Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Independent and ignorant

One of Jonah Goldberg's pet axioms is that low voter turnout is not a bad thing. After all, "elections" with near-100% voter turnout have usually been held in countries like the USSR, Saddam-run Iraq, Castro's Cuba, etc. And indeed, there is no value in having people cast votes if they are not engaged in the issues. If you cannot be bothered, then stay home and shut up.

Goldberg's G-file today is in the same vein. Here's your excerpt:

Are you an independent? Do you reject "partisan labels"? Do you like to weigh each candidate on the merits rather than simply vote the party line? Do you wait until the last weeks of the presidential election before you make up your mind on whom to vote for, so you can study the issues as much as possible? Do you watch the presidential debates and feel disappointed that you didn't get enough "substance" on "the issues."

Well, bully for you. You might deserve a lollypop, but you don't deserve to run the country. Unfortunately, you (and people like you) do.

November 2 promises to be another in a long line of elections decided by those Americans who are the least engaged, least interested in, and least informed about politics. And even if that's an overstatement, the media will work very, very hard to convince the public and the politicians that "moderates," "swing-voters," "independents," and "undecideds" are the heart and soul of American politics.

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. . . the more strongly held your beliefs, the less seriously the media take you. What's ironic about this is that people of strong political or ideological views tend to know what they are talking about more than people who have no strong views at all. This is a fact confirmed by common sense. You need to know about something before you can have strong feelings on it.

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