Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Should Suffrage be Universal?

Well this one's a real hard hat 'political' type post. It ought to get people thinking, maybe riled.

But I do wonder if many people will read it, or comment. Chances are it will be published while I am away anyway, so if I don't reply to any comments 'till much later I apologise now.

These are really questions, but they go to the heart of how we live, our assumptions. I don't have a strong point of view in this. This is more to see what other people think.

A couple of things prompted me to do this post. Firstly I was watching a documentary on TV about 9/11 the terrorist attack, on the twin towers especially.

It brought back a lot of the horror of it, the surreal unbelievable nature of it. There was understandable anger amongst people on the streets that day a desire to strike back somehow.

One guy interviewed said that Finland should be bombed in revenge. He had on a business suit. I guess he must have done a job that needed at least some smarts, but he was so incredibly ignorant he would have bombed Finland. I replayed it to double check, no mistake.

I thought incredulously to myself "Just as well he is not secretary of state for defense" then I thought "...and he is allowed to vote?" Tho, to be fair, I figure maybe he had an excuse to be a little mixed up, even so... Finland?

Something else. We are all pretty much aware of the huge fuss over President Obama's health care plans. Now I am not going to go into that, for or, against.

One thing that struck me was how the Republican "Anti" camp tried to use Stephen Hawking as an argument against the plans.

Investor's Business Daily Editorial entered the debate with;

"People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn't have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless."

Again the ignorance is staggering, and from a journal that people are supposed to take advice from, to listen to.

Hawking was born in the UK. He grew up under its national health Service. He clearly did have a chance. It clearly didn't say he was essentially worthless. It just about proves the opposite of what the writer was arguing.

Viewing the attack has now been understandably restricted, probably re written too, if they have any sense.

I figure the person who wrote that article is probably pretty smart and quite 'political' but is clearly a lazy enough thinker to make a bad mistake and clearly essentially ignorant of at least some very salient facts. It sent them in the opposite direction they wanted to go in. Or maybe they are a secret Democrat sympathiser.

I guess that writer too is probably allowed to vote. If the rest of their thinking is as informed as the comments on Stephen Hawking then goodness help us all.

So, a question. Voting is important. If you don't have a clue and can't be bothered to get one do you really have any business voting?

I figure voters ought to have some knowledge, because when you vote you have your hand on the steering wheel of the great bus of state. Most places expect drivers to know what they are doing, to get a licence.

And should it just be limited to ordinary voting? How about being a politician?

Their votes are even more important. Voting on legislation is part of their job. They ought to have some knowledge. Surely they are more like airline pilots.

They make a mistake and we all get to pay for it.

That one got me thinking...

Then I thought about the money side of things. Now If a bunch of people were planning to do something and were all paying towards it they would not expect to have to let other people who were not contributing to have a say in it.

So why should people who don't pay any tax get to vote on what tax money is spent on?

OK I know it is not quite as simple as that in rl, what about housewives raising kids for instance?

Would it would be better if you had to do a general competency to vote exam that every citizen had to take?

How about if you only got to pay taxes if you voted and could only vote if you paid taxes. If it was based on income/ability to pay and was the only form of tax allowed by law?


jmb said...

Shakes her head at the ignorance of some people.

Some interesting thoughts here Miss Moggs, most of which would not prove popular I fear, some with the electorate and some with the government itself.

I lived for many years as a taxpayer without representation, since as a non Canadian citizen I was not allowed to vote. I don't think they would have been willing to let either the OS or me off the hook. And many is the time I had to pay because some monetary motion was passed without my input, particularly at the local level.

I grew up where voting was compulsory so do not take it lightly. Since regaining the vote I always exercise my mandate, even at the lowest level. I can never understand those who can't be bothered voting on even the big issues.

Interesting thoughts but I can't see those proposals being implemented any time soon.

Berni said...

Like you I was unable to vote until recently but now have made a point of voting whenever I can. It upsets me to think that we could possible have another election, which I believe no one wants, and even less people will turn out than before. I am for making voting compulsory however I think some competency test might be in order. Of course I would like to see the politicians actually say what they intend to do and how rather than vague promises and back stabbings.

Moggs Tigerpaw said...

JMB & Berni,

I don't like the idea of excluding people from voting and I don't think it should be compulsory either.

I do think voting is really important.

I think people ought to take it seriously and ensure they are competent to vote.

If they don't know stuff I do wonder how can they make a sensible informed decision?

If they can't make an informed decision wouldn't any they did make be random and like as not to be crazy?

It is a really good point that you can't really make an informed decision if you are being lied to in political manifestos. I guess you just need to figure they are all lying and make sure any voting decisions you make are towards reducing government's powers and income from taxation.

As for taxation without representation... there have been revolutions over that haven't there.

I still do sort of have a feeling that if a person is paying towards something they ought to have more of a say how it is spent than someone who isn't.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

It is true that a lot of people do not have a clue about politica but that doesn't mean they don't have a right to vote. How would you test people to decide who gets deprived of this right? Brave people fought for the vote not so long ago historically and now you want to take us back? As for those who don't pay taxes not having the right to vote, any one of us could lose our job at any time in the current climate. If that happened to me, I'd jolly well want the right to vote out the government that caused the situation! Now, don't atart me on housewives raising kids . I've never thought that this should be paid work. People without kids have to keep house too!

Moggs Tigerpaw said...

Welshcakes, I don't want to get in trouble ^_^.

This post was intended to ask controversial questions, maybe get some responses, so ty for commenting. Kind of "well why is it this way and is it right or best that it is?"

I don't want to "Take us back" to a point, say where women were not entitled to vote, or only those with property were entitled to vote.

I think everyone should be equal in that.

I guess mere girlies are beneath the notice of the more hardcore, more political bloggers who I think we all visit from time to time and comment on their blogs.*Sniff*

The fact is certain people and groups are excluded from voting in many countries, mostly on competency grounds.

I know for years male society judged women were too flighty and not sensible enough to vote. Some societies still seem to have a strong streak of that in them and I really oppose that.

People below a certain age for instance. Why don't 14 year olds get the vote? There are some cultures where it is ok to get married then, why not vote?

I guess the reason is society judges they are not competent. Because of how much knowledge and experience they have collected, maybe their ability to reason.

Mostly at 18 we figure people ought to have collected enough knowledge generally? We get the benefit of the doubt.

Ellee Seymour said...

That's very interesting. I've seen Stephen Hawking in Papworth Hospital in the UK sitting at the table next to me in a cafe. And that is an NHS hospital.

Moggs Tigerpaw said...

Elliee, It proves the guy was wrong about his argument, maybe that he was wrong about one of the reasons he opposes universal health care too even.

It shows he isn't careful and makes important decisions based on faulty reasoning and prejudice.