May 2008

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Great Blog!

Tom Foster

Adams '08


They had to do research to discover that? What a waste of time and money. I could have told them that. Obviously these researchers are idiots, which is another category of people who don't know what they are.


Sondra: "Democracy is great in idea, but bullshit in practice - which is just like Communism."

Disagree. Communism is NOT a great idea. Communism is an evil idea form the root itself. (Or, what is great on: "take all from everybody, eliminate all who disagree and then drop out a share from stolen property to all who bent their backbone?")


I think you're missing one of the most important factors here, in fact you may be missing the most important thing here, which is that voting is essential to preserving democracy. Ultimatley it doesnt matter who you vote for because the effective difference between the candidates is usually pretty minor. in most elections you dont get the choice between the Dalai Lama and Stalin, usually its a choice between two fairly similar characters (who by definition have to be pretty similar because they are competing for the same votes)

southpark did a really good episode on this with an election between a douche and a turd sandwhich - you should check it out.

the most significant effect of voting is to preserve the democratic model. if we dont preserve and protect democracy, then we inevitably slide back towards, dictatorship, facism, theocracy, monarchy and the inevitable injustices and oppression that goes with all those systems.
Vote for McCain if you like, or Obama/Clinton, or (like I do) vote for a candidate that you know wont win, but vote for someone so that your vote gets counted, 'cos that means that the mainstream candidates will be out there next time campaigning for your vote which means that they have to stay mainstream
If reasonably open minded people (like you ?) dont vote, then election candidates will stop campaigning to you, they'll campaign to the people that do vote, that leaves the democratic process at the mercy of organised special interest groups and in a few presedintial terms you end up with an extreme religious right whitehouse and you end up moving to Canada (where its cold)

so are you going to vote now ?

rita mae

ANDY COULTER said: [I don't know about voting but it explains a lot of the hubris demonstrated in this blog.]

All I can say in reply is:

"You seem to have a little hubris there yourself, mister, just by the fact that you arrogantly presume that you can decide what Scott, his post, or his readers can say or think."

Take that!!

Rita (the "not arrogant or presumptious") Mae


Why would any one vote for someone who uses the threat of murder to acquire their funding?


Some people think that if you don't vote you can't complain. They have it backwards. George Carlin explains it best:

It turns out that the only people who can't complain are the ones who did vote and got who they voted for. Everyone else can complain because they are not responsible for the idiot who is now in office.


Holy crap!!

The whole premise ought to be wrong.... but dammit if I don't see perfectly good logic to your arguments. It sounds so ..."reasonable" =)

Frans van Zyl

Democracy is not about choosing a visionary leader

Democracy is about having a method of:
1> Preventing the thug at the top from staying there long enough to become so entrenched in his power that he can do anything he wants (i.e. 2 terms and then he's out)

2> Having a way of forcing the thug at the top to screw the general population in a way which they enjoy, instead of a way they dislike (else they'll vote him out)

3> Forcing the thug at the top to pretend to act (and even believe) in accordance with certain ethical standards which are acceptable to the general population, by appointing a another bunch of thugs (the opposition party) to whatch him and raise the alarm if and when he does not do so. (obviously the watchdog - thugs do this because they want to get into the top position, which they do from time to time, in which case the roles of top-thug and watchdog gets reversed)


I think it's an incredible system - it sounds a bit cynical when you break it into it's effective components (above), but it works like absolutely no other system has ever worked!

Of course, the most important role is played, not by the thug at the top, but by the watchdog-thugs.
I.e. - democracy can only work if there is a real possibility of the top-thug losing his position if he screws too many people in a way they don't enjoy

Therefore, the only responsible way to vote, is in such a way as to keep the balance of power as finely balanced as possible (in my view, one should always vote for the strongest political party that is not actually in power)


Wouldn't it be cool if absolutely nobody voted? It'd be Hell trying to rig an election when there were no votes to miscount.


Democracy is great in idea, but bullshit in practice - which is just like Communism.

Rufus T Firefly

Case in point: George W Bush.

Incompetence with condescencion.


i would vote for "whynotme"'s platform
count me in

Lazy Boy

The dancing monkey crowd gets bigger and bigger...

You've got a fresh batch, I suggest you get back to the free will lure and throw a sprinkle of alien evolution in the mix just for us old readers.

Lazy Boy

Scott D

Wow, a lot of self-righteous ranting in the comments above. And I love how Australia's slave system is exhorted as an ideal. Vote or else! There is one overriding reason that I won't be voting this November:

It is an act of aggression. By casting my vote for one candidate or another, I give my stamp of approval for the use of federal powers to manipulate the market, wage war, and dismantle the liberties explicitly protected by the Constitution. We have two entrenched parties with candidates who promise to expand our already bloated government. Taxes will increase. Regulations will increase. The richest will get richer and everyone else will get poorer. Liberty will wither still further.

Go ahead and cast your vote this November. I refuse to put my confidence in the annointed ringleader for one gang of thugs or the other. But I hope you remember this moment. This time next year, take a look around yourself and ask if things are any better. Hopefully you will still have a job and a place to live.


Eric wrote :
"I wish we had the option of a negative vote. Pick which one you like the least, and subtract a vote from that person."

That is a really cool idea. I wonder if any game theorists have tested it to see how it would work. Do you vote for the candidate that you are somewhat in favor of or do you vote against the candidate you hate? Imagine the pundits trying to get there heads around what was going on. "22% of voters say they will vote for candidate A and 16% say they will vote against candidate A, while 20% of voters say they will vote for candidate B and 14% say that will vote against candidate B, so .........we have no idea what will happen."

I think more people would vote if their vote could indicate how much they hated a candidate.

Eric M

Obviously you should vote for the person who will save you the most money. That is standard selfish voting and it makes the world turn.

[tounge in Cheek]

Simon James Pettitt

I just need to know
Are you against democracy, or do you think we should have democracy, but that you just don’t have enough information choose the right candidate?
If you do not support democracy, or think that it is so flawed, that we should start to look for another solution, then by all means stay home.
But if you do support democracy vote, but vote blank.
Not knowing who you should vote on is not an excuse to stay home.
Because voting is not just only choosing a leader, it is also to show that you support democracy.


[As long as people feel capable of evaluating complex economic and geopolitical policies, they will keep voting. And as long as people vote, they will feel vested in the system and support it.]

Scott, you're thinking too big. You don't vote for the members of the State Department and the economic advisors who deal with these complex issues.
Just be selfish and vote for the people that most closely reflect your opinions, and expect them to delegate work to those lower departments with the same wisdom that you would if you had the time to do it. That's representative democracy.


Genrally that would be the case but when it comes to Bush I would disagree :)


Scott -

Voters in a democracy are not being asked to solve complex geopolitical and economic problems. They're being asked to select a person to solve these problems for them.

While most voters are incompetent to judge these complex issues, they are collectively significantly more competent than any other known selection method at picking people of relatively good character and competence, who have their interests somewhat close to heart.

That's why most candidates prefer to convince voters that they have a similar world view to them, rather than convincing them of their particular policies. The argument is, "I understand these issues, and I have the same policies that you would have if you understood these issues because we have similar world views."

So don't sweat the issues - look at character, competence, and world view!


You say that voting is irrational. In the US system perhaps it is. Let me point out why it is rational elsewhere.

1) In Australia it is illegal not to vote. $50 fine. It costs me less to get off my fat butt and vote randomly, so even if I cared little one way or another, it would still be worth my while to vote. As a result, we have practically 100% voter turnout (there are usually a few people in comas or whose alzheimers' disease makes them incapable of understanding a preference; Some journalists choose not to vote for ethical reasons, which must be the only time they give their ethics any kind of airing; and a few people protest various causes by donating their $50 fine to a random government).

2) You may not know for certain that you are the most qualified to make some of these decisions. But if you know without a shadow of a doubt that *everyone* less qualified than you to make the decision will be doing so (100% turnout, remember), it is vitally important that everyone with the slightest shred of a clue MUST vote, if only to restore the balance! :)

3) The electoral system in the USA is haphazard to say the least, and because of the fluctuating voter turnout, you can never be certain how much your vote will matter. In Australia, elections are run by a politically independent body call the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), which is largly uncorruptible and well organised. As a result, all elections at all levels are run in standard formats; so even the people with the least clue can always be certain they'll be able to handle the mechanics of it. More importantly, the AEC controls the boundaries of electoral divisions, which are allocated according to the local population. This means that regardless of the population increase or decrease of your area, your vote always carries roughly the same value.

4) Whilst some divisions are "safe" Labor or Liberal divisions, many divisions (including my own) have a margin that is under 0.5%; these margins mean that in elections a single vote often carries the election. You have a good chance of your personal vote meaning something.

5) Because everyone votes, electoral fraud is very limited in value (you really need a lot of fraudulent votes to make a difference, and the more fakes there are, the easier they are to spot). As far as I can tell, in the USA every election I have observed [from afar, of course] appears to have had some controversy over fraud of some nature. Fraud still exists, but it is largely confined to producing fake campaign literature to discredit opposing parties.

So in Australia, rationality is on the side of the voter.

Your system needs an overhaul . . :)

Carl Boyd

hey man just wanted to point out the basic flaw in your latest entry. to claim that "you have to leave it out of the calculation because it is unknowable." when asking your self what would have happned had not the army invaded Iraq is just straigt out stupid man, if the claim is to work it must as im shure u know work both ways ergo: if you cant wonder what would have happend if you never invaded that means that Before you guy`s decided to invade the country you can not have bein able/aloud to consider the alternetiv of not doing so.

and one more thing, I just like you realy love living and just like u id rather it not be me how get shot but DUDE! to claim you dont MINDE some one ells going to war for your safty is just cowardly, im against warfair and any other activity that getts people killd for what they are TOLD is the Rigth thing.. there are many in my life id take a bullet for .. but none id kill for

online calculator

why nt third party

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