Thursday, December 15, 2011

Jersey Campbell's notebook ramblings I

It was only a couple weeks ago that I was clamoring for a revamp of our democratic principles. Today, I have an example of why our power to the people model is inherently unfair. Albeit a trivial example.

OK, here's the scenario. I am the proud commissioner of a fantasy basketball league (Proud commissioner? Haha. Is the fantasy league my child?). There is a heated argument going on right now over weekly vs. daily roster alterations. Some owners want their rosters to be available for daily changes, others don't. What is a commissioner to do?

I believe in weekly roster changes because not every owner is available everyday to check their squads. Allowing for daily roster changes puts those owners at a disadvantage. Mind you, if I were to implement daily roster changes I would be one of those owners who would benefit from it. I'm a basketball fanatic and I follow my fantasy team closer than my own twittergrams. But I see how the frequency of roster alterations would hurt other owners who have lives and don't sit in front of their computer everyday reading Indiana Pacer blogs.

So I put the issue to a vote among the owners. There are 12 teams in the league. So far there are three votes for weekly and two for daily. I fear that more owners will prefer daily over weekly. 

Our negative liberty democracy hinders the individuals or groups who vote against the majority decision. We go into the voting booth and vote yes or no to a proposition, or we vote for the Green Party candidate or the Republican candidate (who am I kidding? Who ever votes for the Green Party? Are they still around?). What are we thinking about before we choose our candidate? Ourselves, our family, our school district, our county. We don't think about what our decision could mean for the businesswoman who owns an apartment in Phoenix, or how it could effect the local law enforcement in Selma. 

What I've been trying to tell the owners who won't stop bothering me about the ridiculousness of weekly lineup changes is that they are missing the big picture. They don't bother with putting themselves in a situation where they are one of the owners who can't make the time to take out a starter that got suspended for flashing himself in a strip club on a Wednesday.

My point to all owners of the league is that for the league to be as fair as possible we'd have to make do with weekly roster changes. That way, we will all be vulnerable to injuries killing our chances to get a win during certain weeks. But if I am right and the majority ends up voting for daily roster changes, the balance of power shifts and the crackhead basketball fans, like me, will dominant even more then usual. 

This predicament pointed me to another conclusion about the sagacity of our political system. We want to believe that if more people think one way, it necessarily must be the right way. The owners in my fantasy league are proving otherwise. There are lessons to be learned in fantasy basketball my friends.

PS. If you're interested in playing, send me a twittergram @Jersey_Campbell or email me at


  1. the idea of a "negative liberty democracy" is super interesting to me. i don't quite understand what you mean by it though

  2. The way we define freedom, and consequentially, democracy, has been focused on our ability to do as we wish as individuals. We are born free, and we have constructed the state to protect that freedom. The state checks our freedom when we overstep the parameters of that freedom. That's why we have laws against homicide, theft, coercion and the like. So we have all the freedom we want, laws and policies are enacted to ensure we don't overstep the boundaries of that freedom. Basically, the belief is that we are naturally free, but the government has to make sure our freedom doesn't harm others. The word negative is used because our method of governing is fundamentally based on stripping away liberty. Democracy, as we practice it, is based upon the protection of the liberty of the individual, humanity and logic be damned.

    I don't know if that made any sense to you but that's how I understand it.

  3. no that was a good, i understand a little better. i'm not sure about you're example about the voting though.

    it seems ur basically asking everyone to wake up and realize that they aren't in their own little world, and that their actions affect other things, which i think is quite right. the problem with the voting analogy is, even when you are awake to the possible consequences of your actions, you still have to make choices that might have varying degrees of benefit or harm to different people, possibly in ways you could not have forseen. for instance, you may vote with the best intentions of benefiting everyone, but the way you envision something being beneficial isn't the same way others might see it as beneficial. in effect, even if you want to benefit everyone, you still have to choose what that benefit means, and meanings are always personal constructions to a certain degree.

    the more awareness you have of the cause and effects of action, the better decisions you can make, but it still is a decision that's based on personal belief and personal moral compass. having the awareness that decision making shouldnt be all about how the individual benefits is a positive thing, but at the same time, if we were to not act based solely on the possibility of negative outcomes, there would be no action at all, because none of us can account for the future.

    as long as you realize that desires for sensational pleasure or accumulation of objects is empty, you can start to make more positive decisions for others, including yourself.

    i know i went off on a bit of a tangent there that had nothing to do with the fantasy basketball thing. i just don't think its a fair analogy to draw with the type of rhetoric you use, because no matter the outcome of the vote, it's just fantasy basketball.