Saturday, November 3, 2012

Revisited: Should You Be Forced to Vote?

   Last night was my atheist social group's First Friday, a monthly social gathering held at someone's house — this time, mine! One of the many discussions involved a topic I just blogged about yesterday! (No, I was not the one to start the discussion.) That topic was about forcing people to vote.

   One of the points that was brought up is one I had considered while watching that video, but forgot about by the time I started writing the post. This point is that Australians, who are forced to vote (or face a penalty), at least have the option of "None of the Above." This is certainly an option that would need to be given if you were required to vote. It could also help reduce the impact of those uninformed voters if they were to choose that option in recognition of their own lack of knowledge. (But I would not expect all uninformed voters to do so.)

   Perhaps the best point made was one that I had not considered and that is the idea that if you force people to participate, it may make some of them want to become more informed. And that would be a good thing! It would certainly be better than the current state of things where we have Republicans trying to mislead voters to prevent them from voting.

   As for another thought that came to me yesterday, I have to point out that more education does not actually work. I don't have my sources handy at the moment, but I seem to recall that, when it comes to those who deny human-made global warming, educated Republicans tend to deny it more and more passionately than less educated Republicans. There is a psychological concept — I don't know if it has a name — that I know some atheists have pointed out, often in regards to religious people who are smart. The concept is that, as one becomes smarter, they just come up with more clever ways to fool themselves. When you look at some global warming denialists, you can get suggestions such it the sun is in a cycle where it is burning hotter. My guess is that such suggestions are coming from the more educated folk. (Oh, and the political group that is biggest on denying global warming? Libertarians!)

   This leads me back to the update I added in that last post, where I talked about people having a skewed view of their "neighbor." Such as thinking homosexuality results from a mental disorder. Or that poor people are moochers. If people don't have an accurate model of the world, all the policy knowledge in the world ain't going to be worth squat.

   Oh, and one last thing...there was a part in that video where the presenter was saying we don't need to protect the disadvantaged from the advantaged because the advantaged aren't out to exploit their neighbor. If you haven't figured it out, let me be clear that this is bullshit; they do need protecting.

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