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Don
10-16-2009, 06:54 PM
In another thread, the issue of restricting the vote to a particular group of people arose. Naturally, this tweaked my interest in thinking outside the box, so I want to throw the subject out here for discussion.

The concept of truly universal suffrage, relatively new historically, is almost sacrosanct today. I have no problem barbequing sacred cows, so I have to ask, is that absolutely the best solution for a democracy? Or does universal suffrage lead, inevitably, to bread and circuses and the collapse of the status quo, as argued by any number of philosophers?

What stroke of wisdom set the age to begin voting at 18? Why not 16, or 21? Should the right to vote end at some particular age? Should a certain level of civic competency be demonstrated prior to casting a vote? Or perhaps a term of service to the country in the military or a civilian service corps should be a prerequisite.

For that matter, is universal suffrage truly representative? For example, since I've paid no Federal Income Tax the last two years, why should I have a say in the way those tax dollars are spent? Should Bill Gates or Warren Buffet have more say in how those dollars are spent, since a lot more of the dollars being spent are theirs?

Set aside your first, programmed response, and don't hide behind partisanship. I'd like to see the question seriously examined.

Let's agree that civil rights rule, so any reference to race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, etc. is ruled out. I don't want this to degenerate into a battle over racism, mysogonism, or the like.

Who should vote, and why?

Jcomp
10-16-2009, 07:08 PM
I don't mind the idea that all such things can be discussed and analyzed for review, and agree that certain stipulations (such as age) seem somewhat arbitrary (unless there actually have been studies conducted of which I am unaware), but when you get into who "should" be voting vs. who "shouldn't" the issue of discrimination in some shape or form inevitably comes forth. It's an interesting, big, tough discussion. I'd have to do some ponderous pondering.

Don
10-16-2009, 07:10 PM
I don't mind the idea that all such things can be discussed and analyzed for review, and agree that certain stipulations (such as age) seem somewhat arbitrary (unless there actually have been studies conducted of which I am unaware), but when you get into who "should" be voting vs. who "shouldn't" the issue of discrimination in some shape or form inevitably comes forth. It's an interesting, big, tough discussion. I'd have to do some ponderous pondering.
Cool. Me too. That's why I offered no opinion, simply threw out some alternatives.

Don
10-16-2009, 07:13 PM
Oh, and we discriminate every day. We eat food instead of poison, we value the opinions of smart people more than the guy who lives in the van down by the river, we choose when to step off the curb based on traffic flow. Let's remember that discrimination has a valid purpose as well as an invalid one.
The ability or power to see or make fine distinctions; discernment.

Jcomp
10-16-2009, 07:36 PM
Indeed. I supposed the phrase I was looking for was something along the lines of unfair or immoral prejudice. Just because the guy in the van down by the river isn't so intelligent, does that mean he shouldn't be allowed a voice?

I actually have my own opinions on such things and truth be told I've been called elitist for those thoughts. But they're more hypothetical than practical. Ideally I'd love to see some standard set for who gets to contribute in choices that, in the present state of the world, can affect humanity and the entire planet's present and future. But in classic Compton fashion, I don't believe in even the smart people enough to be fair, empathetic or the least bit understanding in regulating such a thing.

Don
10-16-2009, 07:46 PM
If you're looking for personal financial advice, would you value the opinion of the guy in the van down by the river as much as your economics professor? Is personal financial advice on a different level than choosing leaders who make financial decisions for the whole country? I agree the topic in general is a tough question, and it gets tougher as you delve deeper into the specifics.

Jcomp
10-16-2009, 08:01 PM
I see where you're going with the question, but what I would do personally versus what a nation should do collectively can't be treated as exactly the same. And I mean, hypothetically, who's to say my economics professor might not give me terrible advice because he thinks he's the smartest guy in the room and his theories are infallible, while the guy in the van by the river might have some practical life stories about how he got to such a lowly state that might be worth listening to as words of warning. I've actually talked to some homeless guys while doing volunteer work and heard some stories that can be taken as decent advice on how not to screw your life up. But I digress.

The thing is, you still have to draw a line somewhere and who do we rely on to regulate where the line is drawn? Running with the analogical examples: Is it just a homeless guy by the river who'd be excluded from decisions? What about just a guy who's made really bad investments and is just getting by? Would you seek his advice? What about a guy who's inherited millions and done enough to maintain them but isn't anything special regarding financial wisdom? Where does the line get drawn? Geniuses only? A few regs?

In actual context of voting, the difficulty lies in determining where to draw the line, is it fair, and is there a fair opportunity for people on the non-voter side to crossover into the voter side? Who guards the line and can they be trusted?

Don
10-16-2009, 08:17 PM
Where does the line get drawn? Geniuses only? A few regs?

In actual context of voting, the difficulty lies in determining where to draw the line, is it fair, and is there a fair opportunity for people on the non-voter side to crossover into the voter side? Who guards the line and can they be trusted?
Any discussion can be drowned in hypotheticals. I think the points you've raised above get to the core of the matter.

As a small-government guy, I personally believe that the less power resides in the hands of government, the less important it is who votes. Conversely, the more power, the more important the franchise. If government is to be all-powerful, the franchise becomes critical. I think history bears that out.

A government without the power to finance bread and circuses would be immune to the cries for bread and circuses, after all.

Dicentra P
10-16-2009, 08:18 PM
What stroke of wisdom set the age to begin voting at 18? Why not 16, or 21? Should the right to vote end at some particular age? Should a certain level of civic competency be demonstrated prior to casting a vote? Or perhaps a term of service to the country in the military or a civilian service corps should be a prerequisite.

Who should vote, and why?

Te voting age was set at 18 in the Vietnam era so those eligible to be drafted would also be eligible to vote. Still arbitrary but there was reason to it/

Oh, and we discriminate every day. We eat food instead of poison, we value the opinions of smart people more than the guy who lives in the van down by the river, we choose when to step off the curb based on traffic flow. Let's remember that discrimination has a valid purpose as well as an invalid one.

But the man in the van by the river could also be a genius, who prefers to live of the grid for reasons other than intelligence.

One implied assumption in you original post that I cannot accept is that the status quo is always and in all aspects the best way. Any form of limitation in voting is extraordinarily vulnerable to manipulation but those currently in power for their own good, either in blindness to or without concern for the needs of those who are not in power.

Don
10-16-2009, 08:30 PM
The voting age was set at 18 in the Vietnam era so those eligible to be drafted would also be eligible to vote. Still arbitrary but there was reason to it.
If there was a reason, how is that arbitrary? Actually, I think it was a great reason. Whether it's sufficient or not is open to debate. And since the draft no longer applies, does it still hold as a great reason?

Just to throw a couple of monkey wrenches in the works; what about mature 16-yr-olds, or even younger? OTOH, why not restrict the vote to over 25 or 30, so people will have had at least some experience in the real world?

But the man in the van by the river could also be a genius, who prefers to live of the grid for reasons other than intelligence.
Sure, there are always exceptions. We can drown in hypotheticals. I happen to come pretty close to living in a van down by the river, myself.
One implied assumption in you original post that I cannot accept is that the status quo is always and in all aspects the best way.
I don't see that in the OP, and anyone who knows me would say I generally don't support the status quo simply because it is the status quo.
Any form of limitation in voting is extraordinarily vulnerable to manipulation but those currently in power for their own good, either in blindness to or without concern for the needs of those who are not in power.
Absolutely true, and the single biggest objection to any form of limitation. Who will watch the watchers, and all that. Lenin pointed out a closely-related issue.
Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything.

semilargeintestine
10-16-2009, 08:43 PM
IME, 18-yos are not the people you want voting. Obviously there are exceptions, but just look at any college campus. The guy doing a keg-stand with the "fuck you" hat is going to pick the next president?

Dicentra P
10-16-2009, 08:46 PM
I have no problem barbequing sacred cows, so I have to ask, is that absolutely the best solution for a democracy? Or does universal suffrage lead, inevitably, to bread and circuses and the collapse of the status quo, as argued by any number of philosophers?

The association of the collapse of the status quo with bread and circus in opposition to the best solution for a democracy implies, intentionally or not, that it is something that should be preferred.

I think the setting the age at 18 for the draftees is arbitrary because it addresses only the issue of fairness to the 18 year old males eligible for the draft and not the most appropriate age for active participation in the democratic process. It was mainly an attempt to head off growing resistance to the draft, not an attempt to strengthen the democratic process.

Dommo
10-16-2009, 08:50 PM
As someone who just finished college, I can tell you the college kids don't really vote. The apathy levels are pretty ridiculous, but I also think that their opinions are just as valid as the old folks views are. In fact I'd say they're more important.

It's the young people who strive for change and improvement in society, because as people age they tend to resist change.

Think about it.

Civil Rights -> driven by young people
Emancipation -> driven by the young idealists
Gay Rights -> young idealists
18 year old right to vote -> etc.

In fact the bigger problem is that young people DON'T turn out to vote. We're the ones being crapped on by the past generation who completely boned up the economy, and for all the bitching that old people make about social security and medicaid, at least they'll get to see it. Shit by the time I get to be 65 the only thing I'm going to get is a free whopper from burger king once a month.

That said I think some requirements should need to be met in order to vote or at least should increase the weight of your vote. Everyone gets to vote, just some have votes that are worth more. Things like graduating from high school, not being a felon, paying your taxes, regularly participating in elections, should all improve your influence simply because being a good citizen should be rewarded. If historically you can be shown to not give a flying shit about what happens, then your voice shouldn't be heard as loudly as those who do give a crap. Sure you're still heard, but your vote might only count for half of someone elses.

Dicentra P
10-16-2009, 08:52 PM
IME, 18-yos are not the people you want voting. Obviously there are exceptions, but just look at any college campus. The guy doing a keg-stand with the "fuck you" hat is going to pick the next president?

Unfortunately many of these guys never improve. I know a few 40 year olds who are no better.

To stop my compulsive nit picking and actually address the issue at hand I don't think it is a matter of excluding people from the process but of providing them with the information they need and the critical skills to use it to make an informed choice. There would still be those who don't want to make the effort of make unwise choices but it won't necessarily be the less intelligent ones.

semilargeintestine
10-16-2009, 08:53 PM
That's why I think you should have to take some sort of test before you get to vote. Keep away the nimrods.

SPMiller
10-16-2009, 09:03 PM
In another thread, the issue of restricting the vote to a particular group of people arose. Naturally, this tweaked my interest in thinking outside the box, so I want to throw the subject out here for discussion.

The concept of truly universal suffrage, relatively new historically, is almost sacrosanct today. I have no problem barbequing sacred cows, so I have to ask, is that absolutely the best solution for a democracy? Or does universal suffrage lead, inevitably, to bread and circuses and the collapse of the status quo, as argued by any number of philosophers?

What stroke of wisdom set the age to begin voting at 18? Why not 16, or 21? Should the right to vote end at some particular age? Should a certain level of civic competency be demonstrated prior to casting a vote? Or perhaps a term of service to the country in the military or a civilian service corps should be a prerequisite.

For that matter, is universal suffrage truly representative? For example, since I've paid no Federal Income Tax the last two years, why should I have a say in the way those tax dollars are spent? Should Bill Gates or Warren Buffet have more say in how those dollars are spent, since a lot more of the dollars being spent are theirs?

Set aside your first, programmed response, and don't hide behind partisanship. I'd like to see the question seriously examined.

Let's agree that civil rights rule, so any reference to race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, etc. is ruled out. I don't want this to degenerate into a battle over racism, mysogonism, or the like.

Who should vote, and why?I'm just happy we don't have to serve in the military to become citizens or to vote, as depicted in certain fictional wank-fantasies of the future.

Don
10-16-2009, 09:08 PM
No comments on this part of the OP?
For that matter, is universal suffrage truly representative? For example, since I've paid no Federal Income Tax the last two years, why should I have a say in the way those tax dollars are spent? Should Bill Gates or Warren Buffet have more say in how those dollars are spent, since a lot more of the dollars being spent are theirs?
I thought that would be the most controversial.

Dommo
10-16-2009, 09:08 PM
See I think more in the opposite direction.

Everyone gets to vote, but some get votes with heavier weighting.

Lets say the default vote has a value of 1. By doing different things, you get bonuses, or penalties to your vote.

Graduate high school +.5 votes for life
Pay your taxes on time +.5 votes
Commit a felony in the past 5 years? -1 vote
Vote in last year's election +.5 vote
Active Military Service or Honorable Discharge/Retired, Peace Corps, Americorps, etc. + .5 votes for life
Volunteer Work .001 votes per hour

I think this would be a better approach. Those who actively participate would benefit more in a system like this.

Fran
10-16-2009, 09:16 PM
Is an uninformed vote better than no vote?

For example, there are plenty of people here who say 'I've voted Labour/Tory all my life, and I intend to continue'. I'm sure there are equivalent people everywhere. So, if Labour or the Tories said 'We're going to fire cannons into every third home in the country' or 'We're banning fish just because we can' would those people STILL vote for them? Probably a certain percentage would, because that's what they always do. I have no way of quantifying that percentage, it certainly wouldn't be a majority, but if a party has a core who will vote for them whatever they do, in my opinion it disincentivises them greatly. If I were ever going to be in favour of restricting votes, I'd rather look at the uninformed than the apathetic. The apathetic are sliding us into potential dictatorship, but the uninformed are helping to choose our potential dictator.

semilargeintestine
10-16-2009, 09:17 PM
Agreed. An idiot voting for someone simply because they want to cancel out another person's vote or they always vote Dem/Repub/Libertarian/Mickey Mouse/etc should not be voting IMO.

robeiae
10-16-2009, 09:53 PM
The concept of truly universal suffrage, relatively new historically, is almost sacrosanct today. I have no problem barbequing sacred cows, so I have to ask, is that absolutely the best solution for a democracy?We're not a democracy, as you well know. But for an actual democracy, universal participation is the means of identifying it as such. That said, the ideal of universal suffrage is--imo--the thing that should be the guiding principle for any republic that claims to be of, by, and for the People.

Or does universal suffrage lead, inevitably, to bread and circuses and the collapse of the status quo, as argued by any number of philosophers?Well, that's what most of the Framers--especially Madison--assumed. Hence, the Electoral College, Senators chosen by State legislatures, and two-year terms for Reps (the only truly popularly elected Federal officials).

What stroke of wisdom set the age to begin voting at 18? Why not 16, or 21? Should the right to vote end at some particular age? Should a certain level of civic competency be demonstrated prior to casting a vote? Or perhaps a term of service to the country in the military or a civilian service corps should be a prerequisite.Per JComp, you gotta have a line. And the line should be applied rigorously and consistently. Hence, no exceptions for "mature" sixteen year olds and the like.

For that matter, is universal suffrage truly representative? For example, since I've paid no Federal Income Tax the last two years, why should I have a say in the way those tax dollars are spent? Should Bill Gates or Warren Buffet have more say in how those dollars are spent, since a lot more of the dollars being spent are theirs?A better solution--imo--is for you to pay some income tax...;)

Seriously though, under the rubric of the modern free nation-state, taxes are payments for services rendered. Thus, everyone should be subject to the same standard. Income is a stupid vehicle for figuring taxes, as it allows exactly what we have: a tyranny of the majority.

Who should vote, and why?Every citizen should vote. The age of full-citizenship should be the only standard.

robeiae
10-16-2009, 09:56 PM
In fact the bigger problem is that young people DON'T turn out to vote. We're the ones being crapped on by the past generation who completely boned up the economy, and for all the bitching that old people make about social security and medicaid, at least they'll get to see it. Shit by the time I get to be 65 the only thing I'm going to get is a free whopper from burger king once a month.Relax. Your age group is gonna fuck up plenty of things, and you'll crap on the ones behind you when you do it...

robeiae
10-16-2009, 09:58 PM
No comments on this part of the OP?

I thought that would be the most controversial.
Btw Don, we already have unequal voting, wherein some people's votes count for more then others: the Senate.

jennontheisland
10-16-2009, 10:16 PM
Giving more weight to votes of those who make more money and less to those who pay less taxes creates an inequality. And I think your constitution-type-thingy says something about everyone being equal...

Me, I like bread and circuses.

As to the age thing... I find it hilarious that the US trusts people to vote but not to drink at 18.

blacbird
10-17-2009, 01:14 AM
What stroke of wisdom set the age to begin voting at 18? Why not 16, or 21?

It used to be 21, prior to the 1960s. A huge impetus for lowering it to 18 had to do with pre-21-year-olds being drafted into military service and sent to risk (and lose) their lives in Vietnam. We feel that we have to set a chronological maturity limitation, and that is admittedly arbitrary, but if we're going to do that, it has to be set at some level.

Beyond that age standard, there exist citizenship requirements and convicted felons are generally restricted from voting, at least while incarcerated and for some time thereafter.

What other standards would you propose?

caw

blacbird
10-17-2009, 01:14 AM
Btw Don, we already have unequal voting, wherein some people's votes count for more then others: the Senate.

And the Electoral College.

caw

MattW
10-17-2009, 01:46 AM
And the Electoral College.

caw
If only we could have the weight of votes come more from merit than population or dollars...

Dicentra P
10-17-2009, 02:11 AM
If only we could have the weight of votes come more from merit than population or dollars...

Simply weigh the soul of each voter and calculate the value of the vote accordingly.

backslashbaby
10-17-2009, 02:17 AM
I used to think we needed a test to prove that someone was educated enough about the issue/person to vote. But now I've seen so many 'educated' people whose greed and/or stubbornness [etc] decides their vote. There's no sense in leaving out the simply ignorant who balance the willfully ignorant. I just hope they vote in opposite directions ;)

And using taxes paid to decide anything? Psssh. If we had the Dalai Lama, he'd not get a vote then.

Shadow_Ferret
10-17-2009, 02:21 AM
I've always thought voting should be restricted to those who can pass a fairly simple civics test so they at least are "informed" voters.

Granted, I'd be excluded, but that's the price I'm willing to pay for an educated votership.

rugcat
10-17-2009, 02:21 AM
Problem is, all forms of restricting who gets to vote and who doesn't runs into the possibility of creating a society controlled by a small group of people. And they not be the people with your best interests at heart.

The strength of universal suffrage is not that it's such a great system, it's that like democracy in general, it makes it that much more difficult for any one faction to gain control.

Another interesting question is whether democracy is really the best system for everyone. It works great here, but what about a country where 90% of the populace is illiterate, where the average person is ruled by superstition and has not a clue about the modern world. For a democracy to succeed, you need an informed electorate. A philospher-king seems to be a far better option.

backslashbaby
10-17-2009, 02:27 AM
The smart, or moral, etc folks darned well better be persuasive in a democracy. If they aren't, the country will reap what it sows. But if that's what a country is, it's what a country is.

Hopefully, democracies motivate society to uplift the masses. The masses can't be ignored anyway, democracy or no.

blacbird
10-17-2009, 02:46 AM
Problem is, all forms of restricting who gets to vote and who doesn't runs into the possibility of creating a society controlled by a small group of people. And they not be the people with your best interests at heart.

We've been there, done that, with the infamous "poll tax" and "literacy tests" formerly administered in a certain part of the country to prevent a particular ethnic group from voting. Nothing but a bad idea, in any shape or form.

caw

blacbird
10-17-2009, 02:51 AM
A philospher-king seems to be a far better option.

And the last one of those was . . . ?

99.9999% of the time we get monarchs like Louis XIV, George III, Ivan the Terrible, Czar Nicholas II, Nero, Caligula, or non-monarchical authoritarian tyrants like Stalin, Hitler, Idi Amin, Saddam Hussein.

No thanks. I'll take sloppy Democracy any moment of any day.

caw

Shadow_Ferret
10-17-2009, 02:52 AM
We've been there, done that, with the infamous "poll tax" and "literacy tests" formerly administered in a certain part of the country to prevent a particular ethnic group from voting. Nothing but a bad idea, in any shape or form.

caw

So it doesn't bother you that those people on Leno's "Jay Walking" have an equal vote?

shawkins
10-17-2009, 02:54 AM
A philospher-king seems to be a far better option.

I've always thought it would be interesting to just pick random people and put them in charge for X years. Have a lotto drawing or something. I'd be curious to see if that was better or worse than what we have now, and in what ways.

Kitty Pryde
10-17-2009, 02:56 AM
I'd much rather live in a nation where dumb people get to vote, and they cast dumb votes, than a nation where dumb people aren't allowed to vote.

Besides, didn't anyone see that episode of The Simpsons where the local MENSA club took over running Springfield? It ended in disaster and chaos, people!

Shadow_Ferret
10-17-2009, 02:58 AM
That's why I don't watch the Simpsons.

I still think people should have some sort of clue when they vote.

jennontheisland
10-17-2009, 03:33 AM
And who gets to decide if someone has a clue?

Shadow_Ferret
10-17-2009, 03:53 AM
I already said, a basic civics test.

jennontheisland
10-17-2009, 03:58 AM
And my question was along the lines of who writes the test.

Will there be a study guide? Do you go to jail if you get caught cheating or just banned for life from voting? What's a pass? 50%? 70% 100%. Just how much does a legal citizen who is of age have to know in order to participate in democracy?

WriteKnight
10-17-2009, 04:23 AM
The 'right' to vote is seldom excercised anyway. I see no reason to restrict it as it is self limiting.

(If the Voting Eligible Population was 212,720,027 and there were 131,256,905 valid ballots counted (finally tally), then 61.7% of eligible voters voted in the 2008 Election. ) - An extraordinarly high amount, historically. What to make of the roughly 40% who chose not to vote?




The age of vote - should be tied to the age of majority - whatever society deems it to reasonably be. If you can enter a contract as 'an adult' - you should have the right to vote. 18, 21, whatever the society deems.

blacbird
10-17-2009, 04:40 AM
So it doesn't bother you that those people on Leno's "Jay Walking" have an equal vote?

Nope.

caw

Dommo
10-17-2009, 04:49 AM
That's why I think my solution is probably the best. Everyone gets to vote, but the people who actually do their civic duty(e.g. pay taxes, participate in elections, perform public service), get votes that weigh more. People that try to dodge their responsibilities, or those that commit crimes have votes that weigh less.

No one is restricted in voting this way, and it provides another incentive for doing what you're supposed to be doing as a member of a democratic society.

blacbird
10-17-2009, 04:57 AM
That's why I think my solution is probably the best. Everyone gets to vote, but the people who actually do their civic duty(e.g. pay taxes, participate in elections, perform public service), get votes that weigh more. People that try to dodge their responsibilities, or those that commit crimes have votes that weigh less.

And somebody has to keep track of such things and make official judgments and establish a bureaucracy to enforce matters, and get it all communicated to the physical voting mechanisms. And we all know how reliable big bureaucracies are at keeping things straight. I'd love to see a test of judgment of "people that try to dodge their responsibilities".

Again, we always come back to the same problem: Who watches the watchers?

And, as has been mentioned (I think) earlier in the thread, this kind of system is already somewhat in place, by default. The less vigorously interested individuals in our society are less likely to vote. Works for me.

caw

StephanieFox
10-17-2009, 05:16 AM
That's why I think you should have to take some sort of test before you get to vote. Keep away the nimrods.

In 1966, the Supreme Court, struck down the use of the poll tax, still in use in Alabama, Mississippi, Texas and Virginia. In 1970, the Voting Right's act was extended and eliminated literacy requirements, still at use in 18 states, including states in the North and West. This ruling was upheld by the Supreme Court in 1975. Hugo Black wrote the opinion and said the court had come to their decision because that the literacy requirements had been used for the sole reason to keep blacks and other minorities from voting.

This was true. Black people almost never could pass them since they were designed for them to fail. Even if they passed, they were told they'd failed and then, often they were 'taught a lesson' for daring to take the test.. Literacy tests were designed specifically to keep blacks from voting and at first also disenfranchised poor whites as well. To get around this, many sates added grandfather clauses that would let any person who could vote in 1870 (as well as their descendants) to vote without the test. This also allowed these people to avoid the poll tax, which was in wide use, not just in the South. Most Blacks couldn't afford the tax and most poor whites didn't have to pay it (see above).

Note: The 15th Amendment to the US Constitution, passed in 1870, gave the vote to any male of any race. The 25th Amendment eliminated the poll tax.

GregB
10-17-2009, 05:30 AM
I favor creating fewer ignorant people over disenfranchising them. In other words, I'm with blacbird on this one. caw.

jodiodi
10-17-2009, 05:37 AM
I'm with both Shadow_Ferret & Blacbird.

I think people who vote should be reasonably well-informed about the choices they're making. Don't just vote Republican because "Daddy was a republican and Grandaddy was a Republican and my spouse is a republican".

If people can't be bothered to learn about the issues and process they're voting on, then why should their ignorant choices be honored? There's no excuse for stupidity at the polls.

Ravenlocks
10-17-2009, 06:55 AM
Anything other than universal suffrage and you end up with some people being unfairly excluded. We live in a country where a large number of people, educated or not, "responsible citizens" or not, vote based on emotions and party lines (and most recently, some voted based on race, either for or against). You can't weed out those people. They don't fall into any one excludable category.

It doesn't much matter anyway, because most of the folks who run don't deserve to hold power, and we don't have a "none of the above" option to force a new election. I'm of the opinion that democracy of any stripe doesn't work much beyond the first election or two. After that it's all about who you know and how much money you have to promote yourself.

At least in a monarchy you have a chance of sometimes getting someone who's not in it for the power and doesn't have to answer to lobbyists.

Dictators are not the same as hereditary monarchs. Dictators tend to create police states because they're terrified of getting overthrown by the next guy who wants the job.

rugcat
10-17-2009, 06:57 AM
And, as has been mentioned (I think) earlier in the thread, this kind of system is already somewhat in place, by default. The less vigorously interested individuals in our society are less likely to vote. Works for me.Yes, it's the saving grace.

clintl
10-17-2009, 06:58 AM
I think people who vote should be reasonably well-informed about the choices they're making. Don't just vote Republican because "Daddy was a republican and Grandaddy was a Republican and my spouse is a republican".



I can't be accused of doing that. I'm the family heretic politically.

Duncan J Macdonald
10-17-2009, 08:25 AM
And the Electoral College.

caw

No, every vote in the Electoral College is equal.

blacbird
10-17-2009, 09:41 AM
No, every vote in the Electoral College is equal.

Perhaps you're being facetious or sarcastic, but the math is:

A Wyoming Elector represents 206,000 citizens.

A California Elector represents 655,000 citizens.

As robeieio has so kindly pointed out, this really results from the nature of the electoral situation of U.S. Senators (which he would prefer be appointed, anyway, thereby resulting in math that a Senator in any state would be elected by 0 citizens). I suppose, in some twisted way, that would level the political playing field.

We could extend that idea to national executive leadership and get . . . . A KING!

caw

rugcat
10-17-2009, 09:45 AM
We could extend that idea to national executive leadership and get . . . . A KING!I believe Rob has already applied for that position.

Mr. Pocket Keeper
10-17-2009, 02:41 PM
I used to work with a guy---life long Democrat---who refused to vote for Bill Clinton cause his wife had left him for a man named William. Now he was an intelligent man---would've easily passed a civics test---but I'd still classify him as an idiot.

Don
10-17-2009, 06:37 PM
I used to work with a guy---life long Democrat---who refused to vote for Bill Clinton cause his wife had left him for a man named William. Now he was an intelligent man---would've easily passed a civics test---but I'd still classify him as an idiot.
Are you sure it was a different William? He did get around a bit.

robeiae
10-17-2009, 07:32 PM
(which he would prefer be appointed, anyway, thereby resulting in math that a Senator in any state would be elected by 0 citizens). I suppose, in some twisted way, that would level the political playing field.
If the Senators were appointed by State legislatures, it would state politicians that would be on the hook for appointing shitty peeps. This would--imo--make Senators less likely to be partisan hacks. Also, since this means there wouldn't be any campaigning for the Senate, it would like a HUGE chunk of money out of politics.

But I can see how these would be bad things...in some twisted way.

blacbird
10-17-2009, 11:52 PM
If the Senators were appointed by State legislatures, it would state politicians that would be on the hook for appointing shitty peeps. This would--imo--make Senators less likely to be partisan hacks. Also, since this means there wouldn't be any campaigning for the Senate, it would like a HUGE chunk of money out of politics.


You just keep believing this, rob; especially that last part. For me, the idea of my state legislators appointing U.S. Senators gives me the creeps. Because most of them are creeps. Several have been sent to prison recently for bribery convictions, and numerous others remain under some cloud of continuing investigation. Election financing irregularities plague a lot of them. And you think giving them such appointment power will take money out of politics?

Of course, maybe they're a lot more honest and devoted to public service in Florida.

caw

Shadow_Ferret
10-17-2009, 11:57 PM
And my question was along the lines of who writes the test.

Will there be a study guide? Do you go to jail if you get caught cheating or just banned for life from voting? What's a pass? 50%? 70% 100%. Just how much does a legal citizen who is of age have to know in order to participate in democracy?

It's basic civics! Things you'd know reading the news. And I have no idea what a pass would be. That would be determined, probably, by a board of educators who understand things like that.

And as far as I'm concerned, you need to know things like who is YOUR representative and senator. Who the President is. If you show them a picture of Obama and they say it's Will Smith then THEY DON'T GET TO VOTE.

Seems simple enough to me.

robeiae
10-18-2009, 12:45 AM
You just keep believing this, rob; especially that last part. For me, the idea of my state legislators appointing U.S. Senators gives me the creeps. Because most of them are creeps. Several have been sent to prison recently for bribery convictions, and numerous others remain under some cloud of continuing investigation. Election financing irregularities plague a lot of them. And you think giving them such appointment power will take money out of politics?
Well look, that's a consequence of the current system. You're wrongly assuming that everything else will remain static.

And the reason why your state legislators are such creeps is because you (probably)--like most people--concentrate too mush of your attention on DC and the Feds. As apathetic as people are in Federal elections, they're even worse in state and local ones, by and large.

We should--imo--spend more time educating our selves with what is going on at state and local levels. We let these people get away with murder because we find the DC stuff "sexy."

Really, there's too much going on--at all levels--to expect an informed populace. The incentives should drive the typical individual to stay abreast of the things closest to home, the things he/she can actually have a measurable impact on.

Madison knew this. You--like most people--don't.

rugcat
10-18-2009, 01:31 AM
Really, there's too much going on--at all levels--to expect an informed populace. The incentives should drive the typical individual to stay abreast of the things closest to home, the things he/she can actually have a measurable impact on.

Madison knew this. You--like most people--don't.You are assuming a level of knowledge and interest that does not exist among much of the populace. Those who favor a civics test or a restriction of some sort point to the Jay Walk phenomenon -- and they have a point.

How exactly is someone who thinks Mexico is a US state going to assess the worth of different representatives' blueprints for dealing with trade questions concerning our neighbor to the south?

As to things close to home? When someone has no concept of what it takes to manage the traffic problem in a large city they will happily vote for someone who promises to do away with all parking tickets and restrictions.

Luckily, they usually don't bother to register or vote -- if they can even find the polling place.

robeiae
10-18-2009, 02:00 AM
You are assuming a level of knowledge and interest that does not exist among much of the populace.No, I'm not assiming any such thing. Read my post, again: I noted the apathy. It's always going to be present. The point is that right now, it's greater in local and state matters. The incentives should drive it the other way.

Look at the Senate, really look at it. We--in general--spend way too much time worrying about what goes on in that body, when we can have almost no impact on representation. It's just too expensive--except in the smaller states--to run a Senate campaign for anyone but those that are already in the game. There are exceptions, to be sure, but not many. At the end of the day, we've got a room dominated by lifers. And they don't give a rat's @ss about the voters, 'cept once every six years.

StephanieFox
10-18-2009, 05:50 AM
And as far as I'm concerned, you need to know things like who is YOUR representative and senator. Who the President is. If you show them a picture of Obama and they say it's Will Smith then THEY DON'T GET TO VOTE.


1) Can blind people vote?
2) Who is Will Smith?
3) Most ignorant and apathetic folks who don't know who is president really don't bother to go to the polls. That means we probably don't need to spend the time and money testing them even if voter testing wouldn't lead to discrimination (like it always did.)

Shadow_Ferret
10-18-2009, 05:52 AM
1) Why shouldn't blind people vote?

2) Not the president.

Torrance
10-18-2009, 07:17 AM
The only limitation on voting I might apply is one involving the payment of taxes. A part of me thinks you should be invested in the process in order to participate... but otherwise, I am happy with the status quo as it stands.

jennontheisland
10-18-2009, 07:22 AM
It's basic civics! Things you'd know reading the news. And I have no idea what a pass would be. That would be determined, probably, by a board of educators who understand things like that.

And as far as I'm concerned, you need to know things like who is YOUR representative and senator. Who the President is. If you show them a picture of Obama and they say it's Will Smith then THEY DON'T GET TO VOTE.

Seems simple enough to me.

Dude, if it's a test, people are gonna try to cheat. Hell, two years ago at my school, engineering students were busted cheating on their professional ethics test. Ethics! (and it wasn't even a test for grades. no effect on GPA at all. was practice for the real test)

And people who think a pic of Obama is Will Smith probably don't bother to vote anyways.

tiny
10-18-2009, 07:45 AM
The only limitation on voting I might apply is one involving the payment of taxes. A part of me thinks you should be invested in the process in order to participate... but otherwise, I am happy with the status quo as it stands.


Combat connected 100% disabled veterans don't pay taxes.

blacbird
10-18-2009, 08:26 AM
The only limitation on voting I might apply is one involving the payment of taxes. A part of me thinks you should be invested in the process in order to participate... but otherwise, I am happy with the status quo as it stands.

I like this. Hadn't thought of the tax angle, but, yeah, that makes sense, within the context of obvious legal limitations or privileges such as noted by Tinyterror. Otherwise, you're a citizen, you get a vote. One vote. Period. Use the bastud.

And it really doesn't bother me if more than half of the eligible electorate doesn't vote. That only means they don't give a rat's, and if that's the case, I'd prefer they didn't take part in the governance system.

caw

blacbird
10-18-2009, 08:29 AM
Luckily, they usually don't bother to register or vote -- if they can even find the polling place.

Exactly. Many of these people can't find their buttocks with any of their three hands.

caw

Mac H.
10-18-2009, 12:06 PM
How exactly is someone who thinks Mexico is a US state going to assess the worth of different representatives' blueprints for dealing with trade questions concerning our neighbor to the south?But we live with those limitations every day.

You could say the same about ANY of the people we employ to do a job.

eg:

"How exactly is someone who doesn't know that saffron is a spice going to assess the worth of various restaurants when choosing where to eat?"

The answer, of course, is that it isn't about whether we know enough to evaluate the expert ability of the person cooking. Nor is there even one correct answer. Some people may choose a burger, another may want seafood and someone else may want haute cuisine.

By allowing the 'group' to make a decision on the issues that affect everyone, it isn't about everybody in the group having to study cooking to choose a good restaurant ... the guy who wants seafood may know absolutely nothing about the subtleties of burger making.

Think about how it works in your social group ... if there are a bunch of you choosing a restaurant to eat at, and one guy was the guy who claimed to be an expert - you might let him choose the restaurant. However, the restaurant he chooses might be outside the budget range of everyone else .. so it is still important to let people in the group of diners 'vote' - EVEN IF THEY AREN'T KNOWLEDGEABLE ABOUT COOKING.

In a case like this, apathy is actually an indication of a system that is working. Remember, 'democracy' isn't a method to pick the optimum solution - it is a method of ensuring that extremely bad solutions don't happen. So if a small minority started to choose that everyone would be getting (and paying for, via taxes) lobster every night, the majority would lose their apathy and start voting on dinner menus again.

The impressive thing about the system is that is still works- even without voters becoming knowledgeable in the area that they are voting on!

Remember, no voting system can possibly be perfect - apart from trivial cases, it is actually impossible to have a rigourous definition for what it means for 'the people' to have an opinion. In fact, Arrow pretty much won the Nobel Prize for proving this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arrow's_impossibility_theorem).

Mac
(PS: If you want a readable discussion of why no voting system can be perfect, see 'Why Flip a Coin? : The Art and Science of Good Decisions'.)

aruna
10-18-2009, 02:16 PM
And the last one of those was . . . ?

99.9999% of the time we get monarchs like Louis XIV, George III, Ivan the Terrible, Czar Nicholas II, Nero, Caligula, or non-monarchical authoritarian tyrants like Stalin, Hitler, Idi Amin, Saddam Hussein.

No thanks. I'll take sloppy Democracy any moment of any day.

caw

But 0.0001% of the time we get philosopher/kings like Akbar the Great (http://www.iloveindia.com/history/medieval-india/mughal-empire/akbar.html)
and Asoka the Great (http://www.indiaparenting.com/stories/greatindians/gi014.shtml). Rare they might be, but such ones for me are the example of what Government should/could be.

Torrance
10-18-2009, 08:23 PM
Combat connected 100% disabled veterans don't pay taxes.

Obviously there would be exceptions to the rule. Disabled vets have surely paid into the system.

blacbird
10-19-2009, 01:17 AM
In a case like this, apathy is actually an indication of a system that is working. Remember, 'democracy' isn't a method to pick the optimum solution - it is a method of ensuring that extremely bad solutions don't happen.

Very well expressed, except that I would replace the word "optimum" with "perfect".

In the U.S. we've had free elections for leadership for more than two centuries. Out of that we've had some incompetent leaders, for sure, but we've never had anything close to a Stalin or Hitler or Mao or Saddam or Castro. Much the same can be said for Britain, France, even Japan and Germany, since the advent of real free public-participation electoral systems.

I'm not buying into the idea that if we sit around and allow a ruling monarchy to produce a really good leader once a millennium or so, it will be an improvement.

As for Akbar the Great, we know about his conquests and cultural achievements, but what exactly do we know about how well his citizenry fared during his rule?

caw

Duncan J Macdonald
10-19-2009, 07:07 AM
Perhaps you're being facetious or sarcastic, but the math is:

A Wyoming Elector represents 206,000 citizens.

A California Elector represents 655,000 citizens.

As robeieio has so kindly pointed out, this really results from the nature of the electoral situation of U.S. Senators (which he would prefer be appointed, anyway, thereby resulting in math that a Senator in any state would be elected by 0 citizens). I suppose, in some twisted way, that would level the political playing field.

We could extend that idea to national executive leadership and get . . . . A KING!

caw
Neither.

Each Elector represents one vote in the College. Since the number of Electors is dependent on the population (plus two for the Senators), the actual number of voters represented by each elector is closer than the cherry-picked extremes that you posted. On average a state is awarded one electoral vote for every 545,828 people. (From the FairVote (http://www.fairvote.org/?page=985) site)

I would prefer the appointment of senators returned to the Governors myself.

robeiae
10-19-2009, 07:26 AM
I would prefer the appointment of senators returned to the Governors myself.
I'm okay with that.

blacbird
10-19-2009, 07:58 AM
I'm okay with that.

Well, we essentially got that with Rod Blagojevich, didn't we?

I remain bemused by how all you guys who regard "government" as the essential evil are so eager to allow governmental officials to appoint other major governmental officials, rather than rely on public voting.

caw

aruna
10-19-2009, 02:17 PM
As for Akbar the Great, we know about his conquests and cultural achievements, but what exactly do we know about how well his citizenry fared during his rule?

caw

Actually, we know quite a lot; he had an active biographer in his court. I've recently been researching his life. Of course, there was a huge disparity between rich and poor (just as there is today with democracy!) but Akbar put through reforms amazing for an emperor with absolute power. Just off the cuff, I can list the following:

He abolished child marriage
He abolished forced marriage; if the woman did not consent, the marriage could be annulled
He outlawed the circumcision of boys before they were 12 years old and could give their consent (in this he was in advance of present day USA!)
As a Muslim himself, he cancelled a crippling tax which all non-Muslims were forced to pay - much to the protests of the imams
Abolished the forced conversion to Islam, particularly in the cases of Hindu women marrying Muslim man. He practiced what he preached, allowing his own Rajput wife to remain a Hindu and even to build a Hindu shrine within his palace.
He promoted the equality of all religions and deliberately brought Hindus into his previously all-Muslim government, particularly into the higher ranks
he encouraged debate among the principles of all religions in order to reach accord. He had Jesuits priests within his court, listened to what they had to say, nodded, but refused to be converted. But he had one of his sons to be raised a Christian.
He held a public court each day to listen to petitioners from the public
He was the ultimate judge in criminal cases. But he insisted that in cases of capital punishment, the criminal should be brought before him three times after the initial sentence, just so he could convince himself that it was deserved. He had a fiery temper, and wanted reason not emotion to be the basis of his sentencing; thus the "cooling off" period.

And one point for which I particularly love him: in those days, only the birth of boys was celebrated. The birth of girls was ignored. But when his own daughter was born, he ordered three days of celebration!

He was constantly in conflict with the imams because of his liberal laws, constantly questioned Islam's narrow interpretations, and constantly listened to people from all peruasions in order to develop his own philosophy and the best mode of government.

For a sixteenth century absolute ruler he was far ahead of his time, who sincerely tried to find the most reasonable and just form of government for his subjects. Of course, given the poor infrastructure of the times and the vast area he ruled over, his laws could not always be implemented. But the intent was definitely there.

OK, history lesson and derail over!

robeiae
10-19-2009, 05:37 PM
Well, we essentially got that with Rod Blagojevich, didn't we?

I remain bemused by how all you guys who regard "government" as the essential evil are so eager to allow governmental officials to appoint other major governmental officials, rather than rely on public voting.

cawLol! You throw that up as a counter? Good God, that's weak. What has "public voting" gotten us? Stevens?

:ROFL::ROFL::ROFL::ROFL::ROFL::ROFL::ROFL:

Your bemusement would be much more impressive if it even appeared that you had thought things through...

blacbird
10-19-2009, 11:34 PM
Lol! You throw that up as a counter? Good God, that's weak. What has "public voting" gotten us? Stevens?


Stevens originally was appointed to the Senate by Governor Wally Hickel, to fill a vacancy (the death of a Democratic Senator), after having lost one try for the Senate via election. After that, he rode the power of incumbency to get elected six times. Nobody's ever accused him of not being a savvy politico.

Your comment would have been more impressive had you not felt it necessary to finish with a personal insult. I generally considered you above such tactics.

Note the "past tense" construction in that final sentence.

caw

robeiae
10-20-2009, 01:56 AM
Your comment would have been more impressive had you not felt it necessary to finish with a personal insult. I generally considered you above such tactics.

Note the "past tense" construction in that final sentence.

caw
Well, you started with one (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=4157023&postcount=53):

As robeieio has so kindly pointed out, this really results from the nature of the electoral situation of U.S. Senators (which he would prefer be appointed, anyway, thereby resulting in math that a Senator in any state would be elected by 0 citizens). I suppose, in some twisted way, that would level the political playing field.
If my thinking can be twisted, yours can certainly be superficial.

If you don't want return fire, stop taking potshots. Whining about it now just makes you kinda Limbaugh-esque...

Duncan J Macdonald
10-20-2009, 06:37 AM
Well, we essentially got that with Rod Blagojevich, didn't we?

I remain bemused by how all you guys who regard "government" as the essential evil are so eager to allow governmental officials to appoint other major governmental officials, rather than rely on public voting.

caw

Essentially, because it would tend to fracture the Senate into 50 or so power blocs instead of 2. (Well, likely closer to 35 and 3, but you get the idea)

The Founding Fathers had it right -- the House is elected by and represents the people, the Senate is elected by and represents the States, and the President is elected by the electoral college (as a compromise between popular vote and congressinal appointment) and represents the country as a whole.

The whole thing has worked rather well (absent the current abberation where Senators are elected by popular vote), and it strikes me as an example of If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

As to why I want a fractured Congress -- because that way there are too many separate interests to get anything except the largest, most overarching issues passed, and would require true cooperation to do it.

blacbird
10-20-2009, 07:02 AM
The whole thing has worked rather well (absent the current abberation where Senators are elected by popular vote), and it strikes me as an example of If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

The "current aberration" has been in place for more than a century now. And if you're willing to argue that the Senate was filled with better people prior to that Constitutional alteration, go ahead.

Me, I'll take a public electoral option every time out. It may be sloppy and unkempt at times, but the idea of having a power elite appoint more people to the power elite just seems idiotic and historically unsupportable. Christ, the American experiment in democracy arose from a massive frustration with the machinations of a monarchy.

caw

Duncan J Macdonald
10-20-2009, 07:07 AM
The "current aberration" has been in place for more than a century now. And if you're willing to argue that the Senate was filled with better people prior to that Constitutional alteration, go ahead.

Me, I'll take a public electoral option every time out. It may be sloppy and unkempt at times, but the idea of having a power elite appoint more people to the power elite just seems idiotic and historically unsupportable. Christ, the American experiment in democracy arose from a massive frustration with the machinations of a monarchy.

caw
I made no claims on the quality of the electees. My claim was on the quality of the governing -- and my belief is less is more.

And what is a national political party coordinating their actions in every state for every election but a 'power elite'?

The frustrations arose from a monarchy, true, but also from frustration with a parlimentary system which granted seats for life to peers of the realm. What is the Senate now, but a house of priviledge?

blacbird
10-20-2009, 07:35 AM
I made no claims on the quality of the electees. My claim was on the quality of the governing -- and my belief is less is more.

And what is a national political party coordinating their actions in every state for every election but a 'power elite'?

The frustrations arose from a monarchy, true, but also from frustration with a parlimentary system which granted seats for life to peers of the realm. What is the Senate now, but a house of privilege?

A. We're going to have 100 Senators, regardless of the manner of their "selection". How does this impinge on your "less is more" philosophy, other than disenfranchising the electorate?

B. So, allowing the already entrenched "privileged" to appoint Senators improves the situation regards "privilege"?

While there doubtless are some "privileged" Senators, you might ask, oh, current U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley, Jon Tester, Mark Begich, and numerous others about how much "privilege" in their backgrounds played into their Senatorial elections. Not to mention the guy who, until last year, held the junior Senatorial seat from the state of Illinois. Yeah, he had a highly "privileged" background.

caw

caw

MGraybosch
10-20-2009, 07:54 AM
Who should vote, and why?

Nobody should vote, because the act of voting is an act of initiation of force against others by proxy.

Zoombie
10-20-2009, 07:57 AM
I remain bemused by how all you guys who regard "government" as the essential evil are so eager to allow governmental officials to appoint other major governmental officials, rather than rely on public voting.

caw

This times 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000

Zoombie
10-20-2009, 08:15 AM
Until we can do away with government, limping along with this mode of election and voting is the best we can do.

Now, when can we do away with government?

Hmm...depends. Either 2100 AD or 2040 AD depending on how optimistic you want to be.

MGraybosch
10-20-2009, 08:16 AM
Until we can do away with government, limping along with this mode of election and voting is the best we can do.

We could always fill governmental positions by lottery; it works well enough for jury duty.

Zoombie
10-20-2009, 08:18 AM
Hmmm...

But then how do we enforce people actually going to their political position?

MGraybosch
10-20-2009, 08:24 AM
But then how do we enforce people actually going to their political position?

You don't. Just make sure the job pays fuck-all and keep pulling names out of the hat until you find somebody stupid enough to want to do it as a public service.

You see, the problem with government positions is that they get a lot more respect than they deserve. Politicians are nothing but parasites, and it is high time we treated them as such, instead of letting them lord it over us as if they were aristocracy.

blacbird
10-20-2009, 08:58 AM
We could always fill governmental positions by lottery; it works well enough for jury duty.

Actually, it doesn't work "by lottery". I am, in fact, up for jury duty next week. Three or four years ago, same thing. I had to fill out a form indicating my employment situation, among other things, and I sat through jury selection for a serious criminal trial, for two days. The jury call may be random, but the actual selection is anything but. In that preceding case, anyone with a college degree or connected in any way with the medical or educational professions was automatically discluded and dismissed. Ditto self-employed people.

I hereby assert my belief that people who think government is random and would be improved by some sort of elite "selection" system are part of the problem, and not part of the solution. In human civilization we've had elite selection for several thousand years, public electoral systems only for about two centuries, in real terms.

I'll take the history of those public electoral systems of the past two centuries over any of the elite selection systems, in a heartbeat.

caw

MGraybosch
10-20-2009, 09:02 AM
I hereby assert my belief that people who think government is random and would be improved by some sort of elite "selection" system are part of the problem, and not part of the solution.

I don't think government is random. I think that the only difference between government and organized crime is that government spends more on propaganda.

When was the last time the mob attempted a PR campaign? "La Cosa Nostra: You've got a friend in the family".

Williebee
10-20-2009, 09:12 AM
"La Cosa Nostra: You've got a friend in the family".

Nice. :)

The mob is a much more selective clique. But, they can afford to be. Substantially less overhead, and no civil trial lawyers to worry about.

ETA: Wait, you think if I asked the ACLU they'd represent me in a court case against the Gambino Family? "Your honor, my client was denied fair consideration. He did not get 'made' simply because he's Irish."

We're still talking, at its root, about a civics and education problem. We have the government we were brought up to provide. We'll get the government we teach our kids to provide.

MGraybosch
10-20-2009, 09:14 AM
Nice. :)

I ripped that off of Neal Stephenson.

Zoombie
10-20-2009, 09:43 AM
The mob also builds significantly less roads and sewers and telephone lines and public schools...

Williebee
10-20-2009, 09:47 AM
The mob also builds significantly less roads and sewers and telephone lines and public schools...


And thus, we come to a solution. Tax the Mob. :)

MGraybosch
10-20-2009, 09:50 AM
The mob also builds significantly less roads and sewers and telephone lines and public schools...

The government builds roads in order to move the army, and public schools in order to indoctrinate children. It gives the telecoms massive subsidies to build telephone lines in exchange for cooperation when the government wants to spy on people without the hassle of getting warrants.

Zoombie
10-20-2009, 12:55 PM
The government builds roads in order to move the army, and public schools in order to indoctrinate children. It gives the telecoms massive subsidies to build telephone lines in exchange for cooperation when the government wants to spy on people without the hassle of getting warrants.

Speaking as someone indoctrinated...that's bullshit. You're ignoring an entire half of the equation in favor of a predetermined worldview...my scholarly education taught me to think critically and explore the world, questioning many of the thing the Government says...telecommunications has brought us the Internet and the future anarchy that will be supported by what grows from the internet is going to provide more freedom than anything we could possibly imagine now.

Government is a tool, not a demon fetus spawned by Satan's doomcock of doom. Use it to keep us free by beating other Governments that would want to take out freedom away.

As things currently are, we have a problem. If we had no government, then those that seek power would try and claim it more directly, creating chaos and banarchy.

Er...banarchy is a word I just made up, meaning BAD Anarchy. See, Good Anarchy is a state wherein people are free on a level we never thought possible, a utopia that seems heavenlike compaired to our modern state. Its not coming for a while, but when it gets here, things will be nice.

But in banarchy, which is the anarchy we see when social order collapses in modern civilizations, is...bad. Why? Because we don't have the capacity to prevent those that desire power from taking as much as possible.

That was why our Founding Fathers designed this goverment this way: To keep as much power from those that seek it as possible, while still allowing those that seek to aid their fellow citizens to do so.

Treating Government as the Nanny To Solve All is bad, as it gives those that seek power WAY TOO GODDAMN MUCH POWER...but treating it as the Evil Demon Fetus of Doom is also bad, as it keeps those that want to serve their fellow citizens from doing so as well as they could.

See, we need government right now. Government can organize defensive armed forces, build on a massive scale, organize on a massive scale, and do anything that a smaller organization, like a buisness or a clan, can't do .

And we need these things, if we want to keep living the way we have been living for the past few centuries.

But, don't worry. By the end of the next century, Government will be replaced by technologically supproted anarchy. All we must do is keep out Government on the straight and narrow through liberal application of critical thinking, constant observation, and the willingness to fight when the Government oversteps its bounds.

Albedo
10-20-2009, 01:26 PM
The mob also builds significantly less roads and sewers and telephone lines and public schools...

Not in Sicily. ;)

Zoombie
10-20-2009, 01:34 PM
Fortunately, I live in California, where our government is run by cyborgs from the future.

Don
10-20-2009, 05:25 PM
Speaking as someone indoctrinated...that's bullshit. You're ignoring an entire half of the equation in favor of a predetermined worldview...my scholarly education taught me to think critically and explore the world, questioning many of the thing the Government says
But wait a minute, how many times have you told us yourself that you're an outlier, that most of the kids your age don't think, but follow the herd? I'd say your the exception that proves Matt's rule, wouldn't you?
Government is a tool, not a demon fetus spawned by Satan's doomcock of doom. Use it to keep us free by beating other Governments that would want to take out freedom away.

As things currently are, we have a problem. If we had no government, then those that seek power would try and claim it more directly, creating chaos and banarchy.
Your first paragraph is the rationale the power-seekers use to excuse government, when in actuality, it actually functions as in your second paragraph.

Government is a tool to allow those who seek power to claim it as legitimate. Otherwise when they went to "tax" people, or boss them around, they would eat lead instead, as thieves should in a just society.
Er...banarchy is a word I just made up, meaning BAD Anarchy. See, Good Anarchy is a state wherein people are free on a level we never thought possible, a utopia that seems heavenlike compaired to our modern state. Its not coming for a while, but when it gets here, things will be nice.

But in banarchy, which is the anarchy we see when social order collapses in modern civilizations, is...bad. Why? Because we don't have the capacity to prevent those that desire power from taking as much as possible.

But the messages to Congress were 100 to 1 against the trillion-dollar bailout, yet it went ahead anyway. Apparently we don't have the capacity to prevent those that desire power from taking as much as possible already.
That was why our Founding Fathers designed this goverment this way: To keep as much power from those that seek it as possible, while still allowing those that seek to aid their fellow citizens to do so.
Exactly. Too bad the mad dog slipped the chains that were supposed to 'bind it down to the Constitution.' Seen any signs of Constitution love on capital hill these days?

Treating Government as the Nanny To Solve All is bad, as it gives those that seek power WAY TOO GODDAMN MUCH POWER...but treating it as the Evil Demon Fetus of Doom is also bad, as it keeps those that want to serve their fellow citizens from doing so as well as they could.

See, we need government right now. Government can organize defensive armed forces, build on a massive scale, organize on a massive scale, and do anything that a smaller organization, like a buisness or a clan, can't do .

And we need these things, if we want to keep living the way we have been living for the past few centuries.

But, don't worry. By the end of the next century, Government will be replaced by technologically supproted anarchy. All we must do is keep out Government on the straight and narrow through liberal application of critical thinking, constant observation, and the willingness to fight when the Government oversteps its bounds.
All we need is for people like you to look in awe at the monstrosity, laugh, and walk away. Without popular support, the monster machine would collapse under its own weight. We get exactly as much government as the majority support. Education is the key to reducing that amount.

MGraybosch
10-20-2009, 06:55 PM
Government is a tool, not a demon fetus spawned by Satan's doomcock of doom. Use it to keep us free by beating other Governments that would want to take out freedom away..

Fire is also a tool, and like government extremely dangerous to life and property if not carefully controlled. Also...

http://i100.photobucket.com/albums/m29/ProgrammerCat/Fark/force_choke_2-1.jpg

Alpha Echo
10-20-2009, 07:35 PM
I apologize - I didn't read all the posts, but I had to get my thoughts out.
Many of you have said people should be "intelligent" or pass a civics test in order to vote, but I completely disagree. The homeless guy by the lake or river or whatever first mentioned in the OP - maybe he didn't finish high school. Maybe he went to college, maybe he didn't. Maybe he received straight A's, maybe not. But so what? He still experienced life here in the States. He still knows how he ended up homeless without a job and might just have some good ideas of how to fix that. So if he can somehow get a grip on the issues at hand and the politicians representing them, why the hell shouldn't he vote? The twenty-something working at McDonalds has opinions and thoughts just like the account or the lawyer or the doctor.
I do think that age of 18 is a good age to vote. There are plenty of kids out there who couldn't care less, sure. But there are also a lot out there with great ideas, and if they want to weigh in, why shouldn't they? If for everything else, 18 is considered an adult, than surely we can all agree that 18 is adult enough to form an opinion about health care or gay rights.
I think perhaps the idea of votes weighing differently is a good idea because I do understand why the person who contributes to society by paying taxes should be able to weigh in heavier than the homeless guy who is living off of everyone else's tax dollars. But I still think everyone should get a chance to vote.

Duncan J Macdonald
10-20-2009, 11:28 PM
A. We're going to have 100 Senators, regardless of the manner of their "selection". How does this impinge on your "less is more" philosophy, other than disenfranchising the electorate?

Obviously, I failed in getting my point across. I wasn't speaking of fewer Senators, but rather fewer voting 'blocs' of Senators. By having Senators beholden to their parties for their election, there is a dangerous possibility of a sufficient majority of Senators 'belonging' to one party or the other to actually be able to pass legislation without having to compromise with their fellows across the aisle.

If, as I postulate, we return to our original method of appointing Senators, there is a greater likelihood of them actually being beholden to their own state/whoever put them into power. This translates into more voting 'blocs' in the Senate, and a greater need for compromise (or failing that, actually producing a bill that actually is in the county's best interests). This means less legislation, and in that sense, less is, in fact, more.

B. So, allowing the already entrenched "privileged" to appoint Senators improves the situation regards "privilege"?

I see the limited number of political parties as the 'entrenched privileged'. Very few Senators today can win locally without the National party's backing. (Senator Lieberman of Connecticut is an example, there are far too few others).

My pointing to the English House of Lords as an example was as an example of type, not an example of similarity. We have no official aristocracy, no automatic seating in the upper house.

Yet, there are effective examples of just that -- the late Ted Kennedy is one, as is Senator Byrd -- Senators that have been seated so long that they consider it their privilege and due.

While there doubtless are some "privileged" Senators, you might ask, oh, current U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley, Jon Tester, Mark Begich, and numerous others about how much "privilege" in their backgrounds played into their Senatorial elections. Not to mention the guy who, until last year, held the junior Senatorial seat from the state of Illinois. Yeah, he had a highly "privileged" background.


You speak of Senator Obama? Yes? He rose to that seat by dint of his party. In that, he had a 'privileged' background.

Zoombie
10-21-2009, 01:04 AM
I am always happy to disturb cynics!

Its fun :D

jodiodi
10-21-2009, 01:12 AM
I say give all politicians one limited term. If they screw it up, exile them to a prison in Antarctica for 20 years. If they do good, let them live a quiet retirement wherever they choose. This should go for everyone from President, Congress, Supreme Court, on down to City Council.

robeiae
10-21-2009, 01:24 AM
If, as I postulate, we return to our original method of appointing Senators, there is a greater likelihood of them actually being beholden to their own state/whoever put them into power. This translates into more voting 'blocs' in the Senate, and a greater need for compromise (or failing that, actually producing a bill that actually is in the county's best interests). This means less legislation, and in that sense, less is, in fact, more.
Madison thought the same thing. He needed something to offset the House.

Now--under the current system--the Senate and the House are basically the same kind of body, 'cept the Senate costs more...

Don
10-21-2009, 01:28 AM
jodi, I think you're on to something. Let's make it sorta like the gong show. Hold the next election the first time the official's approval rating falls below 60%. At 50%, whoever won takes over and the first one's gone to retirement. It won't make a perfect government, but it will at least make for a responsive one. :)

Zoombie
10-21-2009, 01:45 AM
Also, I'm not an outlier! You were the one who said that.