In my last post I said something about making people take a test before could vote. I don't think it will ever happen and I'm not inclined to kick into activist mode so it will get done. Now my good friend Olen (aka the White Poet Warlord) has posted a response to the idea and the practicality of 'the test' and to my ramblings on democracy here. He makes some very good points. For instance, he says "Governmental rule is always frustrating, regardless of form or philosophy, formality or informality." He's right on this point, I think. There are always going to be problems. I disagree, though, that people want self-determination. They may think they do for a little while, but for most people it's too much work. The most efficient way to keep everyone satisfied is to give them the illusion of self-determination.
Olen also raises this question: "But what about other folks that...are not that interested in all the issues...?" I don't think it's necessary to be interested in all of the issues. All we need, as I see it, is to have a couple of issues that are the most meaningful to us and to know them fairly well. For me the issues might be something like abortion and marriage. For others economics would be most important. He later asks about those who "don't have the time or means to educate themselves to a level that I or others might be more comfortable with." I suppose an educational apparatus would have to be set up.
Also, as Olen suggests, 'the test' would probably not pass Constitutional muster (but that's what amendments are for, right?). He hits on the most severe problem, in my opinion, when he talks about the mess that would be involved in developing, proctoring and scoring the test. The opportunities for corruption are numerous. It's enough to make you want to just climb back into bed, but I guess I'm just going to have to go on grumbling.
One last response to Olen: "The form of the test may be as problematic as actually developing the governmental apparatus to implement the test." I agree, but developing the Constitution was also problematic. The difficulty of the task doesn't mean that it shouldn't be undertaken.
I look forward to the rest of Olen's respons to "Democracy and Human Nature". To me, the meat of the post is the part about aristocracy and what humans want from a government. I'm eager to see what anyone has to say about that.