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Representative VS Deterministic

March 31, 2013

There’s a common argument that equal representation will be the determining point of equality. That has never made any sense to me. The creation of the US government can somewhat explain why it simply doesn’t work from a practical standpoint (while ignoring the obvious issues surrounding a purely democratic legal structure).

The senate has an even number of seats, Congress does not. Where the populations differ in extremes, more votes are given to greater populated areas; considering that they serve more of the population. But regardless of these two differences, there are still a limited number of seats; about 535. The rough current US population is about 314 million or so. That means that a single representative is supposed to account for about 586,916 people.

Do we see the problem yet?

Let me ask you a different way. How many demographics exist in the US? Call me crazy and terrible at math, but I’m fairly certain it exceeds 535. A few hundred nationalities, several political positions, a few sex/gender based identifications, your height/weight, the color of your hair, etc.

Where is the rep for the short black homosexual midgets? The atypical tall Latino hipster democrat? The overweight transsexual libertarian with purple hair? Make it a game; how many demographics can you come up with? You really expect to gauge equality based on representative numbers?

I’ll let you in on a little secret coming from a white guy (bring on the hate); I don’t have two shits to give about my representatives. They’re all conniving politicians interested in lining their pockets and placating the voters to further their own goals. And you think, laughably at best, that swapping them out with a few vagina card-carrying members of society is going to change the status-quo? You really think that they will suddenly give a shit about you? If you do, I have a bridge I can sell you.

You see, I don’t benefit from their policies. Nor do they need to share your specific demographic in order to provide you benefit. If you lobby them (throw money at them), you can get whatever policy you want in place, so long as you work the system correctly. And if you replace some white dude with some black chick; nothing is really going to change for me. I’ll continue to go about my business attempting to ignore the horrendous bullshit that comes out of both their mouths as they pander for my vote. What’s going to change for you? Will you suddenly get a tax break? Will you get a promotion? I doubt it.

At best, what may happen is government funding is shifted a little bit. You may or may not benefit, or you benefits might not change at all.

Did racism suddenly disappear when Obama took office? A black man is the most powerful (arguably) man in the US; but that didn’t really change anything did it? So what is going to happen when 535 women take office? Their menstrual cycles will sink up? Men will get shit on for some twisted sense of justice? Laws will be enacted that don’t actually do anything? I could imagine an “equal pay” law that will shatter our economic system. Not because I’m against it (or the fact one doesn’t already exist), but because of how I can imagine they’ll choose to implement and enforce it.

The field I’m in is harshly competitive and we are mostly men. Are we unwelcoming to women? Most of the industry would jump at the chance to higher a competent female. There just aren’t many. I worked with one who was insanely unprofessional. Without getting into to many specifics; she blatantly disobeyed instruction and was constantly antagonistic. I also recently threw away an applicant that was also completely unprofessional, who I found out after the fact was female. But on the flip side I have also worked with some women capable of some stellar work and I would hire in a heart beat. To be fair, there are even more men I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole do to their work ethics and quality of output.

There have been quite a few campaigns to get more women interested in the industry, including scholarships (worth more than any I was ever eligible for). Sadly it didn’t make a dent in the numbers. So is my industry unfair to women? Or do women just not really care to enter it all that much?

I think people in general just confuse the difference between the numbers being representative VS being deterministic.

Here’s an example of a deterministic number; 41mpgs. That’s 41 miles per gallon. That is going to determine what your fuel budget is and what your vehicle can do (usually at best case scenario).

Here’s an example of a representative number; 6 feet. It represents how tall you are. I know, everyone wants to be 6ft+, but sadly the average is lower. Except for you freakishly tall Dutch.

Even statistics are merely representative, because they can only be determined after the fact. It’s statistics; which means probability. Probability is not definite.

That magical 50% number doesn’t mean equality. It merely means that for some strange reason there’s an equal amount of representation. But representation doesn’t equal interest, and it doesn’t equal success. Plenty of people are interested in becoming pro-athletes, but few meet with success. Many people are successfully going broke, that doesn’t mean they’re all interested in it. Nor does a single, high-profile, widely desired, specific set of representation determine the mark when we can consider all things equal.

Things will be equal when both genders are been shat upon equally by both genders. We have a long way to go.

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One Comment
  1. vanguard permalink

    I recently came accross a german blog where a feminist was arguing for the exact same thing you describe – a 50 % representation in the equivalent of the senate. Some lines below she had a freudian slip (or maybe it was just a very honest mistake ;)) and said that the senate should consist of 50% feminist representatives. There are two ways to understand this statement :

    – Every women will eventually or implicitly support the feminists because of the shared gender
    OR
    – Feminists implicitly have the right to speak for all women, since it is only in their best interest.

    Now, from experience they should at least understand that the first statement is as you describe obviously untrue – party loyalities (at least in Germany/Switzerland) are much more important than “gender” loyalities. This is very obvious when you look at the things some social conservative women have done in the health department, like trying to make it harder to get an abortion etc. (things I heavily disagree with). They have of course been labeled as gender traitors multiple times, but such examples should show us that party lines are still important and simply having a set percentage of women is not going to change anything at all, because elected persons normally uphold the values of the political party they’re in and nothing else.

    I think the second notion is actually what they think they’ll eventually get. That’s of course a childish jab at a dictatorship – you simply have 50% of the votes in the small/large chamber. But this trend to assume the latter seems quite dangerous to me – they know by now that the simple number game of male/female ratio won’t cut it anymore and they’ll actually have to make sure that if women are voted in, they do support feminism. I think that’s why we’re seeing so much hate for women that do not vote as required – I honestly think when some feminists talk about equal representation, they litterally mean 50% of the people voting for the interests of feminists, even if that sounds incredibly stupid ;).

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