Ageism

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Entropy
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Re: Ageism

Postby Entropy » Tue Mar 16, 2010 3:34 am UTC

Alright, so if a test restricting voters is not acceptable, why is an age limit ok? Why keep out any person who is capable of using the voting booth and motivated to have their voice heard by using it?

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Re: Ageism

Postby Amie » Tue Mar 16, 2010 5:32 am UTC

I live in a third world country where most of the population (over 80%) live below the poverty line. Needless to say, these people aren't all too educated and most of them have only seen schools from the outside. However, they still have voting rights and to say that they can't vote on the assumption that their political knowledge will be rusty because they haven't been to school is unconstitutional and illegal. These people will not have answers to all the elaborate questions a competency test may ask. However, it can be disastrous to say that 75% - 80% of the country will not be allowed to vote because they aren't qualified enough. A test isn't the ultimate decision maker of a person's aptitude. Even school examinations in which a lot of children flunk aren't measures of their intelligence.

What can be done is this: Independent, apolitical institutions can go to these rural places and educate people about what the ruling party and the opposition parties (yes parties because here we have a coalition opposition) have done and what they've left undone. Here, an age limit will help because you can't expect young people who haven't even been to school to understand the nuances of a complex political system. Agreed, an age limit will leave out a lot of people who will actually be smart (and probably even smarter than the people who are above 18) but we're talking about a minority there.

As for people who have the privilege of going to school, they can still be pretty dumb when it comes to politics. However, there's nothing much we can do about this as of now.

I think we need to look at age limits in a different perspective. How about thinking that 18 is a responsible age by when you should make it your duty to learn enough so you can vote? Be educated enough so you can make (or not make) difficult decisions like marriage? Maybe this isn't the brightest of ideas but I'm just saying.
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Re: Ageism

Postby mmmcannibalism » Tue Mar 16, 2010 10:26 am UTC

However, they still have voting rights and to say that they can't vote on the assumption that their political knowledge will be rusty because they haven't been to school is unconstitutional and illegal.


So what country is this and where can I find a copy of their constitution?
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Re: Ageism

Postby Amie » Tue Mar 16, 2010 12:44 pm UTC

India. Here you go.
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Re: Ageism

Postby bentheimmigrant » Tue Mar 16, 2010 2:22 pm UTC

Entropy wrote:Alright, so if a test restricting voters is not acceptable, why is an age limit ok? Why keep out any person who is capable of using the voting booth and motivated to have their voice heard by using it?


Because there must be some kind of differentiation, and culturally we seem to have accepted a transition into adulthood at around the age that we can vote. If I lived in a country where 13 was considered grown up, I most likely would argue that 13 should be the voting age. I consider teenagers to still be children, turning into adults (gradually) after they leave school, and so I support a voting age of 18. I'm sure we've all experienced the frustration of arguing politics with someone with no actual experience of the real world. But to try to measure that experience is too difficult, and so we default to the simplicity of age.
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Re: Ageism

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Mar 16, 2010 5:18 pm UTC

bigglesworth wrote:
Pez Dispens3r wrote:If one is unhappy being treated like a twenty-year-old, one only has to wait to be treated like a thirty-year-old. So it's not particularly problematic.
However, if you're being discriminated against at work for being over fifty, it's only going to get worse...

Yeah, which is why I have no problem with voting age, but do have a problem with a number of statutory rape laws. In the first case something that wasn't legal becomes legal when society agrees you're at a point where you can usually do it responsibly. In the other, something that wasn't a serious crime yesterday may suddenly today become a felony, which is far more ridiculous in my opinion.

But ultimately any way you choose to divide up a right that you don't want to give to *everyone* will be somewhat arbitrary and will leave out some people who by more nuanced case-by-case arguments might legitimately claim they should have that right.
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Re: Ageism

Postby Entropy » Tue Mar 16, 2010 7:04 pm UTC

bentheimmigrant wrote:
Entropy wrote:Alright, so if a test restricting voters is not acceptable, why is an age limit ok? Why keep out any person who is capable of using the voting booth and motivated to have their voice heard by using it?


Because there must be some kind of differentiation


Axiomatically? Unless I'm misunderstanding, you seem to have answered "why must we limit which people can vote" with "because we must".

I'm sure we've all experienced the frustration of arguing politics with someone with no actual experience of the real world. But to try to measure that experience is too difficult, and so we default to the simplicity of age.


I would think experience of the real world would be more tied to socio-economic status than age...

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Re: Ageism

Postby bentheimmigrant » Tue Mar 16, 2010 7:26 pm UTC

Entropy wrote:
bentheimmigrant wrote:
Entropy wrote:Alright, so if a test restricting voters is not acceptable, why is an age limit ok? Why keep out any person who is capable of using the voting booth and motivated to have their voice heard by using it?


Because there must be some kind of differentiation


Axiomatically? Unless I'm misunderstanding, you seem to have answered "why must we limit which people can vote" with "because we must".


You yourself have agreed that we must... It is the means to differentiate that we are discussing here.

I'm sure we've all experienced the frustration of arguing politics with someone with no actual experience of the real world. But to try to measure that experience is too difficult, and so we default to the simplicity of age.


I would think experience of the real world would be more tied to socio-economic status than age...


It may correlate, but that does not imp... oh nevermind. Shall we therefore distinguish by class? And would this be the richer or poorer people who are less experienced?
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Re: Ageism

Postby Entropy » Tue Mar 16, 2010 7:42 pm UTC

bentheimmigrant wrote:You yourself have agreed that we must... It is the means to differentiate that we are discussing here.


If it came across that way then I must have worded something poorly... my opinion is that if differentiation is necessary then age is not the way to do it. This opinion does not presume that differentiation is necessary, and though I argued that competence was important for voting you appear to have argued that it is more important that people do not have their rights restricted, which is a point I may be willing to concede. Given that, I think it is important to demonstrate that differentiation is necessary before deciding how to do it.

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Re: Ageism

Postby MrEmu » Tue Mar 16, 2010 7:57 pm UTC

so in an attempt to ameliorate the problems with both systems, what about some sort of hybrid, with an age range that could be qualified by a test.

say for ages x and y, x<y
if age<x, no right to z
if age>y, automatic right to z
if age>x and age<y, you can qualify for right z by passing an appropriate test

for example z=voting, x=15, y=25, some sort of test similar to the basic knowledge of issues proposed above

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Re: Ageism

Postby Amie » Tue Mar 16, 2010 8:44 pm UTC

If tests are going to be the alternative to an age limit, why limit said test for just one particular age group? Say I want to propose a "voter's license" somewhat similar to a driver's license. I could give everyone above, say, 15 a piece of paper with some basic and some not-so-basic-but-still-simple enough questions about the state of politics in my country. Anyone above 15 can apply for this voter's license and only those with this license can vote.
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Re: Ageism

Postby Entropy » Tue Mar 16, 2010 9:03 pm UTC

Amie wrote:If tests are going to be the alternative to an age limit, why limit said test for just one particular age group?

I agree, but then you say...
I could give everyone above, say, 15 a piece of paper with some basic and some not-so-basic-but-still-simple enough questions about the state of politics in my country. Anyone above 15 can apply for this voter's license and only those with this license can vote.

Why have the limit of 15? Just allow anyone who comes in and wants to take the test to take it.

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Re: Ageism

Postby Amie » Tue Mar 16, 2010 9:46 pm UTC

15 or 14 or 10 or 5. I said that because expecting kids below certain age groups to know about elaborate things like that at an age like 15 is a bit too much. Here, people finish with learning basic civics in school only by 15. Any age is alright as long as it is clear from the said test that the person in question knows what s/he is doing.
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Re: Ageism

Postby bentheimmigrant » Tue Mar 16, 2010 9:48 pm UTC

Entropy wrote:
bentheimmigrant wrote:You yourself have agreed that we must... It is the means to differentiate that we are discussing here.


If it came across that way then I must have worded something poorly... my opinion is that if differentiation is necessary then age is not the way to do it. This opinion does not presume that differentiation is necessary, and though I argued that competence was important for voting you appear to have argued that it is more important that people do not have their rights restricted, which is a point I may be willing to concede. Given that, I think it is important to demonstrate that differentiation is necessary before deciding how to do it.


Should an infant have the right to vote? If the answer to this is no, then that means differentiation is necessary. And yes, I did take your proposals of tests as advocating differentiation, and if that is not what you meant, I apologise for the misunderstanding.
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Re: Ageism

Postby Entropy » Tue Mar 16, 2010 10:59 pm UTC

bentheimmigrant wrote:Should an infant have the right to vote?

If the infant is capable of and desires to wait in line at a voting booth and then fill out answer to the questions, then yes. I think you would find that most if not all infants would have no interest in doing this.

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Re: Ageism

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Mar 16, 2010 11:11 pm UTC

I think you would find it very hard to gauge what an infant thinks about politics in the first place. Infants would vote randomly or, if they get help, vote however the helper wants them to. Older people have at least some chance of having been exposed to the basic concepts underlying what they're doing when they vote for someone/something. Sure, age may not be the perfect way of granting the franchise, but it's a damn sight better than other ways that have been tried, because it's less open to abuse than any of the other ways that have been tried. You're either 18 or you're not, and it's fairly hard for a biased wording to mess that up.

And are you really demanding additional arguments for why infants and people in comas shouldn't vote?
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Re: Ageism

Postby Entropy » Tue Mar 16, 2010 11:50 pm UTC

I'm simply saying that there is no reason to legally restrict from voting someone who is unable to do so in the first place. If you can't go into the voting booth by yourself, then you can't... no reason to make it a law.

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Re: Ageism

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Mar 17, 2010 12:47 am UTC

Except, then what about people who are physically disabled and unable to get in there under their own power? Even ones who are more politically savvy and able to make well-thought-out rational voting decisions than you could ever hope to be?

By guaranteeing the franchise to people over 18, we make allowances for those people so that they are still able to vote. Are you proposing to do the same for infants? If so, your claims in the above post make no sense. If not, then either you want to disenfranchise the disabled, or you want some kind of legal distinction between infants and disabled adults.
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Re: Ageism

Postby Entropy » Wed Mar 17, 2010 1:12 am UTC

I think it makes perfect sense to provide the means for anyone physically disabled to vote, regardless of age. I don't see how this relates to infants... in what sense are infants equivalent to physically disabled people?

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Re: Ageism

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Mar 17, 2010 1:27 am UTC

Entropy wrote:I'm simply saying that there is no reason to legally restrict from voting someone who is unable to do so in the first place. If you can't go into the voting booth by yourself, then you can't... no reason to make it a law.

All of this applies to quadriplegics. If you think someone should help them vote, like by filling out an absentee ballot according to the person's wishes, then what logic can you use to prevent parents from "voting" on behalf of their young children?
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Re: Ageism

Postby Entropy » Wed Mar 17, 2010 1:49 am UTC

If parents were able to vote on behalf of their children until their children were capable of casting the votes themselves, would that really be such a bad thing? After all, the parents, having the children, would be motivated to vote in the child's best interest, and this would make the votes proportional to the number of people that are affected by them.

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Re: Ageism

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Mar 17, 2010 1:56 am UTC

Are you serious? Have you, like, met people?

Parents would vote for whoever they were already going to vote for, one extra time per child. If parents really voted in their children's best interests, more school levies would pass for one thing. No, you'd just be giving tons of disproportionate power to people who happen to have succeeded in having sex and letting nature take its course.
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Re: Ageism

Postby MrEmu » Wed Mar 17, 2010 2:20 am UTC

Amie wrote:If tests are going to be the alternative to an age limit, why limit said test for just one particular age group? Say I want to propose a "voter's license" somewhat similar to a driver's license. I could give everyone above, say, 15 a piece of paper with some basic and some not-so-basic-but-still-simple enough questions about the state of politics in my country. Anyone above 15 can apply for this voter's license and only those with this license can vote.

well, a lower limit is desirable due to the disability/age differentiation problem. additionally, some sort of lower limit, even if something like 5 years old, limits an infant randomly guessing correctly through the exam and helps to control proxy voting issues.

an upper limit avoids issues with disenfranchisement because everyone is guaranteed the right to vote at some point. it basically invalidates concerns about blocking a certain demographic out of the vote, since its strongest possible effect is a mild quite mild with regard to total voting population

basically a test can be used to differentiate in the age range where capability is called into question, while leaving the ages outside the range, which have a less variable capability, untouched

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Re: Ageism

Postby Entropy » Wed Mar 17, 2010 3:07 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Are you serious? Have you, like, met people?

Parents would vote for whoever they were already going to vote for, one extra time per child. If parents really voted in their children's best interests, more school levies would pass for one thing. No, you'd just be giving tons of disproportionate power to people who happen to have succeeded in having sex and letting nature take its course.


I was under the impression that educational issues mainly fail to pass because of all of the people who don't have school age children who are voting. I'm not saying that the parents would vote differently for their child... I am saying that the way that they are already voting would have their opinion of their child's best interest baked in.

Are you arguing that parents are not motivated by what would be best for their children?

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Re: Ageism

Postby mmmcannibalism » Wed Mar 17, 2010 3:25 am UTC

I was under the impression that educational issues mainly fail to pass because of all of the people who don't have school age children who are voting. I'm not saying that the parents would vote differently for their child... I am saying that the way that they are already voting would have their opinion of their child's best interest baked in.

Are you arguing that parents are not motivated by what would be best for their children?


Its possible at a small local level this would have the desired effect*, the problem is anytime the election is about something other then school funding. Parents may vote for the pro school candidate over the pro infrastructure candidate(which noteably isn't necessarily in their child's best interest), but in a national election involving a debate over health care or economic theory or foreign policy the only effect will be giving extra votes to people with children**.

*even so, its highly undemocratic
**which is inherently undemocratic
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Re: Ageism

Postby Entropy » Wed Mar 17, 2010 3:48 am UTC

It seems to me like this simply weights people's votes based on how many people they represent. How is that undemocratic? Having absolutely no one representing those who are younger than a specific age seems much more undemocratic.

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Re: Ageism

Postby Amie » Wed Mar 17, 2010 5:07 am UTC

MrEmu wrote:an upper limit avoids issues with disenfranchisement because everyone is guaranteed the right to vote at some point. it basically invalidates concerns about blocking a certain demographic out of the vote, since its strongest possible effect is a mild quite mild with regard to total voting population

basically a test can be used to differentiate in the age range where capability is called into question, while leaving the ages outside the range, which have a less variable capability, untouched

But isn't that the point of this discussion? When you say "ages outside the range" aren't you again bringing into place the same old system of ageism? I understand that you're proposing a hybrid solution to this but then that's going to be unfair because a 24 year old can rightfully question as to why a 35 year old can get a voter's license just like that without taking a test.
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Re: Ageism

Postby Woopate » Wed Mar 17, 2010 8:13 am UTC

I think the infant vs. Quadriplegic is simply solved. If a person *can* communicate to a helper what their vote is, then they get to vote. If a person is so disabled as to be incapable of expressing their opinion (by being too young to speak, or comatose), then they, naturally, are incapable of voting.

What implies that a child's helper at the voting booth is required to be their parent?

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Re: Ageism

Postby Zamfir » Wed Mar 17, 2010 8:27 am UTC

Woopate wrote:I think the infant vs. Quadriplegic is simply solved. If a person *can* communicate to a helper what their vote is, then they get to vote. If a person is so disabled as to be incapable of expressing their opinion (by being too young to speak, or comatose), then they, naturally, are incapable of voting.

Two year olds are very, very capable to express their opinion, more so then perhaps any other age category. Do you want a cookie? NO! Do you want to vote for the Liberals? NO!

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Re: Ageism

Postby Entropy » Wed Mar 17, 2010 8:51 am UTC

Zamfir wrote:Two year olds are very, very capable to express their opinion, more so then perhaps any other age category. Do you want a cookie? NO! Do you want to vote for the Liberals? NO!


Do you want to go wait in a line for a few hours and then fill out answers to a bunch of boring questions? NO!

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Re: Ageism

Postby Zamfir » Wed Mar 17, 2010 9:44 am UTC

Entropy wrote:
Zamfir wrote:Two year olds are very, very capable to express their opinion, more so then perhaps any other age category. Do you want a cookie? NO! Do you want to vote for the Liberals? NO!


Do you want to go wait in a line for a few hours and then fill out answers to a bunch of boring questions? NO!

Overhere, voting booths are often in the gymnasium of a school, and small children who came along with their parents can run around and climb in the structures.

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Re: Ageism

Postby bentheimmigrant » Wed Mar 17, 2010 10:14 am UTC

Entropy wrote:
Zamfir wrote:Two year olds are very, very capable to express their opinion, more so then perhaps any other age category. Do you want a cookie? NO! Do you want to vote for the Liberals? NO!


Do you want to go wait in a line for a few hours and then fill out answers to a bunch of boring questions? NO!


But a five year old with some patience (they do exist) but no idea of politics can be taught which boxes to tick. Remember, we're not differentiating on any means whatsoever. And why should they have to wait in line for hours? Are you not now trying to disenfranchise the impatient? I think it's fair to say that you have taken up so extreme a position that you have no logical leg to stand on. Some kind of screening must be in place for who can vote.
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Re: Ageism

Postby mmmcannibalism » Wed Mar 17, 2010 11:30 am UTC

Entropy wrote:It seems to me like this simply weights people's votes based on how many people they represent. How is that undemocratic? Having absolutely no one representing those who are younger than a specific age seems much more undemocratic.


Firstly, parents only represent children in the short term. How many people on this forum honestly think their parents voted the same way they would have at the time? Secondly, it makes having children a political advantage; and discriminates against people who don't have children.

One final note, I can see it causing a severe entitlement problem. (poor)People with lots of children will usually vote for more welfare to help themselves(which is perfectly okay in a democratic system). However, now that the family has 6 votes and other similair families have 6 votes, a ton of new votes will be created just to vote themselves money. This creates a self perpetuating problem as the best solution to getting money if poor is to have as many children as possible so "their" votes go towards giving out money.

May be offensive
Spoiler:
During the pre civil war era, should the slaveholders have gotten an extra vote for each slave they owned? After all, they "represent them"?*

*the 3/5 compromise gave them representation in the house, but gave extra votes to the state and only indirectly to slave holders


*the 3/5 compromise gave them representation in the house, but gave extra votes to the state and only indirectly to slave holders
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Re: Ageism

Postby bigglesworth » Wed Mar 17, 2010 12:00 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Parents would vote for whoever they were already going to vote for, one extra time per child. If parents really voted in their children's best interests, more school levies would pass for one thing. No, you'd just be giving tons of disproportionate power to people who happen to have succeeded in having sex and letting nature take its course.
This exact argument was used to argue against womens' suffrage, as giving husbands an extra vote. Not saying it's wrong in this instance, it's just amusing.
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Re: Ageism

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Mar 17, 2010 2:48 pm UTC

Yeah, the difference is that you can actually back up the claim that 2-year-olds don't have a frakking clue what they're voting for, which you can't for adult women.

Entropy wrote:Do you want to go wait in a line for a few hours and then fill out answers to a bunch of boring questions? NO!

As others have said, there are already children who get taken along when their parents vote, so the only real difference is now they can go into the booth with their parents and allow their parents to essentially vote twice. No real difference for the kid.

Also, I'm pretty sure one of the ways you can get absentee ballots in many states is because you're somehow physically impeded from going to the polling location on election day. So, again, both quadriplegics who know what they're voting for and children who don't could vote in this way.

bentheimmigrant wrote:I think it's fair to say that you have taken up so extreme a position that you have no logical leg to stand on.

So yeah, this.
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Re: Ageism

Postby bentheimmigrant » Wed Mar 17, 2010 4:19 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Also, I'm pretty sure one of the ways you can get absentee ballots in many states is because you're somehow physically impeded from going to the polling location on election day. So, again, both quadriplegics who know what they're voting for and children who don't could vote in this way.



In the UK, the only requirement to get a mail-ballot is to tick the box that says "I want a mail ballot." And I seem to remember that at least one of the States (Oregon?) does this too. Dramatically increases voter turnout.

So what can be done to counter ageism against older people? It is obviously like any discrimination - generally difficult to comprehensively prove but everyone knows it's happening, but to me seems particularly wrong due to the fact that we're all going to be old one day, and I was raised to believe that respect comes with age.
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Re: Ageism

Postby Entropy » Fri Mar 19, 2010 4:54 am UTC

bentheimmigrant wrote:I think it's fair to say that you have taken up so extreme a position that you have no logical leg to stand on.


I think that we may just have different philosophies. Perhaps a system where everyone could vote could be abused. I can definitely see that. However, I think a system with that problem would be better than a system that disenfranchises a third of the population.

It's possible to make an analogy to a philosophy of legal justice... do you assume that people accused are guilty until proven innocent, or innocent until proven guilty? You can assume those accused are potentially guilty and therefore it is justifiable to restrict their rights to protect the public at large. Or you can assume they are potentially innocent and that to persecute them unjustly would be a greater crime than putting the larger population at risk. Both philosophies are defensible. I suppose it is merely my opinion that the one that lets individuals potentially get away with something is more desirable than the one that removes the rights of the few in order to protect the system from abuse.

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Re: Ageism

Postby Woopate » Fri Mar 19, 2010 11:11 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
As others have said, there are already children who get taken along when their parents vote, so the only real difference is now they can go into the booth with their parents and allow their parents to essentially vote twice. No real difference for the kid.




Why would the parent have to go into the booth?

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Re: Ageism

Postby bentheimmigrant » Fri Mar 19, 2010 11:20 am UTC

Entropy wrote:
bentheimmigrant wrote:I think it's fair to say that you have taken up so extreme a position that you have no logical leg to stand on.


I think that we may just have different philosophies. Perhaps a system where everyone could vote could be abused. I can definitely see that. However, I think a system with that problem would be better than a system that disenfranchises a third of the population.

It's possible to make an analogy to a philosophy of legal justice... do you assume that people accused are guilty until proven innocent, or innocent until proven guilty? You can assume those accused are potentially guilty and therefore it is justifiable to restrict their rights to protect the public at large. Or you can assume they are potentially innocent and that to persecute them unjustly would be a greater crime than putting the larger population at risk. Both philosophies are defensible. I suppose it is merely my opinion that the one that lets individuals potentially get away with something is more desirable than the one that removes the rights of the few in order to protect the system from abuse.


But that still does not defend your point that I should prove there should be some kind of differentiation (I need a thesaurus). Because you are still differentiating according to ability. If they can't vote, then they have been screened out from the pool. Can we ensure that the system is as easy as possible in order to maximise who can vote? And if you're unable to vote, under a non-differentiating policy, you have now been discriminated against, even if you are an infant who cannot communicate yet. Differentiation has to happen some time. So please concede that point so we can move on to how the differentiation should be implemented.

Woopate wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:As others have said, there are already children who get taken along when their parents vote, so the only real difference is now they can go into the booth with their parents and allow their parents to essentially vote twice. No real difference for the kid.




Why would the parent have to go into the booth?


As stated above, the argument he was countering means that everyone should be able to vote no matter what, and if they are not able, they should have help or they will be discriminated against.
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Re: Ageism

Postby Woopate » Sat Mar 20, 2010 5:31 am UTC

bentheimmigrant wrote:As stated above, the argument he was countering means that everyone should be able to vote no matter what, and if they are not able, they should have help or they will be discriminated against.


Yes, I get that, but why not have an adult at the voting station who helps children instead of their parents? You can keep track of what a specific individual does a lot better than you can keep track of what many random parents do.


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