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Who Should Be Allowed To Vote Really?

Before a few days I witnessed a hot political discussion.

On one side, there was a very intelligent and educated person, who had a lot of knowledge about current issues, who read a lot, who thought a lot. On the other side there was, well, not so intelligent person. But he was very passionate.

The discussion started, as always, with some discussion on economy. The intelligent guy was throwing out numbers left and right, like percent increase in GDP, percent of people covered under medical insurance, number of people filing bankruptcies, number of foreclosures, etc. The not-so-intelligent guy was just coming back with very colorful vocabulary and largely ideological argument.

What was amusing was to hear the second guy talk about socialism and how it does not work. Not that I disagree about drawbacks of socialism, but the guy clearly had no clue about what socialism was. His whole argument was “socialism = sharing, capitalism = free market”. The oversimplification was bewildering. He did not really have a clear clue about anything. It was just religion, history, culture, sort of all rolled into one.

I was sitting there and wondering, why these two guys have same amount of influence in the election process.

For the most part, the complexity of policies is beyond an average person’s grasp. Heck, many politicians don’t fully understand it themselves. To what extent the election process is fair if a complete ignorant and a highly educated person both have same voting right?

I am not talking about needing a Ph.D. But should there be some kind of exam you need to take to be able to vote? The exam just covering basics like basic history of a country, basic knowledge of government, economy, and current affairs?

The current trend seems to be that politics is being more like reality show. It is giving people some drama that they need to make the boredom in their real life tolerable. Unfortunately people don’t realize  the humongous consequences political decisions have on their daily life.

But will the number of votes fall further? Perhaps not. For two reasons.

First, getting the right to vote will become an achievement if it can be acquired only after passing an exam. Then suddenly it will have a trophy appeal and will become more attractive than something you get anyway.

Second, this will make people understand and appreciate importance of right politics. And may be the cynicism will go down.

Hasn’t someone said “Democracy without education is hypocrisy without limitation”?

One Response

  1. 1) Throwing more numbers around does not mean that one is more qualified to vote.

    2) Even the smallest, most, uneducated, individual should have the right to vote because it provides expression to his/her aspirations. This way, the playing field becomes equal and prevents the educated from running the country for their own selfish interests, making it more advantageous to themselves. To put it more mathematically, it provides some dissipation in the system which gives more stability 🙂

    3) If the educated feel that there is a large backward class in the country that does not appreciate the value of voting, then the solution is to educate them. The solution is not to deny them the vote until they educate themselves.

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