Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Verb tense

I've been told that the young are not equal to the old, even if they should be.

That makes no sense. It's like asking whether rape should bbe immoral. It is or it isn't. The young are equal to the old, regardless of whether they are recognized or treated as such.

Women were always equal, regardless of whether or not their equality was recognized.


Commenty McCommenterton said...

I suppose it depends on what you mean by 'equal'. All are equal in the Declaration of Independence "all men are created equal" sense, but not everybody is equal at any age to assume the full range of rights and responsibilities that society deems to come with adulthood.

So are you saying that ten year olds have sufficient knowledge, competence and maturity to vote, enter into contracts and to be expected to support themselves? Five year olds? Newborn babies?

Nulono said...

Of course not. I'd never make such a blanket statement about an entire group. It varies from person to person.

The statement about neonates was just ignorant. Newborns do not have the physical capacity to vote any more that coma patients do.

ockraz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ockraz said...

5 year olds have the ability, though. Nevertheless, I don't want them to vote. The voting issue is an interesting one. The traditional model is that there is a point at which one is mature and a point at which one is immature- which is true, of course- and therefore there should be a standard to preclude those whose lack of maturity would corrupt the democratic process- this is also true (or at least desirable). The problem is that the standard for determining voting rights is based on an arbitrary point in time. Less than a decade before I was born, you couldn't vote at 18, but the constitution was amended, and now you can. I think that this supports the position that the limit was/is arbitrary. What would make more sense would be a system wherein the franchise could be allocated based on demonstration of the ability to understand the issues. I wrote a paper once which argued for a system that would use such a standard.

ockraz said...

You're really shooting from the hip- flying from the seat of your pants here. :)


1. You maintain that because voting is expressing your opinion it can't be wrong. That's false. When states have had ballot measures, exit polls routinely show that (usually because of laborious wording) many voters thought that voting 'YES' would accomplish what voting 'NO' actually did. In other words, their vote was wrong. In one case (I think that it was an anti-discrimination referendum in Colorado, but I'm not certain), MORE people voted wrongly than voted the way that they meant to do! If voters can cast their ballot wrongly, then there's no reason not to weed out the possibility.

2. Is voting just about expressing your opinion? I don't think so. Fundamentally, voting is an approach to decision making. It is a democratic approach. If someone doesn't even have a minimal understanding of the decision that they're helping to make, then their opinion isn't worthwhile.

If someone casts a ballot not knowing what it will do, then their vote was no better than a coin toss. Their vote actually 'polluted' the decision making process. This is why we don't let small children vote. As I said before, however, if a child could demonstrate understanding, then there'd be no good reason to exclude him- rather he out to be included.

3. You objected that it my "case by case" approach isn't feasible, but you haven't any basis for that conclusion. It could be done with off the shelf tech- BUT even if [theoretically] it were too complex today, then that isn't a reason why it isn't a better system in principle that we could have in the future.

4. You object to testing because of a concentration of power without any idea about how the power would be distributed. If you don't know how it'd be done, you can't say it'd be done badly.

5. You pointed out that understanding isn't the determinant in assigning rights... yes. That's my point. It would be more just if it were. It ought to be.

6. Did you disable comments for your newest post? I hope not- you didn't seem like you'd run away from a debate.

Nulono said...

People have the right to vote whether or not you want them to. Lots of people didn't want blacks to vote.

If you don't know about the issues, you don't care. Voting is not mandatory.

Your mentioning of "false votes' only strengthens my position. Clearly, it isn't about responsibility or maturity. Those "false votes" where made by those who you say are mature simply because of their age.

Race is no guarantee of maturity.
Gender is no guarantee of maturity.
Religion is no guarantee of maturity.
Wealth is no guarantee of maturity.
Age is no guarantee of maturity.

Nulono said...

I didn't turn comments off; I never do. I'll look into it.

Nulono said...

There. Does that fix it?

ockraz said...

The new posts (beginning on the 20th) haven't had the link to add comments.

I think you've misunderstood my argument.

I'm saying that some votes are less valuable because they are based on no information and others more valuable because they are well considered.

I'm suggesting that there be 'equal opportunity' for voting. (This wouldn't be legal in our country, but that doesn't make it less interesting.)

It was part of a larger system eliminating legislatures and instituting a system of 'direct democracy' wherein legislation would have a "bottom up" model.

Anyway, the point was that advocates and opponents of a piece of legislation could each produce fact based questions of a set number. Anyone wishing to vote would have their vote weighted by their score.

There wold be equal opportunity (regardless of age, race, gender, etc.) and the pro and con groups would both produce questions which would reinforce their positions (balancing one another's biases). If a 5 year old couldn't get any questions right, then he/she might get a token vote that had one tenth the weight of someone answering perfectly. The same would be true of a 40 year old who couldn't get any questions right.

It could also serve to encourage people to become better informed about both sides of issues (since both question sets yield equal value) and discourage 'aimless' voting from those who weren't motivated to become informed.

It's a hybrid of 'direct democracy' and meritocracy.

Direct democracy is preferable to representative democracy in that representatives necessarily reduce the degree to which state action is a direct extension of the will of the people. On the other hand, the representatives (at least in theory) can do a better job of legislating because their status makes them likely to be better informed and forces them to be more involved in the process than ordinary citizens). [The electoral college is a leftover from the 18th century distrust of the decision making abilities of ordinary people.]

Meritocracy (advocated most famously in Plato's Republic) had the advantage of giving authority to those who had better decision making skills- but it flies in the face of our modern ideas about equality and our abhorrence of aristocracy.

My hybrid system tried to take the best elements from both.

Nulono said...

But why should one's right to decide how much they are taxed be dependent on their knowledge of the war in 'Nam?

ockraz said...

It wouldn't.

Knowing about how altering tax policy affected the economy would give you a stronger vote on taxes.

Knowing about Viet Nam might give you a stronger vote on a foreign policy issue.