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Thread: Voting. Right?

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    Voting. Right?

    It would be considered insanity to permit just anyone to get in a car, and drive at high speeds, along a motorway.

    It would be considered insane if just anyone were to be able to open a pub, without any sort of criterea placed on their person, whatsoever.

    And you would be considered crazy if you suggested that the licence to own a shotgun be scrapped, permitting just anyone to go right into a store, and buy one.

    All of these actions would, quite rightly, be considered lunacy.

    And there is good reason, because these actions would have a catastrophic and perhaps fatal impact, hence WHY we have tests, laws, or criterea.

    And yet, it is possible, under our present system, for a large enough % of emotionally and intellectually hollow people to shape a nation, by virtue of their vote.

    It is logical that if a large enough % of the electorate are aggressive in nature, and ignorant with it, then they will inevitably vote into power leaders of aggression, and social ignorance.

    It is logical that if the largest % of voters were emotionally and intellectually developed, we would end up with leaders and parties who would reflect that.

    Stupid people opt for stupid decisons.

    Aggressive people make emotionally aggressive decisions.

    Intelligent, creative thinkers, they make intelligent and considered decisions.

    I have often thought that rather than it be a 'right' for just anyone to vote, there should be some criterea attached, to at least ensure a measure of quality, a measure of them understanding that Big Brother is an Orwellian concept, and not a cheap TV programme

    This would need to be fleshed out, however, voters would be tested in three primary aspects.

    1) EI. Emotional intelligence. This is key.

    2) IQ. An old fashioned(sic) measure of intelligence, but together with the rest, an imporant component.

    3) A test to ensure that they have some understanding of domestic and global politics (it's not too much to ask that people voting for something, should be required to know something about it, right?).

    Naturally, no one would be denied the vote based on gender, colour, status, or age, indeed, it is not so much about denying anyone the vote, but if this did indeed lead to less soundbite politics, less rhetoric, and a more intelligent, thinking, visionary leadership, I cannot fairly say that it would be a bad thing.

    Thanks for reading,

    JN

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    Re: Voting. Right?

    Sorry mate - I see your point but this smacks of intellectual elitism. Who gets to set the bar in these tests? Will my IQ have to be over 90, over 100 or over 150? Are these standards to be enshrined in electoral law? Can whoever is in power at the time decide to raise or lower the bar on a whim? Do I qualify for using the phrase "intellectual elitism" or am I disqualified for disagreeing with you? I see your point, I really do. I get frustrated by the fact that people who are clearly idiots can have a say in anything that directly affects me but that's just part of living in a free and open society mate. I'm sure we all prefer that to a dictatorship.

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    Re: Voting. Right?

    Quote Originally Posted by 5K3PT1C View Post
    Sorry mate - I see your point but this smacks of intellectual elitism. Who gets to set the bar in these tests? Will my IQ have to be over 90, over 100 or over 150? Are these standards to be enshrined in electoral law? Can whoever is in power at the time decide to raise or lower the bar on a whim? Do I qualify for using the phrase "intellectual elitism" or am I disqualified for disagreeing with you? I see your point, I really do. I get frustrated by the fact that people who are clearly idiots can have a say in anything that directly affects me but that's just part of living in a free and open society mate. I'm sure we all prefer that to a dictatorship.
    Hi, and thanks for reading my opening statement.

    Your concerns are normal, I have proposed this system before, to friends, and initially, they will raise smiliar concerns.

    However, what I have found is that as the conversation evolved, they came to see it as(first) non threatening (and then) very possibly something beneficial, to all.

    It is also important to make clear that this isn't about creating an elite of voters, from the best private schools, not at all. Academic intelligence is no measure of common sense or genius. While commendable, academic intelligence could be argued as having a very good memory for digesting information, then remembering it, when given an exam.

    I have met people in what would be considered non glam jobs, who left school at fifteen, with no qualifications, who are more erudite, in touch with society, more creative, and visionary, than many who have been able to attend private school.

    It also should be remembered that this is a dynamic system, not static.

    Here is a brief example of a static system;

    Women cannot vote.

    This system is static, and unfair, because a women could not do anything to alter her status, therefore qualifying her to vote.

    It would be biased and ethically wrong.

    However, the suggested system is flexible, if an individual didn't meet the criterea, then like the driving student who has failed his test, he can go away, work on the areas that he or she is weak on, then return to take their test, once more.

    The same would be true of this.

    If someone did not meet the criterea first time, then they too could go off, work on the areas that they were weak on, and try again.

    The real question is this.

    If this had even a 10% chance of (over time), creating a better, more altruistic, fairer society, which would return to office people who would not make anti intelligent decisions, such as sending working class men to be killed in illegal and immoral wars, one which would see the logic in having a healthy nation, irrespective of financial status, one which saw the obvious benefit of creating an educated society, no matter the financial staus, if that were on offer, rather than the mess that we call a 'democracy' (which isn't v democratic), would it be worth it?

    Logically, it would, wouldn't it?

    If we could see past the 'stigma' that it may appear to have, initially.

    Thanks

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    Re: Voting. Right?

    The book Starship Troopers propositioned a similar idea. It effectively summarised your position by asking the question; 'who has more right to vote, a 32 year old moron who'll waste it, or a 16 year old who knows what he's doing and will use it wisely?' The answer is of course, thanks to most electoral systems, the 32 year old moron.

    The book's position on criteria however, was a bit different. There was no test of intelligence, rather to have the franchise, you had to be a citizen, and to be a citizen, you had to serve a term in the military. The fundamental idea being that those voting and making decisions about their country should also care enough about it to protect it with their lives.

    Personally I share your frustration where morons can both elect and be elected. In Australia something like 2 million people (10% of our population) voted for the Greens. Now nothing against the enviromental left, but the Australian Greens are a very strange, and ultimately ineffectual party. They will now hold the balance of power in the senate. However I am somewhat hesitant about your system, as it seems that a working class man, with little education, but a stable blue collar job, would be disenfranchised by your system. Both the IQ and the test on politics really do require at least a high school education to score well. And while this man may be very passionate about what he believes in, doesn't give in to the rhetoric and such, he won't be able to vote. We can presume that a large proportion of the population will be in this position, and they are probably lower class, which could lead to political instability.

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    Re: Voting. Right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Napier View Post
    It would be considered insanity to permit just anyone to get in a car, and drive at high speeds, along a motorway.

    It would be considered insane if just anyone were to be able to open a pub, without any sort of criterea placed on their person, whatsoever.

    And you would be considered crazy if you suggested that the licence to own a shotgun be scrapped, permitting just anyone to go right into a store, and buy one.

    All of these actions would, quite rightly, be considered lunacy.

    And there is good reason, because these actions would have a catastrophic and perhaps fatal impact, hence WHY we have tests, laws, or criterea.

    And yet, it is possible, under our present system, for a large enough % of emotionally and intellectually hollow people to shape a nation, by virtue of their vote.

    It is logical that if a large enough % of the electorate are aggressive in nature, and ignorant with it, then they will inevitably vote into power leaders of aggression, and social ignorance.

    It is logical that if the largest % of voters were emotionally and intellectually developed, we would end up with leaders and parties who would reflect that.

    Stupid people opt for stupid decisons.

    Aggressive people make emotionally aggressive decisions.

    Intelligent, creative thinkers, they make intelligent and considered decisions.

    I have often thought that rather than it be a 'right' for just anyone to vote, there should be some criterea attached, to at least ensure a measure of quality, a measure of them understanding that Big Brother is an Orwellian concept, and not a cheap TV programme

    This would need to be fleshed out, however, voters would be tested in three primary aspects.

    1) EI. Emotional intelligence. This is key.

    2) IQ. An old fashioned(sic) measure of intelligence, but together with the rest, an imporant component.

    3) A test to ensure that they have some understanding of domestic and global politics (it's not too much to ask that people voting for something, should be required to know something about it, right?).

    Naturally, no one would be denied the vote based on gender, colour, status, or age, indeed, it is not so much about denying anyone the vote, but if this did indeed lead to less soundbite politics, less rhetoric, and a more intelligent, thinking, visionary leadership, I cannot fairly say that it would be a bad thing.

    Thanks for reading,

    JN
    Hi Jack, and welcome to the Politics Forum!

    To start with you might like to read the extended "Welcome" message in the Rules and Guidelines section of the forum, which also includes a full version of the Forum Rules.

    Knowing what’s appropriate to say and post and what isn’t can save everyone a great deal of hassle, and as such you might also find the Guide to Good Posting useful. If you’re unfamiliar with the type of forum software we use here, a brief guide to using it can be found here. Please respect other people’s views here; they mightn’t be the same as yours, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re wrong, just that they're different.

    If you need help with anything at all to do with the forum, feel free to contact me, or one of the other moderators, via a personal message; our details can be found here, listed as "Minister" and “Junior Minister”.

    Perhaps you’d care to formally introduce yourself, which you can do here, or optionally tell us a little bit more about yourself here.

    Enjoy the debates here - as for this one, I'll no doubt be adding my own contribution in reply in due course, but I can't help feeling that you're at least part right!
    Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant only an intellectual could ignore it - Thomas Sowell

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    Re: Voting. Right?

    Quote Originally Posted by DC View Post
    Personally I share your frustration where morons can both elect and be elected. In Australia something like 2 million people (10% of our population) voted for the Greens. Now nothing against the enviromental left, but the Australian Greens are a very strange, and ultimately ineffectual party. They will now hold the balance of power in the senate. However I am somewhat hesitant about your system, as it seems that a working class man, with little education, but a stable blue collar job, would be disenfranchised by your system. Both the IQ and the test on politics really do require at least a high school education to score well. And while this man may be very passionate about what he believes in, doesn't give in to the rhetoric and such, he won't be able to vote. We can presume that a large proportion of the population will be in this position, and they are probably lower class, which could lead to political instability.

    Hello, and thanks for your considered thoughts.

    I welcome your slight hesitance re my proposal. Before embracing anything new, be it this, or be it a new relationship in your personal life, all should be questioned, challenged and examined. You will tend to find that this process happens all too little, which is part of the reason why mainstream political parties can easily manipulate the masses. They (the parties), throw out a bunch of vacuous 'ideas', knowing that the average voter, being of short attention span, will suck them up, and endorse them, even if the ideas that they are supporting will, when they play out, actually work against them! There are many examples of this.

    If people applied more critical thinking, challenged everything, and questioned all, we would, I am sure, have less illogical decisions happening than we do, today.

    It is illogical, for example, to bankrupt our economy engaging in illegal occupations, while, at the same time, claiming that there needs to be cuts in public spennding.

    It is entirely illogical for the taxpayer, here in the UK, to see some £15million of our money being spent to finance a visit from the head of the Catholic church, while claiming that we need to cut spending to crucial services (77% of people polled agreed with this, yet our voices are ignored anyway, and the Government will spend our money, as they see fit). It is illogical for the United States to give ONE THIRD of it's aid budget to Israel (but that is another thread, for another day).

    It is imporant not to place too much emphasis on the IQ part of this, the measure of Emotional Intelligence, in which we would be looking for traits such as empathy and altruism, they would be just as, if not more imporant, as would having a basic grasp on political affairs, both domestic and global.

    However, staying IQ for now, and indeed the test on politics, I can assure you, it is not true to say that you would need a high level of conventional education.

    I am living proof of this. Due to family circumstances, I had to leave school at fifteen. I then went on to work in some of the most uninspiring jobs you can imagine. And yet, when my IQ was last tested, it was high, I have been told that I am very emotionally aware, and my grasp of politics is often much better than those who came from a more 'fortunate' background/start in life. I am quite certain that there are others, just like me, across the nation. There is nothing special about how I became who I am today. I educated myself. At my poorest, I would go onto websites, or scour charity shops, seeking to buy books that would help me learn about the poltical environment in which we live. Anyone can do this. Emotionally, I developed, simply by (informally) 'studying' the psyche of the many people who have passed through my life. So, we can see here that with effort, anyone can become politically aware, and anyone can become emotionally aware. It requires only two things - the passion to do so, and, of course, the effort.

    I should also point out that to enter into politics, one would also have to pass these tests. I wonder if (for example), George W Bush would ever have become President of the US had he been requird to do so? The question is rhetorical.

    JN

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    Re: Voting. Right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Midas View Post
    Hi Jack, and welcome to the Politics Forum!

    To start with you might like to read the extended "Welcome" message in the Rules and Guidelines section of the forum, which also includes a full version of the Forum Rules.

    Knowing what’s appropriate to say and post and what isn’t can save everyone a great deal of hassle, and as such you might also find the Guide to Good Posting useful. If you’re unfamiliar with the type of forum software we use here, a brief guide to using it can be found here. Please respect other people’s views here; they mightn’t be the same as yours, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re wrong, just that they're different.

    If you need help with anything at all to do with the forum, feel free to contact me, or one of the other moderators, via a personal message; our details can be found here, listed as "Minister" and “Junior Minister”.

    Perhaps you’d care to formally introduce yourself, which you can do here, or optionally tell us a little bit more about yourself here.

    Enjoy the debates here - as for this one, I'll no doubt be adding my own contribution in reply in due course, but I can't help feeling that you're at least part right!
    Thank you for welcome, sir, and thank you for having me on.

    I will return to the sections that you have highlighted, a little later, and post a little about me, in the appropriate section.

    Please be assured of my good conduct, at all times. I have strong views, however, I always avoid crass ad hom attacks, as they never add anything to a discussion, save for revealing the stupidity of the person making such an attack.

    I hope you had a nice weekend.

    JN

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    Re: Voting. Right?

    Quote Originally Posted by DC View Post
    The book Starship Troopers propositioned a similar idea. It effectively summarised your position by asking the question; 'who has more right to vote, a 32 year old moron who'll waste it, or a 16 year old who knows what he's doing and will use it wisely?' The answer is of course, thanks to most electoral systems, the 32 year old moron.

    The book's position on criteria however, was a bit different. There was no test of intelligence, rather to have the franchise, you had to be a citizen, and to be a citizen, you had to serve a term in the military. The fundamental idea being that those voting and making decisions about their country should also care enough about it to protect it with their lives.

    Personally I share your frustration where morons can both elect and be elected. In Australia something like 2 million people (10% of our population) voted for the Greens. Now nothing against the enviromental left, but the Australian Greens are a very strange, and ultimately ineffectual party. They will now hold the balance of power in the senate. However I am somewhat hesitant about your system, as it seems that a working class man, with little education, but a stable blue collar job, would be disenfranchised by your system. Both the IQ and the test on politics really do require at least a high school education to score well. And while this man may be very passionate about what he believes in, doesn't give in to the rhetoric and such, he won't be able to vote. We can presume that a large proportion of the population will be in this position, and they are probably lower class, which could lead to political instability.
    I also share Jack's frustration at the existing system, both on the points he and you raise, but also about the voting system used in this country (and in Australia, holding dual citizenship I have to vote there too) which just is not representative of the views of the public, but that's another debate.

    What I would take issue with though is that any form of testing to determine whether any individual votes or not would disenfranchise large numbers of blue collar job people. I've been a member of Mensa for around 30 years and during part of that time have held a number of voluntary positions which have both brought me into contact with many members and enabled me to see the job categories of many thousands of others. Now I can't give you any figures, but there doesn't appear to be any particular pattern as regards a correlation between employment and intelligence; there's not even as great a degree of correlation between education and intelligence as many seem to think. I've also noticed this over the years in business, with many shop floor workers being as erudite on a wide range of topics as my board and senior management colleagues - where you end up in life is as often as not determined by personal drive and ambition as by intelligence and/or ability. Sure, a good education does help, but it's not the be all and end all.

    Jack's original point about emotional intelligence is very true, and it does play a far greater role in the overall 'roundedness' of people than was once thought, so in theory at least it should be a good basis for determining whether any given individual should have the right to vote or not. The problem as I see it is twofold. Firstly how do you test the entire adult population - there are a number of excellent standardised EI tests available - but do you force the whole population to take one (and at whose cost) in order to even get on the voting ladder? Secondly I have concerns that this alone would produce a new them and us divide, with many of the far less intelligent (EI and IQ) people feeling disenfranchised and reacting to what they see as being classed as second rate citizens.

    To start with, at least until an answer is found on the best way to determine voting rights - much of which is surely down to better all round education, but again that's another debate - the introduction of true proportional representation is to my mind by far the best way to go. At least that would give us an accurate reflection of people's political views, although how reasoned many of those views are is a very different matter!
    Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant only an intellectual could ignore it - Thomas Sowell

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    Re: Voting. Right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Midas View Post
    Jack's original point about emotional intelligence is very true, and it does play a far greater role in the overall 'roundedness' of people than was once thought, so in theory at least it should be a good basis for determining whether any given individual should have the right to vote or not. The problem as I see it is twofold. Firstly how do you test the entire adult population - there are a number of excellent standardised EI tests available - but do you force the whole population to take one (and at whose cost) in order to even get on the voting ladder?
    Thank you for the well written response, I very much enjoyed reading it.

    It is good, and very encouraging for me (on here), that members are taking the time to consider and contemplate new ideas, rather than just dismiss them on the basis that they are new ideas! Oh how our species do not like change. Usually, when a change (even when it is for the good) is proposed, people will laugh at it, ridicule it. The next step, when they see it gathering support, is to violently oppose it. The third, and often final step, is that they finally accept it, and it becomes 'orthodox'.

    Firstly, no one would be 'forced', as such. At least, not any more than someone who wanted to take a car out into the road would be 'forced' to pass their driving test. If you refused to take the test, then yes, it would disqualify you, just as refusing to sit a formal driving test would disqualify you.

    As to the financing, well, there are many ways it could be financed, we can explore these further, if you wish.

    However, it would be an investement rather than a spend.

    Sometimes, when looking at something which would improve society, it is more a question of asking 'Can we afford NOT to', rather than 'Can we afford to'.

    JN

    Meantime, I thought I would throw this into the mixer..


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    Re: Voting. Right?

    I share some of your concerns with democracy. The amount of ignorance, apathy and prejudice which a lot of voters hold on a lot of issues is often quite startling. And yet I have to strongly disagree with you. The right to vote is not the same thing as a driving license. It is a right, not a privilege. Everyone should have a say in determining their own future, not simply the enlightened few.

    Even ignoring the ethical problems of your proposal, the potential consequences of this idea are really quite troubling. As midas suggests, disenfranchisement of people purely on the grounds of their level of intelligence would create a major political cleavage and 'them and us' attitude, I would further add that the likely result would also be a negative bias against this new non-voter class, whose votes wouldn't matter at all. Politicians are out of touch with the man in the street enough as it is, reducing the size and range of the electorate would exacerbate this problem.

    Furthermore, you like to talk about logic a lot in your post, as though logic provides all the answers for everything, but the logical implications of your argument itself are troubling (bear with me, as this next point is a bit muddled). As there is no specific cut-off point determinable for those who ought to be allowed to vote and those who oughtn't, you would simply be quantifying individuals ability to make political decisions, and then effectively ranking them on this basis. The implication of this is that there will be one voter who is ultimately the best equipped to lead, therefore allowing anyone ranked below him to vote would make the overall decision making process less effective as they are simply muddying the waters of the electorate. You presumably consider yourself part of this class who ought to be allowed the vote, but there will always be those with a better understanding, who would according to your theory have more of a right to vote, and therefore a right to disenfranchise you, and everybody else below them. I guess that the point of this section of my post is that it would be impossible to determine a reasonable cut off point, as there will always be a variety of different intelligence levels, unless you have an electorate of one.

    By all means we should encourage people to engage more with the political sphere and we should improve the level of education about politics delivered in school etc. However, disqualifying people from voting is both ethically dubious and very unworkable.
    So unproductive has conservatism been in producing a general conception of how a social order is maintained that its modern votaries, in trying to construct a theoretical foundation, invariably find themselves appealing almost exclusively to authors who regarded themselves as liberal. - F.A. Hayek


    Economic Left/Right: 4.38
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