Should right to vote be restricted? + Bad = desire to fit in + Free speech & courage

#1
The right to vote should be restricted to those with knowledge
https://aeon.co/ideas/the-right-to-vote-...-knowledge

EXCERPT: [...] Consider an alternative political system called epistocracy. Epistocracies retain the same institutions as representative democracies, including imposing liberal constitutional limits on power, bills of rights, checks and balances, elected representatives and judicial review. But while democracies give every citizen an equal right to vote, epistocracies apportion political power, by law, according to knowledge or competence.

The idea here is not that knowledgeable people deserve to rule – of course they don’t – but that the rest of us deserve not to be subjected to incompetently made political decisions. Political decisions are high stakes, and democracies entrust some of these high-stakes decisions to the ignorant and incompetent. [...]

Voters tend to mean well, but voting well takes more than a kind heart. It requires tremendous social scientific knowledge: knowledge that most citizens lack. Most voters know nothing, but some know a great deal, and some know less than nothing. The goal of liberal republican epistocracy is to protect against democracy’s downsides, by reducing the power of the least-informed voters, or increasing the power of better-informed ones. There are many ways of instituting epistocracy, some of which would work better than others....



The desire to fit in is the root of almost all wrongdoing
https://aeon.co/ideas/the-desire-to-fit-...wrongdoing

EXCERPT: [...] It’s nervously joining in [...] We ‘go along to get along’ in defiance of what we really value or believe because we don’t want any trouble. Immanuel Kant calls this sort of excessively deferential attitude servility. Rather than downgrading the values and commitments of others, servility involves downgrading your own values and commitments relative to those of others.

[...] Kant thinks that your basic moral obligation is to not treat humanity as a mere means. When you make a lying promise that you’ll pay back a loan or threaten someone unless he hands over his wallet, you’re treating your victim as a mere means. You’re using him like a tool that exists only to serve your purposes, not respecting him as a person who has value in himself.

But Kant also says that you shouldn’t treat yourself as a mere means. This part of his categorical imperative gets less publicity than his injunction against mistreating others, but it’s no less important. [...] Crucially, the servile person is guilty of the same root error as the person who deceives or threatens others – namely, denying the basic moral equality of all persons. It’s just that the person you’re degrading is you....



What does it take to make a stand for free speech?
https://aeon.co/essays/what-does-it-take...ree-speech

EXCERPT: [...] Yet norms change even within a single lifetime, especially as we live longer. So as elderly disc jockeys are arrested for sexual harassment or abuse back in the 1960s, we should be uncomfortably aware that some other activity that people regard as fairly normal now might be viewed as aberrant and abhorrent 50 years hence. To step outside the established wisdom of your time and place is difficult enough; openly to stand against it is more demanding still. [...] there is no reason to understate, let alone to deny, a specifically Western tradition of courage in the advancement of free speech...
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#2
(Oct 2, 2016 02:02 AM)C C Wrote: The desire to fit in is the root of almost all wrongdoing
https://aeon.co/ideas/the-desire-to-fit-...wrongdoing

EXCERPT: [...] It’s nervously joining in [...] We ‘go along to get along’ in defiance of what we really value or believe because we don’t want any trouble. Immanuel Kant calls this sort of excessively deferential attitude servility. Rather than downgrading the values and commitments of others, servility involves downgrading your own values and commitments relative to those of others.

[...] Kant thinks that your basic moral obligation is to not treat humanity as a mere means. When you make a lying promise that you’ll pay back a loan or threaten someone unless he hands over his wallet, you’re treating your victim as a mere means. You’re using him like a tool that exists only to serve your purposes, not respecting him as a person who has value in himself.

But Kant also says that you shouldn’t treat yourself as a mere means. This part of his categorical imperative gets less publicity than his injunction against mistreating others, but it’s no less important. [...] Crucially, the servile person is guilty of the same root error as the person who deceives or threatens others – namely, denying the basic moral equality of all persons. It’s just that the person you’re degrading is you....

Interesting article, C C. I'll have to give this some more thought. The concept of glory has been bothering me lately. I'm doing a little research on it. Do you have reading recommendations?
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#3
(Oct 2, 2016 02:02 AM)C C Wrote: The right to vote should be restricted to those with knowledge
https://aeon.co/ideas/the-right-to-vote-...-knowledge

EXCERPT: [...] Consider an alternative political system called epistocracy. Epistocracies retain the same institutions as representative democracies, including imposing liberal constitutional limits on power, bills of rights, checks and balances, elected representatives and judicial review. But while democracies give every citizen an equal right to vote, epistocracies apportion political power, by law, according to knowledge or competence.

So how is that determination of knowledge and competence to be made? Who is supposed to make it? Most of these controversies aren't just matters of knowing or not knowing some established truth, they are controversies about what the truth is. More than that, they are disputes about ends. There's simply no objective fact of the matter about what people should want.

Quote:The idea here is not that knowledgeable people deserve to rule – of course they don’t – but that the rest of us deserve not to be subjected to incompetently made political decisions.

Isn't that a contradiction? The second clause would seem to imply what he is ostensibly denying in the first clause. Of course despite his denial, the idea that "knowledgeable people deserve to rule" is this guy's whole point.

Quote:Political decisions are high stakes, and democracies entrust some of these high-stakes decisions to the ignorant and incompetent. [...]

Voters tend to mean well, but voting well takes more than a kind heart.

This whole post sounds like a call for a return to the idea of a natural aristocracy, this time an aristocracy of 'knowledge and competence'. I'm sure that in medieval and early modern times, the land owning aristocrats thought of themselves as the only people fit to rule too.

Quote:It requires tremendous social scientific knowledge: knowledge that most citizens lack. Most voters know nothing, but some know a great deal, and some know less than nothing.

And there it is. It's a university professor calling for a system of rule by an oligarchy composed of elite intellectuals like himself. Not only that, it's an expression of his contempt and disdain for the people that he feels entitled to rule.

Never mind that it ignores the democratic principle of maximizing freedom and liberty, the right of people to govern their own lives as much as practically possible, upon which the United States was founded and which has formed its guiding philosophy until now.

Never mind that there's little or no empirical evidence that university professors of the "social sciences" would be better rulers than the people themselves. How many of their class have a history of espousing Marxism and other kinds of intellectual looniness? It doesn't create very much confidence in their judgement.

And never mind that the phrase "social sciences" is largely a misnomer. I'm not convinced that these subjects are sciences at all, certainly not in the same sense that physics is. Back in the 18th century 'enlightenment' when the idea of these subjects was hatched, it was believed that if the methods that had been so undeniably successful in post-Newtonian physics could just be turned to social problems, a paradise would result.

Of course that never happened. A big part of the problem was that there don't seem to be any simple mathematical laws of history or society analogous to F=MA that would make social engineering possible. So the "social sciences" have been stuck making endless surveys, then trying to convince the public that 'statistically significant' means 'causally significant', which it doesn't.

One of the most interesting tendencies in politics today, all around the world, is the revolt of the people against their increasingly paternalistic would-be ruling elites. ("Father knows best".) We saw it in the Brexit vote in the UK, we see it in populist movements all over Europe, and we see it in the Donald Trump phenomenon here in the US. I identify very strongly with it.

It's ironic that the academic leftists have always tried to position themselves as the champions of "the people" against ruling "capitalist" elites. But now that the "little people" out there in "flyover country" are angry about and disaffected from the agendas that the elites in the New York City-Washington DC axis (or the Brussels EU Commission) are forcing on them, we suddenly see those same academic lefties closing ranks with the business elites and calling for the end of democracy and a return to elite aristocratic oligarchy (featuring them, of course).
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#4
Yazata seems to have summed up my thoughts on voting restrictions much better than I probably could have. I would only add that, while I am against all these "Get Out the Vote" campaigns that only exacerbate the politically unengaged participating, I do believe in the inherent strength of a free marketplace of ideas. Even if the "rubes" get it wrong, they are likely to eventually feel the consequences of their choices and rebound in the other direction.

Seems telling that one party is much more interested in more uninformed people voting. Seems like they have figured out a message that will get the uninformed to hand them more power.
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#5
(Oct 4, 2016 04:02 PM)Secular Sanity Wrote: The concept of glory has been bothering me lately. I'm doing a little research on it. Do you have reading recommendations?


In retrospect, I don't know why I reflexively and narrowly focused on books here, especially since online materials would be far more recent investigations of "glory". But depending on which context...

[Psychological] Rosanna E. Guadagno has an entry on the tendency of "BIRGing" (Basking in Relfected Glory) in the Encyclopedia of Social Psychology, edited by Roy F. Baumeister & Kathleen D. Vohs.

[Theological] Since there's a remonstrance of Kantian ethics contained within it, maybe C.S. Lewis's "The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses". But an examination of that book itself by another author or authors would provide a wider scope of views both pro and con. I'd personally settle for just published papers about Christian hedonism, that were of any note.

[Broader catagories] There's Gabriella Slomp's "Thomas Hobbes and the Political Philosophy of Glory". Which catches multiple birds with one net. There's not just Hobbes and her analysis of Hobbes' take on glory, but periphery ventures into the works of other philosophers on the subject.

A few excerpts, quoted by hand (there may be typos and other errors):

[...] Hobbes's concept of glory is, of course, far from being completely original. It can be argued that there are some interesting similarities between Hobbes's glory and Aristotle's honour, aristocratic virtue, biblical pride, bourgeois greed, Bacon's vainglory, and Thucydides' ambition and honour. Most of the above ideas have been identified in the literature as possible sources of Hobbesian glory.

[...] The lack of traditional moral content in Hobbe's concept of glory has induced writers like Macpherson to argue (wrongly in my view) that the only morality of the Hobbesian glory-seeker is the morality of the bourgeoisie.

[...] In my view [...] the similarity between biblical pride and Hobbesian glory is largely superficial.

[...] there is another crucial divergence between Bacon's and Hobbes's view of on glory; they disagree on the political implications of this passion. For bacon, unlike for Hobbes, 'there is use for it [vain glory] in civil affairs; unlike Hobbes, Bacon does not see in the desire of honour and reputation an inherently destabilising force of political associations.
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#6
It isn't solely a lack of knowledge that is the problem among many voters, it's an apathetic and self centered attitude that causes them to simply have no desire to become knowledgeable. And when Presidential candidates pander more to these types than those who actually are astute and care about positive political change and how to achieve that, a country has definitely lost its way.
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#7
As apocalyptic as people believe this election to be, we will survive it, and people may start to learn that actions speak louder than words. It is those actions that take some research to learn. The words usually don't comport with them.
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