by James Wallace Harris, Wednesday, July 30, 2020
We might be the United States, but we’re hardly a united people. Hasn’t the melting pot of the world produced a particularly unhomogenized population?
If you pick any year in our history and study it, divisiveness is the norm. This has got me to wondering, are there topics of agreement that we mostly share?
For example, if we pass a law that means we want 100% of the people to abide by the law. Yet, a law can be passed by only a fraction of the population. Does it really make sense for 50% of the people to say how 100% of the people should act? But we’ll probably never get 100% agreement on anything. So, shouldn’t we think harder about what percentage of the vote equals a proper majority?
Would it be fair to require an 80% majority? That would still mean 20% of the population would oppose the law and would probably be unhappy. But it would also mean 80% of the population would be happy.
What we have is a happiness v. unhappiness ratio. Right now, we have a 50/50 ratio, which explains why our society is so polarized. Wouldn’t America be somewhat happier with a 60/40 ratio? And even happier with a 75/25 ratio?
We’re never going to have a 100% happy society. But shouldn’t we try to reduce the unhappy portion of the equation? My guess if we agreed to make 60% the required majority to win any vote, we’d see a shift in the contentment of the nation.
Ideally though, we’d eventually need to increase that to 75%, but right now that would be an impossibility. Just developing a 60% consensus would take a tremendous effort, mainly in learning how to make compromises.