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Author Topic:   Modern Civics
Butterflytyrant
Member (Idle past 2502 days)
Posts: 415
From: Australia
Joined: 06-28-2011


Message 76 of 236 (647528)
01-10-2012 7:53 AM


Rights and responsibilities
Hello all,

I live in Australia so I am not too familiar with the government systems of the UK and USA.

However, I believe that not everyone should have the right to vote.

In Australia, voting is not voluntary. It is madatory.

I think there should be some sot of test to see if you are smart enough to make the decision of who to vote for. I also think that the people being voted for need to be tested. At the moment, one of the two people in the race for the top job in Australia is Tony Abbot.

He is conservative catholic, wood be priest, seminary drop out, an opponent of abortion, stem cell research, euthenasia, antienvironmentalist etc etc etc

t greatly concerns me that someone like this has weaseled his way to where he is and it concerns me more that there are enough fucking idiots in Australia who may vote him in.

We have had recent great ideas not voted in because government spin doctors can con enough of the stupid people to vote the wrong way.

It is all very nice to believe that everyone should have the right to vote, but why should a large number of stupid people choose who makes the decisions?

In my house, My partner and I make the decisions. It is not a democracy. This is because my two daughters would vote to spend all of our money on junk food instead of paying the bills. As there are 4 of us, it would be a hung parliment until we all starved to death.

It is little different when considered nation wide.

I dont have a better system really. I would suggest that IQ tests and a history of altruism would be a good place to start for polititians.

A high IQ and a history of fulfilling your reponsibilities to society would be a good start at choosing who can vote.

I think it would be a good idea if smart, altruistic polititians were voted on by smart individuals who had earned the right to vote by fulfilling their civic reponsibilities.


Replies to this message:
 Message 77 by caffeine, posted 01-10-2012 8:08 AM Butterflytyrant has responded

    
caffeine
Member
Posts: 1602
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008
Member Rating: 2.5


(1)
Message 77 of 236 (647531)
01-10-2012 8:08 AM
Reply to: Message 76 by Butterflytyrant
01-10-2012 7:53 AM


Re: Rights and responsibilities
Even better, why bother with voting at all? Your argument appears to be that you disagree with Abbot on just about every issue, which means that Abbot is wrong, which means that only idiots would elect. Since you already have a clear handle on what is right, we could just declare you Grand Imperator of Australia and let you make all the decisions alone (perhaps with the help of your wife).
This message is a reply to:
 Message 76 by Butterflytyrant, posted 01-10-2012 7:53 AM Butterflytyrant has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 78 by Butterflytyrant, posted 01-10-2012 8:27 AM caffeine has responded

  
Butterflytyrant
Member (Idle past 2502 days)
Posts: 415
From: Australia
Joined: 06-28-2011


Message 78 of 236 (647539)
01-10-2012 8:27 AM
Reply to: Message 77 by caffeine
01-10-2012 8:08 AM


Re: Rights and responsibilities
Hey Caffeine,

I expect a few knee jerk reactions like yours...

Your argument appears to be that you disagree with Abbot on just about every issue...

Most of them yes. But I mostly disagree with the how he makes his decisions. His religion and his disregard for the environment are two common elements of his decisions.

...which means that Abbot is wrong...

Not always, but often

...which means that only idiots would elect.

Idiots or the misled. Often people think they are doing the right thing. There was a recent campaign over a mining tax issue where misinformation was sown so successfully that most people had no idea what they were really deciding.

Since you already have a clear handle on what is right, we could just declare you Grand Imperator of Australia and let you make all the decisions alone (perhaps with the help of your wife).

Dis I say that? Or are you creating a straw man to shoot at?

As a matter of fact, I didn't say anythinglike that.

What I did say was -

I dont have a better system really.

I did not suggest that I should rule. Or suggest an alternative form of government eg absolute monarchy or tyrany as you suggest.

I did not suggest that there should be absolute rule. By me or anyone.

What I actually said was -

I would suggest that IQ tests and a history of altruism would be a good place to start for polititians.

A high IQ and a history of fulfilling your reponsibilities to society would be a good start at choosing who can vote.

Notice that I was suggesting that there is still many people voting. Not absolute rule or anything like it.

What I actually said was -

I think it would be a good idea if smart, altruistic polititians were voted on by smart individuals who had earned the right to vote by fulfilling their civic reponsibilities.

Would you like to address that statement or are you happy with your strawman?


I could agree with you, but then we would both be wrong

Butterfly, AKA, mallethead - Dawn Bertot

"Superstitions and nonsense from the past should not prevent us from making progress. If we hold ourselves back, we admit that our fears are more powerful than our abilities." Hunters of Dune Herbert & Anderson

2011 leading candidate for the EvC Forum Don Quixote award


This message is a reply to:
 Message 77 by caffeine, posted 01-10-2012 8:08 AM caffeine has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 79 by caffeine, posted 01-10-2012 9:12 AM Butterflytyrant has responded

    
caffeine
Member
Posts: 1602
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 79 of 236 (647545)
01-10-2012 9:12 AM
Reply to: Message 78 by Butterflytyrant
01-10-2012 8:27 AM


Re: Rights and responsibilities
Sorry for the snark, but it felt like you were ignoring what had already been discussed in the thread. There is a very good reason why qualifying tests in order to vote have a dirty reputation; it's because historically they have served as a way to exclude certain sectors of society from the political process. Intelligence is not an easy thing to measure uncontroversially - somebody has to pick a method, and such a method could easily wind up being used to try and include a particular sort of person.

IQ tests as a requirement for voting would also tend to have the effect of excluding people worse off socioeconomically from the political process. Those higher up the rungs of society tend to have better education and better tools to advance their intellectual skills, and will tend to do better on IQ tests. When those who do worst under the way society is currently run are forbidden a voice in whether this is an approriate way to run it you have elite rule, not any sort of democracy.

We also have to ask whether intelligence is actually that important, when it comes to issue of a democracy. People on both sides of every political divide are highly-educated, intelligent people - and they can't agree on how things should be done. The purpose of a democracy is not to ensure that good decisions are made - we don't have a method of doing that, because we aren't sure what the good decisions are. The purpose of democracy is fairness - everyone gets equal say.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 78 by Butterflytyrant, posted 01-10-2012 8:27 AM Butterflytyrant has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 80 by Butterflytyrant, posted 01-10-2012 9:52 AM caffeine has not yet responded

  
Butterflytyrant
Member (Idle past 2502 days)
Posts: 415
From: Australia
Joined: 06-28-2011


Message 80 of 236 (647554)
01-10-2012 9:52 AM
Reply to: Message 79 by caffeine
01-10-2012 9:12 AM


Re: Rights and responsibilities
Hey Caffeine,

Sorry for the snark, but it felt like you were ignoring what had already been discussed in the thread.

This is the internet. Overall, snarky is not too bad really. I was not ignoring the earlier parts of the thread. Just not partilularly familiar with the other forms of government. And a bit disillusioned with my countires ways at the moment.

There is a very good reason why qualifying tests in order to vote have a dirty reputation

No test is perfect. But it may be better than what we have now. And yes, there are always ways to work out how to exclude a certain voting group in order to succeed. This is one of the reasons that a history of altruism would be important for the people being voted on.

IQ tests as a requirement for voting would also tend to have the effect of excluding people worse off socioeconomically from the political process. Those higher up the rungs of society tend to have better education and better tools to advance their intellectual skills, and will tend to do better on IQ tests. When those who do worst under the way society is currently run are forbidden a voice in whether this is an approriate way to run it you have elite rule, not any sort of democracy.

I agree with all of this. And it sux. It sux that people are like this. It sux that it would create this problem. I would like to have a form of government where I can trust that they are making the right decisions for me. Regardless of whether I can vote or not. I dont think that humans are ready for that yet though. I would love a system of government where voting by the majority is not even required. There would be a group of leaders who organise themelves who had everyones best interests at heart and made their decisions accordingly. Not too long ago here, we had our prime minister removed from his position by powerful mining concerns because he was going to introduce new policies that would protect the environment and give more money to the australian people. The cost of this would come from the huge mining companies. They did not want this to happen, so they meddled in politics. Democracy failed us.

The purpose of democracy is fairness - everyone gets equal say.

This is true. It is also part of the problem. Private companies her in Australia have run huge multimillion doller misinformation campaigns when political parties attempt to introduce things that may affect their profits. Recently, taxation on mining giants has been the big issue. The misinformation was so wide spread that hardly anyone I spoke with had any idea who was telling the truth anymore. These companies knew that all they had to do was confuse everyone and scare everyone and they would win. I had friends who work out in mine camps where spin doctors did the rounds. There were spin doctors outside shopping centers in many regional communities frightening the wives and girlfriends.

Everyone got an equal say, but hardly anyones say was an educated opinion.

Everyones say was predetermined by millions of dollers of misinformation and scare campaigning.

That is not a good way of making decisions.

Everyone getting a say gave the yanks this guy...twice...


I could agree with you, but then we would both be wrong

Butterfly, AKA, mallethead - Dawn Bertot

"Superstitions and nonsense from the past should not prevent us from making progress. If we hold ourselves back, we admit that our fears are more powerful than our abilities." Hunters of Dune Herbert & Anderson

2011 leading candidate for the EvC Forum Don Quixote award


This message is a reply to:
 Message 79 by caffeine, posted 01-10-2012 9:12 AM caffeine has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 81 by crashfrog, posted 01-10-2012 10:31 AM Butterflytyrant has not yet responded

    
crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 81 of 236 (647562)
01-10-2012 10:31 AM
Reply to: Message 80 by Butterflytyrant
01-10-2012 9:52 AM


Re: Rights and responsibilities
Everyone getting a say gave the yanks this guy..

Give us a little more credit, friend:

quote:
2000 popular vote totals
Bush: 50,456,002
Gore: 50,999,897

http://en.wikipedia.org/...tates_presidential_election,_2000

People always seem to forget that the 2000 presidential election was decided not by the people, but by a wide-ranging "open conspiracy"to disenfranchise about 400,000 Americans. Of course, if something more than one-fourth of Americans had actually seen fit to participate in that election, we might have had different results. But the notion that the problem, here, is that too many people vote is naked idiocy. Take a fucking class or something, people.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 80 by Butterflytyrant, posted 01-10-2012 9:52 AM Butterflytyrant has not yet responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 82 of 236 (647565)
01-10-2012 10:37 AM
Reply to: Message 54 by Jon
01-09-2012 4:26 PM


Re: Voting Tests
We're not going to wheelchair vegetables into the booth to push a random button.

And that is our loss as a society.

How?

It's just one more voice lost.

Um, vegetables are unable to have a voice and pushing a random button isn't one.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 54 by Jon, posted 01-09-2012 4:26 PM Jon has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 83 by caffeine, posted 01-10-2012 11:01 AM New Cat's Eye has acknowledged this reply
 Message 89 by NoNukes, posted 01-10-2012 12:35 PM New Cat's Eye has acknowledged this reply

  
caffeine
Member
Posts: 1602
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008
Member Rating: 2.5


(1)
Message 83 of 236 (647567)
01-10-2012 11:01 AM
Reply to: Message 82 by New Cat's Eye
01-10-2012 10:37 AM


Re: Voting Tests
Um, vegetables are unable to have a voice and pushing a random button isn't one.

Although, truly random additions to the vote total aren't really much of a problem, since they would be distributed randomly around the political specturm and are unlikley to influence the result. I think Jon is of the school that it's better to include this random noise than run the risk of excluding anyone who can make an informed decision.

He's not particularly alone in this opinion. Several European countries extend the vote to all adult citizens, regardless of mental capacity.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 82 by New Cat's Eye, posted 01-10-2012 10:37 AM New Cat's Eye has acknowledged this reply

Replies to this message:
 Message 84 by jar, posted 01-10-2012 11:21 AM caffeine has not yet responded

  
jar
Member
Posts: 30934
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004


(1)
Message 84 of 236 (647571)
01-10-2012 11:21 AM
Reply to: Message 83 by caffeine
01-10-2012 11:01 AM


Re: Voting Tests
In the US we even extend it to the candidates regardless of mental capacity.

Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 83 by caffeine, posted 01-10-2012 11:01 AM caffeine has not yet responded

  
Perdition
Member (Idle past 1318 days)
Posts: 1593
From: Wisconsin
Joined: 05-15-2003


Message 85 of 236 (647587)
01-10-2012 12:19 PM
Reply to: Message 71 by Jon
01-09-2012 8:29 PM


Re: Jos the Well-Informed Voter
In many cases, I would agree with you, and in the case of building the dump in Jose's backyard, it could probably be made very simple.

But there are other referenda that can't be quite so easily reworded without giving the passed resolution more (or less) power than was intended. That's one of the issues with legal matters. It needs to be very exact in order to not allow what they don't intend, but still allow all that they do intend. It's for this reason that lawyers are needed for many contracts.

And as I've said, in many cases, it can seem like the wording is as simple and easy to understand as possible, and someone will still misunderstand it. My Father-in-Law would be a perfect example of someone who can read something simple and understand it completely wrong.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 71 by Jon, posted 01-09-2012 8:29 PM Jon has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 87 by NoNukes, posted 01-10-2012 12:32 PM Perdition has responded

    
Perdition
Member (Idle past 1318 days)
Posts: 1593
From: Wisconsin
Joined: 05-15-2003


(1)
Message 86 of 236 (647590)
01-10-2012 12:27 PM
Reply to: Message 73 by caffeine
01-10-2012 6:40 AM


Re: Rights of a Citizen
The problem with some sort of voting test is that it opens up the possibility, however small, of being abused to prevent people from exercising their vote.

I agree that this is a legitimate concern, and one I take very seriously. I would propose that any national vote would have a nationally approved test, probably administered by computer, without asking for any personal information. It spits out a piece of paper with either "pass" or "fail" written on it. You then bring the piece of paper with "Pass" on it, along with anything else necessary to register to vote with you to the table and everything proceeds as it does now.

If you fail, you can either retake the test, or ask for a pamphlet that explains each question and what the correct answers are. You then retake the test.

I'm not advocating the test as a means of preventing people from voting...merely as a way to make sure they've been given every opportunity to understand the stakes of their vote.

I'm not at all sure that ensuring people know the stated positions of a candidate are a particularly good reason, since it doesn't seem to have much bearing on their behaviour once in office, anyway.

Well, it would do two things. First, it would provide, via the questionaire they fill out, a record of where they stand, and which can then be held against them (or by them) during the next election.

Secondly, it would mitigate the possibility of people voting for someone who has publicly stated that their goals are opposite of what the voter wants. Thus making it less likely for a costly recall election one year after an election and less than a year after a different round of recall elections. (This is going on right now in WI because people voted for a governor who then carried out his stated goals, but now people who voted for him are aghast that he's doing these things.)


This message is a reply to:
 Message 73 by caffeine, posted 01-10-2012 6:40 AM caffeine has not yet responded

    
NoNukes
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 87 of 236 (647592)
01-10-2012 12:32 PM
Reply to: Message 85 by Perdition
01-10-2012 12:19 PM


Re: Jos the Well-Informed Voter
But there are other referenda that can't be quite so easily reworded without giving the passed resolution more (or less) power than was intended.

I've occasionally stepped into the voting booth only to find that I don't know enough about a resolution or candidate to vote on it. In the case of candidates, I might take the short cut of voting by party affiliation, but in the case of a resolution, I simply abstain from voting if the complete text of the resolution is not available.

But even knowing the text is not enough reason to vote. Resolutions generally have some economic cost to implement, and unless you are a no-new-taxes fundamentalist, you need to do your cost/benefit analysis before you get into the booth.

But I don't see any way to enforce doing your homework before voting using an exam. Because some people might well be the kind of fundamentalists that legitimately reaches their opinion without needing to do any homework.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. The proper place to-day, the only place which Massachusetts has provided for her freer and less desponding spirits, is in her prisons, to be put out and locked out of the State by her own act, as they have already put themselves out by their principles. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

This message is a reply to:
 Message 85 by Perdition, posted 01-10-2012 12:19 PM Perdition has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 90 by Perdition, posted 01-10-2012 12:43 PM NoNukes has responded
 Message 122 by Jon, posted 01-11-2012 6:14 PM NoNukes has responded

  
Perdition
Member (Idle past 1318 days)
Posts: 1593
From: Wisconsin
Joined: 05-15-2003


Message 88 of 236 (647593)
01-10-2012 12:34 PM
Reply to: Message 75 by NoNukes
01-10-2012 7:30 AM


Re: Rights of a Citizen
I believe you WIians have the government that you collectively wanted.

If that were the case, we wouldn't be in the middle of a second round of recall elections in less than a year.

Further, my guess is that your Republican laden legislature was elected for reasons other than for the purpose of passing the spectacularly goofy bills that they worked on last session.

Our governor ran on his policy of reducing the deficit and keeping taxes unchanged. In one meeting, he even mentioned removing all collective-bargaining rights from the public employee unions. So, if people voted for him for reasons other than the very things he campaigned on, then decided that him acting on his campaign promises was wrong, they're stupid (and I already mentioned that we'll never be able to get rid of stupid votes, nor should we).

I'm fairly certain, however, that had many of the people who voted for him and then signed recall petitions on him, been presented with his stated intentions, they would not have voted for him in the first place.

In any event, the definition of what constitutes informed is very subjective. Many voters care primarily about only a few criteria that simply are not important to other voters. Some things that you think are important might be issues that other voters don't even believe are likely to come up during the office holder's term.

True, and a truly comprehensive questionaire and test would be unfeasible in the extreme. But, a set of questions based on what the polls show as the major concerns of the voters in the jurisdiction over which the candidate hopes to have authority would not be too lengthy or too difficult. If the real issue the voter is concerned about is not in the test, then he's no worse off than he was before, and may even be better off, knowing where the candidate stands on some issues he may not have considered.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 75 by NoNukes, posted 01-10-2012 7:30 AM NoNukes has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 91 by NoNukes, posted 01-10-2012 12:49 PM Perdition has responded

    
NoNukes
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 89 of 236 (647594)
01-10-2012 12:35 PM
Reply to: Message 82 by New Cat's Eye
01-10-2012 10:37 AM


Re: Voting Tests
Um, vegetables are unable to have a voice and pushing a random button isn't one.

What if the proposition in question is related to whether the state will enforce living wills, and the person in the vegetative state has such a will? One might argue that the person has already voiced his intentions and that he should be allowed to vote by proxy.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. The proper place to-day, the only place which Massachusetts has provided for her freer and less desponding spirits, is in her prisons, to be put out and locked out of the State by her own act, as they have already put themselves out by their principles. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

This message is a reply to:
 Message 82 by New Cat's Eye, posted 01-10-2012 10:37 AM New Cat's Eye has acknowledged this reply

  
Perdition
Member (Idle past 1318 days)
Posts: 1593
From: Wisconsin
Joined: 05-15-2003


Message 90 of 236 (647595)
01-10-2012 12:43 PM
Reply to: Message 87 by NoNukes
01-10-2012 12:32 PM


Re: Jos the Well-Informed Voter
I've occasionally stepped into the voting booth only to find that I don't know enough about a resolution or candidate to vote on it. In the case of candidates, I might take the short cut of voting by party affiliation, but in the case of a resolution, I simply abstain from voting if the complete text of the resolution is not available.

Same here, but that is not the case of many people, who feel they need to vote on everything on the ballot.

But even knowing the text is not enough reason to vote. Resolutions generally have some economic cost to implement, and unless you are a no-new-taxes fundamentalist, you need to do your cost/benefit analysis before you get into the booth.

This is what the test would show...or the pamphlet given after failing the test. It would show what the immediate effects of passage or defeat of the resolution would be.

But I don't see any way to enforce doing your homework before voting using an exam. Because some people might well be the kind of fundamentalists that legitimately reaches their opinion without needing to do any homework.

If they already have their minds made up, it would be quite easy to game the test. You're given a pamhplet with the correct answers after a failure of the test. Again, this wouldn't really be a bar for anyone to vote, it would not stop stupid peiople from voting stupidly. What it would do is make sure everyone has access to the information before voting, and might even give some people who thought they understood and had their minds made up a chance to reconsider.

If handled properly, this test would do nothing more than make it take a little longer to vote. Now, that might end up making soime people not vote, but in the last few presidential elections, lines have stretched for blocks and taken hours to get through. So many are willing to wait, and those that aren't are already often faced with being forced to walk away.

I would also be willing to waive the test should it be shown that it is taking too long or people are deciding to leave because of the time involved. And definitely if it is shown that people are feeling as if they are being denied the right to vote at all.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 87 by NoNukes, posted 01-10-2012 12:32 PM NoNukes has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 92 by NoNukes, posted 01-10-2012 12:53 PM Perdition has responded

    
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