|Week of: |
November 5, 2000
|Ignorant Voters Should Stay Home
by: F.R. Duplantier
If free markets are something you dread,
Our Constitution is over your head,
And American history
To you is a mystery,
On election day, please, stay in bed.
Sowell recoils at "repetitions of the mindless mantra that we need to 'get out the vote.'" He sees no advantage in having "more people who don't even care enough to become informed about the serious issues show up at the polls." Sowell complains that the undiscriminating effort to increase voter turnout is "putting form over substance. It is also putting enormous power in the hands of political demagogues who exploit the voters' ignorance to gain power for themselves. It used to be said that an informed citizenry was the foundation of democracy," he recalls "It is still true, but it just doesn't get said anymore. 'Participation' is now the magic word, even if it is participation in self-destruction."
Sowell offers this challenge to marginal voters: "If you can't be bothered to read a lot of dull stuff about Social Security or military defense or what is really going on in our public schools, then why should you be bothered to go down to the polls on election day and cast an ignorant vote? And don't kid yourself that watching TV -- even TV debates -- is going to inform you," he scolds. "Sound bites are usually very unsound. If you can't see beyond a media image or some catchy phrases and emotional attitudes," Sowell suggests, "then why should you take the future of the United States -- and the world -- into your hands in a voting booth? Stay home," he counsels. "At least you won't be doing any harm."
The political process in America has become a theater of the absurd. Victories are determined by -- and campaigns tailored to -- so-called swing voters, people who still haven't made up their minds with only days left in races that began months, if not years, earlier. Could it be that they have no minds to make up? If they have no grasp of the issues and no judgment in general, why are they voting? If they are morally and intellectually incompetent to cast a ballot, why do they enjoy the franchise? Elections are now decided by -- the undecided! Forget finance reform: we need franchise reform, and fast.
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