20 September 2005

Representative democracy

Pia, as many others have noted, Pia Waugh asks:

Why is it that older, heterosexual, Christian, married, white males, who probably only make up ~16% of our totaly population are making the decisions for all of us? So much for representative politics
Lots of reasons. Taking those in order:
  • very few younger people give a damn about politics, many of them (for very good reason) regarding it as a lost cause; of those who give a damn, very few are experienced or sustainedly determined enough to have a significant effect, let alone chance of getting elected;
  • the number of exclusively homosexual people in Western society is vanishingly small; the highest figure I’ve ever seen quoted is around ten percent — clearly a furphy, have a look at the people behind that one — the real number is probably between 0.1% and 1% depending on which tallying agency you believe; they do in fact get disproportionate representation both through making more noise and through working in useful positions (won’t mention the edifice in question, but one local political center had, a few years ago, a staff which was around 50% homosexuals); there is probably a larger percentage of bisexuals rather than, aha, straight homosexual, guessing of the order of twice as many, but they have fewer special wants;
  • a large chunk of our society regards itself as Christian, even though they don’t go to church; don’t believe in their nominated churches’s doctrines; those doctrines are totally scrod anyway (compare the Roman Catholic Church who are highly centralised and heriarchical, into profit in a big way, have several Marys at each major cathedral (no waiting!) and a confusing plethora of other dieties which vary from region to region with someone like the Quakers or Amish who are painfully simplistic and retiring, they’re all called Christian and it doesn’t seem to matter that their deity or deities are mutually incompatible); don’t agree with the leaders of those churches; and spend a lot more effort competing with each other than marching in the same direction; OTOH Pascal’s Wager is on $DEITY’s side;
  • marriage is an excellent institution (else why did Jeff and Pia get hitched, hey? :-) although much abused, and the ability to remain married is at least a cursory indication of stability, responsibility and ability to get along with others;
  • caucasians are a clear (if eroding) majority in Australia, the USA, England and many other “Western” countries;
  • there are an increasing number of females in politics, and when you look at it there are a staggering number of exclusively-for-femmes rules and institutions, but IMESHO most femmes have too much taste to indulge in the kindergarten which is Parliament.
So in short, perhaps the ratio is a mere 16% overall (give or take) but in each sub-category there’s an overwhelming majority which is bound to frequently overlap other categories.

Now... let’s see... who haven’t I managed to get offside yet? (-:

If any of the gentler sex reading this are good at Linux and live in Western Australia, I’d be delighted to employ them at exactly the same wages as I’d employ a bloke. Possibly more. For some things, femmes are unquestionably better and for others it’s blokes but in IT it pretty much comes out even. It’s a great mystery to me that there aren’t many more women in this field. The advantages typically assigned to women (e.g. patience, sensitivity, rigour) are ideal for many of the kinds of IT issues usually faced here by ill-equipped men. And most of the people in the IT field are “paper tigers” so it’s not as if the competition’s going to be fierce or anything.

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