I am told that voting is a human right, personal freedom or any other term you want to use. I disagree. Right wing anarchists tend to argue that voting is coercive. This is wrong. When you vote you indirectly use the coercive powers of government, but that may be too strong of a statement. When you vote, you give support to a candidate, or possibly a proposed law. It is the candidate who wins, or the law if it passes, that leads to coercive policies. Regardless, should we let anyone vote? Of course a single vote does not matter but what about the ignorant masses?
In 2000 the election came down to 537 people in Florida, but presidential elections generally aren’t close. The 2012 election was decided by 6ish states, depending on your combination. On the other hand local, state or congressional races can be decided by a relatively small amount of votes. Take the mythical twenty third district of North Carolina. Representative Occupy Democrats won reelection by 3% of the 1000 votes (30 votes). Let’s assume the district is roughly representative of the American people as a whole. Roughly 35% of the nation can’t name a single branch of government. Again, assuming a roughly representative we had 350 people who can’t name a single branch of government possibly tipped a US House of Representatives race. What if this was a Senate race? What if it was a Senate race in 2008 which was the difference between a Republican minority filibustering the passage of the affordable care act?
I would argue that every American should have to pass the 9 question test (4 MC and 5 free responses) below by correctly answering 5.
1. Who was the first President?
2. What party controls the House of Representatives?
3. What party controls the Senate?
4. How many Supreme Court Justices is a full court?
5. Name the three branches of government.
6. Who is the current President?
7. When prices rise what happens to demand?
8. What percentage of the federal budget is the department of Defense?
9. What percentage of the general public is gay or lesbian?
I think the first is simple enough. If you don’t know who the president is you probably don’t know what the law of diminishing returns is or how it applies to education or defense spending.
For the second and third I think you should know who is in control of the government. The same logic applies for the sixth question.
In Senatorial and Presidential elections the Supreme Court is a issue. If you don’t know the most basic aspect you shouldn’t have a say in its influence.
You should know the basic breakdown of the federal government.
Number seven demonstrates at least a partial understanding of basic economics.
Most people overestimate how much is spent on defense. If you don’t understand how the federal government spends others money you shouldn’t have a say in how it will spend others money.
Simply because LGBT issues are a big topic. Most people think about 20% of the country is gay. In reality it is 2%. This demonstrates a fundamental understanding or lack of understanding of society’s makeup.

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Posted by Roman Bilan

4 Comments

  1. The media and television networks are responsible for portraying the LGBT community as being far more than just 2% of the population.

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  2. Economics should also be a required class in schools.

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  3. I always believed voting is a privilege to be earned.

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  4. You, my friend, are a genius.

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