View Full Forums : Will The 2008 Vote Be Fair?


Panamah
12-01-2007, 11:21 AM
Good show on "Now". There's a link to the complete show I think. It is about 30 min long.

http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/348/index.html

Former Justice Department official and voting rights lawyer David Becker, who worked under both President George W. Bush and former President Bill Clinton, alleges a systematic effort to deny the vote to hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of Americans. In a revealing interview with NOW's David Brancaccio, Becker openly worries that the 2008 election will not be free and fair. Is our government part of the solution, or part of the problem?

NOW: Voter Caging (http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/330/index.html)
NOW reports on evidence showing that, in 2004, Republicans orchestrated a plan to hold down the Democratic vote in key battleground states. The plan centered on an effort to disqualify voters based on their race and ethnicity.

NOW: Taking the Initiative (http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/238/index.html)
Each election year, states around the country put ballot initiatives on a range of issues up to a popular vote. In 2006, NOW investigated how national organizations and wealthy individuals are often the driving force behind so-called "local" ballot initiatives.

NOW: Down for the Count (http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/236/index.html)
NOW looks at how problems with new voting machines introduced in the 2004 and 2006 elections undermine the integrity of our democratic process. Industry experts charge that the government implemented new technology too quickly and without safeguards.

NOW: Block the Vote (http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/235/index.html)
Under the guise of preventing voter fraud, several states have passed laws severely restricting voter registration and requiring more identification from voters to cast a ballot. NOW reports that the result has been the disenfranchisement of thousands of voters, among them the elderly, poor and minorities.

Fyyr Lu'Storm
12-01-2007, 07:12 PM
Poor, and minorities.

You need that last comma.

Anyway, I think it would behoove us as a nation not to ostracize the poor from voting, but the delinquent and stupid.


Many voters spend considerable time learning the issues and how the government works.

And any thinking person could not discount the notion that diminishing their scholarship in the system, their lack of apathy, their intrinsic vested interest should not be invalidated by some stupid yokel local voting willy nilly, or according to some ballot sheet.

The point is not to increase the size of the electorate, but to increase the mind, the knowledge, of the electorate.

Letting stupid people vote, letting stupid people make laws, is the worst, the worst aspect of Democracy. And will be shown so, maybe not now, maybe many years hence in the future. It will be its downfall, unless there are checks and balances against it.

Anka
12-01-2007, 09:01 PM
Letting stupid people vote, letting stupid people make laws, is the worst, the worst aspect of Democracy.

Disenfranchising large parts of the population is the worst aspect of every other type of government.

Erianaiel
12-02-2007, 06:20 AM
Disenfranchising large parts of the population is the worst aspect of every other type of government.

Indeed. It kind of does away with the whole 'by the people, for the people' principle behind democracy.

Fyyr talks in the certain believe that he is the one who gets to decide who is 'good enough' to vote and make laws, and who is not. But of course it does not work like that. It is not even a slippery slope argument, though it may sound like one, that when you start limiting democracy to a part of the population that part is going to decrease in size. After all, you only need a majority of the remaining voters to exclude a minority and that power, inevitably, will be abused by those who seek to increase their own control over power. Movement in the other direction (increasing the voter base) is historically speaking very rare.
And how big, really, is the step from 'too stupid to be entrusted with the power to vote' to 'voted for a law or candidate I do not agree with so must obviously be too stupid to understand what is good for him'?

The problem with 'benevolent dictators' is that they can, and will, enforce the dictatorship, but the people have no power to enforce the benevolent part.


Eri

Aldarion_Shard
12-02-2007, 09:53 AM
While I tend to agree with Fyyr on this one -- the truly unintelligent and uninformed do no good, and plenty of damage, by voting -- the problem with putting any systems in palce to counter it is that we all tend to conflate stupidity with "disagreeing with me".

Any system designed to weed out the stupid would inevitably end up selecting against people who believe in Intelligent Design, or athiests, or pro-lifers, or pro-choicers, or isolationists, or Pax Americana types... depending on who was designing the system.

Better to allow the stupid and uninformed to vote, than to select against certain viewpoints, as would inevitably happen if we tried to prevent uninformed voting.

Fyyr Lu'Storm
12-02-2007, 01:55 PM
Disenfranchising large parts of the population is the worst aspect of every other type of government.

What is worse?

Having 10 people who have no vested interest in their votes, are uninformed, are uneducated, or are stupid being disenfranchised.

Or having 1 who has taken the time to become informed, educated him or herself to the process and consequences, and regards the process importantly be disenfranchised.

Defending stupid people who vote, over smart people who do not because they know their vote is nullified by 10 stupid people.

And it pretty much sounds like you admit or acknowledge that large parts of the electorate are stupid and uniformed.

Why do you support large numbers of bad votes, instead of supporting few numbers of good votes?

I personally favor a tenth of the present voter turnout, if all of the votes are quality votes, from people smart enough to know the consequences of their votes. Instead of votes from people who just read a No on 124 sign on the way into the voting booth, and vote No on 124.

Why do you support stupid voters?

Fyyr Lu'Storm
12-02-2007, 01:59 PM
Better to allow the stupid and uninformed to vote, than to select against certain viewpoints, as would inevitably happen if we tried to prevent uninformed voting.

I am already governed by the majority who have a different viewpoint than me.

That is not the point.

When a immigrant comes here to become a US citizen, they a take a simple test. Very simple, and they have to pass it to become a citizen and be able to vote.

Natural born citizens should be at least able to pass this same test. If we require it of immigrants, who have not lived here and most likely speak a different language, should we not expect the same level of knowledge from those already here, and already speak the language.

I mean, if they already have had those advantages, they should be able to pass it without even studying for it. A questionaire, on voting day.

Fyyr Lu'Storm
12-02-2007, 02:01 PM
http://usgovinfo.about.com/blinstst.htm

Sample test questions. Which immigrants seeking citizenship must answer.

No ideological questions in the lot. Why do you have to make something simple and smart so duh duh dum melodramatic?


Face it, if you can't answer those questions, you should not be voting. You are too dumb or uneducated to make laws or pick people to make laws for the rest of us. That affect the rest of us.

Fyyr Lu'Storm
12-02-2007, 02:18 PM
Indeed. It kind of does away with the whole 'by the people, for the people' principle behind democracy.
The Constitutional electorate was never intended to be universal, there were limitations put in place at the very time of the writing of by the people for the people. Now we can argue all day if those limitations were fair or not(they were not), but there were limitations to stupid people voting, written into our Constitution.

Fyyr talks in the certain believe that he is the one who gets to decide who is 'good enough' to vote and make laws, and who is not. But of course it does not work like that. It is not even a slippery slope argument,
I am perfectly fine with 8th grade level citizenship questions. It is not a slippery slope, it is an intentional straight and dry freeway. Educate yourself enough to pass a simple civics test, which you should know already, then you may vote. If you don't know the basics of laws, you should not be making laws.


though it may sound like one, that when you start limiting democracy to a part of the population that part is going to decrease in size. After all, you only need a majority of the remaining voters to exclude a minority and that power, inevitably, will be abused by those who seek to increase their own control over power.
Too late, I am a minority. LCD mentality has assured that. It is already being abused.

Movement in the other direction (increasing the voter base) is historically speaking very rare.
A small educated electorate is superior to large uninformed and uneducated electorate. Unless your goal is bad laws and bad government.


And how big, really, is the step from 'too stupid to be entrusted with the power to vote' to 'voted for a law or candidate I do not agree with so must obviously be too stupid to understand what is good for him'?
We don't ask that of immigrants seeking citizenship. You might argue that even that process could be perverted and corrupt, but it looks fair to me.


The problem with 'benevolent dictators' is that they can, and will, enforce the dictatorship, but the people have no power to enforce the benevolent part.
We have guns for dictators. Well, at least I do, and nail a pie plate(read head) at handgun distance with my handguns,,,,left handed. I can nail a pie plate with my bow at 70 yards if need be.

I am not worried about dictators, unless they happen to be an uneducated mob of an electorate. They exist now, it exists now. Making me fear a tyrant in the future is just silly, the tyrant now is ignorant voters, and that is now.

Anka
12-02-2007, 07:12 PM
What is worse?

Having 10 people who have no vested interest in their votes, are uninformed, are uneducated, or are stupid being disenfranchised.

Or having 1 who has taken the time to become informed, educated him or herself to the process and consequences, and regards the process importantly be disenfranchised.

That sounds similar to the Iranian system. The educated elite choose which candidates are suitable for election. I can't remember if Iranian women are considered so uninformed that they're not allowed to vote. Perhaps you can remember?

Fyyr Lu'Storm
12-02-2007, 09:26 PM
It does?

I thought it sounded like the American system, but better.

You are telling me, that people too stupid to pass a simple 8th grade civics test should be making our laws?

"1. What are the colors of our flag?
2. How many stars are there in our flag?
3. What color are the stars on our flag?
4. What do the stars on the flag mean?
5. How many stripes are there in the flag?
6. What color are the stripes?
7. What do the stripes on the flag mean?
8. How many states are there in the Union?
9. What is the 4th of July?
10. What is the date of Independence Day?
11. Independence from whom?
12. What country did we fight during the Revolutionary War?
13. Who was the first President of the United States?
14. Who is the President of the United States today?
15. Who is the vice-president of the United States today?
16. Who elects the President of the United States?
17. Who becomes President of the United States if the President should die?
18. For how long do we elect the President?
19. What is the Constitution?
20. Can the Constitution be changed?
21. What do we call a change to the Constitution?
22. How many changes or amendments are there to the Constitution?
23. How many branches are there in our government?
24. What are the three branches of our government?
25. What is the legislative branch of our government?
26. Who makes the laws in the United States?
27. What is the Congress?
28. What are the duties of Congress?
29. Who elects the Congress?
30. How many senators are there in Congress?
31. Can you name the two senators from your state?
32. For how long do we elect each senator?
33. How many representatives are there in Congress?
34. For how long do we elect the representatives?
35. What is the executive branch of our government?
36. What is the judiciary branch of our government?
37. What are the duties of the Supreme Court?
38. What is the supreme court law of the United States?
39. What is the Bill of Rights?
40. What is the capital of your state?
41. Who is the current governor of your state?
42. Who becomes President of the United States if the President and the vice-president should die?
43. Who is the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court?
44. Can you name thirteen original states?
45. Who said, "Give me liberty or give me death."?
46. Which countries were our enemies during World War II?
47. What are the 49th and 50th states of the Union?
48. How many terms can the President serve?
49. Who was Martin Luther King, Jr.?
50. Who is the head of your local government?
51. According to the Constitution, a person must meet certain requirements in order to be eligible to become President. Name one of these requirements.
52. Why are there 100 Senators in the Senate?
53. Who selects the Supreme Court justice?
54. How many Supreme Court justice are there?
55. Why did the Pilgrims come to America?
56. What is the head executive of a state government called?
57. What is the head executive of a city government called?
58. What holiday was celebrated for the first time by the Americans colonists?
59. Who was the main writer of the Declaration of Independence?
60. When was the Declaration of Independence adopted?
61. What is the basic belief of the Declaration of Independence?
62. What is the national anthem of the United States?
63. Who wrote the Star-Spangled Banner?
64. Where does freedom of speech come from?
65. What is a minimum voting age in the United States?
66. Who signs bills into law?
67. What is the highest court in the United States?
68. Who was the President during the Civil War?
69. What did the Emancipation Declaration do?
70. What special group advises the President?
71. Which President is called the "Father of our country"?
72. <What Immigration and Naturalization Service form is used to apply to become a naturalized citizen?> Edited, the question is still here, just not visible unless you quote the post.
73. Who helped the Pilgrims in America?
74. What is the name of the ship that brought the Pilgrims to America?
75. What are the 13 original states of the U.S. called?
76. Name 3 rights of freedom guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.
77. Who has the power to declare the war?
78. What kind of government does the United States have?
79. Which President freed the slaves?
80. In what year was the Constitution written?
81. What are the first 10 amendments to the Constitution called?
82. Name one purpose of the United Nations?
83. Where does Congress meet?
84. Whose rights are guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights?
85. What is the introduction to the Constitution called?
86. Name one benefit of being citizen of the United States.
87. What is the most important right granted to U.S. citizens?
88. What is the United States Capitol?
89. What is the White House?
90. Where is the White House located?
91. What is the name of the President's official home?
92. Name the right guaranteed by the first amendment.
93. Who is the Commander in Chief of the U.S. military?
94. Which President was the first Commander in Chief of the U.S. military?
95. In what month do we vote for the President?
96. In what month is the new President inaugurated?
97. How many times may a Senator be re-elected?
98. How many times may a Congressman be re-elected?
99. What are the 2 major political parties in the U.S. today?
100. How many states are there in the United States today?"

We force immigrants to learn these things, yet you don't think voters should know them?

Upon re-reading them, many of them are 3rd grade questions(even a few 1st grade). You don't think someone who votes on laws, and legislators should know at least these things?

It is a simple test. But I would bet you that a majority of voters could not pass it.

Gunny Burlfoot
12-02-2007, 10:48 PM
I missed question 72. It was never covered over 12 years of American History, or the courses in Constitutional Law, or my American History courses in Emory. I'm going to go out on a limb here, but for a voting test, I advise you take that one out :)

The other 99, every citizen should be able to answer before voting. Without cribbing.

I'd also put in that you have to pay taxes in order to vote. Not quite the "must be a landowner" caveat, but if you don't have anything at stake, you might be less inclined to vote for tax reform, if you are the one receiving all the pork. I bet the IRS would be abolished if that took effect.

B_Delacroix
12-03-2007, 10:09 AM
I suspect that the answer will depend on who wins and what side you are on. Aside from the fact that America has become an Us vs. Them society.

If the side that you are not on wins, the person will claim unfairness.

As for the other topics of discussion, I firmly believe in the Iron Law in my chosen signiture. Being an American, I have a healthy distrust of government and corporations.

Aldarion_Shard
12-03-2007, 04:59 PM
Fyyr, thats not a terrible test, but its a pretty bad one. It suffers from three major flaws:

1. Questions that dont have anything to do with the US Government (Q: Who was MLK Jr.? A: It doesnt matter because he wasnt a member of the government).

2. Questions that are open to interpretation (Why did the Pilgrims come, What is the most important right granted to US citizens, where does our freedom of speech come from).

3. Questions that would be too difficult to score (Name one purpose of the United Nations)

---

Nevertheless, I agree with you that it *doesnt* suffer from the flaw I originally mentioned: ideological bias. I could get behind such a test if it eliminated the three more minor flaws outlined above. And I agree that it is a test all voters *should* be able to pass 100% and that few voters actually *would*.

Fyyr Lu'Storm
12-04-2007, 09:13 AM
Compared to what? The present test.

1) Born here(or have become a citizen, ie taking that test)
2) Had your 18th birthday.
3) Not been convicted of a felony.

That is the present test.

I knew the answer to all those questions in the 8th grade. Which begs another question from the universal electorate folks, what about all the 17, 16,15, 14 year olds who should probably be voting right now. How can you justify their exclusion, if you say that suffrage should be universal?

Anka
12-04-2007, 12:28 PM
Perhaps here's a better test to see if someone would misuse their vote to the detriment of the country.

1) Would you vote for George W Bush?
2) Have you ever voted for George W Bush?

Fyyr Lu'Storm
12-04-2007, 01:10 PM
Well, those are a matter of ideology and dogma, of course.

And to answer the questions, no to both. That information is useless, actually.



Whereas, a person voting, should know how many votes in Congress is required to overturn a veto. Or what a veto is. Should know who the speaker of the Senate is. Should know how congressman and senator seats are divvied up per state.

Erianaiel
12-04-2007, 01:16 PM
Poor, and minorities.

You need that last comma.


Strange. Proper style may differ in the USA of course, but over here you do not put a comma before the and that identifies the last entry in the enumeration.
I.e. it would be: life, the universe and everything
not: life, the universe, and everything


Eri

Fyyr Lu'Storm
12-04-2007, 02:05 PM
I run a pizza parlor.

I have 3 kinds of pizzas.

I have pepperoni and beef, ham and pineapple, and mutton and carrots.

Look what happens without the Oxford comma.

I have pepperoni and beef, ham and pineapple and mutton and carrots.

I don't like your way. It looks like LCD English too me.

Gunny Burlfoot
12-05-2007, 05:23 AM
I run a pizza parlor.

I have 3 kinds of pizzas.

I have pepperoni and beef, ham and pineapple, and mutton and carrots.

Look what happens without the Oxford comma.

I have pepperoni and beef, ham and pineapple and mutton and carrots.

I don't like your way. It looks like LCD English too me.

I agree with Fyyr.

I attended collegiate English classes from 10th grade onwards. I was always taught to use the Oxford comma, or serial comma.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serial_comma

Two of the largest major medical organizations in America recommend it, and the USGPO (US Government Printing Office) mandates it.

The people who disagree (according to that article):

AP (Associated Press)
The Economist
The New York Times
The Guardian
The Australian Government

Sounds like the European media and the Aussies are out of step with the AMA, USGPO, and the rest of us! :p

Erianaiel
12-05-2007, 06:15 AM
I run a pizza parlor.

I have 3 kinds of pizzas.

I have pepperoni and beef, ham and pineapple, and mutton and carrots.

Look what happens without the Oxford comma.

I have pepperoni and beef, ham and pineapple and mutton and carrots.

I don't like your way. It looks like LCD English too me.

So I would cheat a little and write

Pepperoni plus beef, ham plus pineapple and mutton plus carrots

...


Eri
(yes, I know that too would be bad style ;))

Aldarion_Shard
12-05-2007, 09:37 AM
what about all the 17, 16,15, 14 year olds who should probably be voting right now. How can you justify their exclusion, if you say that suffrage should be universal?
I've argued repeatedly that all the rights and responsibilities that currently take effect at 18 to 21 should take effect at 12.

Fanra
12-08-2007, 11:15 PM
Yes, I hate stupid people. I wish stupid people could not vote.

However, there is a real problem with Fyyr Lu'Storm's example.

First, it wouldn't stop stupid people from voting. If someone stupid wants to vote, they just have to memorize that stuff. About 99% of people you consider stupid could probably pass that test if they studied.

Second, that test does NOT measure intelligence. It measures your willingness to memorize facts and your ability to remember them.

Third, why do you think a government run by "smart" people would be any better than the current one?

Because, voting results or not, our government is run by smart people right now. George W. Bush, who could easily pass your "test" is not, in my opinion, smart, but he has plenty of smart people who help him out. Some very smart people work very hard to pass all those laws you hate. List anything the government does, and I can point out all the smart people behind it.

Face it, when someone complains that "stupid" people are voting or running the government, they really mean people who disagree with them.

Because when George W. Bush won reelection in 2004, I gave up on Americans. How could they be so stupid to not only vote for him in 2000, but even after four years of him showing us in every way how evil, stupid and incompetent he is, they reelected him?

But strangely, there are some very "smart" people out there, ones who's IQ is way higher than any of us, who actually support him.

Also, be sure to remember that some very smart people have done some very evil things. We would like to have smart people voting, but smart does not equal good. Smart people can be selfish and they can also believe in things that are illogical (at least to me).
Many forms of Government have been tried and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time. - Winston Churchill

Frankly, I blame many of the problems with our government on the fact that people are not interested in it. Our society is full of people who can tell you the ERA of the latest baseball player or the rushing yardage of their favorite football team but have no idea who their congressman is or how they vote.

The day when the media start to treat politics like sports, with full reports of exactly what everyone is doing and a breakdown of it, with many pages of the newspaper devoted to it, that is when democracy has a chance to work.

People don't care and our "leaders" don't want them to. When a politician can make a statement which is contrary to fact and no one cares, that is an example of what is wrong. If Britney Spears says, "I never used drugs", there would be 1,000 reports pointing out that she failed her drug test. When Bush lies, there are 3 reports with 50 people explaining that he really wasn't exactly lying.

I wish that stupid people couldn't vote too. But I know better than to claim the answer is some citizenship test.

Panamah
12-09-2007, 01:11 PM
Smart people can make stupid choices.

Fyyr Lu'Storm
12-09-2007, 01:40 PM
First, it wouldn't stop stupid people from voting. If someone stupid wants to vote, they just have to memorize that stuff. About 99% of people you consider stupid could probably pass that test if they studied.

Second, that test does NOT measure intelligence. It measures your willingness to memorize facts and your ability to remember them.
I don't think there should be a litmus test for intelligence. An intelligent person never exposed to knowledge is still stupid.

Anyhow, the ability to memorize things is valid measurement of how smart someone is. Stupid people forget things.

Third, why do you think a government run by "smart" people would be any better than the current one?
Why do you think that stupid people should be allowed to govern?

Face it, when someone complains that "stupid" people are voting or running the government, they really mean people who disagree with them.
Really? I thought I just meant stupid people. It is what I said. There are stupid people of all ideologies, dogmas, and parties. I think the same test we give to immigrants to become citizens is a fair test of your 8th grade aptitude in understanding simple civics.

Because when George W. Bush won reelection in 2004, I gave up on Americans. How could they be so stupid to not only vote for him in 2000, but even after four years of him showing us in every way how evil, stupid and incompetent he is, they reelected him?
Exactly, we had very different candidates and presidents when stupid people were not voting. None of the founders could ever be elected today. Lincoln? Never. FDR, never ever.

You think that Washington, Adams, or Jefferson could ever win today. They became presidents because stupid people were not voting back then.


Also, be sure to remember that some very smart people have done some very evil things. We would like to have smart people voting, but smart does not equal good. Smart people can be selfish and they can also believe in things that are illogical (at least to me).
And stupid does equal good, selfless, and logical???

I wish that stupid people couldn't vote too. But I know better than to claim the answer is some citizenship test.
You know what better?

I can think of a lot of better tests, after the simple INS test. But I think that if the questions are fair to ask of foreigners and immigrants, it would be fair to ask the same question of those born here. If it is not fair, how can we ask it of those who want to become citizens, to vote?

That turning 18 is the best test you can muster? For turning 18 is the present test(so don't say there is not a test, there is). And you think that is the best one?

And why do we exclude felons? They have served their sentences, they have paid for their crimes. Why do you support excluding them?

Palarran
12-09-2007, 04:17 PM
Anyhow, the ability to memorize things is valid measurement of how smart someone is. Stupid people forget things.
No.
I present myself as a counterexample. I struggle to remember people's names 5 minutes after meeting them, even with conscious effort. Yet I can, for example, prove that there are no [EDIT: nonzero] integer solutions to x^4 + y^4 = z^2.

Ability to memorize things is a measure of _something_, to be sure, but it--at least by itself--is _not_ a valid measure of how smart someone is.

But I think that if the questions are fair to ask of foreigners and immigrants, it would be fair to ask the same question of those born here.
That's the problem. How do we guarantee that the questions we ask of immigrants will always be fair? If we end up with an unfair set of questions that is then automatically extended to voters, couldn't we end up disenfranchising the very people that would be needed to replace the test with a fair one?

Fyyr Lu'Storm
12-09-2007, 06:45 PM
Are you saying that you don't know the answer to 95% of those questions? Without even looking them up?

If you don't know, can't remember the basics of what a Senator does, or even how long his or her term is, you really really don't have any business voting for one.

Or what the Stars and Stripes represent.

Or who the first three Presidents were.

I don't know when this notion that stupid people should be allowed to vote was instilled. Where or when did you get it, who gave it to you?

Palarran
12-10-2007, 12:17 AM
I never said that. Of course I can answer the vast majority of those questions correctly.

I was challenging your assertion that memory (alone) is a valid measure of how smart someone is.

Fyyr Lu'Storm
12-10-2007, 01:35 AM
So then, are you saying that smart people can't remember things and stupid people can?

Palarran
12-10-2007, 02:11 AM
There exist smart people that have difficulty remembering things and stupid people that have excellent memories.

Is a smart person more likely to have a good memory? Maybe. There's likely a weak correlation between the two, but not a strong one.

Fanra
12-10-2007, 03:01 AM
That turning 18 is the best test you can muster? For turning 18 is the present test(so don't say there is not a test, there is). And you think that is the best one?

And why do we exclude felons? They have served their sentences, they have paid for their crimes. Why do you support excluding them?
I think the voting age should be lowered from 18.

And I DO NOT support excluding felons.

Don't assume that I believe things I never said.

Fanra
12-10-2007, 03:16 AM
So then, are you saying that smart people can't remember things and stupid people can?
No, I'm saying that if you gathered the above statement from what he said, then you have just failed to show enough intelligence to vote, if we are to restrict voting based on intelligence.

Because he says A is true, you are now claiming he is saying B is true.

If you actually have enough intelligence to understand what he said, he said that memory is not the sole factor of intelligence.

First off, exactly what intelligence is has never been satisfactorily defined. However, most people would say that Albert Einstein was very intelligent. Yet, he pretty much defined the stereotype of the "absent minded professor".

So you could put your INS test in front of Einstein and he might sit there trying to recall the answers. It isn't that he is stupid, but that he just wouldn't consider the answers as very important...unless you told him he needed to know this to become an American citizen. In which case he would do exactly what stupid people would do, memorize the answers.

As soon as he passed the test, he would probably forget the answers because he would now consider them, again, unimportant.

I'm sure his memory for E=MC^2 was perfect but his memory for stuff he considered unimportant was terrible.

He failed the entrance examination to the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, but I'm sure that many other people far more stupid than he managed to pass.

In 1903, Einstein's position at the Swiss Patent Office was made permanent, although he was passed over for promotion until he "fully mastered machine technology".

Isaac Newton, Adam Smith, and Albert Einstein were all considered absent-minded professors. Andre-Marie Ampere used a cloth chalkboard eraser as a handkerchief. In the streets of Paris, he mistook the side of a horse-drawn delivery van for a blackboard, began some calculation on it, walked, and then ran along beside it to continue his work when it drove off. Between the afternoon and the evening of one day he forgot a dinner invitation personally delivered by the Emperor Napoleon.

Asperger's syndrome:

A growing awareness of Asperger's syndrome has lent a new dimension to this stereotype. Asperger's is considered to be a disorder in the autism spectrum. Persons with Asperger's syndrome often have advanced intelligence and language skills, while their attention is often focused on one narrow area of interest to the exclusion of other important aspects of life, which fits with the stereotype of the absent-minded professor. A person labeled as being an absent-minded professor is often forgetful and is so full of ideas that he is usually not in touch with reality. Sometimes the absent-minded professor will intentionally disconnect with reality to increase the focus on subjects that are of interest to him. This disconnect sometimes means lack of social grace in order to focus more keenly on his work. Sometimes absent-minded professors are diagnosed with a host of disorders but these disorders are sometimes inaccurate. Evidence suggests that some of the historical figures named above might have had Asperger's syndrome. In fact, the brain of Albert Einstein has been examined physically, and it shows many of the signs characteristic of autism.

Fyyr Lu'Storm
12-10-2007, 03:51 AM
Because he says A is true, you are now claiming he is saying B is true.
If x=0
If y=0
If z=0

0^4+0^4=0^2

Erianaiel
12-10-2007, 05:16 AM
I don't think there should be a litmus test for intelligence. An intelligent person never exposed to knowledge is still stupid.

Anyhow, the ability to memorize things is valid measurement of how smart someone is. Stupid people forget things.

The ability to memorise is only remotely linked to intelligence, and only in as much that most fields are so specialised that you need a lot of background knowledge about it to be able to understand it.

Intelligence is frequently associated with the ability to quickly recognise and expand on relations that are not immediately apparent. This is almost impossible to test directly through a standarised test though.


Why do you think that stupid people should be allowed to govern?


Fanra did not say anything about allowing stupid people to govern. He pointed out, rightly so, that the government is full of very smart people who still manage to make extremely stupid decisions. Apparently intelligence is not a very good measure to determine good from bad government. Voters have even less influence on government so for them intelligence is even less relevant.
To govern you need a majority of voters. Are you really saying that half the population is too stupid to vote? If it is a few percent, who cares that they make uninformed decisions? They are not going to have any impact one way or another. The potential abuse of the exclusion mechanism you are proposing to set up does not get outweighed by the potential benefit.


Really? I thought I just meant stupid people. It is what I said. There are stupid people of all ideologies, dogmas, and parties. I think the same test we give to immigrants to become citizens is a fair test of your 8th grade aptitude in understanding simple civics.


The number of people who are mentally incapable of passing 8th grade is so low that allowing them to vote is totally insignificant. The majority of them is likely institutionalised and thus unllikely to vote anyway.

The problem is that your test is for the wrong problem. It is not the lack of intelligence that is the problem, not even the lack of understanding of the basics of the political process. It is that too many people are simply not interested. They base their decisions not so much on what a politician does but on what he says. Or worse, on what they look like. News media and political parties encourage this because it makes things simpler for them. Political issues get reduced to one point by the media and candidates need to be charismatic, not capable.
There is the root of the problem (when grossly simplified).


And stupid does equal good, selfless, and logical???


Obviously not anymore than being intelligent does. Moral qualities have nothing to do with intelligence and trying to link them is pointless.

If you want good, selfless and logical people to vote you should not select on intelligence but on those qualities. The test you proposed does not even test on intelligence let alone on the qualities that really matter.


That turning 18 is the best test you can muster? For turning 18 is the present test(so don't say there is not a test, there is). And you think that is the best one?


We had this whole discussion on the 'age of consent' where the same argument came up. No, turning 18 is not at all a good test. It is one that is judicially simple and least open to abuse. Likely a few people will slip through who do not (yet) have the mental development to make an informed decision who to vote for, and a few people are excluded who already have that development before they turn 18. Those percentages are small enough that implementing a more involved (and abuse prone) system is not worth the effort.


And why do we exclude felons? They have served their sentences, they have paid for their crimes. Why do you support excluding them?

I did not read anything about this subject in the post you are responding to, but personally I do not believe we should exclude anyone from voting.
Prisoners in jail should get to vote. (only their right to be elected is in abeyance until after they served their sentence)
Convicts in deathrow should get to vote.
Government affects everybody so there is no good reason that anybody does not get to have a say in it, regardless how small that say turns out to be.

In fact, if the president of the USA decides to act as the emperor of the world, then the rest of the world should get a say in his or her election.


Eri

Fanra
12-10-2007, 05:34 AM
Erianaiel,

What you wrote above is very good and I agree with almost all of it. Good job.

However,
To govern you need a majority of voters.
This is not exactly true in the United States under our current government.

While technically it is true that the majority of voters elect our representatives, you do not need a majority of the people eligible to vote to agree with the policies. Actually, you don't even need a majority of the people who actually vote.

What you need is for enough of the undecided voters to pick the proper candidates and actually go vote. This generally involves money and spinning the media.

It also is very time based, as in the fact that I doubt George W. Bush would win an election if it was held today but he is still president until Jan 2009, regardless.

To govern, you need to convince enough of the proper people to vote for you. That was Karl Rove's genius, he figured out the proper people needed and how to get them to vote the way he wanted.

Governing...per se, involves the elected officials having power to do things that the voters might not agree with. The amount of power also changes. Currently, Bush is able to do things way beyond what is normally allowed by the Constitution and what the voters agreed to give him because he is able to spin things and also the current political climate and history makes it possible.

Had George W. Bush been elected 10 years ago and did the actions he is doing, he would have been impeached.

Fyyr Lu'Storm
12-10-2007, 11:52 AM
You people keep focusing on intelligence.

I don't know why, I have not mentioned that except in relation to what you are writing, like I am in this post.

Intelligence rarely changes throughout a person's life, until some disability occurs, ie trauma, dementia, or stroke.

A 2 year old, for instance, with an IQ of 100, will at 18 have an IQ of 100, as will she have an IQ of 100 at 40.

Notwithstanding any of that, while you may want to continue to banter about the difficulty in determining who is smart and who is not; I think that it is fair to say that when any of you meet a person who is not smart, you are able to assess and determine that. Even stupid people are able to do that.

Erianaiel
12-10-2007, 03:23 PM
You people keep focusing on intelligence.

I don't know why, I have not mentioned that except in relation to what you are writing, like I am in this post.

I do not know. You were the one that kept harping on how stupid people should not be allowed to vote. It does not seem that strange that others read that as that you believe intelligence should be the deciding factor.


Intelligence rarely changes throughout a person's life, until some disability occurs, ie trauma, dementia, or stroke.

A 2 year old, for instance, with an IQ of 100, will at 18 have an IQ of 100, as will she have an IQ of 100 at 40.


I would leave out first 10 or so years when intelligence does change quickly. IQ 100 is by definition the average score on a standarised intelligence test. With children who all develop at a different rate, this can fluctuate wildly from year to year, often from month to month.
Later on, when the brain does not develop so quickly anymore, it tends to be relatively stable. However, throughout our life our brains keep developing so our IQ score is never fixed. And if nothing else, regularly doing such tests tends to increase the score somewhat (through familiarity).


Notwithstanding any of that, while you may want to continue to banter about the difficulty in determining who is smart and who is not; I think that it is fair to say that when any of you meet a person who is not smart, you are able to assess and determine that. Even stupid people are able to do that.

I met a fair number of people who are quite smart in some ways and rather stupid in others. Myself I have a university degree in architecture, yet I have trouble programming the VCR. Does that make me intelligent or stupid?
Intelligence is not quite so absolute as would be convenient.

hmm. Maybe the USA should let the 500 wealthiest families chose amongst themselves who will be president the next four years. That is pretty much what happens now anyway, but skips the costly and time consuming election campaigns.


Eri

Fyyr Lu'Storm
12-10-2007, 03:42 PM
If you have trouble programming a VCR, that has more to do with your interest in acquiring that knowledge, than in your ability to. You don't know, because you don't want to.

If you had the same apathy regarding how civics and government worked, you should abstain from voting. And because it is abundantly clear that people with this form of knowledge apathy continue to vote(mostly in answer to your entreaties for them to do so), they should be prevented from doing so.

You certainly cause more harm voting for something you know nothing about, than if you came to my house and started messing with my VCR.

It is not the cognitive which prevents you from operating the VCR, but the affective. You don't buy the necessity that you need to learn it. So you don't commit the process to memory, you do not learn it. You expect it to be easy, want it to be easy, so you get a TIVO instead(and if you can't work one of those, you truly are a moron and should be put out of your miserable existence).

And in the same way, someone who learns nothing of the civics system because they don't buy the necessity(which is where the test comes in) don't. And these people should not be allowed to make laws for people who do, they should be prevented from even choosing people to make laws at all. Until that time they decide that the knowledge is relevant, and necessary, then they should be allowed to vote, after they learn it, after it is knowledge.

And to address your other parts of your post simply, one of the first skills I learned as a human being was to assess the smartness or stupidness of those people around me. I can tell who is a smart person and who is a dumb person. Most of the people around me have this skill, to such an extent that I would infer that most people have this ability. I thus naturally assumed that you have this ability, the ability to identify people who are smart and those who are stupid. I apologize for that assumption if it was wrong, and my condolences for lacking and missing something I have which you don't.

Palarran
12-10-2007, 03:51 PM
If x=0
If y=0
If z=0

0^4+0^4=0^2
Ugh, I misstated the problem--I meant non-zero integers.

ToKu
12-11-2007, 06:04 AM
The question then is how much understanding is required in order to qualify to which I think it was already mentioned the civics test.

I agree with Fyyr to an extent, lately ive been angered by comments such as "I am voting for Clinton because its about time a woman was in charge" or "I am voting for Obama because Oprah supports him." The presidency has become the ultimate popularity contest to the point where you could probably win w/o having any standings on issues. All you need is enough celebrities to sponser you and to throw enough mud at your enemies that the only time your looked at is when you have said celebrities with you.

Honestly is it too much for natural citizens to have a basic understanding?