The Vote Vat
a Modest Proposal
Consider this news report:
A 1%1%er says out loud that he wants oligarchy; and then wonders why people are upset.
Part of the answer, in psychological terms, is that vote-buying causes a conflict between several hard-wired systems of moral evaluation: the market-pricing morality implicit in the money power, and the in-group loyalty and the equality moralities implicit in voting.
But the human mind has other hard-wired moral systems: purity, authority, care. Perhaps the 99% could offer Mr. Perkins other tradeoffs for votes. How about a tradeoff in the Purity dimension? Would he be willing to earn extra votes by a fee and some self-defilement?
I therefore offer this Modest Proposal: the Vote Vat. Start with a cylindrical steel vat, ten feet high and six feet across. Weld ladders up the inside and outside wall. Affix a button on the floor, 3 inches across; run a wire from this button up and out to a light bulb affixed to the outside of the vat. Whenever the button is pressed, the light goes on for one minute.
Then fill the vat to the brim with sewage. Add sufficient quantities of ethyl mercaptan, putrescine and cadaverine.
Here's the proposal. For a mere 10,485,760 dollars, the donor has half an hour to turn on that light bulb up to twenty times; each time doubles the number of votes the donor can cast. Twenty doublings = 1,048,576 votes; exactly ten dollars each, a bargain if that bulb turns on twenty times. But the only way allowed to turn on that bulb is to dive to the bottom of the vat and push the button. No wet gear or goggles allowed. Also, the entire procedure is videotaped and broadcast on the airwaves and the Web.
What do you think? And what would Mr. Perkins think?
P.S.: One of my friends, BJ, says of this:
“ewwwww. you need to get out more often.”
Whereas LF says:
“Heheheheheh. Cute! And a fitting treatment for these fool oligarchs who want to restore the House of Lords.”