Debate and Discussion

Can voter apathy lead to a dictatorship?
kyupol at 3:34PM, Oct. 11, 2007
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Voter apathy is a problem in canada.

But why not vote? Its SOOOO EASSSY to vote (I'm not exagerrating).

I went to the polling station yesterday and it took me TWO SECONDS to fill out the ballots. I was expecting to see a huge lineup but there are more voting stations than people who are going there.

Its very very easy to vote.

Why not vote? Is it because of distrust of politicians or because life is so good that politics is not of concern anymore?

What are your opinions on voter apathy?


I originally linked voter apathy to dictatorship because if voter apathy becomes the trend it will mean less and less and less people voting.

If less and less people vote, that means the people's power gets decreased.

And if the people's power gets decreased… what is that?
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last edited on July 14, 2011 1:25PM
Custard Trout at 6:42PM, Oct. 11, 2007
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I don't really think it would happen, sure they're apathetic now, but when the shit hits the fan they'll drop that attitude.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:59AM
7384395948urhfdjfrueruieieueue at 7:23PM, Oct. 11, 2007
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Psh, who cares.



But seriously, people's power can't decrease unless they pass a law about it. Even if only one person votes he has the same amount of influence as the whole country's ballots put together. So, in a sense, voters will have increased power.

I think everyone should vote that can just because that's what people had in mind when they made this system.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:04AM
Black_Kitty at 8:00PM, Oct. 11, 2007
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The act of voting itself is easy. However being an informed voter is much more challenging. It means paying attention to what is going on (politically, socially, economically, etc.) It means understanding the needs of your country/province/city, and it means understanding YOUR needs. It also means understanding platforms and being able to dissect meaning and consequences from flowery words and vague promises.

Voter apathy happens for a variety of reasons but one of them is a lack of information. When people don't know who to vote for or when they all start to sound the same to them, then they don't vote. Why vote when you don't know who you would vote for anyway? Why vote if they're all the same? Who cares?

But people should vote. By not voting, you are giving up your voice and allowing others to speak for you. As Atom Apple suggested, you not voting means that those who do vote have their voting power increased. Those people are the ones who get to choose who will govern which in turn determines how your community is going to be run and where your tax dollars will go. There is also no such thing as throwing your vote away. In Canada your vote comes with a certain amount of money. It's not a lot but whoever you vote for gets that sum of money.

I do not believe however that voter apathy leads to dictatorship. For a dictatorship to happen, the governing individual/party would need absolute power and authority without any type of restraint. Voting and elections in general is a type of restraint on power and authority.

Personally I don't mind voter apathy. I think it's unfortunate that people won't exercise their right to vote and I always try to encourage people to vote. However if you're too lazy and/or uninformed, then I rather you not bother. This is going to sound very harsh but if you're not going to bother being somewhat informed at least, then stay home and let the people who are informed and who do care vote. Let us decide how things will go and how money will be spent.
  
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:24AM
Priest_Revan at 8:05PM, Oct. 11, 2007
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Personally, if I can't vote from my computer, than I'm not voting…

I'm way too lazy to go down the street and fill out a ballot, and it's really out of my way.

It also doesn't help that I want to vote for both Clinton and Obama.

Now, can voting apathy lead to dictatorship? Well, I'm not sure. I personally don't think it can happen, but who knows… the lack of leadership could leave the space open and someone could get into the the spot.

But, as I said before, I highly doubt something like that could happen.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 2:48PM
Custard Trout at 8:08PM, Oct. 11, 2007
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Black_Beard
However being an informed voter is much more challenging.

I remember when this mattered, you know, in that far away time when there was difference between Labour and Tory.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:59AM
7384395948urhfdjfrueruieieueue at 8:09PM, Oct. 11, 2007
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It means understanding the needs of your country/province/city, and it means understanding YOUR needs.
I would personally not think of myself because when I think of politics I think of everyone. In a way, I'm part of everyone so I do think of myself, but I wouldn't vote against something that would help the majority but not myself. If it really affects me that badly I can just move on.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:04AM
Black_Kitty at 8:19PM, Oct. 11, 2007
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Atom Apple: I know what you mean and I somewhat agree. However I'm very…possessive of my own vote in that I always view it as my voice. I don't want to rely on other people to speak for my needs so I use my own voice to speak about my own needs.

And most of my needs are those shared by others as well. As a teacher I want better funding for schools. I want lower tuition fees. I also want better funding for my city and I want the usual things like reducing crime, improving transit, etc. Those reflect the needs I have (safety, accessibility to education, jobs, etc) but I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who have similar concerns.
  
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:24AM
7384395948urhfdjfrueruieieueue at 8:25PM, Oct. 11, 2007
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Well, isn't really helping only you. I agree, I probably wouldn't vote considering things that don't involve me. For example, “the economics of farmers in Arkansas” doesn't just pop into my mind. If it became a huge issue that would be widespread enough for me to know, then I'd consider it.

See, we can be selfless and selfish at the same time! :)
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:04AM
bobhhh at 10:38PM, Oct. 11, 2007
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I'm fine with voter apathy because mostly lazy people don't vote and lazy people also are the most likely to make lazy decisions about who they vote for. I believe voting is somewhat darwinian in that you have to think and move a little to make it to the polls.

Now if you ask me if I'm happy that so many people are apathetic, the answer is no, I wish everybody cared enough to be informed and enthusiastic about excercising the franchise.

I quote DEVO: Freedom of choice is what you got, freedom from choice is what you want.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:29AM
DAJB at 3:55AM, Oct. 12, 2007
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Custard Trout
I remember when this mattered, you know, in that far away time when there was difference between Labour and Tory.
In the UK, I'd agree that this is at the heart of the problem. If it's not going to make any difference whether we have a Tory government or a Labour government, the incentive to vote is pretty low.

I'm not sure how well this translates to other countries but I'd think it's generally true in most modern Western democracies. Whoever wins the election, the “man in the street” is not going to be significantly better or worse off. Perhaps in a funny way, that's kind of a good thing because it suggests we've moved towards the centre ground.

Maybe an increased level of voter apathy is something other countries should actually be trying to achieve!

;-)
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:03PM
StaceyMontgomery at 6:04AM, Oct. 12, 2007
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I dont think voter apathy leads to a dictatorship - voter apathy just leads to bad government. We've had lots of voter apathy in the US for a long time, and through most of that period, i have seen no real drift towards dictatorship.

But we have seen the major parties become, more and more, the tools of corporate interests. Im not saying the two parties are identical - You can vote for the homophobe party or the gay-friendly party, but those differences have been chosen precisely because the big corporate interests don't care so much. We are allowed to squabble over some things, but not others. You won't see any big moves for Credit Card reform this election, for instance. Credit Card companies nowadays use techniques that were considered criminal “Loan sharking” when I was a kid - but both parties get huge fortunes from the Credit Card Companies. So there will be no changes.

So voter apathy has generally made voters weaker - but that doesn't necessarily mean “dictatorship” lurks in the wings. Just a US where voters lose some of the power they have chosen not to use.

Of course, in more recent years, US voters have become fearful of the world - and so they have consistently voted to trade in some of their freedom for more security.

Of course, it hasn't worked - they have less freedom, but no more security.

Still - it isn't voter apathy that is leading us into dictatorship. The people of the US have been voting for dictatorship.

There are structural problems in the US as well - our election process is a joke around the world. We don't even have “1 person/1 vote” in the US.

For instance, I live in the Boston area. In the next election, my state will almost certainly vote for the democratic candidate for president, no matter who it is. That means that *all* the electoral votes from my state will go to that candidate. If I vote for the republican or a third party candidate, it doesn't affect the outcome one whit. Most Americans are in the same position - of course they don't vote. They don't actually *Have* a vote!
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:55PM
ozoneocean at 10:10AM, Oct. 12, 2007
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Ha! Australia has a compulsory voting system for state and federal elections, so you don't have a choice…
Years ago when my parents went away on holiday to Europe for a few months, I received an official letter from the government asking me why they hadn't voted in the election (it was a federal election). I had to dash off a convincing reply and send it quick or there'd have been hefty fines and things… Luckily it was convincing enough.

In a voluntary system though, they say that it encourages centre right governments because people with a conservative viewpoint are always the largest motived block to vote. So the idea that less voters means that the voters have more power is a complete nonsense simply because certain groups in certain areas are more likely to vote than others. Only if you're a member of a larger motivated block will you have more power.

You don't get dictatorship though, because those systems don't need them. lol!
I think where you're most likely to get real dictatorship is when a lot of people (never a majority, but always a significant number) are fed up with their government for some reason and this gives someone in the military the feeling that they have enough support to oust the elected government and take over. They could be right wing or left wing, there's no hard and fast rule to dictatorships, military or otherwise.

And they're not actually always a bad thing, depending on what they replaced… Pakistan is a good example: that mad ultra nationalist bastard they had before was actively driving the country towards nuclear war with India as well as sponsoring terrorism in Afghanistan and Kashmir, and supporting extremist Muslim groups in Pakistan, and being from a corrupt political dynasty. He even had his supporters attack the federal courts. And yet that bugger is being painted now as some kind of positive democratic alternative to the Musharraf? People have very, very short memories, they are stupid too… But I remember the dire reports coming from the region and a terrible building feeling of dread. I even had freiends caught up in the military build up on the border in the mountains!
Nuclear war and a fake, aesthetic “democracy”, or a dictatorship with a fake aesthetic democracy? I don't know about anyone else, but I don't think a war between Pakistan and India is a good idea; Keep the dictator for a while longer

Generally though, if you've got a democracy, it's best to keep it, and you probably will too unless there's some extenuating circumstances. No one apathies their way into dictatorship.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:28PM
bobhhh at 12:16PM, Oct. 13, 2007
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People have very, very short memories, they are stupid too…

I agree, there was a cool political cartoon I saw once where there was a chart with names like Iraq, Iran, etc and 2 collumns: allies, enemies, and the checks were all crossed out several times and the poor guy was reaching for the white out.

We change our alliances as it suits us, and the public is gullible enough to believe that allies can transform into evil enemies literally overnight sometimes(remember FREEDOM fries? ) without question.

The same thing happened with Saddam Hussein(not that he was a nice guy, but he was considered a key ally against the mullahs in Iran, and then reviled only after he got into a scrape with Kuwait and then billboards compared him to Hitler and Stalin), and be careful or it will happen to Mushaaraf as well. Suddenly our ally in the war on terror will be painted as a dictator if the US gov't can strike a deal with the other guy.

This is why I would rather that people who are too lazy to question the gov't should not vote.

Every time Jay Leno asks people the most basic geography and news questions and they give him moronic answers I just cringe. Wouldn't it be nice if you had to pass at least a HS level civics exam to vote? But then again I'm sure the politicians like us dumb and impressionable.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:29AM
horseboy at 11:51PM, Oct. 13, 2007
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I guess it's time somebody brought up Ancient Rome. There they had a guy who's job was to walk the streets and beat people with a rope until they voted, their voting apathy was so bad. Then came the Caesars.
Voter apathy doesn't cause the coming of dictators, but it is a sign of the symptoms that lead to them.

Ozoneocean: That “people have very, very short memories” reminds me a lot of The Phoenix on the Sword. Where Conan's second in command laments that same thing.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 12:50PM
freefall_drift at 6:20AM, Oct. 15, 2007
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In this day and age, voter apathy may not a lead to dictatorship but maybe a corporatocy.

I do agree with StaceyMontgomery, unfettered corporate interests are twisting politics. In my opinion, it's ruining the US. Corporations, by their very nature, are required to have no compassion. If they could make profit selling your grandmother for spare parts and if it wouldn't give them bad publicity, they are required by their shareholders to do so.

Government is there to protect the masses when rugged individualism is not enough. So Government is supposed to be there to act as a restraint against the corporations. Because individuals alone cannot hold back a corporation very long. Voter apathy, the “me” society is letting any politician do what ever they want for any corporation, so long as the will give them bread and circuses, cheap stuff at Wal-mart and Britney Spears scandals on TV.

I think we will continue down this path till something breaks, and we go into a great depression. Corporations will collapse and we will start over. Donno where that will go. Hopefully better.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 12:31PM
DAJB at 10:45AM, Oct. 15, 2007
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I guess it's time somebody brought up Ancient Rome. There they had a guy who's job was to walk the streets and beat people with a rope until they voted
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last edited on July 14, 2011 12:03PM
TitanOne at 10:49AM, Oct. 17, 2007
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I don't think voter apathy is the problem.

Dictatorship happens when the politicians follow an agenda instead of following (a) the will of the people, and (b) the constitution. We are moving in that direction now.
Whether or not people vote doesn't matter much.

In the US, the agenda turns the crank of the system. No politician can be elected to high office without large campaign contributions. It's difficult for grassroots popularity to outweigh the campaign contributions of Big Oil, Big Banking, Big Pharma, and the military-industrial complex. So those groups control the system. Those groups decide who the front-runners are. Those groups own the mainstream media, which coronates their choices. And the two prevailing parties march along in lockstep.

That's how it really works. Voter apathy is irrelevant in a compromised system.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:30PM
trevoramueller at 1:53PM, Oct. 17, 2007
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Voter apathy is irrelevant in a compromised system.

Well said.
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