little experience but so what. Isn’t that what we have already anyway?

Maybe, just to ensure there are no complete retards voted in, there could be an unbiased basic intelligence test (which would not favour any gender, race, or anything else) but I would be prepared to forgo even that to keep the system pure. After all, 50% of the population have a below average IQ. Don’t they deserve to be represented too? Maybe that will be Labour’s next idea: only really stupid people will be able to run in certain seats! Or do we have that already?

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