I think it is important that we don't lose sight of the big picture with this project: the overall mission is to solve the sustainability problem in the entire world, for that, root causes and solutions for them are found. The PTR Project is the solution of one of the most fundamental root causes: hate-based authoritarianism, but... we must acknowledge and have very present, that that solution alone won't be enough. Here are some reasons why, just to keep them in mind:
- Very generally we could make a distinction between three different types of regimes: those which were once a democracy, but fell back to an authoritarian regime status; those which have never qualified as a democracy; and lastly, fairly stable democracies (see Polity IV Regime Trends). The PTR Project is designed to help democracies that aren't working as they should (or in other words, decreasing in their democracy level) to become a healthy democracy again, but how are regimes that are currently not democratic, or never have been get there? That requires a different solution.
- For the democratic regimes, we must take into account, that there are different levels of democracy (again: see the Polity IV Regime Trends). Democracy in the first world is absolutely not the same as "democracy" in the third world. In the first world countries, it might be necessary to teach people truth literacy, so that when they vote, they can choose wisely. In the third world countries it might be necessary to first teach people plain literacy. I wished this was a joke, but the education levels are really low in some places, and you first need to have a certain degree of basic education to even understand what a democracy is, and the value that it has. Once people understand that, then the next stage would be to teach people the importance of political participation and being informed to be able to understand your options. It is only after that, that PTR comes in. Only when people understand democracy, political participation and the importance of being informed, can they start to inform themselves wisely through PTR.
- The PTR Project takes into account two main assumptions for a healthy democracy: 1) people must be allowed to choose their leaders & 2) people will be wise enough to choose good leaders. That is true, but in my opinion, the institutions are too relevant to leave them out. I would add that 3) there are fair institutions and procedures through which citizens can express their preferences. A good example for that is what recently happened here in Mexico: this year we'll have presidential elections, and for the first time, candidates independent from a party will be allowed to appear on the ballot. To make it to the ballot, it is required that the candidates gather support signatures of at least 1% of the voters. One of the aspiring candidates gathered more than 1%, but after revision, more than half of them were found to be invalid signatures (the majority of invalid signatures had been faked), that let him closely below the threshold needed to appear on the ballot. What happened?The electoral tribunal assumed that if revised again, he'd surely regain the signatures needed to surpass the threshold. Hard to believe? Read it for yourself here or here. The Mexican electoral tribunal is simply a broken institution that blindly decided that this aspiring candidate deserved to be on the ballot... just because.
- The PTR assumes that "the best liar wins", but there are more ways of cheating other than lying. One example that also happens often here in Mexico, is candidates buying the votes of poor citizens. That happens, and voters do accept the deal.
- The rating of a politician can be calculated for a politician who has been in power for a while, because there is enough evidence. But what about someone who hasn't? Like Trump, who hadn't been in politics before.
- Will being able to identify lies and therefore knowing the truth make us vote rationally? If in love it doesn't work that way, why would it in politics? 😁 haha. Someone may have all the rational reasons to leave his/her toxic partner, but choose every time not to do so, even if it's clearly not working and it's hurting them. In politics the exact same mechanism can be in place.
- Let's say you are The Economist, a journal that very openly admits to have a liberal position (although they also claim to be unbiased). Now let's say they start writing articles using the PTR approach and they start making findings against their interests. Will they be able to make their liberal position aside, and publish their findings nonetheless? I think that's unlikely... and as long as there is a demand for the type of content they publish, they'll be safe not changing their approach to inform people.
- Last but not least, maybe people don't only need to be able to identify the truth, but also what is really better for the common good... a truth literacy not only for politicians, but for every aspect of life... more like a Good Policy Rating. Based on that, you can use the PTR to see which politician's suggested policy comes closer to that.
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