Do you think democracy is the best political system? Can there be a better system in the future?

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Post by El Messico Thu Nov 19, 2015 2:20 pm

Is democracy the best political system and are democratic ideals the best form to organize society? Do you foresee a novel political system in the future that better utilizes the skills of its people and reduces the potential for conflict? This could either be possible with scientific methods advancing our knowledge of how humans behave or simply with mass indoctrination. Is a Brave New World type society feasible in the future, do you see our current society progressing to such a society and is it something that we should hold as an ideal? Are our current ideals of freedom and equality for all always applicable and are they always justified?

I think it would be wise to consider what our notion for the purpose of society is. Is society responsible for progress (however one may choose to define that whether technological, economic or social) or is it's purpose simply to keep its constituents happy?

This debate here focuses more on the present, but I found it to be a very interesting watch:


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Post by Guest Thu Nov 19, 2015 3:13 pm

Winston Churchill is quoted as saying;

"The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."

While hilarious, it strikes a true chord in that the average person is simply not that bright. People are pretty much the same everywhere. What separates a generally crappy place from a generally less crappy place in this day in age is that the less crappy place has a slightly more concentration of not so stupid people in higher positions of authority. Not authority in a political sense either, but in a sense that they are able to accomplish things. This is generally out of the norm based on 2 major things

1. Social conditioning. People who are smarter usually don't fit in with the average person so they try to dumb themselves down in many cases. I saw this plenty of times growing up. Smart kids who could compete with the best of them overnight turning into aspiring rappers just so they could have a better chance at girls and whatnot. Usually the want to fit in overweighs what you think you will get out of being an overachiever in intelligence.

2. An inverse relationship between fertility and intelligence as shownHere:. Smart women are less likely to give up their happiness, working career, and general wellbeing in order to house a parasite in her body for nearly a year, and then have a net drain on wealth for the next 20-30 years. Child rearing, in agricultural days, was a necessity due to high infant mortality and a need for hands on the farm. These days they are not needed, and thus smarter people weighing the benefits of such realize that it is generally a waste. Less intelligent people don't think in this type of way. Sex feels good, and condoms make it feel less so, so they pop out kids for fun and the kids continue to keep them in a continued state of low intelligence and poverty. In a democracy, where every adult gets a vote, you quickly see where the true problem arises. Lower intelligent people overrunning the system with their votes to keep a civilization regressing towards their mean.

The US seeks to balance this with the electoral college on a national level to protect the country from regressing towards an Iowa, or Missouri in presidential matters , but this wrecks havoc upon the state and house level with large parts of the country generally being so far out of whack with the coastal areas that at times its hard to imagine them being the same country.

Is it the best Political system? I dunno, but it is the best from the ideas we now hold valuable in western civilization today. Political Science is dynamic though so perhaps in the future we will create something that is more suited to the new issues we will face.

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Post by Myesyats Thu Nov 19, 2015 3:30 pm

Democracy is the worst political system in my opinion. Churchill summed things up pretty nicely.

I even prefer dictatorship to democracy as long as the head of state is someone like Putin for instance.
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Post by Art Morte Thu Nov 19, 2015 4:03 pm

Democracy is the best, in the long-term it gives you the best average.

Sure you can have a well-meaning, good-hearted, intelligent and bright dictator every once in a while, but you would also get the bad ones. It's safer to stay on the average middle path that democracy gives you rather than ride your luck with monarchs or other dictators.


However, I do strongly dislike people who have this "I don't care about politics, I don't follow it at all, what happens, happens, doesn't affect my life" attitude. Many of these don't even vote. It should be every citizen's duty to have at least a small interest in politics, have even the basic understanding what values and main policies different parties hold dear. This is something that should be taught in school.

I might not be totally opposite to the idea where only the academic elite could vote.
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Post by RealGunner Thu Nov 19, 2015 4:50 pm

It's not that democracy is the best, it's just the most sensible and sustainable option.

Democracy under the hands of idiots leads to failure.

Reminds of a story(anime actually) where a town was fully destroyed because people in there kept voting for all the wrong choices and in the end there was just one person left. Obviously that's an extreme example but it has the right idea in there.

Dictatorship takes away most of the human rights. Doesn't matter how amazing the place is, dictatorship has rarely ever been successful anywhere.

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Post by rwo power Thu Nov 19, 2015 4:55 pm

Art Morte wrote:I might not be totally opposite to the idea where only the academic elite could vote.
What about having a voter's exam that enables you to vote after you have passed an exam that shows that you have a knowledge about the different political systems, different political parties and general state and world politics?

That way you'd show that you are not only interested in politics, but you hopefully actually understand what you do when you vote.

Moreover, offering such an exam from, say 14 years of age on, you'd even open voting for younger people if they show they are politically mature, while blocking people who would have no idea what they'd actually do even if they are older?
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Post by Guest Thu Nov 19, 2015 5:31 pm

linetty wrote:Democracy is the worst political system in my opinion. Churchill summed things up pretty nicely.

I even prefer dictatorship to democracy as long as the head of state is someone like Putin for instance.


What exactly does "Like Putin" even mean? Somebody hell bent on attacking sovereign nations  in attempt to recreate some former glory of an empire that collapsed on itself? Waltzing around shirtless doing martial arts trying to prove how macho he is to his fellow countrymen where over a quarter of them die in their 50's from drinking themselves to death? He is a joke of a leader, and one who could never be in any position of power if the average man was not easily moved by obviously antiquated displays of Masculinity.

rwo power wrote:
Art Morte wrote:I might not be totally opposite to the idea where only the academic elite could vote.
What about having a voter's exam that enables you to vote after you have passed an exam that shows that you have a knowledge about the different political systems, different political parties and general state and world politics?

That way you'd show that you are not only interested in politics, but you hopefully actually understand what you do when you vote.

Moreover, offering such an exam from, say 14 years of age on, you'd even open voting for younger people if they show they are politically mature, while blocking people who would have no idea what they'd actually do even if they are older?


A 14 year old is ripe for being brainwashed as they don't even have any life experiences yet. Allowing them to vote would definitely create a tyranny of the majority.

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Post by Myesyats Thu Nov 19, 2015 5:37 pm

Betty La Fea wrote:What exactly does "Like Putin" even mean? Somebody hell bent on attacking sovereign nations  in attempt to recreate some former glory of an empire that collapsed on itself? Waltzing around shirtless doing martial arts trying to prove how macho he is to his fellow countrymen where over a quarter of them die in their 50's from drinking themselves to death? He is a joke of a leader, and one who could never be in any position of power if the average man was not easily moved by obviously antiquated displays of Masculinity.

Putin is a great leader. Ask any Russian. He's the most intelligent president in the world probably.


Last edited by linetty on Thu Nov 19, 2015 5:38 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by Art Morte Thu Nov 19, 2015 5:38 pm

rwo power wrote:
Art Morte wrote:I might not be totally opposite to the idea where only the academic elite could vote.
What about having a voter's exam that enables you to vote after you have passed an exam that shows that you have a knowledge about the different political systems, different political parties and general state and world politics?

That way you'd show that you are not only interested in politics, but you hopefully actually understand what you do when you vote.

Moreover, offering such an exam from, say 14 years of age on, you'd even open voting for younger people if they show they are politically mature, while blocking people who would have no idea what they'd actually do even if they are older?


Yeah, maybe. The negatives I find in that are:

a) It would be quite the task to hold such an exam for the whole population, minus the kids.

b) You couldn't make the exam that difficult. Meaning that those who don't pass / attend it are already mostly the people who don't vote even now. Would it meaningfully raise the quality of democracy? The more difficult you make the exam, the more people there would be opposing it (as they don't pass and feel humiliated).

c) It feels a little bit discriminating to me. Can't quite put my finger on it, but it just does. Partly because of the previous point. People who don't pass it would be make to look stupid and humiliated. Not everyone would happily accept in the first place that they have to pass an exam to get to vote.


I think I'd prefer the 'academic elite' version. Pretty much everyone accepts that university professors (or whoever you'd include in academic elite) are knowledgeable and intelligent people. They wouldn't have much on the line in terms of personal gain, which is the reason you shouldn't include corporate elite in the suffrage.
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Post by Guest Thu Nov 19, 2015 5:56 pm

linetty wrote:
Betty La Fea wrote:What exactly does "Like Putin" even mean? Somebody hell bent on attacking sovereign nations  in attempt to recreate some former glory of an empire that collapsed on itself? Waltzing around shirtless doing martial arts trying to prove how macho he is to his fellow countrymen where over a quarter of them die in their 50's from drinking themselves to death? He is a joke of a leader, and one who could never be in any position of power if the average man was not easily moved by obviously antiquated displays of Masculinity.

Putin is a great leader. Ask any Russian. He's the most intelligent president in the world probably.


That doesn't answer the question Smile

What does a leader like putin mean? Attacking your neighbors and trying to create an empire that collapsed on itself? Taking topless photos of yourself on a horse and doing martial arts to convince the vast majority of an electorate(a quarter of whom whose so drunk they die younger than somebody taking antiretrovirals for HIV does) to vote for him? What makes him a good leader friend?

If his name were Victor Patongo president of the Gambia behaving in a similar fashion he'd be looked at by a joke by everybody, and not just those of us in the west who can see past his hilarious show.

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Post by Art Morte Thu Nov 19, 2015 6:33 pm

Discussing Putin is side-tracking the thread a bit, but I'll just say this:

Putin is well-liked in Russia for a reason. He has achieved a lot of good things, most importantly economic growth, better pensions and salaries. On the other hand he has given Russia some pride back by playing hard-ball with the West and showing that you cannot bully Russia. For that he's well-liked by the "nationalists" and Soviet era sympathizers.

Okay, now it's not all looking as great for him as it used to. The economic growth was built way too much on oil and gas and now that those prices are down, Russia is struggling. Secondly, I understand perfectly that Russia wanted, even needed to react when the EU pretty much side-stepped Russia in its advances towards Ukraine. That was poor judgement by the Union, in my opinion. To expect that Russia would let Ukraine slip towards the West that easily. What you need to remember is that it's a complicated thing with these ex-Soviet bloc countries. There's a lot of "old Russian" presence there and Russia feels, at least somewhat correctly imo, that they should watch out for those interests in those countries. The difficulty for Russia is that they have limited political and economical cards to play. So, they played the military card.

Anyway, Putin is ruthless and a bit of a gangster, but he has Russia's best interests in mind and personally I think the West could do more to understand Russia. Many people are quick to always think of Russia as the aggressor and more evil than the West, but in my opinion the West doesn't go without blame in its interaction with Russia and could have made smarter decision themselves.
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Post by rwo power Thu Nov 19, 2015 6:47 pm

Art Morte wrote:I think I'd prefer the 'academic elite' version. Pretty much everyone accepts that university professors (or whoever you'd include in academic elite) are knowledgeable and intelligent people. They wouldn't have much on the line in terms of personal gain, which is the reason you shouldn't include corporate elite in the suffrage.
Well, that's where I have to differ. E.g. I personally know one of the leaders of the green party who was at a university, but whom I totally don't consider the brightest bulb in the Christmas tree.

And if you think about how many people use "vitamin B" (that is a colloquial German term for "relations" and/or networks) to get into high positions in Academia, too, I'm not so sure they would necessarily be the best to vote either. Especially as many university departments are dependent on third-party funds and thus will likely join the lobby works for big corporate groups.

(I do see your objections to a general "voting maturity exam", too, of course, but using the Academic elite is IMO as problematic.)
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Post by Guest Thu Nov 19, 2015 7:14 pm

Art Morte wrote:Discussing Putin is side-tracking the thread a bit, but I'll just say this:

Putin is well-liked in Russia for a reason. He has achieved a lot of good things, most importantly economic growth, better pensions and salaries. On the other hand he has given Russia some pride back by playing hard-ball with the West and showing that you cannot bully Russia. For that he's well-liked by the "nationalists" and Soviet era sympathizers.

Okay, now it's not all looking as great for him as it used to. The economic growth was built way too much on oil and gas and now that those prices are down, Russia is struggling. Secondly, I understand perfectly that Russia wanted, even needed to react when the EU pretty much side-stepped Russia in its advances towards Ukraine. That was poor judgement by the Union, in my opinion. To expect that Russia would let Ukraine slip towards the West that easily. What you need to remember is that it's a complicated thing with these ex-Soviet bloc countries. There's a lot of "old Russian" presence there and Russia feels, at least somewhat correctly imo, that they should watch out for those interests in those countries. The difficulty for Russia is that they have limited political and economical cards to play. So, they played the military card.

Anyway, Putin is ruthless and a bit of a gangster, but he has Russia's best interests in mind and personally I think the West could do more to understand Russia. Many people are quick to always think of Russia as the aggressor and more evil than the West, but in my opinion the West doesn't go without blame in its interaction with Russia and could have made smarter decision themselves.


Fair enough.

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Post by DuringTheWar Thu Nov 19, 2015 8:24 pm

I'd refer to this quote by G.K Chesterton

" The whole of the real case for fascism can be put in two words never printed in our newspapers: secret societies

The whole case against fascism can be put in one word now never used and almost forgotten: legitimacy

Fascism was justified in smashing the politicians; for their contract with the people was secretly contradicted by their secret contracts.

But fascism could never be quite satisfactory; for it did not rest on authority but only on power; which is the weakest thing in the world "



That gets, it seems to me, to the root of the problem with non democratic solutions. What AUTHORITY to rule can those that have power have if its not in the hands of those they rule over?

Having said that there are things like the rule of law that I value more than democracy and if somehow the majority voted to abolish important liberties I'd quickly turn against that democratic process. A mob doesn't have the authority to vote away someones personal liberties!
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Post by sportsczy Thu Nov 19, 2015 9:07 pm

The answer is pretty simple... it's whatever the people want in a particular place as long as basic human rights and international laws aren't broken.  

As far as what's the best system... other than very few exceptions, most wealthy and advanced countries are democracies.  Why?  the system makes the leaders accountable to the people as they are elected.  So their motivation is to lead in a way that is beneficial to the majority of the people.

Also, democracy is a broad term. Its application is different in every single place. It's not a system in itself, but just refers to the fact that people get to vote for their leaders. How effective, representative and open to evolution a specific democratic system is depends on how its applied.
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Post by El Messico Thu Nov 19, 2015 9:12 pm

Betty La Fea wrote:Winston Churchill is quoted as saying;

"The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."

While hilarious, it strikes a true chord in that the average person is simply not that bright. People are pretty much the same everywhere. What separates a generally crappy place from a generally less crappy place in this day in age is that the less crappy place has a slightly more concentration of not so stupid people in higher positions of authority. Not authority in a political sense either, but in a sense that they are able to accomplish things. This is generally out of the norm based on 2 major things

1. Social conditioning. People who are smarter usually don't fit in with the average person so they try to dumb themselves down in many cases. I saw this plenty of times growing up. Smart kids who could compete with the best of them overnight turning into aspiring rappers just so they could have a better chance at girls and whatnot. Usually the want to fit in overweighs what you think you will get out of being an overachiever in intelligence.

2. An inverse relationship between fertility and intelligence as shownHere:. Smart women are less likely to give up their happiness, working career, and general wellbeing in order to house a parasite in her body for nearly a year, and then have a net drain on wealth for the next 20-30 years.  Child rearing, in agricultural days, was a necessity due to high infant mortality and a need for hands on the farm. These days they are not needed, and thus smarter people weighing the benefits of such realize that it is generally a waste. Less intelligent people don't think in this type of way. Sex feels good, and condoms make it feel less so, so they pop out kids for fun and the kids continue to keep them in a continued state of low intelligence and poverty. In a democracy, where every adult gets a vote, you quickly see where the true problem arises. Lower intelligent people overrunning the system with their votes to keep a civilization regressing towards their mean.

The US seeks to balance this with the electoral college on a national level to protect the country from regressing towards an Iowa, or Missouri in presidential matters , but this wrecks havoc upon the state and house level with large parts of the country generally being so far out of whack with the coastal areas that at times its hard to imagine them being the same country.

Is it the best Political system? I dunno, but it is the best from the ideas we now hold valuable in western civilization today. Political Science is dynamic though so perhaps in the future we will create something that is more suited to the new issues we will face.


Funny that you quoted Churchill. Because he's also alleged to have quoted:

“Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”

Although it must be said that the two statements can both be true at the same time.

sportsczy wrote:As far as what's the best system... other than very few exceptions, most wealthy and advanced countries are democracies.  Why?  the system makes the leaders accountable to the people as they are elected.  So their motivation is to lead in a way that is beneficial to the majority of the people.


I think an interesting thing to look at would be to compare when these wealthy democracies actually gained wealth. Did already rich countries adopt democracy, or has democracy been key to transforming these nations?

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Post by sportsczy Thu Nov 19, 2015 9:19 pm

Both... some very wealthy democracies started from wealth while others started from nothing.  The US started from scratch.  As a recent example of a country changing to a democracy and, after a while, transforming to an economic giant while struggling greatly before:  Brazil.

The fastest developing and richest country in Africa is South Africa and they gained their position and current momentum once Apartheid collapsed and they were allowed to develop under a democracy... has many flaws.  But generally, the country and the people have benefited greatly.

I'll also add that France was going bankrupt before the revolution. So although France was very wealthy... it was losing its wealth and the people lost trust in its King because the King was wasting the resources and the people's standard of living was falling. In the end, the people rose up to overthrow the King and make decisions for themselves. Became a lot more wealthy and modern after that obviously.
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Post by Robespierre Thu Nov 19, 2015 9:34 pm

Yes , it is.
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Post by BarrileteCosmico Thu Nov 19, 2015 10:27 pm

Of course it is, but it's worth reminding that not all democracies are equal and that democracy is not simply voting but also having a system of checks and balances, protection of minority rights, etc
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Post by titosantill Thu Nov 19, 2015 10:27 pm

democracy has its problems but its the most ideal for now. imo the problem with democracy is we expect too much from it, and two, we often associate it with a sign of development, which isn't necessarily the case and is a bit eurocentric.

as far as dictatorships, i notice (based on discussions with friends, not any major research), that most of the friends i have that support it have never lived under such a regime. i had an uncle who worked in a country (i don't want to mention  the place) run by such. anytime i visited, you could be out and about and you had to watch what you said, freedoms were curtailed and you just had to accept that

besides things like looting, corruption, mismanagement (which can all happen under democracies), a huge problem associated with dictators is it legalizes violence. a dictator's a marked man (or woman), so they have to rule with iron fists. a coup is legitimate if it succeeds, illegal if it fails. not to mention, even if you find the nicest, smartest guy to rule, power can be poisonous. to put it in the hands of one man, without any checks and balances won't work

democracy will most likely not answer questions of inequality, it can still be dominated by a select few, and newer democracies fall prey to 'ballot box' democracy...where people feel just cos there's an election, no matter how rigged or corrupt equates to democracy..i think political systems depends on the state, a country needs to find what works best for it, don't use the US or some other country's history to sort out what works for you....but still better than one party, one leader systems, and i don't care for monarchies either (as long as they make NO political or economic decisions)
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Post by RedOranje Fri Nov 20, 2015 12:10 am

It is somewhat ironic, I find, that this discussion was just about opened with a Churchill quote about democracy (and has followed that to a degree) when it stands so directly in contradiction to his own opinions on the system. Even the quote itself (while an accurate quote) is misleading, as in multiple other instances Churchill clearly planted himself as an ardent supporter of democracy... and not some limited, deformed version which excludes portions of the populace (a tactic which, history clearly shows us, leads to abuse, discrimination, and general nastiness I think we all agree is best avoided).

Is it often frustrating, and even worrying when listening to some would-be voters speak? Absolutely. However to exclude these voters is a disastrous course of action. Tests and other forms of such restriction (including some being employed even today in the US and elsewhere) are tools of abuse and disenfranchisement, whose total direction and purpose is to exclude a portion of the populace from obtaining and exercising a voice in government, leading to or stemming from denial of basic human and political rights. Checks and balances are absolutely necessary for a functional democracy, but limiting the voter base artificially is not one such possibility for a healthy country.

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Post by Clutch Fri Nov 20, 2015 1:07 am

Betty La Fea wrote:Winston Churchill is quoted as saying;

"The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."

While hilarious, it strikes a true chord in that the average person is simply not that bright. People are pretty much the same everywhere. What separates a generally crappy place from a generally less crappy place in this day in age is that the less crappy place has a slightly more concentration of not so stupid people in higher positions of authority. Not authority in a political sense either, but in a sense that they are able to accomplish things. This is generally out of the norm based on 2 major things

1. Social conditioning. People who are smarter usually don't fit in with the average person so they try to dumb themselves down in many cases. I saw this plenty of times growing up. Smart kids who could compete with the best of them overnight turning into aspiring rappers just so they could have a better chance at girls and whatnot. Usually the want to fit in overweighs what you think you will get out of being an overachiever in intelligence.

2. An inverse relationship between fertility and intelligence as shownHere:. Smart women are less likely to give up their happiness, working career, and general wellbeing in order to house a parasite in her body for nearly a year, and then have a net drain on wealth for the next 20-30 years. Child rearing, in agricultural days, was a necessity due to high infant mortality and a need for hands on the farm. These days they are not needed, and thus smarter people weighing the benefits of such realize that it is generally a waste. Less intelligent people don't think in this type of way. Sex feels good, and condoms make it feel less so, so they pop out kids for fun and the kids continue to keep them in a continued state of low intelligence and poverty. In a democracy, where every adult gets a vote, you quickly see where the true problem arises. Lower intelligent people overrunning the system with their votes to keep a civilization regressing towards their mean.

The US seeks to balance this with the electoral college on a national level to protect the country from regressing towards an Iowa, or Missouri in presidential matters , but this wrecks havoc upon the state and house level with large parts of the country generally being so far out of whack with the coastal areas that at times its hard to imagine them being the same country.

Is it the best Political system? I dunno, but it is the best from the ideas we now hold valuable in western civilization today. Political Science is dynamic though so perhaps in the future we will create something that is more suited to the new issues we will face.
Your 2 major points are observtions or howdid you exactly come to this conclusion?

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Post by titosantill Fri Nov 20, 2015 2:21 am

rwo power wrote:
Art Morte wrote:I might not be totally opposite to the idea where only the academic elite could vote.
What about having a voter's exam that enables you to vote after you have passed an exam that shows that you have a knowledge about the different political systems, different political parties and general state and world politics?

That way you'd show that you are not only interested in politics, but you hopefully actually understand what you do when you vote.

Moreover, offering such an exam from, say 14 years of age on, you'd even open voting for younger people if they show they are politically mature, while blocking people who would have no idea what they'd actually do even if they are older?


it comes off as very elitist. just cos someone is ignorant doesn't mean they should lose their right. a lot of countries have many people from different backgrounds, social status, pedigrees etc. some people will be excluded not because they don't want to contribute but cos of circumstance. i take it that one must undergo some level of education to be successful in such. unless such education is free, then i don't know about this. it just seems like it will continue to push those on the bottom ladder further down...citizens should be educated but not necessarily take an exam. and its up to the community, and the politicians who want to get into office to educate them (at the same time hoping to sway their votes)
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Post by sportsczy Fri Nov 20, 2015 2:40 am

I agree with RWO... but it has to be something very basic so you just test minimal understanding. For the US, i'd ask things like:
- When was America founded
- Who was America's first president
- Who was the only president to ever get impeached
- Who are the current candidates
etc.

Also ask basic literacy questions so you know the person can read and write... hence educate himself/herself.

So it's not elitist at all.... very very basic. You're forcing people to work a little bit for their right to vote.
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Post by RedOranje Fri Nov 20, 2015 2:47 am

sportsczy wrote:I agree with RWO... but it has to be something very basic so you just test minimal understanding. For the US, i'd ask things like:
- When was America founded
- Who was America's first president
- Who was the only president to ever get impeached
- Who are the current candidates
etc.

Also ask basic literacy questions so you know the person can read and write... hence educate himself/herself.

So it's not elitist at all.... very very basic. You're forcing people to work a little bit for their right to vote.


Bit unfair to ask a trick question (ignoring the inherent unfairness and unconstitutionality of a voting exam to begin with). And the candidates running? So the exam would not only have to be taken for every single election, but also within a very specific time limit since the candidates jump in and drop out at random intervals, even after the primaries.

Voting qualification exams are, in the United States at least, inherently unconstitutional and have very nasty historical implications.
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