Some of those who have established themselves in strong positions in our imperfect democratic system prefer, where possible, not to take other people’s views into account, irrespective of the rules governing voting and elections. As an example, there is the director of an institution with high ideals on human dignity. The author asked him if he would consider using fund voting to seek advice from people within the institution. He pointed out that his authority would be diminished if people’s views were expressed in numerical form. He showed no further interest. In a discussion on sequential choice, a high-ranking civil servant pointed out that if several alternatives were presented for formal sequential choice treatment, it would facilitate the presentation of more alternatives for treatment. This could cause those in authority to lose the opportunity of presenting only the alternative they themselves favour. In a district council whose other members were prepared to try fund voting, the chairman pointed out the risk that the minority might get its way. He would not listen to the arguments and examples the author has provided in this book. As someone suggested to me later, he simply wanted to be in control of things himself.
People must perceive that it is pleasant to operate in an environment in which issues are treated openly in the ways that are encouraged by sequential choice and fund voting. The leadership must propose its own views, amongst other alternatives, but it is not bound to propose only views that it believes will be accepted, as is often the case.
Defective procedures in voting and election result in mistrust of the democratic process. People want to choose their leaders, such as the leaders of political parties, but once this has been done, they allow them to disregard the opinions of their supporters. The role of a party leader is to be elected to promote certain causes, but when it comes to this, due to the imperfect rules of democracy, such a leader may feel compelled to neglect the will of his supporters in order to achieve results.
While the use of sequential choice and fund voting is to be recommended, this is not meant to imply that full-scale referenda with the participation of the general public should be held more often than they are now. Referring an issue to others who are not members of a municipal council or parliament takes on a different meaning when sequential choice and fund voting are used.
Do some cultures have a basic ingredient that makes people democratic? It could be significant that it was a graduate of a military academy, a career soldier who abolished Borda count in the French Academy. A strong leader does not want people to have multiple choices as offered by sequential choice. If alternatives are introduced, then an election no longer has the atmosphere of a duel; the attitude is no longer a question of either/or, or for or against, as is the way of thinking in wartime.
At present, the election of a body of delegates, such as a local council or the parliament, is regarded as a type of victory, similar to that on a battlefield. The winner of an election comes into possession of power. Subsequently, every election becomes a question of whether the victors are able to cling to this power. Such attitudes are inappropriate where fund voting is used.