Sunday, December 27, 2009

Freedoms (#102)


Anonymous said...

It's a great idea. Australia has proportional representation, too.

Adopting both would utterly change US elections. The US might start getting governments that didn't systematically abuse and rob the population.

There's a slight conflict with (nebulous) notions of freedom, but the more important point, IMHO, is that voting is a responsibility as well as a right.

The alternative is starkly displayed in the US. If 30-50% of the eligible population actually bothers to vote, that means that as little as 10% of the total population can elect a leader that makes the rest want to leave the country.

In Australia, one is obliged to spend the time necessary to vote, but if one genuinely refuses to support any of the major or minor parties, it's legal to make an invalid vote.

Freedumb and free, etc etc. Sorry for lack of funny.

Clumpy said...

There's something to be said about the idea that a society where everybody is politically active is an unstable society. Imagine a nation full of highly-motivated individuals, with the knowledge that the politically active tend to be more radical. The only thing worse would be people with no idea what they were voting for out in the ballot box as a legal requirement.

I've seen studies that 40-50% is actually a fairly stable proportion of voters, not dramatically different from elections over four decades ago (unless you'd call 7% or so dramatic).

An informed society, able to reason, would be a wonderful thing, and if these people would then vote with a cogent understanding of what they were voting for, I imagine elections would get a lot more reasonable and intelligent. That said, in our modern society the information shortcuts we use to choose our candidate our pretty flawed, our time too precious and the sources of unbiased information unclear, that I'm not certain a universal vote would be beneficial. I do, however, believe that we should crack down pretty heavily on candidates or parties who directly or indirectly discourage disenfranchised groups from voting through misinformation.

Clumpy said...

Um, "are pretty flawed" above, not "our pretty flawed." I may be tired.

matt said...

One positive thing about compulsory voting is it encourages everybody to be more politically aware, and more involved. I'm satisfied with that, because our style of representative democracy is really pretty undemocratic and we need a bit more participation.

Clumpy said...

I like the idea of a more populist system, though I wish that a government that listened to the exploited and "yearning to breathe free" (rather than the powerful and influential) could be accomplished by mechanisms less harsh than compulsory voting. I'm rarely making a specific point with my strips though I find "you WILL exercise your freedom" a supreme irony.