Guest Post: Should Everyone Vote?

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Ash Navabi via Mises Canada,

It’s election time in Canada, and as usual ad campaigns on TV, radio, print, and even Facebook are urging “everyone” to vote. But is that such a good thing?

To ask it another way: Is it really a good thing to tell people who are ignorant of law (so they don’t know which proposed policies are illegal), and/or ignorant of economics (so they don’t know what the actual outcomes of proposed policies will be), and/or ignorant of political science (so they don’t know which proposed policies are politically feasible with the actual people and institutions we already have)?

If politics is serious business, shouldn’t people have more than causal understanding law, economics, and political science before voting? How are people supposed to judge platforms otherwise–by what “feels right”?

Imagine you’re on a panel to choose a team of rocket scientists to send a spaceship to Mars. But let’s say you’re ignorant of the general laws of physics, the specific laws of rocket science, and the knowledge of project management knowledge of how different teams of engineers are supposed to work together.

How would you judge which engineers to hire?

By what the engineers merely say they’ll do? That doesn’t work, since you have absolutely no framework for what is and isn’t physically possible. They might be suggesting breaking the laws of physics but you’d have no idea.

By what the engineers have done in the past isn’t a good metric either. Sure they may have sent a rocket to space before, but what if they did it really economically and wasted a lot fuel and other resources? They may have also had a rocket blow up mid flight–but what if they didn’t even expect the rocket to ignite and so it was a great feat of engineering that it went up at all?

What’s even worse is if people not only are ignorant of the required knowledge to judge candidates, but have psychological biases that make it even harder for them to distinguish good from bad. If people had a false understanding of physics–for example, that helium balloons prove the law of gravity wrong–they’re not only more likely to believe an engineer who panders to their false understanding, but also to brush off legitimate scientists as kooks or crooks.

I’m not saying that voting should only be done by experts, or that no one without a PhD shouldn’t vote.

What I am trying to say is that politics is a complex problem and to understand it requires several proficiencies. Most people do not have these proficiencies–through no fault of their own, since there’s more to life than politics and economics. Asking people to contribute to solving a problem when they lack the basic tools of understanding the problem is unlikely to lead to a good outcome.

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pods's picture

Yes they should. It should be mandatory!

That will give  the most legitimacy to the government.

Maybe some of that ink on your hands too?  To go along with those dopey 'I voted" stickers.


hedgeless_horseman's picture



"I don't care who does the electing, so long as I get to do the nominating."


-- Boss Tweed.

Votes don't count. 

Bribery counts.

The Juggernaut's picture

The idea of voting for someone to be responsible for someone else's inalienable rights is a hilarious scam. On top of that, forcing someone to vote is ridiculous in a free society.

We should reserve our rights to represent ourselves. It should be inalienable responsibility for our inalienable rights.  Lobbists would need to face us in person instead of a flake politician.


Manthong's picture

It’s just a good thing that California looks to automatically register voters when driver’s licenses are issued or renewed.

That will be especially good for the illegal’s and those who most actively work to turn the country into a slave colony and collectivist hell (Democrats).

knukles's picture

Know what's gonna happen eventually and not too soon?
All those fucking illegals will not vote Democratic at some point.  They'll be voting for their very own kind and the Dems will be thrown off their very own gravy train*.

*Yeah yeah yeah, I know all bout the Dems and Repubs, and Repubs by and large don't matter anymore out here in LaLa Land & Environs.

TruxtonSpangler's picture

Low IQ/information voters tend to vote democrat.

The Juggernaut's picture

The real question is should anyone vote for anyone?

Automatic Choke's picture

Heinlein wrote about an interesting system in "Starship Troopers" (the book, not the horrid movie).   Right to vote only given to those who have volunteered to serve (military, a couple years civil service, whatever).  Idea is that selection for those who place virtue in civic duty is better for society than selecting for intelligence, wealth, landholding, etc.

Ayreos's picture

I keep saying it, voting and democracy are not about who is elected, but about sharing responsibility for WHOEVER is elected. That means that if the guy who is elected is not satisfying expectations, it is the voters responsibility to remove him before more damage is done. A democracy would have an easy legal mechanism for that to happen (as opposed to a revolution). Something like a % of popular signature needed to automatically impeach any political figure. As long as such mechanism does not exist a democracy is de facto an Oligarchy, because there is no way for voters to act on shared responsibility without grave danger to their lives.

nuubee's picture

I'll be the first to say it... Women shouldn't be allowed to vote.

1) They can't be drafted, so they can't be forced by the majority to sacrifice their lives. No life staked on the outcome of a vote, no vote.
2) Taxation doesn't hurt women like it hurts males. Men are judged on their performance, their assets, their wealth. The wealth and income of a man is directly correlated to how attractive the women he can snag are. Taxing women doesn't hurt their ability to live a happy life like it does for men. Because of this, women vote in new taxes far far far easier than men do, even though they collectively pay less, and it hurts them less to sacrifice.

Women shouldn't be allowed to vote. There, I said it, flame away.

Beam Me Up Scotty's picture

"Doesn't the Kim family in NK get like 99.99% of the vote in NK?  Mandatory voting, and everyone votes for the master, so they don't get whipped."

I posted this in a previous thread.  Its more appropriate here.  Must have been future me talking to my self.....

BLOTTO's picture

Yup, im up here in Ontario - west of Toronto...its 'voting' day today


Today is the day we pretend we have a choice.



GernB's picture

This is all based on a fundamental misunderstanding of democracy. Democrasy is about the majority getting what they want at any cost. Most of the time that means politicians promise people stuff and we vote for the guy who give the most people we care about the most stuff, no matter who has to pay for it. Who cares if we already spent all the tax money we'll ever pay in our lives, our children can pay so we'll spend their money, If democracy is based on voiting yourself stuff then clearly you want as many people who your giving stuff as possible voting. All voters need to decide is which people I care about are getting the most stuff from this politician. Anyone can understand that so everyone should vote.

Herd Redirection Committee's picture

Personally, I think Senator Palpatine will do a  great job as Galactic Emperor.

SuperRay's picture

Why do you think the CIA/MIC/HARVARD boys have been dumbing down the populace since the coup of 1963? The best safeguard for democracy is an educated electorate.

I heard Bernanke was on Stephen Colbert. Haven't seen it yet, but heard he said a trillion dollars isn't a lot any more. Wonder if Colbert said anything about that. Or maybe he's just another knee jerk liberal moron.

psychobilly's picture

"Right to vote only given to those who have volunteered to serve (military, a couple years civil service, whatever).  Idea is that selection for those who place virtue in civic duty is better for society than selecting for intelligence, wealth, landholding, etc."

Absolutely not.  Parasites who live off of -- or are in any way subsidized by -- other people's taxes, should not be allowed to vote.

inhibi's picture

The real question is should anyone vote?


There fixed it for ya. I mean, who actually thinks that votes have ever really counted? You really think the kings/.01%'s/elites/lords and those they employ are going to let anyone change anything they dont want changed?


I dont think ill ever vote. Complete waste of MY time, and time is something they can't steal from you unless you let them. 

Babaloo's picture

"Low IQ/information voters tend to vote democrat"


Then how do you explain the quantifiably dumbest states (the American south) voting overwhelmingly and reliably Republican?

frankly scarlet's picture

Truxton - no mind...anyone voting for either wing of THE ONE PARTY by that very definition has a low IQ

hedgeless_horseman's picture



"What I am trying to say is that politics is a complex problem and to understand it requires several proficiencies."

That is absolute horseshit. 

“What no one seemed to notice,” said a colleague of mine, a philologist, “was the ever widening gap, after 1933, between the government and the people. Just think how very wide this gap was to begin with, here in Germany. And it became always wider. You know, it doesn’t make people close to their government to be told that this is a people’s government, a true democracy, or to be enrolled in civilian defense, or even to vote. All this has little, really nothing, to do with knowing one is governing.


“What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could not understand it, it could not be released because of national security. And their sense of identification with Hitler, their trust in him, made it easier to widen this gap and reassured those who would otherwise have worried about it.


“This separation of government from people, this widening of the gap, took place so gradually and so insensibly, each step disguised (perhaps not even intentionally) as a temporary emergency measure or associated with true patriotic allegiance or with real social purposes. And all the crises and reforms (real reforms, too) so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter.


I will take a government of average citizens over a government of evil politicians, bought and paid for, on any selection day for any office. 

Demand sortition and a one-year term for all political offices. 

Demand that we punish both sides for bribery, severely!

Or, just vote for another actor or Bush or Clinton or multi-term congressman, yet again.




arbwhore's picture

Too true, Hedgless. It points more to a need to have an informed and educated populace then a vote reform. Of course, no politician would ever want an informed and educated populace.

knukles's picture

No.  Just white Anglo-Saxon English speaking Tea Party member, Libertarian, gun owning, racist, misogynistic, Bible toting males.

Urban Redneck's picture

Close, but what often ties those groups together, and can actually be consistently traced through the over two thousand years of this debate through both classical antiquity and the enlightenment is net-tax-paying-CITIZENS, and they should be required to vote, along with the US seriously rethinking how it defines CITIZEN, since no one alive today was resident in the United States before it became an independent nation.


Nyet, because the female faction of conservativism is misogynistic too with their hatred of Femi-Nazis, abortion, and Atheists, or Agnostics. So, it's not just the white males that thump a Bible.

logicalman's picture

My question would be 'why does anybody vote?' given how much difference it makes.

Voting is agreeing to be enslaved by those you vote for who just do the bidding of the banking class.

If the turnout was, say 5%, nobody could claim a mandage to govern - at that point things might change

Herd Redirection Committee's picture

"Don't vote, it only encourages them"

Like feeding monkeys at the Zoo! 

grgy's picture

"Voting is not necessarily the best way for citizens to exercise their civic duty.  Some citizens need to stay away from the polls to protect the democratic process from their uninformed, irrational, or immoral votes." - JASON BRENNAN 

WhackoWarner's picture

In the US voting is a useless exercise as it is 2 party, billionaire bought farce with candidates being chosen based on how far they will bend over to monied interests.  US is not a democracy in any shape or form.  Has not been since JFK and RFK were assasinated for standing for the people.

Other parts of the world?  Other countries do not have the Supreme Court ruling that money can buy power.  And only money can buy power. So yeah in the US why vote?

UncleChopChop's picture

it starts with ink on hands.. it ends with ink on forearms


Mercury's picture

Should anyone vote?

As in, does it matter at this point?

Quick, name the three biggest differences between the Labour and Conservative parties in the UK.

We're just about there, here.

lincolnsteffens's picture

Go to your City/Town Clerk's office and revoke your voter registration. The fewer the number of people that vote and the fewer registered to vote will take away the legitimacy of the elected. Do it today!



Tallest Skil's picture

I'm fine with returning to "landowners". Even "male landowners". Barring that, an intelligence test to prove that you have a stake in the matter before being allowed to vote.

Universal suffrage undermines the definition of a republic, destroys the family unit, and is responsible for the psychotic, untenable welfare programs that have done so much damage to our economy and ability to spend within our means.

NotApplicable's picture

Any legitimate intellegence test of voters would leave exactly zero of them in the pool.

Only fools voluntarily enslave themselves.

Usura's picture

White familiess with one or more children get 1 vote.

Automatic Choke's picture

shouldn't they be able to spell "familiess"  (sic)

FrankDrakman's picture

We could ask that the article's author also brush up on his spelling and grammar. 

He describes people with a 'causal' knowledge, along with a number of other errors. 

It's not that I don't agree with him; I put the real failure of the US with the passage of the 19th amendment.

It's not that women are stupid or anything, but far too many in Canada are voting for the Dauphin (Trudeau fils) not because of his programs (which are full retard socialism - run a huge deficit, build more huge government ratchets - er, programs, and in general, meddle with everything), but because "he's so cute!". 

Luckily for my American friends, no one will ever vote for Hitlery for THAT reason. 


Peak Finance's picture

Since so many people don't own land anymore, how about the criteria be the voter has to be a Net Taxpayer?  IF you are on the government tit, you don't vote. Also government employees relinquish their right to vote during their employment period.  

FrankDrakman's picture

I've advocated something along those lines in the past, but what happens when you retire? Do you have to forgo the CPP you paid into to vote? 

And I agree in general with your prohibition on gov't employees, but with the caveat that you can't vote for the level of gov't that EMPLOYS YOU. Work for the feds? Can't vote for Pres/House/Senate, but you can vote for Governor, Mayor, etc. Work for Province/State? Vote for Pres, etc. , but not in Provincial elections. etc.

Here in Morontario, the last three provincial elections have been swayed, in part, by massive union advertising campaigns against the Conservatives. The unions? Elementary school teachers, high school teachers, OPSEU (Ontario Public Servants Union), etc. They spend for the hand that feeds them, and never let them forget it when they get to the bargaining table. Stopping those thugs from manipulating elections would be a good first step. 

Retronomicon's picture

This has always been my argument.  You shouldn'y be able to vote yourself a raise, regardless of working for the government or not working (welfare).'s picture

If you want some new form of democracy, it requires more than voting for a represantative. To be democratic as wide number of people need to included in every bill voting. With internet there could be a internet democracy.

Anyone who can pass a test (easy difficulty, online or offline) about basics of running a country, maybe even IQ test included, should be able to post bills and gather support. Everyone who does not pass the test or doesn't want to should be able to choose his representative (or exclude his or her vote indefinetly) from the list of those who passed it at any date. With a few tens of thousands politicaly active people, democracy would be within reach.

logicalman's picture

Democracy is a much bandied about word, but its meaning is a bit slippery.

In a system of majority votes it just means the tyranny of the many over the few.


Urban Redneck's picture

"Democracy" is bandied about these days, but it does not mean the tyranny of the many, it means the Rule by many.  It can be done either for the common good or baser self interest.  But what is bandied about even more ridiculously is the word "Republic" the definitionZZZ of the source of the modern word actually include both oligarchy (in the context of Plato) or "enlightened" Democracy (in the context of Aristotle).  As to why so few (outside of the elite) understand this these days... ask yourself what social class did the thought leaders of the Enlightenment belonged to, and then thank a teacher (with a double tap), or if you just want a sad laugh- read Leo Strauss's Persecution & the Art of Writing.

logicalman's picture

Funny how when people get into government it's almost always the baser self-interest bit that shows up.


FrankDrakman's picture

Funny, and almost true, but if you look at the West these days, we have people crying for us to let in more Syrian terrorists without so much as a health check, let alone their ideology. 

This isn't even "base self-interest"; it's crazy suicidal wishes. Guess they're all off their collective Prozac. 

logicalman's picture

The US fucks up Syria & most of the rest of ME and most of the refugees end up i Europe.

Accidental?? I doubt it.

The US just seems to try to destabilize any place that it doesn't have control over.

Europe, IMHO, is seen as a threat by US, as is just about everywhere other than Israel.

Like a kid in the playground who'll try to fuck up the game if he doesn't like how it's going.


sapioplex's picture

This kind of 'test' would fail immediately - it would be corrupted.  The reason is that you need a way to decide who gets to write the test.  Without a reliable way to control who writes the test, you have nothing.

yogibear's picture

"Should Everyone Vote?"

Should read...
Obama encourages new refugees to vote an existing illegals to vote for DNC candidates.

heisenberg991's picture

Donald Trump baby!

NotApplicable's picture

Why the fuck would someone from write an article about who should be qualified to vote? Talk about the mootness of asking the wrong questions.

Did they get captured by the statists at Cato too?