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Against Democracy

dylancatlow
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9/23/2016 8:22:28 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
http://nationalinterest.org...

Very interesting piece.

The essay basically reduces to the following points:

- Citizens aren"t just ignorant or misinformed, but irrational. Few citizens process information with an open mind; most citizens disregard any information that contradicts their current ideology.

- The problem with democracy is not that citizens fail to understand, in the abstract, what counts as a good president. Rather, they have good abstract standards, but they are bad at applying their standards, at selecting a person who meets them.

- I argue that citizens don"t have any basic right to vote or run for office. The right to vote is not like other liberal rights. A right of free speech gives a citizen power over herself; the right to vote gives her power over others.

- The big question, of course, is what counts, and who decides, political competence or basic political knowledge. I"m less troubled by this question than many. We could just use the type of questions we"ve been using on the American National Election Studies. We could use the questions we"ve been using on the American citizenship exam. These are easy, objective, easily verified questions, but we have good grounds to think that the capacity to answer them is correlated with the kind of social scientific knowledge that really matters.
thett3
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9/23/2016 8:30:31 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
Have you read Democracy: The God That Failed by based god Hoppe?

It's the perfect book for someone like you. It's anti democracy, very intellectually stimulating, but presents a totally impractical solution (an-cap) so you don't have to *actually* defend anything, similar to how you dislike Trump despite him being the perfect candidate for you
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: At 11/12/2016 11:49:40 PM, Raisor wrote:
: thett was right
brontoraptor
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9/23/2016 8:54:59 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/23/2016 8:22:28 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
http://nationalinterest.org...


Very interesting piece.

The essay basically reduces to the following points:

- Citizens aren"t just ignorant or misinformed, but irrational. Few citizens process information with an open mind; most citizens disregard any information that contradicts their current ideology.

- The problem with democracy is not that citizens fail to understand, in the abstract, what counts as a good president. Rather, they have good abstract standards, but they are bad at applying their standards, at selecting a person who meets them.

- I argue that citizens don"t have any basic right to vote or run for office. The right to vote is not like other liberal rights. A right of free speech gives a citizen power over herself; the right to vote gives her power over others.

- The big question, of course, is what counts, and who decides, political competence or basic political knowledge. I"m less troubled by this question than many. We could just use the type of questions we"ve been using on the American National Election Studies. We could use the questions we"ve been using on the American citizenship exam. These are easy, objective, easily verified questions, but we have good grounds to think that the capacity to answer them is correlated with the kind of social scientific knowledge that really matters.

So let's go fact for fact:

1)Hillary: Islam is peaceful.
Ex Muslims: don't believe it for a minute.

2)Hillary to American people: I did not have classified info in my emails.

Hillary to the FBI and Congress under oath: There was classified info on my email.

3)Hillary: I was under sniper fire in Bosnia.
Media video: no sniper fire, but lots of smiles, singing and talking and hugging little girls.

4)Bill: I did not have sexual relations with that ypung lady"

Fact: yes he did.

-

Fact: Chinagate

Fact: Benghazi...

Fact: Libya was bombed into oblivion and unprovoked.

Fact: Egypt declared her a conspirator with a terrorist cell.

Fact: ISIS manifested on her watch.

Fact: Syria was ignored for 4 years and 500,000 deaths.
"What Donald Trump is doing is representing the absolute heartbreak, and anger, and frustration at a government gone mad."

http://youtu.be...
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,245
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9/23/2016 9:27:23 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/23/2016 8:54:59 PM, brontoraptor wrote:
At 9/23/2016 8:22:28 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
http://nationalinterest.org...


Very interesting piece.

The essay basically reduces to the following points:

- Citizens aren"t just ignorant or misinformed, but irrational. Few citizens process information with an open mind; most citizens disregard any information that contradicts their current ideology.

- The problem with democracy is not that citizens fail to understand, in the abstract, what counts as a good president. Rather, they have good abstract standards, but they are bad at applying their standards, at selecting a person who meets them.

- I argue that citizens don"t have any basic right to vote or run for office. The right to vote is not like other liberal rights. A right of free speech gives a citizen power over herself; the right to vote gives her power over others.

- The big question, of course, is what counts, and who decides, political competence or basic political knowledge. I"m less troubled by this question than many. We could just use the type of questions we"ve been using on the American National Election Studies. We could use the questions we"ve been using on the American citizenship exam. These are easy, objective, easily verified questions, but we have good grounds to think that the capacity to answer them is correlated with the kind of social scientific knowledge that really matters.

So let's go fact for fact:

1)Hillary: Islam is peaceful.
Ex Muslims: don't believe it for a minute.

2)Hillary to American people: I did not have classified info in my emails.

Hillary to the FBI and Congress under oath: There was classified info on my email.

3)Hillary: I was under sniper fire in Bosnia.
Media video: no sniper fire, but lots of smiles, singing and talking and hugging little girls.

4)Bill: I did not have sexual relations with that ypung lady"

Fact: yes he did.

-

Fact: Chinagate

Fact: Benghazi...

Fact: Libya was bombed into oblivion and unprovoked.

Fact: Egypt declared her a conspirator with a terrorist cell.

Fact: ISIS manifested on her watch.

Fact: Syria was ignored for 4 years and 500,000 deaths.

It's difficult to tell why you're even mad.
brontoraptor
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9/23/2016 9:52:11 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/23/2016 9:27:23 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 9/23/2016 8:54:59 PM, brontoraptor wrote:
At 9/23/2016 8:22:28 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
http://nationalinterest.org...


Very interesting piece.

The essay basically reduces to the following points:

- Citizens aren"t just ignorant or misinformed, but irrational. Few citizens process information with an open mind; most citizens disregard any information that contradicts their current ideology.

- The problem with democracy is not that citizens fail to understand, in the abstract, what counts as a good president. Rather, they have good abstract standards, but they are bad at applying their standards, at selecting a person who meets them.

- I argue that citizens don"t have any basic right to vote or run for office. The right to vote is not like other liberal rights. A right of free speech gives a citizen power over herself; the right to vote gives her power over others.

- The big question, of course, is what counts, and who decides, political competence or basic political knowledge. I"m less troubled by this question than many. We could just use the type of questions we"ve been using on the American National Election Studies. We could use the questions we"ve been using on the American citizenship exam. These are easy, objective, easily verified questions, but we have good grounds to think that the capacity to answer them is correlated with the kind of social scientific knowledge that really matters.

So let's go fact for fact:

1)Hillary: Islam is peaceful.
Ex Muslims: don't believe it for a minute.

2)Hillary to American people: I did not have classified info in my emails.

Hillary to the FBI and Congress under oath: There was classified info on my email.

3)Hillary: I was under sniper fire in Bosnia.
Media video: no sniper fire, but lots of smiles, singing and talking and hugging little girls.

4)Bill: I did not have sexual relations with that ypung lady"

Fact: yes he did.

-

Fact: Chinagate

Fact: Benghazi...

Fact: Libya was bombed into oblivion and unprovoked.

Fact: Egypt declared her a conspirator with a terrorist cell.

Fact: ISIS manifested on her watch.

Fact: Syria was ignored for 4 years and 500,000 deaths.

It's difficult to tell why you're even mad.

Because I have liberals trying to tell us ex Muslims what the religion is like and what they teach in the mosques as we warn them that they are wrong and to the dangers to their mindless immigration worldview?
"What Donald Trump is doing is representing the absolute heartbreak, and anger, and frustration at a government gone mad."

http://youtu.be...
sdavio
Posts: 1,798
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9/24/2016 10:09:49 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/23/2016 8:22:28 PM, dylancatlow wrote:

Compare it to a meritocracy purely in the context of power distribution. The "rabble" clearly has more aggregated power than any centralized group of experts. So, it's not that the majority necessarily knows better, but rather that the centralization of power in a small group like that implies that it is withholding information, or some other discrepancy in the formal organization of society as a system. Before getting excited about the benefits of such a disequilibrium, keep in mind that any bias like that in society (i.e., the ability for one group to withhold information, confuse the organization of institutions, etc.) is in principle reversible on a long enough timeline. In other words, there's nothing to stop some other group from engaging in the same tactics, and the end result is an overall drop in efficiency with no difference in "quality" or "morality" or any other quantitative measure like that.
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
Chang29
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9/24/2016 12:03:02 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/23/2016 8:22:28 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
http://nationalinterest.org...


Very interesting piece.

The essay basically reduces to the following points:

- Citizens aren"t just ignorant or misinformed, but irrational. Few citizens process information with an open mind; most citizens disregard any information that contradicts their current ideology.

- The problem with democracy is not that citizens fail to understand, in the abstract, what counts as a good president. Rather, they have good abstract standards, but they are bad at applying their standards, at selecting a person who meets them.

- I argue that citizens don"t have any basic right to vote or run for office. The right to vote is not like other liberal rights. A right of free speech gives a citizen power over herself; the right to vote gives her power over others.

- The big question, of course, is what counts, and who decides, political competence or basic political knowledge. I"m less troubled by this question than many. We could just use the type of questions we"ve been using on the American National Election Studies. We could use the questions we"ve been using on the American citizenship exam. These are easy, objective, easily verified questions, but we have good grounds to think that the capacity to answer them is correlated with the kind of social scientific knowledge that really matters.

If all government did was defend negative rights, politicians and elections would not be of much importance.

Even an highly informed and educated electorate would use a political monopoly of force as an economic weapon.
A free market anti-capitalist

If it can be de-centralized, it will be de-centralized.
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,245
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9/24/2016 4:49:33 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/24/2016 10:09:49 AM, sdavio wrote:
At 9/23/2016 8:22:28 PM, dylancatlow wrote:

Compare it to a meritocracy purely in the context of power distribution. The "rabble" clearly has more aggregated power than any centralized group of experts. So, it's not that the majority necessarily knows better, but rather that the centralization of power in a small group like that implies that it is withholding information, or some other discrepancy in the formal organization of society as a system. Before getting excited about the benefits of such a disequilibrium, keep in mind that any bias like that in society (i.e., the ability for one group to withhold information, confuse the organization of institutions, etc.) is in principle reversible on a long enough timeline. In other words, there's nothing to stop some other group from engaging in the same tactics, and the end result is an overall drop in efficiency with no difference in "quality" or "morality" or any other quantitative measure like that.

Whenever some segment of the population is left out of the decision-making process there's always the risk that policy will not reflect their interests, or their rights even. But if I understand the author correctly, he isn't calling for a system in which a tiny group of people call all the shots while the vast majority of people passively watch, praying for benevolent masters. Under the proposed system hundreds of millions of citizens would be eligible to vote, and those who fail to demonstrate adequate knowledge or understanding, now faced with the prospect of being excluded from the political arena, might try to improve their sorry level of knowledge, particularly if they perceive a threat to their interests by those now in charge. And if we're worried that certain demographics would be excluded more than others, as would probably be the case, we could have it so that, say, the upper 50 percent of blacks would be eligible to vote regardless of how knowledgable they are.

I think the most interesting point made in the article is that it's unnecessary to require voters to demonstrate high-levels of competence in order to weed out those voters who we can all agree are too ignorant to be influencing policy, even if they happen to be advocating for policies you agree with. A policy of requiring voters to demonstrate an ability to hold "correct" positions is very open to abuse for obvious reasons. But we can make progress without having to resort to such rigorous standards because there are millions of voters who not just "wrong" but who lack a good basis for any political positions they might hold. We wouldn't exclude them for reaching the wrong conclusions, but rather for not taking the steps necessary to reach the right ones for good reasons. It's the process, not the outcome, that would be the deciding factor.
dylancatlow
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9/24/2016 5:16:15 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/24/2016 12:03:02 PM, Chang29 wrote:
At 9/23/2016 8:22:28 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
http://nationalinterest.org...


Very interesting piece.

The essay basically reduces to the following points:

- Citizens aren"t just ignorant or misinformed, but irrational. Few citizens process information with an open mind; most citizens disregard any information that contradicts their current ideology.

- The problem with democracy is not that citizens fail to understand, in the abstract, what counts as a good president. Rather, they have good abstract standards, but they are bad at applying their standards, at selecting a person who meets them.

- I argue that citizens don"t have any basic right to vote or run for office. The right to vote is not like other liberal rights. A right of free speech gives a citizen power over herself; the right to vote gives her power over others.

- The big question, of course, is what counts, and who decides, political competence or basic political knowledge. I"m less troubled by this question than many. We could just use the type of questions we"ve been using on the American National Election Studies. We could use the questions we"ve been using on the American citizenship exam. These are easy, objective, easily verified questions, but we have good grounds to think that the capacity to answer them is correlated with the kind of social scientific knowledge that really matters.

If all government did was defend negative rights, politicians and elections would not be of much importance.

Even an highly informed and educated electorate would use a political monopoly of force as an economic weapon.

The author of the article is a libertarian btw
sdavio
Posts: 1,798
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9/24/2016 6:29:33 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/24/2016 4:49:33 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 9/24/2016 10:09:49 AM, sdavio wrote:
At 9/23/2016 8:22:28 PM, dylancatlow wrote:

Compare it to a meritocracy purely in the context of power distribution. The "rabble" clearly has more aggregated power than any centralized group of experts. So, it's not that the majority necessarily knows better, but rather that the centralization of power in a small group like that implies that it is withholding information, or some other discrepancy in the formal organization of society as a system. Before getting excited about the benefits of such a disequilibrium, keep in mind that any bias like that in society (i.e., the ability for one group to withhold information, confuse the organization of institutions, etc.) is in principle reversible on a long enough timeline. In other words, there's nothing to stop some other group from engaging in the same tactics, and the end result is an overall drop in efficiency with no difference in "quality" or "morality" or any other quantitative measure like that.

Whenever some segment of the population is left out of the decision-making process there's always the risk that policy will not reflect their interests, or their rights even. But if I understand the author correctly, he isn't calling for a system in which a tiny group of people call all the shots while the vast majority of people passively watch, praying for benevolent masters. Under the proposed system hundreds of millions of citizens would be eligible to vote, and those who fail to demonstrate adequate knowledge or understanding, now faced with the prospect of being excluded from the political arena, might try to improve their sorry level of knowledge, particularly if they perceive a threat to their interests by those now in charge. And if we're worried that certain demographics would be excluded more than others, as would probably be the case, we could have it so that, say, the upper 50 percent of blacks would be eligible to vote regardless of how knowledgable they are.

I think the most interesting point made in the article is that it's unnecessary to require voters to demonstrate high-levels of competence in order to weed out those voters who we can all agree are too ignorant to be influencing policy, even if they happen to be advocating for policies you agree with. A policy of requiring voters to demonstrate an ability to hold "correct" positions is very open to abuse for obvious reasons. But we can make progress without having to resort to such rigorous standards because there are millions of voters who not just "wrong" but who lack a good basis for any political positions they might hold. We wouldn't exclude them for reaching the wrong conclusions, but rather for not taking the steps necessary to reach the right ones for good reasons. It's the process, not the outcome, that would be the deciding factor.

If the criteria are such that they are generally agreeable, low-level standards that anyone should basically assent too, and don't exclude any major groups, then clearly we are judging the criteria themselves by a democratic, and not a meritocratic, standard. This is the key: whatever the particularities of the standards asked of the voter are aren't important, since (via my point about how any policy is, on a long enough timeline, "reversible,") the standards themselves are simply whatever will include the type of voter preferred by - either the majority or whoever is able to manipulate the system in their favor. This leads to friction because the minority group will want to avoid being excluded.

As far as it not so much excluding people as forcing them to do some research, this was what public schools were supposed to be for. So basically you're just arguing for public schooling, which whatever your position is, there are of course arguments that it hasn't quite worked ideally so far. If the criteria are so negligible that it doesn't lead to much friction, and just requires some people to memorize whatever set of facts they need to, then fine, but it's not really going to make the difference required to change the shape of politics in any meaningful way. Basically, I would see it as either a political tool of exclusion, or a futile gesture. In fact, even to assume that getting people to a basic level of familiarity with political facts will lead to some greater consensus is clearly untrue, since there are educated people who range from anarchists to communists to capitalist.

Also:

we could have it so that, say, the upper 50 percent of blacks would be eligible to vote regardless of how knowledgable they are.

LOL
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
dylancatlow
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9/24/2016 8:44:47 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/24/2016 6:29:33 PM, sdavio wrote:
At 9/24/2016 4:49:33 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 9/24/2016 10:09:49 AM, sdavio wrote:
At 9/23/2016 8:22:28 PM, dylancatlow wrote:

Compare it to a meritocracy purely in the context of power distribution. The "rabble" clearly has more aggregated power than any centralized group of experts. So, it's not that the majority necessarily knows better, but rather that the centralization of power in a small group like that implies that it is withholding information, or some other discrepancy in the formal organization of society as a system. Before getting excited about the benefits of such a disequilibrium, keep in mind that any bias like that in society (i.e., the ability for one group to withhold information, confuse the organization of institutions, etc.) is in principle reversible on a long enough timeline. In other words, there's nothing to stop some other group from engaging in the same tactics, and the end result is an overall drop in efficiency with no difference in "quality" or "morality" or any other quantitative measure like that.

Whenever some segment of the population is left out of the decision-making process there's always the risk that policy will not reflect their interests, or their rights even. But if I understand the author correctly, he isn't calling for a system in which a tiny group of people call all the shots while the vast majority of people passively watch, praying for benevolent masters. Under the proposed system hundreds of millions of citizens would be eligible to vote, and those who fail to demonstrate adequate knowledge or understanding, now faced with the prospect of being excluded from the political arena, might try to improve their sorry level of knowledge, particularly if they perceive a threat to their interests by those now in charge. And if we're worried that certain demographics would be excluded more than others, as would probably be the case, we could have it so that, say, the upper 50 percent of blacks would be eligible to vote regardless of how knowledgable they are.

I think the most interesting point made in the article is that it's unnecessary to require voters to demonstrate high-levels of competence in order to weed out those voters who we can all agree are too ignorant to be influencing policy, even if they happen to be advocating for policies you agree with. A policy of requiring voters to demonstrate an ability to hold "correct" positions is very open to abuse for obvious reasons. But we can make progress without having to resort to such rigorous standards because there are millions of voters who not just "wrong" but who lack a good basis for any political positions they might hold. We wouldn't exclude them for reaching the wrong conclusions, but rather for not taking the steps necessary to reach the right ones for good reasons. It's the process, not the outcome, that would be the deciding factor.

If the criteria are such that they are generally agreeable, low-level standards that anyone should basically assent too, and don't exclude any major groups, then clearly we are judging the criteria themselves by a democratic, and not a meritocratic, standard.

There are millions of voters who do not even rise to the level of meeting these low-level standards. It's reasonable to infer that they also lack the knowledge and understanding which qualifies a person to weigh in on issues of individual as well as social significance. A lot of people have been lead to believe, by unscrupulous politicians eager to win over as many votes as they can regardless of whether a supporter even knows the details of their policies or their likely effects, that voting is an intrinsically good action -- that, regardless of who you are, you should always vote. Perhaps as a consequence, many people are voting who really shouldn't be, but nevertheless consider themselves to be acting in a very moral fashion.

This is the key: whatever the particularities of the standards asked of the voter are aren't important, since (via my point about how any policy is, on a long enough timeline, "reversible,") the standards themselves are simply whatever will include the type of voter preferred by - either the majority or whoever is able to manipulate the system in their favor. This leads to friction because the minority group will want to avoid being excluded.

The point is to make the questions so uncontroversial that people with dissenting views could pass them no problem. They would be litmus tests essentially, not tests of substance. If you can't even name the policies of the candidate you're supporting, or basic stuff like that, your support of that candidate should carry no weight. A lot of people can't even name all the major positions of their preferred candidate, let alone whether a given policy is a good idea. The right to vote demands some degree of dedication on the part of the citizen, not "I occasionally watch the news now let me run things cause democracy."

As far as it not so much excluding people as forcing them to do some research, this was what public schools were supposed to be for. So basically you're just arguing for public schooling, which whatever your position is, there are of course arguments that it hasn't quite worked ideally so far.

I wouldn't say that public schooling is sufficient nor intended to be. It teaches certain skills that are relevant to understanding the world, but it doesn't focus on current issues all that much, and even if it did, such information would soon become outdated. The notion that if you've graduated from highschool you're qualified to vote is absurd. One must supplement what one has learned in school with continual self-education and reading up on the issues, which many people don't find the time or motivation to do. I wouldn't even say that I'm qualified to vote.

If the criteria are so negligible that it doesn't lead to much friction, and just requires some people to memorize whatever set of facts they need to, then fine, but it's not really going to make the difference required to change the shape of politics in any meaningful way. Basically, I would see it as either a political tool of exclusion, or a futile gesture. In fact, even to assume that getting people to a basic level of familiarity with political facts will lead to some greater consensus is clearly untrue, since there are educated people who range from anarchists to communists to capitalist.

It's true that difference of opinion wouldn't disspear, and it's totally possible that replacing democracy with "epistomacracy" (or whatever he called it) would, under the condition that the barriers to voting bye overcomeable by virtually anyone, produce no benefits for our society. These are questions that should be investigated, as the author the article suggests.


Also:

we could have it so that, say, the upper 50 percent of blacks would be eligible to vote regardless of how knowledgable they are.

LOL

I can't imagine what could possibly be causing you to laugh other than, perhaps, the sheer feasibility of the proposal.
someloser
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9/25/2016 2:08:37 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
The author is subtly making a great case. For democracy.

So subtle that he can be excused for not noticing.
Ego sum qui sum. Deus lo vult.

"America is ungovernable; those who served the revolution have plowed the sea." - Simon Bolivar

"A healthy nation is as unconscious of its nationality as a healthy man of his bones. But if you break a nation's nationality it will think of nothing else but getting it set again." - George Bernard Shaw
someloser
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9/25/2016 2:23:16 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
Tl;dr: "The uneducated proles are making the bad/wrong decisions!"

The "big" point of democracy flies thousands of feet over Brennan's head.

There are lots of really interesting arguments to make against democracy. But instead we get a self-serving explanation for why the author and people like himself are the folks "who really oughta" be in charge.
Ego sum qui sum. Deus lo vult.

"America is ungovernable; those who served the revolution have plowed the sea." - Simon Bolivar

"A healthy nation is as unconscious of its nationality as a healthy man of his bones. But if you break a nation's nationality it will think of nothing else but getting it set again." - George Bernard Shaw
Greyparrot
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9/25/2016 2:24:07 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/23/2016 8:22:28 PM, dylancatlow wrote:

- The big question, of course, is what counts, and who decides, political competence or basic political knowledge. I"m less troubled by this question than many. We could just use the type of questions we"ve been using on the American National Election Studies. We could use the questions we"ve been using on the American citizenship exam. These are easy, objective, easily verified questions, but we have good grounds to think that the capacity to answer them is correlated with the kind of social scientific knowledge that really matters.

Oh cmon cat, the people won't even allow voter id...
Quadrunner
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9/25/2016 3:35:03 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/23/2016 8:22:28 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
http://nationalinterest.org...


Very interesting piece.

The essay basically reduces to the following points:

- Citizens aren"t just ignorant or misinformed, but irrational. Few citizens process information with an open mind; most citizens disregard any information that contradicts their current ideology.

- The problem with democracy is not that citizens fail to understand, in the abstract, what counts as a good president. Rather, they have good abstract standards, but they are bad at applying their standards, at selecting a person who meets them.

- I argue that citizens don"t have any basic right to vote or run for office. The right to vote is not like other liberal rights. A right of free speech gives a citizen power over herself; the right to vote gives her power over others.

- The big question, of course, is what counts, and who decides, political competence or basic political knowledge. I"m less troubled by this question than many. We could just use the type of questions we"ve been using on the American National Election Studies. We could use the questions we"ve been using on the American citizenship exam. These are easy, objective, easily verified questions, but we have good grounds to think that the capacity to answer them is correlated with the kind of social scientific knowledge that really matters.

This is going to be a great thread.

I have a very bottom up view in the potential we have to change things. I've long been saying that the greatest solutions and issues in America will likely come about, whether credited or not, the strengths and weaknesses of education in our culture.

I like guns, and the educational system I grew up with when it comes to them so I often relate things to them. Everything, was related to ethics in gun safety. Not just teaching you information, but relating to how that information is effective in the world. The reasons behind our education are important, and often students are not encouraged to seek them.

I would love to see a citizenship class that discusses not only the basics of how our government works, but also the ethics and responsibilities we have as voters, and while being careful not to sway what constitutes good characteristics in a candidate I find it to educate people on how they should go about determining those characteristics. Though your contribution may be small, it is still important after all is said and done and should be treated with a sense of duty, and a degree of professionalism. I am repeatedly astonished by the qualitative differences in decision making between hiring a worker, and hiring a political worker.

Of course this is a natural phenomenon since they are forced to deal with such a wide variety of issues, and a perfect recipe for your country is nearly impossible as a result. Still though, the reasoning behind not voting for someone seems to be the main issue in this election for the majority of people. I know very few people of voting age that have discussed candidates in terms of being right for the job. Always, there is an unacceptable deal breaker, and in general, as I see it, the perceived generalist wins. We call this the "lesser of evils".

I may catch some flac for this as I'm atypical in this regard, but heck, maybe its deserved....I'm fascinated by the perceived roll of the presidency. Whenever I discuss with people what they think of presidential candidates, rarely will performance characteristics be brought up like their records with congress, and previous interaction with other representatives they will be working with, etc... Discussion always alludes to what the president will do as if they are a king, as though they are the main body of change in America, and not just another position in our system of checks and balances. No one discusses the president as though they are passing bills AFTER the legislative branch.

No one discusses the fundamentals of what the Presidents job requirements actually are, and then chooses the best people based on their performance and experience. Instead we have vague conversations on what is good and what is bad, and what is unacceptable, and choose the least unacceptable person. Intuitively strange, yet for some reason that seems to be the majority. Maybe I'm just looking at it wrong.
Wisdom is found where the wise seek it.
sdavio
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9/25/2016 7:00:15 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/24/2016 8:44:47 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
If the criteria are such that they are generally agreeable, low-level standards that anyone should basically assent too, and don't exclude any major groups, then clearly we are judging the criteria themselves by a democratic, and not a meritocratic, standard.

There are millions of voters who do not even rise to the level of meeting these low-level standards. It's reasonable to infer that they also lack the knowledge and understanding which qualifies a person to weigh in on issues of individual as well as social significance. A lot of people have been lead to believe, by unscrupulous politicians eager to win over as many votes as they can regardless of whether a supporter even knows the details of their policies or their likely effects, that voting is an intrinsically good action -- that, regardless of who you are, you should always vote. Perhaps as a consequence, many people are voting who really shouldn't be, but nevertheless consider themselves to be acting in a very moral fashion.

There's a seeming catch-22 here in terms of the level of articulation within the voting criteria. I would argue that, the level needed in order to affect real change, is precisely that level at which the questions are controversial. Not through some coincidence, but almost by definition. Getting people to memorize enough of their preferred candidate's policies to pass a simple test is a trivial gesture, and will not get people to a level where, among all the candidates, they can perform the kind of rigorous analysis which would reveal which policies will have the most beneficial results. In fact, I would argue that, since the exclusion criteria of voting would amount to not much more than a symbolic gesture, the only result would be superfluous outrage at the more troubling aspects of this symbolism, or the unintended side effects it could have when used to affect voting demographics - as demonstrated by your hamfisted handling of the obvious sh*tstorm this would cause when leveraged against certain race demographics.

This is the key: whatever the particularities of the standards asked of the voter are aren't important, since (via my point about how any policy is, on a long enough timeline, "reversible,") the standards themselves are simply whatever will include the type of voter preferred by - either the majority or whoever is able to manipulate the system in their favor. This leads to friction because the minority group will want to avoid being excluded.

The point is to make the questions so uncontroversial that people with dissenting views could pass them no problem. They would be litmus tests essentially, not tests of substance. If you can't even name the policies of the candidate you're supporting, or basic stuff like that, your support of that candidate should carry no weight. A lot of people can't even name all the major positions of their preferred candidate, let alone whether a given policy is a good idea. The right to vote demands some degree of dedication on the part of the citizen, not "I occasionally watch the news now let me run things cause democracy."

It's basically to affix a trivia questionnaire to people's ability to symbolically participate in society, and the only effect will be to alienate those who for some reason are unable to complete that questionnaire. However, I'm actually doubtful that this modest demand is really what you have in mind, when you characterize the people excluded as those who have opinions based on some occasional news program. To change this obviously implies much more substantial transformations in the voting system, that would clearly be more controversial - as reflected in the title of the OP.

As far as it not so much excluding people as forcing them to do some research, this was what public schools were supposed to be for. So basically you're just arguing for public schooling, which whatever your position is, there are of course arguments that it hasn't quite worked ideally so far.

I wouldn't say that public schooling is sufficient nor intended to be. It teaches certain skills that are relevant to understanding the world, but it doesn't focus on current issues all that much, and even if it did, such information would soon become outdated. The notion that if you've graduated from highschool you're qualified to vote is absurd. One must supplement what one has learned in school with continual self-education and reading up on the issues, which many people don't find the time or motivation to do. I wouldn't even say that I'm qualified to vote.

The ethos behind public schooling was almost identical - to engender citizens educated enough to continue their own path of education, and become capable voters. I would argue that, although this has its flaws, it is a much more coherent and well-rounded attempt at a solution than the concept of fundamentally changing the way people engage with political issues by predicating their vote upon completion of some trivia questions.

If the criteria are so negligible that it doesn't lead to much friction, and just requires some people to memorize whatever set of facts they need to, then fine, but it's not really going to make the difference required to change the shape of politics in any meaningful way. Basically, I would see it as either a political tool of exclusion, or a futile gesture. In fact, even to assume that getting people to a basic level of familiarity with political facts will lead to some greater consensus is clearly untrue, since there are educated people who range from anarchists to communists to capitalist.

It's true that difference of opinion wouldn't disspear, and it's totally possible that replacing democracy with "epistomacracy" (or whatever he called it) would, under the condition that the barriers to voting bye overcomeable by virtually anyone, produce no benefits for our society. These are questions that should be investigated, as the author the article suggests.

If thinkers like this author, and maybe yourself, really don't respect the rabble, and want a more authoritarian system where their ignorance is removed from the mix of forces influencing public policy, I kind of wish you would just say it and not try to advocate the same thing but with a whole lot of caveats added to make it seem like this mediated view doesn't involve the very same structural issues. A flaccid, half-hearted authoritarianism is still authoritarian, and involves the same systematic consequences. It leads to friction in society by its very nature.


Also:

we could have it so that, say, the upper 50 percent of blacks would be eligible to vote regardless of how knowledgable they are.

LOL

I can't imagine what could possibly be causing you to laugh other than, perhaps, the sheer feasibility of the proposal.

So now you've established a precedent by which those in power are able to restrict or empower certain voting demographics, based upon race or presumably any other factor. I'm not sure this is a recipe for a sober, articulate discussion of relevant issues, so much as an all out race war.
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
tejretics
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9/25/2016 7:08:42 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/23/2016 8:22:28 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
http://nationalinterest.org...

I'm assuming the writer is an act utilitarian of sorts... the reality is democracy is the best way to reflect the values of the people, which is necessary to maintain any sort of social stability. That long-term stability is more important than short-term cost-benefit analysis.
"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe." - Frederick Douglass
NHN
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9/25/2016 3:56:44 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/23/2016 8:22:28 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
http://nationalinterest.org...

Very interesting piece.
What Brennan presents is actually another version of the technocratic Universal Homogeneous State that Fukuyama presented in his 1989 essay. As it happens, Brennan should have been more careful in his reading; the "end of history" is a metaphor for the struggle turning inward, against liberal democracy itself.

The essay basically reduces to the following points:

- Citizens aren"t just ignorant or misinformed, but irrational. Few citizens process information with an open mind; most citizens disregard any information that contradicts their current ideology.
Whereas the irrationality of the citizen is true (and ubiquitous), Brennan misses the fact that "ideology" is the name for the citizen's irrationality/blindfold/justification of nonsense. He is, in all likeliness, too blinded by his own preconceptions to see this.

- The problem with democracy is not that citizens fail to understand, in the abstract, what counts as a good president. Rather, they have good abstract standards, but they are bad at applying their standards, at selecting a person who meets them.
That criticism doesn't go far enough. The problem with democracy is that it presupposes an outward appearance of an elected individual, who then relies on a vast manifold of unelected bureaucrats and technocrats to get anything done.

- I argue that citizens don"t have any basic right to vote or run for office. The right to vote is not like other liberal rights. A right of free speech gives a citizen power over herself; the right to vote gives her power over others.
Please expand on this point, as it stops short of any particular vision. (Thankfully it's not that of the monarchist crackpot Hans-Hermann Hoppe.)

- The big question, of course, is what counts, and who decides, political competence or basic political knowledge. I"m less troubled by this question than many. We could just use the type of questions we"ve been using on the American National Election Studies. We could use the questions we"ve been using on the American citizenship exam. These are easy, objective, easily verified questions, but we have good grounds to think that the capacity to answer them is correlated with the kind of social scientific knowledge that really matters.
What would be the point of having an educated electorate if the system itself generates intellectually lukewarm candidates to maintain what is already in place?
Skepsikyma
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9/25/2016 5:07:17 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/25/2016 2:23:16 AM, someloser wrote:
Tl;dr: "The uneducated proles are making the bad/wrong decisions!"

The "big" point of democracy flies thousands of feet over Brennan's head.

Yeah, most people who criticise democracy on these grounds don't seem to understand the point of it to begin with. The fact that it isn't technocratic is kind of the entire point, not a charge against it. Democracy has never really been about producing outcomes which would be palatable to a utilitarian.
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
tejretics
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9/25/2016 5:13:42 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/25/2016 5:07:17 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 9/25/2016 2:23:16 AM, someloser wrote:
Tl;dr: "The uneducated proles are making the bad/wrong decisions!"

The "big" point of democracy flies thousands of feet over Brennan's head.

Yeah, most people who criticise democracy on these grounds don't seem to understand the point of it to begin with. The fact that it isn't technocratic is kind of the entire point, not a charge against it. Democracy has never really been about producing outcomes which would be palatable to a utilitarian.

From a broad utilitarian perspective, government should be about social stability, which requires adhering to a society's values. Democracy allows for that best.
"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe." - Frederick Douglass
Skepsikyma
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9/25/2016 5:35:38 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/25/2016 5:13:42 PM, tejretics wrote:
At 9/25/2016 5:07:17 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 9/25/2016 2:23:16 AM, someloser wrote:
Tl;dr: "The uneducated proles are making the bad/wrong decisions!"

The "big" point of democracy flies thousands of feet over Brennan's head.

Yeah, most people who criticise democracy on these grounds don't seem to understand the point of it to begin with. The fact that it isn't technocratic is kind of the entire point, not a charge against it. Democracy has never really been about producing outcomes which would be palatable to a utilitarian.

From a broad utilitarian perspective, government should be about social stability, which requires adhering to a society's values. Democracy allows for that best.

That's not am absolute defense of the Democratic principle, though, it's all contingent on society's values. The best absolute defenses come, in my opinion, from Chesterton and Machiavelli. The former defends it in principle, and the latter defends a democratic element of society because it is structurally necessary to provide maximal longevity to any state.
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
dylancatlow
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9/25/2016 6:45:28 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/25/2016 7:00:15 AM, sdavio wrote:
At 9/24/2016 8:44:47 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
There's a seeming catch-22 here in terms of the level of articulation within the voting criteria. I would argue that, the level needed in order to affect real change, is precisely that level at which the questions are controversial. Not through some coincidence, but almost by definition. Getting people to memorize enough of their preferred candidate's policies to pass a simple test is a trivial gesture, and will not get people to a level where, among all the candidates, they can perform the kind of rigorous analysis which would reveal which policies will have the most beneficial results. In fact, I would argue that, since the exclusion criteria of voting would amount to not much more than a symbolic gesture, the only result would be superfluous outrage at the more troubling aspects of this symbolism, or the unintended side effects it could have when used to affect voting demographics - as demonstrated by your hamfisted handling of the obvious sh*tstorm this would cause when leveraged against certain race demographics.

Sure, a sufficiently determined ignoramus could bypass the restriction by doing their homework ahead of time. But a lot of them would consider that too much work. Indeed, the very laziness and disinterestedness for which they are meant to be excluded would ensure that even an obstacle as small as this would suffice in many cases. Those who doubt this need merely consider the fact that the small annoyance of going to the polling booth keeps many of them from voting already, which is why politicians are required to campaign endlessly in the name of "getting out the vote."

The point is to make the questions so uncontroversial that people with dissenting views could pass them no problem. They would be litmus tests essentially, not tests of substance. If you can't even name the policies of the candidate you're supporting, or basic stuff like that, your support of that candidate should carry no weight. A lot of people can't even name all the major positions of their preferred candidate, let alone whether a given policy is a good idea. The right to vote demands some degree of dedication on the part of the citizen, not "I occasionally watch the news now let me run things cause democracy."

It's basically to affix a trivia questionnaire to people's ability to symbolically participate in society, and the only effect will be to alienate those who for some reason are unable to complete that questionnaire. However, I'm actually doubtful that this modest demand is really what you have in mind, when you characterize the people excluded as those who have opinions based on some occasional news program. To change this obviously implies much more substantial transformations in the voting system, that would clearly be more controversial - as reflected in the title of the OP.

If there were a politically viable procedure for separating those voters with only a superficial understanding of the issues from those who make serious efforts at understanding them, approaching the issues like any scientist would, then the story would be different. But this is not the world we live in. No such system is workable, at least as far as I can see. It would leave too much room for abuse. So when I say that the right to vote requires voters to know more than just what they hear on the news, I'm talking about their moral right, not their political right.

As far as it not so much excluding people as forcing them to do some research, this was what public schools were supposed to be for. So basically you're just arguing for public schooling, which whatever your position is, there are of course arguments that it hasn't quite worked ideally so far.

I wouldn't say that public schooling is sufficient nor intended to be. It teaches certain skills that are relevant to understanding the world, but it doesn't focus on current issues all that much, and even if it did, such information would soon become outdated. The notion that if you've graduated from highschool you're qualified to vote is absurd. One must supplement what one has learned in school with continual self-education and reading up on the issues, which many people don't find the time or motivation to do. I wouldn't even say that I'm qualified to vote.

The ethos behind public schooling was almost identical - to engender citizens educated enough to continue their own path of education, and become capable voters. I would argue that, although this has its flaws, it is a much more coherent and well-rounded attempt at a solution than the concept of fundamentally changing the way people engage with political issues by predicating their vote upon completion of some trivia questions.

The idea that we must treat the cause before treating the system makes no sense. It's, of course, more preferable to eradicate ignorance than it is to quarantine it. It's also more unrealistic, particularly if the task is to be entrusted to the public schools.

If the criteria are so negligible that it doesn't lead to much friction, and just requires some people to memorize whatever set of facts they need to, then fine, but it's not really going to make the difference required to change the shape of politics in any meaningful way. Basically, I would see it as either a political tool of exclusion, or a futile gesture. In fact, even to assume that getting people to a basic level of familiarity with political facts will lead to some greater consensus is clearly untrue, since there are educated people who range from anarchists to communists to capitalist.

It's true that difference of opinion wouldn't disspear, and it's totally possible that replacing democracy with "epistomacracy" (or whatever he called it) would, under the condition that the barriers to voting bye overcomeable by virtually anyone, produce no benefits for our society. These are questions that should be investigated, as the author the article suggests.

If thinkers like this author, and maybe yourself, really don't respect the rabble, and want a more authoritarian system where their ignorance is removed from the mix of forces influencing public policy, I kind of wish you would just say it and not try to advocate the same thing but with a whole lot of caveats added to make it seem like this mediated view doesn't involve the very same structural issues. A flaccid, half-hearted authoritarianism is still authoritarian, and involves the same systematic consequences. It leads to friction in society by its very nature.

If I were in favor of authoritarianism, I wouldn't be talking up a system in which most people could vote, . In fact, society already recognizes that democracy is better off without certain people voting, which is why people under the age of 18 cannot vote, because they're deemed to be too ignorant in general. The notion that age is the only criterion by which one could make this identification is a ridiculous article of faith.
dylancatlow
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9/25/2016 7:00:45 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/25/2016 2:08:37 AM, someloser wrote:
The author is subtly making a great case. For democracy.

So subtle that he can be excused for not noticing.

Is is your position that a lot of what passes for "knowledge" within educated circles is systematically biased or false, so that voters' "ignorance" protects us against its influence?
thett3
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9/25/2016 7:11:19 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/25/2016 7:00:45 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 9/25/2016 2:08:37 AM, someloser wrote:
The author is subtly making a great case. For democracy.

So subtle that he can be excused for not noticing.

Is is your position that a lot of what passes for "knowledge" within educated circles is systematically biased or false, so that voters' "ignorance" protects us against its influence?

It's not an unfounded point--the average joe on the street who recognizes that the Iraq War was a massive blunder has a more rational foreign policy worldview than many of the "elites". You risk getting into an echo chamber type situation.

There's also the problem of stratification. Have you read The Bell Curve? It argued that cognitive stratification is a massive and growing problem for modern democracies. As the top IQ's increasingly work their way into a handful of professions and interact with the lower echelons less and less, they risk becoming alienated and distant from mainstream society. It's gotten to the point where many of the "elites" need a sociology lesson about their own society and people. Even if they're trying to be benign, they really can't be trusted to make decisions that would benefit the middle and working classes, because they have no understanding of the issues facing these people.

At the same time, I understand the frustration about people who are literally illiterate being allowed to vote. I don't really have any good solution
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: At 11/12/2016 11:49:40 PM, Raisor wrote:
: thett was right
thett3
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9/25/2016 7:15:39 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
also stop using "herself" instead of "himself" when you're talking about a generic person, you sound like a beta
DDO Vice President

#StandwithBossy

#UnbanTheMadman

#BetOnThett

"Don't quote me, ever." -Max

"My name is max. I'm not a big fan of slacks"- Max rapping

"Walmart should have the opportunity to bribe a politician to it's agenda" -Max

"Thett, you're really good at convincing people you're a decent person"-tulle

"You fit the character of Regina George quite nicely"- Sam

: At 11/12/2016 11:49:40 PM, Raisor wrote:
: thett was right
dylancatlow
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9/25/2016 7:21:40 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/25/2016 7:15:39 PM, thett3 wrote:
also stop using "herself" instead of "himself" when you're talking about a generic person, you sound like a beta

Lol, are you referring to the OP? Because all that was taken from the essay.I didn't write it.
dylancatlow
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9/25/2016 7:23:28 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/25/2016 2:24:07 AM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 9/23/2016 8:22:28 PM, dylancatlow wrote:

- The big question, of course, is what counts, and who decides, political competence or basic political knowledge. I"m less troubled by this question than many. We could just use the type of questions we"ve been using on the American National Election Studies. We could use the questions we"ve been using on the American citizenship exam. These are easy, objective, easily verified questions, but we have good grounds to think that the capacity to answer them is correlated with the kind of social scientific knowledge that really matters.

Oh cmon cat, the people won't even allow voter id...

Lol very true. But if DDO discussion was limited to only practical ideas, DDO would cease to exist.
thett3
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9/25/2016 7:28:02 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/25/2016 7:21:40 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 9/25/2016 7:15:39 PM, thett3 wrote:
also stop using "herself" instead of "himself" when you're talking about a generic person, you sound like a beta

Lol, are you referring to the OP? Because all that was taken from the essay.I didn't write it.

Well you should've changed it then
DDO Vice President

#StandwithBossy

#UnbanTheMadman

#BetOnThett

"Don't quote me, ever." -Max

"My name is max. I'm not a big fan of slacks"- Max rapping

"Walmart should have the opportunity to bribe a politician to it's agenda" -Max

"Thett, you're really good at convincing people you're a decent person"-tulle

"You fit the character of Regina George quite nicely"- Sam

: At 11/12/2016 11:49:40 PM, Raisor wrote:
: thett was right