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Old 02-29-2004, 10:04 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Should it be illegal not to vote?

In Australia, for example, it is a criminal offence, punishable by a fine, if you do not vote when you are entitled to and you dont have a good excuse. Would you be happy to see such a law enforced in your country?
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Old 02-29-2004, 10:05 AM   #2 (permalink)
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In a word, no.
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Old 02-29-2004, 10:20 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally posted by Scipio
In a word, no.
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Old 02-29-2004, 10:25 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Should it be illegal not to vote?

Quote:
Originally posted by Strange Famous
In Australia, for example, it is a criminal offence, punishable by a fine, if you do not vote when you are entitled to and you dont have a good excuse. Would you be happy to see such a law enforced in your country?
Nope, it would be assinine.
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Old 02-29-2004, 10:34 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Not voting for any candidate is as much a political statement as voting. Meaning, if voting were mandatory, then I would be forced to pick the least of all the evils, so candidates would not have to work as hard to attract me. In our current system, my vote is up for grabs, but I have to actually want to give it. Candidates can be made in this manner - Howard Dean and Ralph Nader both claim their support came from people who wouldn't have gone to the polls otherwise. I don't know if I believe it in those specific cases, but the number of people who don't vote is a measure of how much potential there is for a new party/candidate with the right views could galvanise the voters.
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Old 02-29-2004, 10:39 AM   #6 (permalink)
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No, it should not ever be illegal. If someone feels that abstention from voting is necessary, why not allow that? I do feel that it is good to have a say in government, but it should not be mandatory by any means.
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Old 02-29-2004, 10:47 AM   #7 (permalink)
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A better solution to the low turnout problem is to either create an election holiday (either a new one or merged with an existing holiday like Veteran's Day) or move the election to a weekend.

This way, everyone who wants to vote can do so. If we force people to vote who are uninformed and really don't want to vote, they'll just end up voting for a random person or whoever they happen to recognize.
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Old 02-29-2004, 10:47 AM   #8 (permalink)
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You could spoil the ballot paper if you didnt want to vote for any of the candidates.
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Old 02-29-2004, 11:00 AM   #9 (permalink)
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You can always cast a spoiled or empty vote..

oops.. i see that Strange Famous has just said the same thing....

Vo

Quote:
Originally posted by ubertuber
Not voting for any candidate is as much a political statement as voting. Meaning, if voting were mandatory, then I would be forced to pick the least of all the evils, so candidates would not have to work as hard to attract me. In our current system, my vote is up for grabs, but I have to actually want to give it. Candidates can be made in this manner - Howard Dean and Ralph Nader both claim their support came from people who wouldn't have gone to the polls otherwise. I don't know if I believe it in those specific cases, but the number of people who don't vote is a measure of how much potential there is for a new party/candidate with the right views could galvanise the voters.
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Old 02-29-2004, 11:01 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I think mandatory voting is a good idea, but I'd rather uninformed people stay at home than go out and vote.
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Old 02-29-2004, 11:04 AM   #11 (permalink)
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No.

I don't want someone taking the responsibilty on that doesn't want it.
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Old 02-29-2004, 11:32 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I'll cast my vote for yes. Voter turnout in the US is abysmal. You've all made good arguments for why people shouldn't vote, but if people had to vote, they might take more of an interest in what was going on.
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Old 02-29-2004, 11:37 AM   #13 (permalink)
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No, shouldn't be illegal. If you actually don't care, then you'll show up on election day basically ignorant of the issues and vote at random or according to old information. How does that help democracy?

Personally, I wouldn't be against not giving people the vote until they did some public service thing -- a certain number of hours of volunteer work, military service, employment in an important service profession like education, EMT, or whatever. Everybody would be able to qualify in some way, if they made the effort. And if they didn't care to make an effort for the community, why should they be able to make decisions about it?

Last edited by Rodney; 02-29-2004 at 11:39 AM..
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Old 02-29-2004, 11:55 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Rodney
No, shouldn't be illegal. If you actually don't care, then you'll show up on election day basically ignorant of the issues and vote at random or according to old information. How does that help democracy?

Personally, I wouldn't be against not giving people the vote until they did some public service thing -- a certain number of hours of volunteer work, military service, employment in an important service profession like education, EMT, or whatever. Everybody would be able to qualify in some way, if they made the effort. And if they didn't care to make an effort for the community, why should they be able to make decisions about it?
Why? because the decisions politicians make effect them, whether or not they do community service. Your idea is actually the stuff of quite a few dystopain films/movies - and not disimilar in principle to the property qualifications on voting, or refusing women the vote. Giving the vote to people with the time and inclination to do voluntary service, and at the same time effectively denying the right to vote to, for example, a harasses single mom working two jobs just to make ends meet, who cant afford childcare to do your volunteer work and doesnt wok in an area you deem important to the community... to me a system that works that way is abhorent and alien to human decency.

The principle of representative democracy is that people who have power are responsible to and accountable to the people who's lives they effect - a world in which only one "type" of person is allowed to vote becomes something other than a democracy. Oh, Brave New World!!
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Old 02-29-2004, 12:05 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I didn't really expound on my earlier post, so I'll make just one point.

It's not clear that the system of democracy would be improved by increasing voter turnout. If 5 million more uninformed or superficial people voted, would our system be enhanced? Compulsory voting doesn't make for better democracy.
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Old 02-29-2004, 12:43 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I think that instead of not voting at all , candidates should have a choice to vote "none of the above" in the ballots. That way, it would be easier to have a much more accurate count of how many citizens actually vote and how many eligible votes actually voted for a particular candidate.

While I agree with Scipio's point of view that forcing a bunch of uninformed and superficial people to vote would not make for better democracy, I still think that every individual has some sort of opinion (including "I don't know or "none of the above"), and they should be made to put their opinion in the ballots rather than just abstain.
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Old 02-29-2004, 12:45 PM   #17 (permalink)
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in an ideal world mandatory voting would inspire people to be more informed -- since they have to go out and vote anyway. Unfortunately, way too many people are willing to cast votes based on superficial information like whether or not the candidate seems like a nice guy. If voting were mandatory I think we would have more uninformed voters which isn't conducive to the democratic process.

However, I disagree with those of you who claim that staying at home and not voting is making a great statement -- I think when you abstain from voting you get lumped in with the apathetic and uninformed -- a greater statement would be made by casting a blank vote (though arguable this would be less of a statement is voting were NOT mandatory -- I think if you institute a mandatory voting policy and then get a number of blank ballots a rather enormous statement would be made.).
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Old 02-29-2004, 01:26 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by brianna
in an ideal world mandatory voting would inspire people to be more informed -- since they have to go out and vote anyway. Unfortunately, way too many people are willing to cast votes based on superficial information like whether or not the candidate seems like a nice guy. If voting were mandatory I think we would have more uninformed voters which isn't conducive to the democratic process.

However, I disagree with those of you who claim that staying at home and not voting is making a great statement -- I think when you abstain from voting you get lumped in with the apathetic and uninformed -- a greater statement would be made by casting a blank vote (though arguable this would be less of a statement is voting were NOT mandatory -- I think if you institute a mandatory voting policy and then get a number of blank ballots a rather enormous statement would be made.).
How do we know that the informed aren't the ones staying home?

We seem to be making an interesting assumption here--that the people currently voting are doing so based on careful research and without regard to personality, etc.

I would argue the opposite. Most of our votes seem to be contigent on various emotionally charged topics, not on careful research of the candidates' policies and actions.
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Old 02-29-2004, 01:41 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kadath
I'll cast my vote for yes. Voter turnout in the US is abysmal. You've all made good arguments for why people shouldn't vote, but if people had to vote, they might take more of an interest in what was going on.
I disagree. If people *had* to vote, they would likely just vote for whoevers name they know the most. Voting is a right which, unfortunately, most people simply don't care enough about. However, you can't make them care by forcing them to do it.
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Old 02-29-2004, 01:44 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Not being registered to vote should be illegal. Evidence points to this as being the reason people dont vote. They simply arent registered.

The percentage of the US's registered voters who vote are comparable to the rest of the world.

As far as voting or non-voting I think thats totally up to the individual, and I'd rather someone who has no clue about the candidates and will only vote for the name they recognize to stay out of the ballot box anyways.
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Old 02-29-2004, 02:17 PM   #21 (permalink)
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I'd say yes, just because reaping the benefits of democracy without participating is stupid. How much of a democracy is it when less than a majority participate?
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Old 02-29-2004, 02:46 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by filtherton
I'd say yes, just because reaping the benefits of democracy without participating is stupid. How much of a democracy is it when less than a majority participate?
Really?

Being forced to vote wouldn't violate civil liberties?

Lots of people say the government should stay out of peoples lives, be it with sex, or drugs, or entertainment, but its ok to force someone to vote who doesn't really want to or care?

The befits of democracy have nothing to do with mandatory voting. Look at where you had mandatory voting and see if it made any difference.
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Old 02-29-2004, 03:01 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Democracy is meaningless if the majority choose not to participate. It is ridiculous that the majority cares more about who is going to win the superbowl than who is going to be president. I bet more people voted for american idol than will vote for president. That seems like model democracy to you?
It's not that fucking difficult to vote. Omigod, you mean i have to vote?!?!!? Whatever will i do?!?!?

Being forced to vote wouldn't violate civil liberties any more paying taxes violates your civil liberties. I'm not sure about the wording of the constitution, but i don't think that it expressly outlines your right not to vote.
I don't know about you, but i think people should be obligated to participate in the process that makes america what it is.
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Old 02-29-2004, 04:06 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Hell no. I don't want the lazy dipshits in this country to randomly choose some candidate they don't know anything about and put him in charge. And seeing as lazy dipshits are just about the majority, we're better off without their input.
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Old 02-29-2004, 04:08 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Nope, everyone has the right to choose whether they want to vote or not, and I likes it that way.
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Old 02-29-2004, 04:13 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by filtherton
Democracy is meaningless if the majority choose not to participate. It is ridiculous that the majority cares more about who is going to win the superbowl than who is going to be president. I bet more people voted for american idol than will vote for president.
Don't you get it, its not YOUR business if others choose not to vote. You don't know whatís good for them, its not up to you to decide what they need to do to make 'democracy' meaningful. Democracy (or a Republic) requires EDUCATED voters, educated on the issues. If they don't know and don't care then there is NO point in forcing them to vote. If anything you are going to more bad decisions since such voters will be easily swayed.

How about we force people to vote, and then give the a little test to prove they know what they are voting on? Would you like that?

Quote:
Being forced to vote wouldn't violate civil liberties any more paying taxes violates your civil liberties. I'm not sure about the wording of the constitution, but i don't think that it expressly outlines your right not to vote.
I don't know about you, but i think people should be obligated to participate in the process that makes america what it is.
Good to see we agree on taxes, they violate our civil liberties.

Now back to voting, America is 'not what is is' by forcing people to do things they don't want to do. America is what it is great based on the freedom we have, and if some people decide not to vote thatís their business, and not for you to decide whatís good for them.

I'm sure the left would like this because more uninformed voters is good for most leftist causes, but even if it turned out that such voting gave republican majorities in all states, I wouldn't be for it.
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Old 02-29-2004, 04:22 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Force people to vote, that's worse then apathy towards voting.
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Old 02-29-2004, 04:23 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by smooth
How do we know that the informed aren't the ones staying home?
That's exactly my point -- by staying home you achieve nothing since no one can distinguish those that stay home out of apathy from those that stay home out of frustration with the current options.

Quote:
[i]We seem to be making an interesting assumption here--that the people currently voting are doing so based on careful research and without regard to personality, etc.

I would argue the opposite. Most of our votes seem to be contigent on various emotionally charged topics, not on careful research of the candidates' policies and actions. [/B]
I don't think we're making that assumption -- i think the vast majority of people who vote today do so based on very little research. Too many of us are lead by our instincts and easily duped by appeals to our heartstrings or prejudices. However, i think it is becoming rather difficult to become properly informed -- it often seems that the public is being feed directly conflicting information and in order to figure out who you actually side with one must commit to reading a lot of news from a lot of different sources. I think most voters resort to voting in line with a group that they personally identify with, be that one of the major parties or a special interest group.
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Old 02-29-2004, 04:36 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Originally posted by Ustwo
Don't you get it, its not YOUR business if others choose not to vote. You don't know whatís good for them, its not up to you to decide what they need to do to make 'democracy' meaningful. Democracy (or a Republic) requires EDUCATED voters, educated on the issues. If they don't know and don't care then there is NO point in forcing them to vote. If anything you are going to more bad decisions since such voters will be easily swayed.

How about we force people to vote, and then give the a little test to prove they know what they are voting on? Would you like that?



Good to see we agree on taxes, they violate our civil liberties.

Now back to voting, America is 'not what is is' by forcing people to do things they don't want to do. America is what it is great based on the freedom we have, and if some people decide not to vote thatís their business, and not for you to decide whatís good for them.

I'm sure the left would like this because more uninformed voters is good for most leftist causes, but even if it turned out that such voting gave republican majorities in all states, I wouldn't be for it.

Oooh, no need imply that all lefties are uninformed. I know that many think that the masses are just too stupid to put in their two cents. Or maybe if we're going to throw around idealogical barbs, perhaps as a conservative, you disfavor the voting of the masses because the masses aren't wealthy and therefore probably won't vote for the current "put the rich people on a pedestal" status quo. Yeah, that's it.


As for taxes, i thought civil liberties were defined by the constitution. I didn't know they were defined by the opinions of a fringe minority. If taxes violate our civil liberties you'd think hotshot conservative lawyer anne coulter would have had them succesfully thrown out by the supreme court by now.
It must be difficult for someone with your perspective to get around, seeing as how you must feel real dirty whenever you drive on a public road, because you know that in the process you're reaping the benefits of state sponsored theivery.

Now...
Back to voting.

I guess i think that this country would be a better place if there was some incentive for people to be involved in the decision making process.
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Old 02-29-2004, 04:57 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Originally posted by filtherton
I guess i think that this country would be a better place if there was some incentive for people to be involved in the decision making process.
They used to give out a beer and sammich at the polling places in the early 20th and late 19th Centuries, I sure do wish they would do that again.
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Old 02-29-2004, 05:16 PM   #31 (permalink)
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No you cannot force people to vote. Deciding to vote is part of the process.

Having people voting that don't want to could upset an election.

What if they all did a write in for Osama? And he won?
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Old 02-29-2004, 05:20 PM   #32 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Strange Famous
You could spoil the ballot paper if you didnt want to vote for any of the candidates.
In Australia, one kind of "spoiled" vote is called a donkey vote - A term that would be completely misunderstood in American politics.

It's accepted here because it's part of our tradition and status quo. It means we have a reputable National electoral commission that has consistent technology and procedures across all voting districts (operating under the KISS principle). Changing the system, either in Australia or America would disrupt the balance of power in either place. Therefore, it's just not gonna happen.

Our compulsory voting might not be ideologically or philosophically "pure" but neither is the US selective service or electoral college - and America accepts the electoral college because it's part of your political history.

Last edited by Macheath; 02-29-2004 at 05:37 PM..
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Old 02-29-2004, 05:43 PM   #33 (permalink)
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Originally posted by Ustwo
The befits of democracy have nothing to do with mandatory voting. Look at where you had mandatory voting and see if it made any difference.
I only know of Brazil and Australia--in made a positive difference in both cases, according to the residents I spoke to.
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Old 02-29-2004, 05:47 PM   #34 (permalink)
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Originally posted by Boo
No you cannot force people to vote. Deciding to vote is part of the process.

Having people voting that don't want to could upset an election.

What if they all did a write in for Osama? And he won?
I think you're vastly over-estimating the the organizational abilities of those who you would deem too uninvolved to vote.
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Old 02-29-2004, 10:05 PM   #35 (permalink)
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Originally posted by Strange Famous
Why? because the decisions politicians make effect them, whether or not they do community service. Your idea is actually the stuff of quite a few dystopain films/movies - and not disimilar in principle to the property qualifications on voting, or refusing women the vote. Giving the vote to people with the time and inclination to do voluntary service, and at the same time effectively denying the right to vote to, for example, a harasses single mom working two jobs just to make ends meet, who cant afford childcare to do your volunteer work and doesnt wok in an area you deem important to the community... to me a system that works that way is abhorent and alien to human decency.
Actually, I'm politically liberal. But over the years I've seen so many people devalue the right to vote that maybe the only way to get people to value it is no longer make it free. As for having the free time, I'd put it on a sliding scale. Rich people could buy their vote with months of community service; poor people could buy it by making sure that their babies got (free) prenatal care at gov't clinics, thus saving potentially tens of thousands of K down the line in publically-financed health costs. Or keeping their kids in school. Or getting off welfare. Or even while they're in high school, by doing something more valuable to the community that serving on the football team. The high schools in my area mandate a certain amount of community service time for each kid as part of the curriculum. That could work, too.

What the hell, institute national service and make sure everybody has to do it -- not necessarily the military, but something. When you're done, you vote. And if you're in a wheelchair, they have to find something for you to do.

This is straight out of Heinlein, but I agree with him on this one.
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Old 02-29-2004, 10:10 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Originally posted by Rodney
This is straight out of Heinlein, but I agree with him on this one.
I personally share most of Heinleins views on life (which btw is also good for ones sex life heh) but his point was that you had to perform some sort of service that was NOT mandatory and very difficult. Everyone had the right to serve, but even if you were crippled, blind, and deaf, they would find some annoying job you could do to prove your franchise.

Of course this would take a revolution like it did in the book.
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Old 02-29-2004, 10:13 PM   #37 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by filtherton

As for taxes, i thought civil liberties were defined by the constitution. I didn't know they were defined by the opinions of a fringe minority. If taxes violate our civil liberties you'd think hotshot conservative lawyer anne coulter would have had them succesfully thrown out by the supreme court by now.
It must be difficult for someone with your perspective to get around, seeing as how you must feel real dirty whenever you drive on a public road, because you know that in the process you're reaping the benefits of state sponsored theivery.
The income tax started to fund WWI, and they said it was temporary.

Ha!
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Old 02-29-2004, 11:09 PM   #38 (permalink)
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Ustwo had it right when he said that forcing people to vote would violate civil liberties. We are a free society, and a free to choose to vote or not. I sincerely wish more people took the time and effort to vote, but they should not be forced to vote.

Unfortuately, Ustwo was unable to make a good point without making a kneejerk "liberals" slam that has no place in this discussion.
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Old 02-29-2004, 11:12 PM   #39 (permalink)
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Originally posted by Rodney
This is straight out of Heinlein, but I agree with him on this one.

I was sorely tempted to post my favorite Mr. Dubois quote, but I've already posted it once in "Politics" and I didn't want to wear it out...
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"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." Ė C. S. Lewis

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Old 02-29-2004, 11:17 PM   #40 (permalink)
whoopity doo
 
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I prefer the uninformed abstain anyway. Voting on name recognition is worse then not voting at all in my opinion.
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