lemniscate: (; cat (cause))
[personal profile] lemniscate posting in [community profile] whengreatsatansgone
now, here's something i've heard a lot: "there should be an IQ test to vote". or "only educated people should vote". they're very similar, really.

they're very wrong.

the population being educated is listed as a prerequisite for democracy -- for functional democracy. educated, that is, as to what they're doing: having the ability to make educated choices. but claiming democracy should not happen until education is acquired is a chicken-and-egg issue. lack of 'enlightenment' should not be a falsifying condition; claiming it is, claiming anything is, means you support a díaz (porfirio díaz, that is: "oh, of course i believe in democracy, but mexico is not ready for elections yet") -esque manner of stagnancy, in practice.

an educated populace (aware might be a better word, but then it too can be twisted to "people who don't pay attention don't deserve to vote") is necessary for democracy =/= withhold democracy until education is achieved.

put the tools in their -- our: your society is your society -- hands and then teach how to use them, if you're in a position to. remember that the population of your given society is, from an outsider's viewpoint, a group you're indistinguishable from. you're not that special; none of us are. we can be reduced to our broad-strokes distinguishing characteristics, and we will never be alone there.

making it acceptable to treat a group of people like stupid children, when you yourself are indistinguishable from them, delegitmises any valid points you may have to anyone listening and opens the door for other people to do it to you, too. and these others may not mean as well as you are sure you are.

only intelligent/educated/etc. people should vote? translation, ladies and gentlemen: only good people should vote. anyone who espouses this kind of viewpoint always puts the level cap at themselves. what if, indeed, we decide that there should be an IQ test to vote -- and the minimum is 130 to your 110? suddenly you're shouting "unreasonable!" in the streets. you must be educated to vote? all right, replace a voter's ID with a masters' degree certificate -- and the high-school graduates and bachelors'-degree-holders join hands and go up in arms.

it's not all right for people 'worse' than you to be denied rights. it's not all right for anyone to be denied rights -- in this case, the right to vote when their country is democratic, because that is where i see this opinion -- because that is where this opinion doesn't look obviously flawed, phrased right.

the statement of an educated populace being necessary for democracy is not, in the end, actually about limiting who deserves to speak. quite the opposite. it's about ensuring -- on a societal level, not a thought police level -- that your voting populace knows what it's voting for. the public deserve a right to speak, and taking that away is counterintuitive; twisting a statement of needing to know what they're actually saying into trying to gag those you don't like is wrong.

because do you know what one of the apparent extensions of this train of thought seems to be? i said before that people who talk like this put the level cap at themselves -- they also seem to assume, however consciously, that if only the people allowed to make decisions were "better" somehow, everyone would make decisions they agreed with.

you are not the arbiter of what is right: there are eight billion human beings on the world and so at least eight billion points of view on the subject. i can be a high school student and disagree with you; you can be a surgeon and disagree with me. if it's a matter of fact, our respective positions may or may not influence who's right; if it's not, not only are they unlikely to mean much, there's not going to be a 'right'.

(i'm dealing with this when it comes to 'intelligence' -- when measured in a fashion that benefits the speaker -- because that's what i hear.  but it can be applied to race, religion, sexual orientation, place of origin -- eye colour -- some of these sound transparently unfair; others take some thought.  but they are all, indeed, unacceptable.)

i have the right not to be you and you have the right not to be me. that's actually a thing.

let's let everyone make use of it, shall we?