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The Big Picture

'Have you ever heard of Plato, Aristotle, Socrates? Morons.' -- Vizzini from "The Princess Bride"

Friday, August 03, 2007

Is Jonah Goldberg Too Stupid to Vote?

Already, so much has been written about Jonah's latest LA Times column regarding testing voters, ala Jim Crow, that I don't have much new insight to add to that. It was perfectly clear from his column that he lacks basic knowledge of civics, social studies and American History. So why focus on the obvious?

The underlying issue which he fails to breach is the real point of interest. That is, why are so many Americans (blissfully?) unaware of the details of our government and our history? The second point is, given this lack of knowledge, does this mean that Americans have no vested interest in electing politicians?

The answer to the first question is fairly obvious, not enough education in those subjects in school. Private schools tend to emphacize those subjects more than public schools, but by the same token, private schools also cater to wealthier students who are more likely to go into public life, be it doctors, lawyers, politicians or scientists. So then isn't what Jonah is really saying is that public schools have failed the public? Whose fault is that? Democrats and liberals have traditionally wanted to strengthen public schools, whereas Republicans and conservatives (like Jonah) have wanted to destroy public schools. So therefore, Jonah is really saying that policies that he himself endorses regarding public schools are the very reason for a lack of knowledge of adult voters of American politics and government. If Jonah had taken his obsewrvation to its logical conclusion, then he would have concluded that public education is failing to properly educate, and thus more emphasis on that problem be addressed. But no. He suggests that Jim Crow-like tests are the solution. It is once again an issue of "It's not my fault for my faulty policies, but the fault of others for ignoring what I believe."

The second question is more poignant. While given the fact that there are many Americans who lack knowledge in civics and history, does that mean that they have no vested interest in how this country is run? Especially since its operation directly effects their daily lives? Take something as "mundane" as wages. Voting Republican means that the poorest of the poor, those most likely to be uneducated (and most likely to fail Jonah's civics test) are those who are most affected by laws governing minimun wage. So they have the largest vested interest in voting Democratic rather than Republican. The ability to feed their families and provide healthcare are the greatest effects on the general well-being of their families; yet if they do nothing, or are prevented from voting (ala Jonah's proposal) then they suffer the most. So they have exactly the most to gain from opposing anything similar to what Jonah proposes. This also means that they are most likely to vote Democrat/liberal.

And that, I believe, is the real motivation behind Jonah's idiotic proposal. Those who most need liberal and demoratic policies are the very ones who would be discredited via Jonah's "new" policy. This would tip the balance of power towards those whom Jonah really wants running this country, Republicans/conservatives who could not give a crap about helping Americans, but only desire to enrich themselves.

Preventing people from voting in their own self-interests is the most Un-American of ideals. And it seems that this is precisely what Jonah wants: An Un-American America. I can only hope that so many people laugh at him that no one, including the LA Times will ever publish him again, excepting the wacky conservative rags whose only reach is like-minded idiots also know as Conservatives.

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