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The Contender
Con (against)
4 Points

In a perfect world should we have a "test" to be able to vote democratically?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/11/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 540 times Debate No: 73275
Debate Rounds (3)
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Voting has always been said to be an "unalienable right" unfortunately, should people who do not understand it be able to vote for it? would it not be like if non-economists decided on how to run a company? or how a mine worker decided the long term plan of it's organisation. It would not make sense.

democracy might be an "unalienable right" to most, but what if people don't know about the foreign policy of their country, they would not know what would be the correct decision would be. If they are not aware of it, how should they have even a small bit of power until they understand the situation.

In today's world, we see that the best and most decisive countries are those which aren't complete democracies, Singapore went from 0 to being the center of South-East Asia, Malaysia as well, Russia is coming back (whether Putin was voted on or not is not of my concern, he still had power for the last 10 years) because they have competent people at their heads. Dictatorship is a coin toss, but competency is not. If people can discern competent from not, by knowing what is best for their country, not only their own short term plans, but for the long term plan for the country, would it not be a far better world?

I have no solution to how the "testing"' would take place, this is a theoretical discussion only, and it may sound a bit like communism. assume that every member of the government would have to decision once making a change to it to ensure that they don't abuse it for their advantage or something in that line if you need to visualize it, there will be ways to abuse it, but that is not the discussion.

So in your opinion, should people who know nothing of the policies of their country have restricted voting power? it is not something permanent, they could study the government to vote. this would also have the side-effect of educating people. do you think it is possible


It seems that the direction of your argument can be summarized in one sentence:
People who do have sufficient knowledge of economics and politics should not be allowed to vote.

There are many flaws in this argument.

Firstly, how do we benchmark if a person has sufficient knowledge or not?

Secondly, the notion that people without the aforesaid knowledge fail to vote RATIONALLY. This is entirely false, since the less educated tend to vote based on how their lives have improved or worsened under the ruling of the incumbent, and what the politicians bring to the table. It is the politicians job to reach out to the less educated, to explain to them what they bring to the table in layman terms, while the relatively more educated individuals will be able to discern and voice their opinions.

Thirdly, Singapore thrived in the past under a significantly less educated population, and the political landscape was largely dominated by one ruling party. Today's Singapore, with educated population, is thriving with much more alternative voices, coupled with the rise of online media. Hence, it can be argued that the most important factor in the success of a country is the quality of the leadership, for the great leadership under the then PM Lee Kuan Yew was instrumental to the success of Singapore. The education level of the voters has little to no impact on the direction of the country.

Fourthly, and perhaps most importantly, if you exclude the less educated out of the system, then the voices will be largely misrepresented. It will cause a lot of instability in the country, and income inequality will soar tremendously.
Debate Round No. 1


In response to your Arguments:
1) the benchmark would be tbd, this is a philosophical argument, not a political one. feasibility is not what I am asking for here, simply proof of concept. the test should be a simple one based on information easily available, as an example to set the mind straight 30 Q multiple-choice with questions like "what is the official USA policy for ISIS?", "How far do the powers of the President extend?", "officially, how much does the USA spend on the military?, on foreign aid? on Scientific research?", "Why is Snowden classified as a traitor?". these are not meant to fail the pubic, just to test their understanding of the official situation?

2) If you take the all people who are racist or see the people on the internet who are irrational because of ignorance, they might vote rationally in accordance to their own views, but completely stupidly if you take the whole picture into account. Politicians cannot simplify how they plan on doing their plans anymore then a nuclear scientist can tell you why the LHC works. they will miss out so many details that you will not get any information out of it. Politicians will also lie to get where they are, educated people will be able to understand why something might be able to work, or at least why some measure is necessary. A simple look at people's ignorance at Snowden will make you wonder if they can make educated choices.

3) Singapore was lucky in the beginning to have such an enlightened mind, but the vote of the masses leads to eventual mediocrity. I am looking for a system which will look for competency to have Singapores in as many places as possible

4) I did make a point of this, though probably not enough of a point. I am not excluding those people completely, just with a reduced voice.

People have a responsibility to their country, as much as the country has a responsibility to them. If they don't know enough about other countries, then their voice should be limited to what they know. the ignorance and laziness of people caused France to loose all it's major trading ports to foreigners, it causes people out of fear to rally to extremist groups in fear of arab invasion which is not happening in any statistic. Fear is a weapon used far too easily for comfort, the aim of the test is not to filter, but to ensure that everyone becomes educated.


1) Unfortunately, the fine line which separates the eligible voters from non-eligible voters form one of the main controversies of this issue. It is because such boundaries are impossible to define that the general opinions of this issue is heavily in my favor in reality. Pro needs to address this issue.

2)Ignorance is a completely subjective term. No policy will be favorable to everyone, and there will always be some who benefits more than another from the same policy. My point remains unrefuted.

3)It seems that the pro has conflicting views about the political landscape in Round 1 and Round 2. I would suggest that the pro clarifies his stance and rephrase it appropriately.

4)Pro proposes to reduce the voice of a particular group of people. Let me explain in layman terms about the repercussions of such a movie. Given the a correlation between more educated people and wealth, if the relatively wealthier people are able to form a larger proportion of voting rights, then policies will be more in favor of the wealthier and ignores the poor.

Feasibility, morality and effectiveness has to be evaluated in such arguments. The proposition is unfeasible, immoral and ineffective in improving a democratic system by any means of definition.
Debate Round No. 2


1) the boundaries should be defined very basically by the following: basic understanding of foreign policies (are we officially spending 1 billion dollars in foreign aid, 10 billion, 100 billion or more, or less) are we at war with the official government in Afghanistan? (Yes, no.). does Pakistan officially have nuclear weapons? (Yes No). What is the federal budget 1Bil, 10bil, 100bil, 1Tril etc... if the contestants get over say 50% right, they know about the foreign policies, they know of the major players in the world economics, they will not say "spend less on foreigners" when they know the USA spends only a small percentage. they will not (or will) support a war when they know for sure that we are not fighting the country, but rebels inside the country. The line is a fine one, But I believe it is one we should try to draw. it should be very simple, stuff we know from watching the news carefully. What is important when going to election is the official stance of the country we're in rather then the "real" situation as that is up for debate. People need to know what their country thinks first to dictate it's country's policies. questionnaires would ask for facts, nothing more.

2) ignorance of facts is a well defined concept, it is not knowing the facts. everyone is ignorant of something. but a basic test on national budget and what countries the USA is at war against doesn't seem like a lot to ask. do you want someone to vote for one or the other based on foreign policy if he doesn't know if the country is at war? how much we already spend? of course there will be those who will benefit more, and there will be debate. But would you have a debate on whether or not fusion technology should be developed if that person didn't do more then high-school physics? what does he know of fusion? Is that a debate you should have? or would you rather each side be decided by, maybe not experts, but people who know the basic properties of the fusion.

you will ask "what is basic?" that is a point up for debate, but I estimate that "ignorant" would be people who fail 50% of the test provided the questions are major and should be "common knowledge".
3) My stance is this: uneducated masses will move to the side with the most charisma, not the best arguments, ensuring mediocrity where it matters. The reason Singapore became so powerful is because of the one party rule, which meant extreme competition in the party ensuring that the most competent would be voted for, this meant that this competent semi-dictature was the reason for Singapore's success, but this case is isolated as dictatures are a coin-toss on whether the leader is a good one or not. the debate is to see whether this solution will ensure more competent leaders.

4) Con makes a very good point and I am very aware of this. does this discriminate against the poor? unfortunately, yes. does this discrimination mean that the poor are as fit to lead? perhaps not. they need a voice which can pressure the government, but should they be involved in the voice of the government if they do not know the answer to these questions? They should have a very powerful voice, separate of the educated masses, to care for their interests, to ensure that the rich don't do whatever they are bound to do.

Unfortunately, this idea would mean a complete redesign of our entire structure of government, it would mean making millions unhappy as well as implementing a more socialist system to ensure that even the poor have easy access to information. or if not, ensuring that their voice is heard very well. I do not have the space or the knowledge to answer how. I am only asking if it should.

Morality and effectiveness are at question here. not feasibility. perhaps the choice might be immoral to some, but democracy as we see now, Bush, obama, McCain and I don't know whoever else is out there shows that incompetence is a problem, and ignorance is a problem. Is it moral? is it moral to allow those who know nothing decide the fate of all? It is not as moral as the system we have now, but I don't believe it is immoral. We can let the voters decide.
Effectiveness is the main course of our debate. I believe it is more effective then the FFA voting we have now, and that voters, once they have a drive to learn, will be less pliable to false promises and idiots to take the lead. no one will be impressed by acting careers or rich mansions. It mean a redesign of the government which is not going to happen which is why this is purely theoretical if you had to rebuild the country from scratch.

This is not meant to be elitist, I would hate for that to happen, but education should be available to all and people don't want to be educated for their own good, then a system must be put in place so that wrong decisions aren't made for as small a reason as ignorance.

anyways. good debate, look forwards to seeing your next points


Pro's hypothetical examples are the reason why the 'test' he is speaking of is not realistic. People who are uninterested in politics are at least aware to the extend of how certain policies and frameworks affect them, as evident in their daily lives. For instance, if I am a college graduate but am unable to find a job, I know that something is not right. But how should my knowledge on USA's foreign policy serve as a deterrence to my right to vote? Everyone is a stakeholder, everyone should have a right to vote regardless of the deepness in their understanding of politics.

I still do not understand the point that Pro is trying to drive with his example of Singapore. Singapore always had oppositions contesting for governance, but most have failed in the elections. Singapore's success is largely due to the capability of PAP, the incumbent party, and the hard work of Singaporeans. This has been the case since the 60s, and note that between the 60s and now, the mean education level of Singaporeans have spiked dramatically. Hence, as far as Singapore is concerned, there is no correlation between educational levels and quality of leadership.

With pro's last point (4), my point about effectiveness, feasibility and morality remains unrefuted. Pro tries to refute the morality portion by stating the premise 'is it moral to allow those who know nothing decide the fate of all?'. The quoted is a sweeping statement because firstly, one does not have the power to determine the fate of everyone and secondly, like the start of my argument has stated, that 'People who are uninterested in politics are at least aware to the extend of how certain policies and frameworks affect them, as evident in their daily lives', and hence should be entitled to vote because they are, after all, stakeholders.

Pro being the argument with the title 'In a perfect world', but should a perfect world ever exist, it will be due to capable leaders running for office instead of excluding some of their rights to vote.
Debate Round No. 3
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Vote Placed by AlternativeDavid 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct is tied as both parties were reasonably respectful. S&G goes to Con because Pro had many run on/fragmented sentences. Pro also had a lot of trouble capitalizing letters. Arguments goes to Con because Pro kept talking about things that should happen, but couldn't articulate on how they would work. Pro didn't seem too sure about his rebuttals regarding the poor v. rich point. Thirdly, I found Pro's central argument about the test to be rather weak. Memorizing facts shouldn't determine who gets to vote. Rather than memorizing facts, Pro could have argued that the questions would see if people could understand basic economic principles and cause/effect. Sources is tied as neither party used them.