[governance] FW: TP: city government exercising policy on Google Applications / consumer rights / Consumer Protection Act / trial period

Paul Lehto lehto.paul at gmail.com
Thu Jul 14 23:18:39 EDT 2011

OK, Kerry, sorry for the Hitler reference, here's an edited version of
precisely the same idea:

"HISTORY teaches us that it is vain to pursue efficiency without justice."

I don't know that we disagree (as you suggest) about democracy or
"what constitutes a democracy."  This is basically because I've
provided a definition, and you have not stated any definition of
democracy at all.  CIRA doesn't meet my definition of democracy.  It
doesn't appear CIRA meets dictionary.com's definition of democracy

1. government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme
power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by
their elected agents under a free electoral system.
2. a state having such a form of government: The United States and
Canada are democracies.
3. a state of society characterized by formal equality of rights and
privileges.  See http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/democracy

The only way CIRA can meet the definition of democracy is if we
theorize that only domain registrants are "people" and that  internet
users are somehow not "people" at all, and therefore can't vote.  But
if not being a person or not being one of "the people" is a bar to
voting, why then can corporations that are not "people" but who
register .ca domains nevertheless be voting members in CIRA?

As a member of the Board of Directors of CIRA, Kerry Brown owes CIRA
as it presently is structured a legal duty of loyalty and good faith.
 For this and several other good reasons, even if I were assumed to be
correct in my explanations above, one should never expect an admission
by a director bound by such a duty of loyalty to a corporation.

That's one reason why allowing everyone a vote is so valuable: with
universal voting, there are always large numbers of people (almost
always majorities of voters) who do not have close ties or potential
vested interests in the status quo, because they are far away from the
centers of power.  These disinterested and democratic majorities of
universal voting decide the direction of governance.

In contrast, when voters are only those who own a "stake" in the
internet (like domain name registrants) instead of being
disinterested, the majority vote winners among stakeholders are always
self-interested owners of "stakes" like domain names. (As are the
losing minorities as well).

Instead of disinterested majorities deciding more objectively like a
democracy with universal voting, when voting is tied to ownership of a
stake like a domain name, governance is more like a scramble amongst
various self-interested owners trying to further their personal
property interests.  There is never a winning side or a losing side in
any vote amongst (for example) domain name owner-registrants that does
not have this special-interest problem of owning a property "stake"
because that is how the right to be a member, and thus the right to
vote, is defined.

This is very much like the colonial voting systems widely regarded as
oppressive, whereby only property owners could vote:  Landowners were
deemed more 'responsible' and knowledgeable and the like.  That's
analogous to domain name owners and internet users serf-ing the net,
without a vote.

Paul R. Lehto, J.D.

On 7/14/11, Kerry Brown <kerry at kdbsystems.com> wrote:
> Paul
> I have no problem with the fact that we disagree on what constitutes a
> democracy. I was offended by the reference to Hitler. It was a statement
> intended, intentionally or not, to discredit by inference. When that happens
> I tend to lose interest in continuing. It has been a good discussion
> presenting many sides to a complex issue. I think we've pretty much talked
> it out though. We seem to have drawn our lines in the sand and are just
> restating our opinions in different ways. If this were a board meeting it
> would be time to call the question :)
> Kerry Brown
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Paul Lehto [mailto:lehto.paul at gmail.com]
>> Sent: July-14-11 5:58 PM
>> To: michael gurstein; Kerry Brown
>> Cc: governance at lists.cpsr.org
>> Subject: Re: [governance] FW: TP: city government exercising policy on
>> Google Applications / consumer rights / Consumer Protection Act / trial
>> period
>> On 7/14/11, michael gurstein <gurstein at gmail.com> wrote:
>> > in my limited
>> > observation [CIRA] would seem to me by most conventional standards to
>> > be at least reasonably "democratic".
>> I'm published in the area of political theorists of democracy, so perhaps
>> I'm
>> not clear.  Here's something I hope is ultra-succinct relatively speaking,
>> and
>> shows why I'm not off base.
>> The very definition of democracy in modern times is rule by the people
>> (self-
>> government), based on one person/one vote and universal suffrage (all
>> adults voting).
>> The very definition of aristocracy, as Montesquieu (one of the most famous
>> political theorists of the world since the 1700s, a Frenchman) wrote, is
>> rule by
>> less than all the people.  (I.e. Rule by some fraction of all the people,
>> especially rule by an elite.)
>> Now Mike, when you point to a subset of the people affected by CIRA
>> (domain registrants) and note that they can be voting members if they
>> wish,
>> but ignore the mere user who is also governed to some extent by CIRA, and
>> then call that exclusion "reasonably democratic", you're really saying
>> that a
>> largish aristocracy is "reasonably democratic."
>> But no user encountering .ca domains and affected by the TLD policy but
>> who
>> can not vote on policy like domain registrants or on directors like Mike
>> Gurstein or Kerry Brown would ever call a structure like CIRA "reasonably
>> democratic."  (Not if they took the subject of CIRA's authority seriously,
>> yet
>> couldn't vote on it.)  Such a person would say they have no vote, complain
>> they are disfranchised using their own words for that, and note somehow
>> that they are basically ruled by domain registrants and CIRA who do have
>> votes and say.  CIRA and these domain registrant members are the superiors
>> of internet users (who have no say) and this aspect is not "reasonably
>> democratic."
>> There's lots of room and even necessity for compromise in the vast
>> majority
>> of political issues, but not on the most fundamental issues like democracy
>> (or
>> not), or freedom (or not) or whether or not you or I should have a vote on
>> things affecting us.
>> It's a simple definitional reality:  Because aristocracies by definition
>> are rule
>> by less than all the people affected by laws, if you take the fundamental
>> parts of democracy like who can vote on a piecemeal basis, and thereby
>> give
>> the vote to less than all the people, you have, by definition the very
>> essence
>> of aristocracy, not democracy.
>> To call this piecemeal aristocratic outcome "reasonably democratic"
>> because some affected can vote (registrants) and some affected can not
>> vote (users) is to put way too kind a gloss on the undemocratic and
>> aristocratic nature of any system that allows one big or small class to
>> vote,
>> and denies another big class, like internet users, the right to vote.
>> That's the
>> CIRA model.
>> All the happy talk about multistakeholderism hides the ugly realities of
>> denying voices and votes to classes of people, while often giving voices
>> and
>> votes even to some non-humans and non-voters, like corporations.
>> The purpose of the Truman quote, and the purpose of *Truman's*
>> invocation of Hitler, is to show that we do not want efficiency unless we
>> agree on the process's end result or goal.  If the train is headed down
>> the
>> wrong track, no rational person wants efficiency!  That efficiency just
>> sends
>> us faster and further down the wrong track.
>> Nothing personal, as I said before, was intended by any of my comments.
>> But Kerry Brown has taken offense nevertheless.  I am sorry he has done
>> so.
>> But I do not think there is any way out of a conclusion that CIRA is a
>> form of
>> aristocracy, not democracy, and because I believe that Kerry Brown
>> believes
>> in democracy, but probably never went through analysis like the above, the
>> implication that the restructuring of CIRA in the way it is, is causing
>> him to be
>> participating in a form of non-democratic corporate governance is not just
>> a
>> charge that has a certain sting to it, but an unavoidable conclusion once
>> one
>> knows the basic difference between aristocracy as being rule by less than
>> all
>> the people....
>> Paul Lehto, J.D.
>> P.S. I fully understand the distinction you try to make with ex officio
>> members. If you re-read my message, I recall clearly intending to draft
>> that
>> message to say these ex officio members had an enhanced "voice" or right
>> to
>> be "heard" -- which they do have by speaking at meetings and being
>> recognized much more so than an average audience member.  I did not say
>> or mean to imply that ex officio members had a formal vote, by definition
>> they do not.  I was pointing to yet another difference in relative
>> political
>> power, not on the level of actual votes since ex officio members don't
>> have
>> them, but on the level of who has access to time at meetings to get their
>> ideas out, if they wish to do so.  Clearly, ex officio members have a
>> privileged
>> status with respect to that.  That is basically why they are ex officio to
>> begin
>> with -- to hear from them based on prior experience, status, etc.  So,
>> while I
>> think a careful reading of my text would be clear, I do see how one could
>> mistakenly conclude that I misunderstood the role of ex officio board
>> members.
>> I was appointed in the past as parliamentarian for an annual bar
>> association
>> business meeting attended by most of the Supreme Court and in which
>> many of the states' best lawyers argued over various motions and measures.
>> I only mention that to hopefully put to rest any inference that I don't
>> completely understand what an ex officio member is, they are common in
>> bar association membership organizations in various states.
>> Paul R Lehto, J.D.
>> P.O. Box 1
>> Ishpeming, MI  49849
>> lehto.paul at gmail.com
>> 906-204-4026 (cell)

Paul R Lehto, J.D.
P.O. Box 1
Ishpeming, MI  49849
lehto.paul at gmail.com
906-204-4026 (cell)
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