The Instigator
proberts84
Pro (for)
Winning
34 Points
The Contender
rangersfootballclub
Con (against)
Losing
17 Points

Democracy would be better if all citizens did not have an equal vote

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/21/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,589 times Debate No: 7022
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (11)
Votes (10)

 

proberts84

Pro

I propose that the weight of a citizen or subject's vote in an election or referendum should be proportional to their interest in and understanding of the issues.

I believe it is clear that the greater an individual's knowledge of a topic, the more valuable their opinion is. I believe it is also clear that the greater an individual's knowledge of a topic, the less likely it is that they can be swayed by biased media or advertising.

I await my opponent's arguments.
rangersfootballclub

Con

then this woudl not be democracy anymore would it ??

democracy - everybody is equal and has a fair say

i myself am a terrible speller and terrible at maths and english etc but i like to think of myself as inteeligent in a way because i'm not an idiot i understand most things im told , just the goerment wouldnt belive me because i dont have the qualifications to prove it.

i would also like to point out something else , the people never decide , they pick a person to represent what they want . so in theroy the person making these decesions is always well informed and knows what he or she must do.
Debate Round No. 1
proberts84

Pro

Thank you for accepting the argument.

Indeed, it would not be democracy as defined by Aristotle, as there would no longer be "equality according to number, not worth". Then again, it is unclear whether any system actually can be said to be truly democratic according to this definition. Corporations often have more power than individuals.

Democracy allows the rights of a minority to be abused by the "tyranny of the majority", as Tocqueville had it. The popular opinion is not always the correct one, which is why only the most brave or foolhardy of governments implement direct democracy.

The bandwagon effect means that people often vote with what they perceive to be the majority, even if it isn't. People like to end up supporting the wining side. This is why momentum is so important for candidates in elections.

I am not suggesting that one's ability to vote should be based upon formal qualifications, or abilities at maths or English. Just in an understanding of the issues. Perhaps a questionnaire at the polling station drawn up by some disinterested party could test your knowledge of key issues. If you wanted to vote about adopting the Euro, your vote would count more if you could show a basic grasp of economics. In a government election, your vote would be weightier you have read the manifestos.

Let's be clear, I am not suggesting denying anyone the right to vote - just that the weight of the votes will be non-uniform. People can of course increase their weight by reading more.

Regarding your point about representative democracy, the person chosen to make decisions will make those decisions based not only upon what they think is right, but also upon what they think the majority would support. Thus it suffers from the same problems. Also, because they are elected by the masses, they may not be the most well informed because of the points above.
rangersfootballclub

Con

in a way i agree with your idea but of course i disagree with it or i wouldnt be debating this with you.

your idea is before people vote they must be well informed , you see , how often to we have to vote on anything ? in a general election if somebodys vote counted for more then those people who are " less knowledgeable " would complain and feel discriminated against.

quite often the most popular decsion is not the right decsion but with democracy , its pretty much the people decide and always will be .
Debate Round No. 2
proberts84

Pro

Perhaps the infrequent nature of public votes is an indication of the level of confidence in the quality of the system.

I agree that this does discriminate people who are less from those that are more knowledgeable. Another way of saying this is that it discriminates those that can contribute meaningfully towards the decision from those that cannot. In the majority of cases, the less knowledgeable could become more knowledgeable by reading the relevant materials. Everyone's votes still do still count, however. At the moment, each individual vote taken in isolation is usually almost insignificant in the calculation of the result. This proposal will just alter the level of significance of the vote up or down slightly.

In engineering, there is the concept of the signal-to-noise ratio. If a telephone line has noise that is too strong, and a signal that is too weak, the signal is lost amongst the noise and the communication is useless. Uninformed voters are the noise of the system, and there are many more of them than informed voters. Thus the signal is too weak compared to the noise. This means that decisions reached through popular voting are largely irrational.

Your last sentence is a little defeatist. To paraphrase, you say that the current system is poor and it won't change. Just to be clear, I'm not arguing that the proposed system will realistically be adopted, just that the act of making decisions through voting would be improved if it did.
rangersfootballclub

Con

I know you not saying your idea is what it should etc , however we are arguing something like , what if it did ??

if this was the case , lets think . The " more informed " voters and the government will start to take advantage of this system . They will start to introduce bills and laws that are in favour of those who know more about it . The whole idea of democracy is to stop this happening . Why do you think communism never worked ? it was a great ideology and so on . but it never worked because of people , human greed and wanting to take advantage of the people.

but I stick to one main point , there simply is not enough votes for people to partake in , I would agree if there was one every several months , but there's not . to be honest the only vote I have heard of in the last couple of years or can remember is the general elections for politicians.
Debate Round No. 3
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by proberts84 7 years ago
proberts84
I didn't claim it was enforceable. The debate was on whether or not democracy would be better if it were the case.
Posted by wjmelements 7 years ago
wjmelements
COn should have sourced that definition.
PRO should have explained how his proposition was enforcable.

I've opted not to vote.
Posted by NItEMArE129 7 years ago
NItEMArE129
in a pure democracy, we would HAVE to vote to go to war. unless you're suggesting a mixed government, pure democracy means EVERY issue is voted on by ALL the people.
Posted by proberts84 7 years ago
proberts84
106627:

People who don't educate themselves don't _have_ to vote at the moment, but many many do.

The rest of it is all in the framing of the questions for the poling station. Whether that can be truly unbiased is probably an entire debate in itself.
Posted by proberts84 7 years ago
proberts84
NItEMArE129:

Note the distinction between disinterested and uninterested. To be disinterested means to be impartial. A judge and jury must always be disinterested. To be uninterested means to be ambivalent.

I know of no time when popular voting has been used in an emergency. Have you ever voted on whether to go to war?
Posted by 106627 7 years ago
106627
The "Noise/Signal" argument made is only half valid. Yes, there are many people who do not adequately understand issues facing the world today. On the other hand, because voting is a right, not a requirement, those people who don't educate themselves don't have to vote at all. I feel that by changing the value of a vote it opens the door to biased voting (depending on how the vote ranking system is performed).

In reality there is no feasible way to gauge someone's intelligence as a whole or in certain areas. IQ tests can be inaccurate. If you are not a native speaker of the test the language is offered in you can misunderstand or misinterpret questions.

While the idea of different value votes is not necessarily flawed, there is no realistic method of putting it into action.
Posted by FlamingSheep 7 years ago
FlamingSheep
You two should simply host another debate on the subject.
Posted by NItEMArE129 7 years ago
NItEMArE129
And if the proposition was one that granted rights to the federal government and took them away from the people? If one wasn't interested, then one probably isn't educated about the impact that such a law would have on the future and, thus, would not fit under the criterion of educated. Therefore it would be useless to use a disinterested group.
Also, if you were to make a test or choice of questions for the purpose of evaluating representation, then you're only increasing one of the weakest parts of democracy. It takes too long to have any motion passed whatsoever. How would that work out if a country was to go to war, was in an economical crisis, or any situation that demanded fast and effective response?
Posted by proberts84 7 years ago
proberts84
NItEMArE129:

A set of questions would need to be devised by a disinterested group of people. Perhaps either a committee with equal representation from all sides, or from a group of judges, or cross-bench members of the House of Lords (in the UK), or similar.
Posted by NItEMArE129 7 years ago
NItEMArE129
To Pro:
Just out of curiosity, how would you define somebody as more educated when dealing with rights? Obviously those who will have their rights denied will be against it; however, those that dislike or benefit from the motion being passed will be for it. How would you determine who is more intelligent or informed in rights?
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