Voter Knowledge Issues

The majority of voters have very low knowledge level of issues, i.e. superficial understanding because:

  • NO TIME:  they simply do not have the time required to learn issues to the level necessary

  • DON’T CARE: are not genuinely interested in taking time to learn issues to the level necessary

  • TOO COMPLICATED: the increasing complexity, i.e. level of detail, of issues makes it very difficult for a non-specialist to fully understand

  • OVERWHELMING: the sheer number of issues facing a country of 310 million (U.S.) makes it nearly impossible to be familiar with any significant number of issues to the level necessary

3) Significant amounts of private money could be redirected to direct investments at all levels rather than to lobbyists and on campaigning

2 Responses to Voter Knowledge Issues

  1. Carl Swanson says:

    Yikes major miss – allow me to explain;
    Another function of voting in the system of democracy is to garner the acceptance and approval of the sovereign people. If you limit the vote to experts you will not have open source government you will have oligopoly. This is ok if everyone is an expert and/or willing and informed participant. However if such a system were to operate in the real world you would lose informed participants rather quickly and the blind lumbering top-down managed behemoth of (non-sovereign)state would a) eventually operate in a way to decrease the pool of informed citizens and b) eventually exploit and victimize available population.

    I do not think we are far apart in opinions though – I do agree that some agreed upon systemic enforcement of voter coherence/credentialing can be made acceptable and practical! I would move the threshold to the realm of secure network connections and away from some non-sovereign experts making value judgment. I would also more importantly at least initially limit the issues that can be negotiated/voted on to those where every informed voter can explicitly accept the outcome.

    • According to Wikipedia, an oligopoly is “a market form in which a market or industry is dominated by a small number of sellers (oligopolists)”. Of course this is subjective, but I think most people would agree that 535 senators and representatives is VERY MUCH an oligopoly (roughly 1 person ‘representing’ 577,000 citizens). While 100% participation on any democratic process is unrealistic, the U.S. typically has around a 50% voter turnout (62% the last election due to false Great hOpe the messiah promised us).

      Under a system where people earn the right to vote, based on merit (from other citizens), even if 1% of the population participates, thats 3 MILLION people. A more realistic 5 – 10% participation rate (similar to the unemployment statistic), or FAR below the 50% voter turn out rate, would be 5mn to 10mn people, which I suspect MOST people would definitely not consider an oligopoliy, and, we would most likely not be in the oligopoly situation we are CURRENTLY in despite allowing EVERYONE to vote, or ‘feel like’ they are a part of the system but in reality they are only needed once every 4 years to have their vote stolen from them.

      So, in theory and on paper we have a great system. In reality, the representative form of government is broken and obsolete because the ‘players’ (politicians/status quo) know how to play the game VERY well. They understand there is a full range of individuals: geniuses, very smart people, smart people, average, not so smart, and not smart at all. This is NOT a judgment but fact. So the politicians start by seeing which groups are the EASIEST TO LIE TO (as campaign promises have zero accountability, ‘the sky’s the limit’). Doesn’t take a rocket scientists to figure out which groups they will start with and focus on.

      Point is, if the rules are altered, this ‘loophole’ can be reduced and the result will be changing the democratic process into less of a ‘game’. Also, I’m not suggesting each person discussing issues has to have a phd in the subject, but at least some base knowledge should be required (judged openly on the internet by peers). A secondary benefit is a way to reduce the effect of ‘armchair coaches’ – who do add value, but are also the Achilles Heel of any Direct Democracy: ‘mob rule’

      If all discussions and voting is done 100% transparent under full legal names (all users registered on a .gov site running O.S. software), with a full history of comments, everyone will be establishing their own reputation, there will be little need for ‘secure connections’ or fear of ‘non-sovereign experts making value judgements’. Yes, at the beginning it would be a little opaque (everything starts somewhere), far from perfect (nothing ever is), but this type of system EXACTLY PATTERNS the Open Source philosophy – can anyone and everyone just go in and change the source code for my Ubuntu? No, they have to earn the right. Do I, as a user trust this medium sized group (Canonical and all the contributors around the world), to guide it forward (progress) without going back words (fraud / waste / personal agendas due to secrecy)? Absolutely! I trust them 99.999%!!!! 🙂

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