Like it or not, the democratic voter is a clueless fool.'Western countries' are lucky enough to live in democracies. But it is never questioned whether a democracy is a flawed process. Is the...

Like it or not, the democratic voter is a clueless fool.

'Western countries' are lucky enough to live in democracies. But it is never questioned whether a democracy is a flawed process. Is the average voter an uninformed liability? ...

As far as I can see, the average voter does not have an informed, educated awareness of the political process. They do not understand the detailed role of President, nor Senator, nor Govenor nor any other manegerial role in the political hierachry. They are burdened with the responsibility of selecting the right person for a position about which they they have absolutely no understanding, and they select from a shortlist of people about whom they realistically know nothing.

It's a joke. They'll vote for filmstars or wrestlers or TV personalities.

My premise is this... Politically speaking, the average electorate is a moron and western democracy reflects that.

Am I wrong?  

Asked on by elfgirl

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geosc's profile pic

geosc | College Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

Posted on

One man's fool is another man's sage.

If allowing "fools" to vote keeps them from taking more extreme steps to voice their opinion (revolution, for example), then it is an absolute life-saver for democracy in this country. In the long run, the power swings between the conservative fools and the liberal fools.

Are you assuming that this country's style of democracy is worth saving?  And I don't agree that democratic voters are fools; it is democracy that makes them appear so.

 My vote is only one of millions.  Those millions are as ignorant as me and none of them is going to inform himself, so if I do so, I will just be wasting my time.  My one informed vote (should I take the time to inform myself) will count as nothing against millions of uninformed votes.  So, instead, I will spend my time doing something that does count, maybe watching a football game since I get pleasure from that.

usbummer's profile pic

usbummer | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

One man's fool is another man's sage.

If allowing "fools" to vote keeps them from taking more extreme steps to voice their opinion (revolution, for example), then it is an absolute life-saver for democracy in this country. In the long run, the power swings between the conservative fools and the liberal fools.

geosc's profile pic

geosc | College Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

Posted on

I would like to discuss with you your rationale about deciding the quality of presidents, with Grover Cleveland being a good president and none since his election.  I'm not necessarily going to disgree with you that we have had some terrible presidents and that money and corporations have had a HUGE influence on the electoral process and events in our nation for the majority of the 20th and into the 21st century, just would like to hear more about your thought process in coming to that conclusion.  thanks.

No thought process; just a knee-jerk reaction or synthesis from all of the political and constitutional history that I have been exposed to through out my life.  It is a statement that is not meant to be so much definitive answer as food for thought.  It carries more meaning in what it suggests than in what it actually says.  It is one type of answer/statement that is made in this type of informal discussion.  Actually if I had to come right down to it, Was even Cleveland good?  He was philosophically conservative (good), but he was very active (bad).  I like presidents who manage instead of foment change.  Some change is inevitable, and a little bit of it is desireable, but it should evolve, not be decreed from above or forced from below, from anywhere.

 

vdavenport's profile pic

vdavenport | Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

I would like to discuss with you your rationale about deciding the quality of presidents, with Grover Cleveland being a good president and none since his election.  I'm not necessarily going to disgree with you that we have had some terrible presidents and that money and corporations have had a HUGE influence on the electoral process and events in our nation for the majority of the 20th and into the 21st century, just would like to hear more about your thought process in coming to that conclusion.  thanks.

geosc's profile pic

geosc | College Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

Posted on

Big corporations control the democracies of the world.  They favor democracies because democrats are easier to manipulate than aristocrats or monarchs. 

Television exposure is required for winning a democratic election.  T V time is expensive.  Corporations usually donate to both Democratic and Republican candidates, because these two parties have demonstrated that they support big business.  Thus, the candidates who get enough money to buy TV time are all preapproved by big business.  Voters choose between the two preapproved candidates based on a few minutes of TV advertising that they see over and over.

Voters are not fools or stupid, but very few of them know government or politics or the candidates that they vote for.  That makes them ignorant, not fools.  (Having a government of the ignorant, by the ignorant, and for the big corporations,  may make our government stupid or foolish.)  But there is a reason they choose to be ignorant:  "My vote is only one of millions.  Those millions are as ignorant as me and none of them is going to inform himself, so if I do so, I will just be wasting my time.  My one informed vote (should I take the time to inform myself) will count as nothing against millions of uninformed votes.  So, instead, I will spend my time doing something that does count, maybe watching a football game since I get pleasure from that."

It is one's station in life that best educates one to vote intelligently.  One who runs his own business and especially land-lords, I think, understand how the actions of government impact the lives of people.  Most voters are not so situated and should not be voting.

The last good Democratic president that we had was Grover Cleveland and we have never had a good Republican president.

We lost one of our checks and balances when we made the Senate elected by the same people who elect the House of Representatives.

We lost one of our checks and balances when we made the Vice President of the U.S. the President of the Senate, instead of keeping the candidate who polled second for President of the U.S. as the President of the Senate.

Democrats were manipulated into making these changes (and others) by power hungry politicians and their corporate controllers. 

vdavenport's profile pic

vdavenport | Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

I notice that many on here talk about the new media and the amount of ideas that are now available to the electorate, good and bad. 

Did anyone notice over the weekend that our current President stated that information now is  distraction to the American people?  He did and that shows, to me, that there is contenpt on the part of the "governing class" toward those that vote them into office.

If you look at the revising of standardized tests, like the ACT and SAT, the falling academic standards in our schools and the growth of "reality shows" that have nothing in common with reality, clearly the electorate in our country is falling down on the job.  Our nation no longer has the great debates over issues by actually talking about the issues.  Today we attack each other and call that debate. 

We have a great deal of powerful problems facing our nation today and the govering class and the electorate need to both pull their heads out and put them back on their collective neck and get back to focusing on the issues, not the name calling.

kapokkid's profile pic

kapokkid | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Moving to North Korea does seem a little strong, how about just Sweden or maybe a nice place on the Baltic like Slovenia.  Everyplace obviously has its problems, but the idea of simply expelling people who want to see change is a little strong.

I think something that I've likely said before but that perhaps bears repeating is that it isn't necessarily that all the voters are really stupid but that they've been trained to accept the status quo, to accept that government doesn't work and that their voice has no real impact.  They are trained to feel that way in schools (pretty far from democracies and closer to autocracies) and then it is reinforced by the way that every-day life works to force most people to think first of doing anything they can to make more money and support their families better, and then you are going to expect them to be politically active?  When you have cable TV and the suburbs that effectively space people out so they can't have meaningful gatherings?

I just don't think that the majority of Americans are "stupid," I tend to think they are actually pretty smart.  I don't think sitting in judgment of them really helps much either.

jmj616's profile pic

jmj616 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted on

Somone once said, "Never underestimate the stupidity of the American people."  Was it H.L. Mencken?  Whoever it was, he sure had a point.

The good news is that the Constitution mandates a representative democracy rather than a direct democracy.  This way, instead of 300 million fools voting on every issue, we have 535 fools voting for them. 

Well, it's a flawed system.  If it really bothers you, move to North Korea. 

besure77's profile pic

besure77 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted on

I think this really depends on who the individual is. I think that there are many very intelligent and well informed Americans out there who are far from clueless. By the same token, I think there are also a lot idiots out there as well.

mstultz72's profile pic

mstultz72 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

In response to the following:

[Democracy]'s a joke. They'll vote for filmstars or wrestlers or TV personalities.

My premise is this... Politically speaking, the average electorate is a moron and western democracy reflects that.

We've always voted for entertainers.  It's all about the stump and carrying big sticks and not letting them see you on crutches.  It's like the early theater: only male actors need audition.  We vote for whoever looks stronger (Teddy Roosevelt), looks better on TV (Kennedy), looks like a guy we'd like have a beer with (Bush).

Yes, everyone's a moron.  But the average American moron doesn't take the streets in mob rule, burning effigies, screaming epithets, and storming the Capital when his party candidate loses.  Yes, they're moronic, but they've got good manners.

lfawley's profile pic

lfawley | College Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted on

I have to state that at first, when I read the topic, I took it to mean that you were attacking Democrats. However, once I opened the thread, I agree wholeheartedly and I share the sentiments of those who have stated the sad facts to the American voting public. We are a society that, largely, believes what we see, hear, or read as absolute truth. If the news tells us something, then it must be a fact. We lack critical thinking skills, we align ourselves with group-think because we feel that there is safety in numbers. As Thoreau noted in his Resistance to Civil Government, we go to the polls and cast our vote perhaps as we think is right, but we are not vitally concerned with the outcome. We are willing to let the majority prevail, even if the majority is flawed in their thinking.

Add to this the fact that so few Americans have even read the constitution and we have a country that doers not even know what its rights are. The only rights people seem to care about are the right to worship in the church of their choice and the right to carry a gun. To me, this is sad. We start a job and we read the employee handbook, so shouldn't we at least read the employee handbook for our country?

coachingcorner's profile pic

coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted on

Like it or not, the democratic voter is a clueless fool.

'Western countries' are lucky enough to live in democracies. But it is never questioned whether a democracy is a flawed process. Is the average voter an uninformed liability? ...

As far as I can see, the average voter does not have an informed, educated awareness of the political process. They do not understand the detailed role of President, nor Senator, nor Govenor nor any other manegerial role in the political hierachry. They are burdened with the responsibility of selecting the right person for a position about which they they have absolutely no understanding, and they select from a shortlist of people about whom they realistically know nothing.

It's a joke. They'll vote for filmstars or wrestlers or TV personalities.

My premise is this... Politically speaking, the average electorate is a moron and western democracy reflects that.

Am I wrong?  

Actually you have picked out a highly topical and contentious issue for the UK at the moment. In our current four yearly election the selection has always been minimal. Suddenly we try something new--a US style TV Leaders Debate. The young underdog nobody ever heard of was judged the winner in Poll. Now suddenly its not a two horse race anymore: media cronies are terrified because he believes in a proprtional representation democracy.

clamo88's profile pic

clamo88 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

The United States is a Republic, not a Democracy.  There is always confusion over a democratic process, which a Republic certainly is, versus the style of government called a Democracy.  See this brief article for clarification of terms. So this entire discussion is talking about a Republic, not a Democracy.

I find it interesting that people often point to the election of actors, athletes, musicians, and/or other "non-government" types to public office as a sign that voters are clueless. People in any profession are just as capable of thinking, listening, and responding to the conditions under which they and others live.

Elected officials come into office with a platform of ideas, issues, and opinions, but also must listen to the people they represent.  Otherwise, they'll be voted out in the next election.  Elected office becomes a balance of pursuing issues the voters want, your own ideals, and negotiation with other elected officials to move ideas into laws.

Almost any person in any profession is a viable candidate for elected office and has the right to run a campaign.  It just depends on whether they fit the official criteria for that public office and whether or not voters belief enough in them to get them on the ballot.  Someone's profession as an athlete, musician, actor, or "other" has no bearing on their intelligence, ability to lead (every group has its leader), or their desire to hold public office to serve their country.

The statements in this discussion that most people are bored by politics are contradicted by what I have perceived in my personal and work life, which crosses several socio-economic levels.  Many people avoid talking about politics in the work place, and many organizations encourage that, because it is a "loaded topic" that gets too many people into arguments.  But if you listen to the talk on the street, in public forums like the Internet, and among families, you'll find that politics comes up very often.

People have very definite opinions about a lot of political issues; they may just choose not to always share them, or to not share them with people whom they view as having opposing opinions.

While there are many people who do not vote -- feeling as if their vote is wasted -- that is more reflective of the lack of choice offered by a dominant 2-party system.  If the many political parties we actually have in the US were given equal ground to get elected, our choices would be greatly expanded.

I found the recent episodes of Celebrity Apprentice quite revealing about the poor management and leadership skills of former Illinois Governor, Rob Blagojevich.  He did not delegate, he abdicated his management responsibilities on that show.  He did not know how to truly contribute to team efforts.  He held his team back week after week due to his poor skills.  He seemed unable to answer a direct question; always wavering back and forth.  He has no technology skills that would make him employable in the private sector, etc.  If that is the skill set "politicians" bring to the table, give me more people from the real world instead!

clamo88's profile pic

clamo88 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

The United States is a Republic, not a Democracy.  There is always confusion over a democratic process, which a Republic certainly is, versus the style of government called a Democracy.  See this brief article for clarification of terms. So this entire discussion is talking about a Republic, not a Democracy.

I find it interesting that people often point to the election of actors, athletes, musicians, and/or other "non-government" types to public office as a sign that voters are clueless. People in any profession are just as capable of thinking, listening, and responding to the conditions under which they and others live.

Elected officials come into office with a platform of ideas, issues, and opinions, but also must listen to the people they represent.  Otherwise, they'll be voted out in the next election.  Elected office becomes a balance of pursuing issues the voters want, your own ideals, and negotiation with other elected officials to move ideas into laws.

Almost any person in any profession is a viable candidate for elected office and has the right to run a campaign.  It just depends on whether they fit the official criteria for that public office and whether or not voters belief enough in them to get them on the ballot.  Someone's profession as an athlete, musician, actor, or "other" has no bearing on their intelligence, ability to lead (every group has its leader), or their desire to hold public office to serve their country.

The statements in this discussion that most people are bored by politics are contradicted by what I have perceived in my personal and work life, which crosses several socio-economic levels.  Many people avoid talking about politics in the work place, and many organizations encourage that, because it is a "loaded topic" that gets too many people into arguments.  But if you listen to the talk on the street, in public forums like the Internet, and among families, you'll find that politics comes up very often.

People have very definite opinions about a lot of political issues; they may just choose not to always share them, or to not share them with people whom they view as having opposing opinions.

While there are many people who do not vote -- feeling as if their vote is wasted -- that is more reflective of the lack of choice offered by a dominant 2-party system.  If the many political parties we actually have in the US were given equal ground to get elected, our choices would be greatly expanded.

I found the recent episodes of Celebrity Apprentice quite revealing about the poor management and leadership skills of former Illinois Governor, Rob Blagojevich.  He did not delegate, he abdicated his management responsibilities on that show.  He did not know how to truly contribute to team efforts.  He held his team back week after week due to his poor skills.  He seemed unable to answer a direct question; always wavering back and forth.  He has no technology skills that would make him employable in the private sector, etc.  If that is the skill set "politicians" bring to the table, give me more people from the real world instead!

kapokkid's profile pic

kapokkid | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Education actually does consist of quite a good deal of brainwashing, though most of it is done with the best of intentions.

Authority on a subject is most definitely allowed, but individual people ought to be able to judge for themselves who is an authority and who is not.  And to treat anyone who declares themselves an authority with skepticism until they prove otherwise.  Nothing wrong with a healthy dose of skepticism is there?

Intelligence is mostly subjective.  Some people consider a talented athlete's ability to control their body in a way most people can't is a form of intelligence.  Some people think that same person is an imbecile because they scored below the norm on the SAT.  Surely to some extent everyone's definition of who is intelligent and who isn't is different?

I don't recall making any specific comments about any poster. Particularly since I don't know any of them personally, I would be very hesitant to do so.

How do you measure intelligence?  If someone walks in with perfect SAT scores and a glowing transcript, does that mean that without any doubt they will be brilliant?

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