In one of my graduate courses (cognitive psychology in case anyone wants to know), we do Oxford-style debates, where a question/argument is posed, and you either argue For or Against the posed question/argument. Today's debate was about intelligence thresholds, and whether we should have them for colleges, jobs, gun ownership, and voting. It turned out to be an interesting debate amongst us psychology graduate students ... And the major topic we got especially heated on was the issue of voting.
So I am interested to hear what you guys think? Should we have intelligence thresholds for voting?
(For a bit of context, part of the "heat" was how do or should we define and measure intelligence? ... some said the only way to measure it was via cognitive ability tests -- IQ score -- while others stated that this limits the concept of intelligence and how it can be measured, such as skills/aptitudes/abilities/processes.)
I don't think there should be one for voting--too easily abused. However, I do think there should be one for running for office, and the higher the office, the more stringent the requirements should be. This will in no way invalidate the uniquely American belief that 'anyone can become President,' because you still won't have to be born nobility or wealthy, just have a working mind and a connexion to reality. And if people think that's unfair, they should remember that all kinds of other jobs and careers have all kinds of prerequisites, so why shouldn't running a major superpower have them?
There are a few more complex issues to consider IMHO.
If you define the methodology of how to measure intelligence, at what threshold does one apply the right to vote?
Are you distinguishing between Inteligence and knowledge (define knowledge and set the qualifying criteria for voting) An informed knowledge of a subject area might be recognised as a suitable criteria to vote on something encompassing that subject matter. Should I get to vote on things I understand the complexities of and not the things that I know nothing about? What is I'm intelligent but lack knowledge of anythin- do I qualify for a vote?
If you were slightly sub-threshold, then learnt a bit more or got a bit more intelligent, would you then be able to vote. How would you police such as system and administrate it!
Would it be in the interests of the intelligent people who choose the ruling powers/government, to improve intelect or knowledge, through schooling, if it would dilute the power of their individual votes?
Would an aging population, experiencing sinility, dementia, Alzhiemers, lose their votes. Would the elderly become unrepresented by their lose of voting rights.
Oh, I could go on and on, but I think I've reached the stage that I conclude that it wouldn't be a good or practical idea to restrict voting rights based on any other criteria than a minimum age.
In the UK in 2016, we had a Referendum vote on whether to Remain or Leave the European Union. The lack of knowledge concerning the complex framework of issues, was hardly understood by anyone. The result to Leave was largely blamed on the lack of Intelligence and critical thinking capabilities, that showed itself in a popular Nationalism and Pariotism "illusion" and a xenophobia and racism of Foreign nationals. I encountered great intellectual minds like Stephen Fry and also complete morons like Joey Essex, and the value of their vote was equal. That seemed shocking and unfair, and yet I fear that any alternative weighting in the value of their vote, would, particularly in the long term, be much more shocking and unfair. It would be the first step towards an ultimate totalitarian Dirctatorship and supresion and destruction of the masses.
Phew! Now add that little lot to your Poll! Lol
While I have some emotional leaning toward such a requirementk I am old enough to know how southern states used such requirements to disenfranchise Black and Hispanic voters. That knowledge makes me think that it is better to tolerate some stupid people to prevent discrimination against specific ethnicities.
It's been attempted in the past. It targets the poor and minorities, primarily and unfairly.
It was used for decades, in the South, to keep blacks from voting.
It's been suggested for juries as well.
While it is always ideal to have a well-informed populace making truly informed decisions, it's also not right to keep any citizen from participating based on something so arbitrary.
I agree that the word and concept of intelligence is a loaded word/concept. An objective evaluation of intelligence is IQ. I would suggest a bold concept: to segment the electorate into specialties they can vote on. Let me explain. Citizen voters would take a test, say, every 5 years. Within the test IQ and knowledge in certain fields are evaluated. Voters with an average IQ or above (100+ i.e. average) are allowed to vote in any election. If you do not meet the IQ threshold then your saviness in certains fields of knowledge will permit you to vote for specific fields like judges, public works, medical examiner. This implies that many levels of government are voted rather than assigned the position. Also the sniff test also applies to candidates.