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Thread: Should I vote?

  1. #31
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    First, "masses" is a pejorative that connotes little regard for or familiarity with people; its use should be avoided.
    It was used in that context intentionally, or rather, in the pejorative sense as being an indistinct group of people with no distinct identity (as the vote for a representative reduces them to).

    Second, how are citizens prevented from making choices if they ordain their colleagues to carry out certain public responsibilities?
    Gross generalisation to what I said. Forms of governance are orderly - electing governance leaves goverance to those that are selected. They become the gatekeepers of governance; if not for this, there would be no point in electing them.

    It does not prohibit active participation, which again is why I suggest doing it by oneself rather than at a distance.

    In a statist or otherwise corrupt environment, yes, individuals will be both distanced and circumscribed.
    Statist is also a pejorative, as is your association of it to corruption.

    Strong central states do not limit participation. Course, extending the same logic and using corruption and such, the US wouldn't be the role model for democracies or republics, which I suppose it isn't if you rate it by corruption and so forth. Those that are - most of Scandinavia, some of Europe, Australia... even Canada - and despite major differences between them (direct voting, forced voting, multi party, strong federal, strong state...), all are more 'statist'... and many have much stronger forced service requirements to governance, never mind a social expectation.

    The main problems are having few watchguards (NGOs) that watch the government and the two major cornerstones of law (seperate from state and strong rule of law)... well, that and the social effects, like an uneducated (about politics) population, poverty and so forth. Course, there is an interactive effect here - law and education, public support for NGOs.

    Where democracy promotes the use of an open government it is good. However, again, it is not democracy that causes these, but rather active participation in the government. The end result is that people can create democracy as one more way of opening up government. It doesn't matter who you vote for if, for example, they are part of a old boys network, or if the law isn't a threat, or if law is turned on the people... It doesn't matter if polarisation through representation happens either... just to use examples from more recent history.

    Again, the point here is not that democracies are bad - quite far from that. Only that it is statistically a waste of time for any single individual to vote while it is not insignificant to inflect change in one's local environment. The participation comes before democracy, not as a result. Those that vote but do not participate are non-contributors; IMO, they are actively working against "democracy" but diffusing those that do contribute.

    But in a liberal environment, there are many more decisions being made outside of the government -- activities by neighborhoods, associations, businesses, charities and so on.
    Interesting, I suppose, but has nothing to do with what I said. In fact, I said this is what makes one's contribution to governance and not the vote. FWIW, this is true no matter where you go and what level of government is meant.

    Third, you have the value of voting inverted. Civil service in an unaccountable government is worthless.
    All governance is accountable to the power structure that keeps it in power. Democracy is not the sole method in which the people can self-organise, nor is democracy any different in the way it creates power structures that limit the ability of individuals to self organise.

    The more diffused the power structure is, as it is in a national vote or most cases of representative democracies, the less pressure there is for those elected to be responsible to the overall wishes of the electees.

    This is why local governance is so critical - smaller groups in democracies allow less diffusion and more direct accountability. That's when direct participation through voting is most effective because your voice can carry through the individual's vote.

    However, amenability to majority rule is the greatest concession any official can make;
    There are many concessions; that is certainly not the greatest.

    without electoral approval, he has no legal power.
    Well, yes. Well, ignoring the reality of politics.

  2. #32
    Senior Member htb's Avatar
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    I'm under the sneaking suspicion that we are, again, more in agreement than first apparent. More if I have the time.

  3. #33
    Senior Member htb's Avatar
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    If "masses" really is a pejorative, it's inaccurate -- an underestimation of the associative strength of the public and a yet-unconvincing depreciation of representative politics. It's as if you believe that the quietest phone would be a congressman's, or a board member's, or any elected official's; or that an individual wouldn't be calling.

    Using the word "statist," I meant* governments markedly restricting civil and political liberties of citizens living under them -- not socialist or welfarist democracies. If a vote is denuded by corruption, then illiberal forces are at work; it isn't a fault of free elections or open government but rather an inimical agent thereto.

    For accountability, you switched to a relative analysis, when all that is germane is electoral democracy. Remove the rule of law and a body politic restricted by it, and order is maintained simply through repression, violence and intimidation. That is a change of topic. Liberal democracy is not "any different in the way it creates power structures that limit the ability of individuals to self organize"? Certainly it is in that occlusions are prevented or removed, by way of freedom of political expression, assembly and association -- unless by "self-organize" you speak of some weird, improbable mind-meld between pol and constituent.

    Associations outside of government have everything to do with the subject, regardless of whether they fit inside your theories. Nor is ascribing power to individuals a "gross generalization." Government under the rule of law may be prepotent, but won't if the power has been denied it by plebiscite. Calling one a "gatekeeper" assumes centrality of the state. In Canada? Maybe. Elsewhere, a citizen may remain informed, vote, and decide things of greater importance beyond the state.

    * (edit): Your use is the precise one, so "authoritarian" is better.
    Last edited by htb; 12-22-2007 at 08:42 AM. Reason: Fixed a preposition.

  4. #34
    Senior Member swordpath's Avatar
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    This will be my first election being able to vote (barely missed the last one). Why will I be doing it? Because I can and that should be a good enough reason to.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dana View Post
    There is an outspoken idiot in my Critical Reasoning class that makes a habit of drawing attention to himself by making ridiculous claims every week we have the class. This week, it was (paraphrased in my own verbiage) "Voting is pointless because it is only an illusion that one is has control over who will become president." Now, I can understand how one could entertain this idea, so I spoke with him about it for a few minutes, and it became clear that he had no back up to this claim, only a tone that seemed to scream Why are you all so STUPID? At one point I brought up a typical argument of youngsters that goes a little something like, "I'm just one in 6 billion--what will my vote do?" And I was about to state the obvious, which was, 6 billion people don't vote for a US president, but he was too quick to interject "YEAH SEE?" So I said, well certainly you will still vote for local propositions? He gave me a confused and baffled look and asked, "What's a proposition?" I rested my case.
    Gotta love attention whores.

  5. #35
    Occasional Member Evan's Avatar
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    i voted...

  6. #36
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    I was beginning to wonder if your post (dissonance) was more to spark the conversation as to why we should or shouldn't vote, or if it was sincerely asking for direction (not that I doubted your intent, just the way it read to me)

    I was poised to raise the thought that you asking the question in the first place meant you were on the fence whether to vote or not, but then you posted that you voted.

    Could I ask what pushed you over the fence?

  7. #37
    Occasional Member Evan's Avatar
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    i was certainly on the fence. i had pretty much chosen not to vote actually...

    but i wanted to have the conversation/debate as well.

    anyways, i'd been talking to people about it for the last few weeks, and essentially came up with this:
    one vote doesn't have statistical significance...
    but....it's kind of a slap in the face to everyone else to not vote, and...well...i've got a lot of Fe...

    it really wasn't that hard either (and i debated with my INTP dad about the measures, which was fun). i sort of feel that i did my social duty or something lame like that, and it makes me happier than not voting would have. that's the whole point anyways, right?


    edit: also, my dad came up with a cool way of thinking about it -- he said to think about one of those photographs where 10,000 people get in some sort of large configuration. it's basically like when you're one of those people, you're just a small part of a larger whole. for some reason that image resonated with me. (not that i couldn't think up something like that, but it seemed elegant somehow)

  8. #38
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    I only ask cause I've recently gone from not voting to actually being conscious about it. I went through a similar experience as you, but I think it is because I have seen a few elections go by now without participating in them, so I figured it was my turn.

  9. #39
    Rats off to ya! Mort Belfry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GirlAmerica View Post
    Yes you should vote. If you dont, then don't complain about the outcome.......
    I hate that argument. If it's the same result either way whether one person votes or not, why shouldn't you still get to complain? What does that mean if you did? Your tiny insignificant voice buried under an avalanche or hastily scribbled tallies means you somehow get the right to bitch about the person who gets in. Does that mean you can or can't complain about who you did vote for?

    Politics is such a behemoth to most people, that they feel they have no control over it. Political machinery is such a bane of everybody's existence that they try to live through their friends and acquaintences to wield it.

    By that I mean argument or allegiance. People who are interested in politics but are unable to be a part of it, achieve some place in it by drawing sides with the people they know. If they choose a party or person and their friends choose another, they can argue with them. If their friend votes their way, they can complain together. To these people, somebody who doesn't vote is infuritating because they don't know which side they're on.

    If you tell somebody you're not going to vote and they try change your mind, tell them you have changed your mind and that you're voting against them. I tried that once and the attitude of the person I was talking to completely changed. He became less interested in my right to vote and instantly demanded an argument for my decision. It became obvious to me that he was never concerned about me wielding my rights and was more interested in garnering support for his pet party.

    It's completely logical to deduce that your vote will not matter either way and that the whole outcome of the election won't rest on one vote. There are bound to be people who feel opposite to you politically anyway who won't vote themselves, so there's no reason that it won't even out.

    I'm now holding my breath for somebody to bring out the "but what if everybody felt that way" argument.
    Why do we always come here?

    I guess we'll never know.

    It's like a kind of torture,
    To have to watch this show.

  10. #40
    no clinkz 'til brooklyn Nocapszy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by whatever View Post
    always always vote!!! (sorry- I'm the chick who's always registering people to vote every election year)

    As you could witness from the election of 2000, sometimes individual votes DO matter

    (and yeah- my first thought, and greatest motivator, is the complaining power you gain by voting! )
    I do what I want. I don't vote, and I complain. There's no notoriety required for complaining. I complain about the taste of cheese, but I didn't have any say in that decision. I rest my case.

    And if there were some kind of requisite measures to be filled in order to be authorized to complain, don't you think it would be a bit more appropriate if it were firm and thorough understanding of legislature (something no citizen has -- the politicians we elect don't even possess this) not whether or not you clicked a button at a brand-name election?


    Quote Originally Posted by LucrativeSid View Post
    Why do people think that convincing people who naturally wouldn't vote to vote would produce better results? It doesn't make any sense to me. It seems like the opposite would be true. It's just more votes being cast by people who don't care that much and that don't know that much. Just think of the people who would vote Republican just because that's what their family is.
    Goddamn right. Republican democracy my ass. You can have one or the other. Not both. In fact... the two are, in many respects direct polar opposites of one another.

    Here's why I don't and probably never will vote:
    We're supposed to be electing a leader. That's fine except that we're really not going anywhere. Where are they leading us?

    To me, this kind of decision is entirely unnecessary. They're both going to do the same bullshit administrative job anyway.

    How come I don't get to decide who keeps the peace? Y'know? Why am I not consulted on who gets to be a cop and who doesn't? Many of the ones I've met are pricks, but that's another story.

    If I was on my way to 7-11 anyway, I might stop by the school (it's an intermediate between the store and my house) and push some buttons, but only while I'm finishing my toquitos and slurpee.
    we fukin won boys

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