Australian Election

Australia just had an election. I applaud victors and losers for meeting the standards of democracy, but I want to talk about that, the standards of democracy for a second.

There’s a weird tendency in human nature to conflate special and important. Something special is a statistical anomaly, a rare thing, and those rare things are, if good, considered worthy of import. But important things that aren’t unusual are often ignored. A random person on the street is important. Every person is special in some context, but even in the contexts they’re not, just being a rando walking down the street, they’re still important. To even point something important out, to talk about how big a deal it is, is often taken as a point that it’s unusual.

In science, we call this a false implication. The true statement P implies Q DOESN’T imply not-P implies not-Q. The assertion to the contrary, (P -> Q) -> (P’ -> Q’), is a false implication. It’s just wrong. In colloquial English, saying I like apples doesn’t mean I don’t like peaches. The two statements are independent.

With regards to a functional democratic election, like what Australia just had, that is important. It’s significant. And the fact that it’s not unusual, that most Australian elections are functional, fair, and democratic, doesn’t reduce the import of it. If anything, the shear commonality of a such elections is itself a matter of import.

That isn’t an assertion of perfection, but denials of perfection are unnecessary. The statement, that went pretty well, doesn’t mean there were no problems. Arguing that something wasn’t perfect and therefore not pretty-good is itself a logical fallacy, conflating two disparate things.

The punchline here is that Australia just completed a routine miracle: a reasonably functional, democratic election. The long, slow arc of history seems to be pointing toward elections getting better and better, and there’s honor in taking the next step. In and of itself, having a decent election is a good important things. Having a tendency to have decent elections is also a good and important thing, for all that it erodes the specialness of the thing-individual.

I hope things get better, but I appreciate how good they are.

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