Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Comment of the Day (Or: Incredibly Petty Aside)

Well, it made me laugh...

The Week was kind enough to quote my TNR vote-from-birth column. So far, their summary of it has received one comment. I quote:
sure, go ahead. It makes so much sense to let a parent who has kid after kid, most of who which they cannot support, have more power at the ballet. They have done so well managing their lives that they should be allowed to have a stronger pull with our government.
Yeah, that's it. If we let them vote, it'll be nothing but Swan Lake and the Nutcracker all the time.

(Yes, yes, I know it's incredibly petty to make fun of comments, even then they're self-negating like that one. And I really should be the last one to call out anybody for spelling errors, typos, and other sloppy stuff like that. Still, I enjoyed it so much that I just had to share...)


  1. funnily enough, that sort of sentiment (though not so crudely formed) was the same that I received when I discussed your idea of voting from birth with some friends. Most of those who share the sentiment as poted above, as you might imagine, were of the conservative and libertarian ilk.

  2. "Yes, yes, I know it's incredibly petty to make fun of comments, even THEN they're self-negating like that one."

    I hate to be pedantic, but the irony is delicious.

  3. Ahh.

    Well, this fine comment does stir a request -- some posting on voting irregularity. My fine state government currently debates eliminating same-day voter registration.

    I'm always intrigued by the arguments -- Dem's complaining that Republicans make it difficult for legitimate voters to vote through a variety of means from ID's to voter-role purges to advance registration to insufficient voting equipment. And the Republicans live in total fear ineligible residents casting votes, the Acorn-style fears. (It amazes me how many conservatives still think the Acorn take-down was legitimate!)

    When I hear skewed arguments, I try to explain the realities, but good supporting documentation lies thin on the ground, hidden by the heap of spin D and R.

    So a request, please. If you've the inclination. (Or a good direction?)

  4. just how prevalent _is_ voter irregularity? There must be some research floating around SSRN on this subject...

    I am interested though in discussing some of the finer points brought up by Jonathan in the TNR posting; that of the idea of parents acting as proxy for their children. What are the advantages of that? My thought, based on Jonathan's original post, was that the children themselves would vote (when they're able to be upright and walk into the booth by themselves). I.e. that the idea of abolishing any arbitrary age limit.

  5. Octomom will run the country! The power she would have! What's wrong with you, Jon??

  6. Anon,


    And, yes, pretty inevitable. I think I'll leave this one unfixed, just to teach me a lesson. Which, alas, I'll probably never learn.

  7. Don't feel bad Jonathan - Muphry's Law is unavoidable ('s_law).

    As to the real issues, two thoughts:

    1) You would think that someone who thinks as the commenter does would also think that "parent(s) who has kid after kid, most of who which they cannot support" are not the type who actually take on their civic responsibilities.

    2) Considering the incredibly low chance of one (or eight!) votes swaying an election, it seems like it would be a pretty silly decision to have a child just to get an "extra" vote.

  8. @mark -

    Agreed on your first point!

    However, on the second, there's obviously a compounding effect here, if one adds up all the "welfare queens" and their brood, that's a lot of kids compared to freedom loving americans who only have one or two each couple.

  9. Someone at this point should really be linking to Chapman's "We're Protestants" bit from "Meaning of Life."

  10. ask and ye shall receive:

  11. Lowering voting age to zero will make the electorate extremely biased towards any positions which are favored by people with children under 15, even if these positions have nothing to do with children. Aggregating works best if everyone has the same weight. Giving two votes to a mother of a five-year-old will distort the system just as much, and probably more than giving two votes to every millionaire, or giving zero votes to any colored person.

    The original point of voting was to weed out actions which are disapproved by a majority of independently thinking, reasonable individuals. You shouldn't be attempting to create a situation where a measure might pass even if only one in three randomly selected individuals thinks that it's a good idea.


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