17 June 2007

Elite stupidity

One of the odder and more repulsive forms of political advocacy I occasionally see on the internet is proposals that some particular category of citizens (such as public employees, in one case) should have their right to vote taken away on some grounds or other. Here, Sadly, No! dissects a suggestion that the uneducated (or those who cannot "pass a test of economic literacy") should be disenfranchised.

I have to admit that the thought of tens of millions of people whose mental level is such that they believe in flying saucers, angels, psychic healing, the Bermuda Triangle, or creationism helping to choose the President is sometimes a little scary. But once you start thinking in terms of letting certain people (which ones?) decide who is or isn't too dumb to vote, you're opening a can of worms the size of the Grand Canyon.

My comment on the suggestion that the well-educated should be given extra votes to increase their influence on politics: In fact, the most educated, rational, and articulate people already have access to an extra lever of political influence. They can use their superior powers of expression to sway and persuade others, in ways that the unthinking and inarticulate cannot. If an educated person finds that his effectiveness in this regard is less than he feels it should be, perhaps his logic and argumentation are not as stellar as he imagines.

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