Wednesday, October 27, 2004

What She Said

Once again, I have just read something that demands comment, but someone smarter than me has already done so better than I could. So, my main comment is: what she said. This is in response to Will Wilkinson's poorly thought-out post, of course.

I started to say something more, but then I saw that it had already been said in the comments at the above link. For instance:

The issue isn't whether increased voter turnout is intrinsically valuable. This is an issue of basic fairness. Some citizens face much greater obstacles to voting than others. If an eligible citizen wants to vote, they have a right to do so.


I don't think that we have any reason to believe that the people who are discouraged by voter intimidation are less informed than their voting counterparts. In order to support your hypothesis, you would have to show not only that the groups targeted by voter suppression are less informed, but also that those who succumb to voter suppression are less informed than other members of the target demographic who manage to vote anyway. I'm just not aware of any data to support such a bold conjecture.

The point, then, is that Wilkinson is apparently unacquainted with reality, and with the realities of traditionally disenfranchised groups like African Americans and individuals with low socio-economic status in particular. It is probably true that most voters, be they discriminated against through various means of disenfranchisement or not, are uninformed and therefore do not improve the effectiveness of the democratic process. Still, Wilkinson has no reason to think that the voting groups that are more likely to be intimidated are composed of higher percentages of uninformed voters. There simply is no a priori reason to think that these voters' voices are less deserving of being heard than anyone else's, including Wilkinson's, and his insistence that they are smacks of either racism or simple, unadulterated ignorance. In fact, I'd go so far to say that if Wilkinson's post is an indication of his own informedness, then he's the one whose vote can only detract from the effectiveness of the democratic process.

OK, so I did comment, but only by repeating what someone else had already said. I told you I couldn't say it better. Oh, and go Red Sox!

1 comment:

breakdown said...
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