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By Steve
The concept of democracy is a great idea, but recent trends have shown that it is a vulnerable one, too. It seems that all a leader has to do is cut the education and social security budgets and create a large mass of people that are poor and illiterate. Spend all the money you didn't spend for the sake of the people to finance a huge propaganda campaign instead, and once you have brainwashed the gullible 51% with your "new world" views, it doesn't matter at all what the other 49% say.

Here's the fix: I propose to put several other questions on the ballots as well, questions that should be fairly easy to answer for the average adult - a mathematical one, a geographical one, an economical one, and so on. The last question on the list should be the one for the President/Party/Prime Minister you want empowered, but your vote should only count if you got the previous questions correct.

With the new system, we can even do away with age restrictions. If you're 14 and educated enough to understand the world we live in, go and vote! If you're 90 and have trouble remembering your own name, chances are your vote won't count. This may sound tough, but remember that voting is an extremely important process, and you should definitely possess a sound mind on election day. So why not prove it?

See your vote as a weapon. Careless voting can kill. Protect a gun from abuse by storing it in a safe place, and protect your vote by safeguarding it with a minimum amount of education. Doing so is your own responsibility as a voter. Basically, if someone wants to manipulate you to get your vote, I'd say that's fine. But to do that, they'd first have to spend money on your education so you can pass that test. That in return makes it harder to brainwash you. If they still manage to do it, good for them - now you at least got something in return!
By a brietzke
:-° Sounds like a good idea to me, but it would probably be easier to make people take the test before hand and only allow those who pass to even vote at all. If a system like this had been implemented in the last U.S election, John Kerry would likely have beaten his only reasonably intelligent competition, but Nader would have made it close. Of course, if you're going to use voting machines that don't leave an actual paper trail, the election is a farce anyway. Thankfully, most sane countries still use the good old paper and pencil system - cheap, simple, and most importantly, recountable.
By Rishi
I may just pass your test and get to vote. If you are standing for election in India you can be sure of two votes, one being mine, the other yours. In India that is all you may get. I am 65 (and reasonably sound of mind and body) yet the system ensured that I could not vote for two elections because of parework.attendant on my moving to another state.

Seeing the shenanigans of all parties in the ongoing state elections I deeply despair for my country(The largest demo(n)cracy in the world). Virtually every party has criminals and underworld dons standing for elections from inside the jail, and winning. Votes are bought with (not so gentle) persuasion at gun point.

In at least some of the states the liiteracy rate is below the 1/3 mark.

Well, one can always dream. Cant one?

By Pan
But the concept of democracy is that everyone is allowed a vote and all votes are equal.

What if someone is dyslexic, so they misspell (I'm not dyslexic but I think I spelt that wrong) one of their answers, will their vote become invalid?

The same goes for people who aren't very good at maths. They may not be able to answer the question, not because they don't have the capacity to be able to if they had been taught how, just that they'd never been taught how or had forgotten. I'm well educated and work in an accounts office, but I could never grasp long division.

The same goes for geography. I can't remember much of what I learnt in high school geography lessons, would my vote be rejected because I don't know which county Milton Keynes is in, or which continent Laos belongs to?

What you're suggesting is, in a slightly facisticely selective way, a method of determining who gets to vote, but it's certainly not a 'better' version of democracy.

Here in the UK the main problem is that people value their right to vote so little only about half of them do anyway, and if you cut down those votes using your method you would probably lose another quarter of that. There'd be so few people actually voting that there would be no genuine representation of who should have actually won anyway.

What else would be on there? Have you ever taken illegal substances? 'Oh no we can't trust your vote; you must be a junkie.' How many times have you been married? 'On your 3rd mariage is it? Oh no we only want people with strong family values voting.'
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By Steve
Pan wrote:What you're suggesting is, in a slightly facisticely selective way, a method of determining who gets to vote, but it's certainly not a 'better' version of democracy.

I am not saying that my suggestions are objectively better, but that the concept of democracy as we understand it is severely flawed and after some serious discussion could definitely be improved. Imho the reason it doesn't happen is because the concept of "democracy" has sadly turned into an ideology, something which it shouldn't be by definition. Politicians won't change the system, because the only reason they are in power is because they have learned to manipulate it, so why should they harm the breast that feeds them?

By the way, my 12 year old cousin can't vote, nor can my Turkish neighbor - so the concept of excluding certain citizens from the vote is nothing new, it's just that there is a political dogma not to discuss it. Voting always comes with certain rules and restrictions - the rules we make today always have a chance to be abused tomorrow, but I don't quite see that as a good argument against making them as good as we humanly can.

Personally I think the fear of non-voters is just a nightmare that politicians have that there are a lot of people out there that may be beyond the control of the system they believe in. Imho the right to NOT vote is just as important as the right to vote, and if there is just 30 percent voter turnout, then the results are just as legitimate, providing that everyone who wanted to had a chance to do so.

All in all I a serious with my concerns about our future. In the present, the main prerequisites of becoming a "leader" are already controlling the media and/or having a lot of money. In the future, it will only get worse. We are heading for a defacto-Plutocracy which really has less and less to do with true Democracy like you and I understand it. Personally I would like to take a sharp bend here. :-?
By jhockey22
I totally agree with you on this idea. Its amazing how some 12 year olds are smarter than brainless adults. I had this idea also after Bush won the election. You'd have to think that if your idea was implemented that Kerry would have won. No dissing the GOP, I don't mean to start a fight, but I looked at a chart comparing the "Blue States" to the "Red States" and found that the masses of the Red States didn't have as high an IQ as the blue states. This idea will also make people get more informed, more educated about current events. We'll also have a smarter mass of people who are less likely to accept the propaganda that politicians blast us with.
By jwolynski
That idea is idealistic, and easily understood. This country was based on freedom. Do you think attaining a more free and democratic nation is to put more laws into effect? This country doesn't need more laws, it needs simplification.
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By Steve
jwolynski wrote:This country was based on freedom.

Which country do you mean? Botswana? China? Switzerland? :-?
By jwolynski
I live in the United States. This country was based on freedom.
User avatar
By Steve
jwolynski wrote:This country was based on freedom.

Could you elaborate on that (e.g. freedom of whom, to do what), or possibly provide any evidence? :-?
By murdok
jwolynski wrote:That idea is idealistic, and easily understood. This country was based on freedom. Do you think attaining a more free and democratic nation is to put more laws into effect? This country doesn't need more laws, it needs simplification.

Based on freedom? You mean like how the native Americans and African Americans were free? That's like saying our country is based on christian principals even though a majority of our forefathers were deist. I would really like to see a trend toward better history education around the world.
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By skeletor
If any of you think you live in a democracy, you have been fooled. What you are beeing told is a democracy is in fact a system where the majority decides upon everything - this is not a democracy (well it could be argued that it is, because this is what we have redefined a democracy to be, still it is not the original idea of the democracy).

In a real democracy everyone is supposed to get their say and be considered, even if they only represent a small fraction. Problems and such would be solved by discussion and reasoning, not by voting and seeing which side has the most followers - the idea that the majority is always right is, I must say, very, very wrong.

This is however difficult to achieve in large nations. In order to try to create a real democracy nations will have to be broken down, and all decisions will have to be made much more locally, so locally that everyone can meet, discuss and agree upon different matters. This would probably also increase interest in politics, as you can argue with people you're more likely to know if it's done locally. In matters that affect larger areas, the local meetings will decide upon what is their stand, and choose a spokesperson to argue their case in meetings with other local groups. You could build large hierarchies this way, and everyone gets their say at "the top"...
By Jesse
Thankfully, the United States has not yet adopted Democracy as a form of government, but it is slowing going that way. I agree with all your concerns that Democracy needs to be improved, and it seems that Democracy has too many flaws and means of abuse to be a fair form of government (especially if you love freedom). In the United States, most schools teach that our government is a Democracy, and its no wonder that our children then turn out to be rather uniformed when it comes to Political Science in the real world.

Here's my idea for the pool: start teaching United States students that our government is a Representative Republic, and not a Democracy. Maybe people will be less confused...
By Jesse
Murdoc, I agree that the US is NOT a Christian nation, but you are factually incorrect that most of the forefathers were diest. Most of them were practicing Christians, and many of them were ordained ministers in their Christian churches. 50 of the declaration signers were confessed Christians, revealed by their writings. The two biggies that are confused as being Diest, Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, is arguable considering many of their writings declare their faith in Jesus Christ.

Now on to an idea: Change the Department of Education into a facilitating department rather than a standard setting authority. Empower local schools to develop standards that fit the surrounding communities.
By hugjuffs
Hey, I wandered into this foum at 3 am. I couldn't sleep. Pretty cool, huh?

Anyways, it's a good idea fellow Steve, but the beauty of this country is that it's not just one group or culture or party that has it's say; it's many. Thousands of cultures, castes and communities built around one another. Don't be tricked by "we have to be this or that; Christian or not Christian." Our country isn't black and white like that. The founding fathers didn't set anything in stone for a reason: they wanted our country to be able to change. They knew that its citizens are the only people to do it. Viola. If you want restrict morons from voting, even though it goes against our country itself, go for it. You can. However, I know a lot of intelligent refined people who, for the sake of humanity, probably shouldn't sound their voices. I know quite a few less intelligent uneducated people who have purely straight and wise sight. I don't think intelligence or education has anything to do with whether one's opinion matters. If someone has an opinion, it matters.
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