permaculture playing cards*
The moose likes Meaningless Drivel and the fly likes The Savage Nation Big Moose Saloon
  Search | Java FAQ | Recent Topics | Flagged Topics | Hot Topics | Zero Replies
Register / Login
JavaRanch » Java Forums » Other » Meaningless Drivel
Bookmark "The Savage Nation" Watch "The Savage Nation" New topic
Author

The Savage Nation

Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
Has anybody read the book? I heard it's a current bestseller. I looked throw it in a bookstore, and... Do people buy it out of curiosity, or do they, um... really enjoy reading it?
[ February 22, 2003: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]

Uncontrolled vocabularies
"I try my best to make *all* my posts nice, even when I feel upset" -- Philippe Maquet
R K Singh
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 15, 2001
Posts: 5371
Still reading "Atlas Shrugged". Now 2/3rd is over.
I will suggest you to read that book....
I did not know till Thursday that "from ablity to need" was motto of communist. I was thinking this phrase is by Ayn.
opss.. did I suggest you to read


"Thanks to Indian media who has over the period of time swiped out intellectual taste from mass Indian population." - Chetan Parekh
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
I did not know till Thursday that "from ablity to need" was motto of communist.
I fancied with an idea I am accustomed with communist mottos, but "from ability to need" doesn't resonate with anything... Maybe Eugene can remember something...
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
Got it!
"ot kajdogo po sposobnostyam, kagdomu po potrebnostyam".
Trying to translate back, "everyone gives what he can, everyone gets what he needs" Wonder if this is an accurate translation...
frank davis
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 12, 2001
Posts: 1479
Originally posted by Ravish Kumar:
Still reading "Atlas Shrugged". Now 2/3rd is over.
I will suggest you to read that book....
I did not know till Thursday that "from ablity to need" was motto of communist. I was thinking this phrase is by Ayn.
opss.. did I suggest you to read

http://communism.org/#communism :
"Society runs in accord with the principle: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need."
I think Rand did a valid and accurate summation of the above definition with her phrase, "from ability to need".
"Atlas Shrugged" is a long book examining the heroes who are struggling to live their life by being loyal to their highest principles in defiance of the communist slogan "from ability to need". Rand's philosophy is more systematically and thoroughly explained in her non-fiction books which are collections of small essays : The Virtue of Selfishness, Capitalism :The Unknown Ideal, and An Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology (much more abstract).
Rand gives a good, consistant, practical philosophy for political/social issues.
frank davis
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 12, 2001
Posts: 1479
Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
Has anybody read the book? I heard it's a current bestseller. I looked throw it in a bookstore, and... Do people buy it out of curiosity, or do they, um... really enjoy reading it?
[ February 22, 2003: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]

Haven't read the book, but saw the Amazon reviews and have listened (in the past) to Michael Savage's radio show also called The Savage Nation. The book appears to be based on the themes he repeats on his radio show, "Borders, Language, Culture". Obvioulsy, the man is no philosopher or great intellectual, but he occasionally raises a valid point and he has enough common sense to see the flaws/hypocrisy in the liberal point of view.
I guess his basic point is how can you really have a coherent, effective nation if it is divided by language, has no common culture, and has no geographical boundaries.
Example on the language issue :
I have lived in Miami for some years and most of the people there are not native English speakers. Many are not fluent or comfortable with English so they prefer to obtain their news from Spanish radio, newpapers, and TV. During the Elian Gonzalez issue (the small boy that was forced to go back to Cuba), the city was divided into 2 VERY bitterly polarized camps and it was based mainly on language due to the fact that most of the Spanish media on which the local Spanish speaking population relied upon was controlled (directly or indirectly) by Cuban exiles. I believe much of the bitterness, which later exploded into riots and even many office workplace incidents, was caused because the two groups were presented with two sets of facts depending on whether it was from English or Spanish media. The local politicians played both sides of fence by telling one group one thing in one language and another group another thing in another language. They got away with it because most people don't have time/desire to listen to all the media in both languages. Also most native English speakers are not bilingual. I can hardly think of a more effective way to cause division between between citizens then to encourage/support/subsidize a multiplicity of languages amongst them and not require a standard language as a common, official basis of communication.
Culture also has many of the same issues as language. Additionaly, our democratic traditions such as a free press, open political debate, and hundreds of other things we take for granted in our society are not common/known/respected in some cultures. Why does democracy work in some countries and not in others; could culture be an important reason?
Open borders accelerate the destruction of the common language and culture that holds a nation togther into a coherent whole. Additionally, the social/economic costs of unrestricted immigration place additional stresses on a society already being divided by language/culture.
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
I can hardly think of a more effective way to cause division between between citizens then to encourage/support/subsidize a multiplicity of languages amongst them and not require a standard language as a common, official basis of communication.
But this is why communists were hated by non-Russian people in the Soviet Union -- because they required "a standard language" and other nations saw it as discrimination.
Paul Stevens
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 17, 2001
Posts: 2823
Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
[QB
But this is why communists were hated by non-Russian people in the Soviet Union -- because they required "a standard language" and other nations saw it as discrimination.[/QB]

That isn't why.
frank davis
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 12, 2001
Posts: 1479
Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:

But this is why communists were hated by non-Russian people in the Soviet Union -- because they required "a standard language" and other nations saw it as discrimination.

Would I be wrong to assume that the non-Russian people had been incorporated into the Russian/Soviet empire not by voluntary immigration as in my example, but by conquest?
John Smith
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 08, 2001
Posts: 2937

I fancied with an idea I am accustomed with communist mottos, but "from ability to need" doesn't resonate with anything... Maybe Eugene can remember something...

Yeah, that's all I can remember from my Soviet-style education:
Socialism: from each according to his ability, to each according to his deeds.
Communism: from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.
In Russian:
Socialism: ot kazhdogo po sposobnosti, kazhdomu po trudu.
Communism: ot kazhdogo po sposobnosti, kazhdomu po potrebnosti.
Eugene.
[ February 24, 2003: Message edited by: Eugene Kononov ]
omar khan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 01, 2001
Posts: 183
Originally posted by herb slocomb:

Would I be wrong to assume that the non-Russian people had been incorporated into the Russian/Soviet empire not by voluntary immigration as in my example, but by conquest?

In most cases you wouldn't.
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
Originally posted by herb slocomb:

Would I be wrong to assume that the non-Russian people had been incorporated into the Russian/Soviet empire not by voluntary immigration as in my example, but by conquest?

Good point.
Also, I found a quote for another thread, and then it occurred to me that is more relevant for this thread...
"The vast majority of the world's nations are at least bilingual, and most are multilingual, even if one ignores the impact of modern migrations. Countries in which all residents natively speak the same language are a small exception, certainly not the rule. Even nations like France, Germany and the United Kingdom have important linguistic minorities within their borders. Furthermore, where diverse linguistic communities exist in one country, they have generally managed to coexist peacefully. Finland, Singapore, and Switzerland are only three examples. Where linguistic discord does arise, as it has with various degrees of intensity in Belgium, Canada, and Sri Lanka, it is generally the result of majority attempts to disadvantage or suppress a minority linguistic community, or it reflects underlying racial or religious conflicts. Multilingualism by itself is rarely an important cause of civil discord."
http://www.languageinindia.com/may2002/englishonly.html
frank davis
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 12, 2001
Posts: 1479
Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:

Multilingualism by itself is rarely an important cause of civil discord."
http://www.languageinindia.com/may2002/englishonly.html

But not being "an important cause of civil discord" is far from being something positive or something to be desired.

As we all know, sometimes its hard enough getting your point across in English to another native English speaker. Adding a multiplicity of languages throws in translation issues/problems that cannot possibly make comunication easier or more effective. Each language within a country establishes "fault lines" to use a geological analogy. By itself, perhaps not a problem, but when stress is applied, as in my Miami example, then problems are exacerbated since communication is less efficient/effective and social problem solving necesitates effective communication.
There are also social costs of translating government documents into Spanish and Creole(French derived) and defending against expensive law suits from those who claim their rights were violated because something wasn't translated properly or at all. Then there are politcal questions to ask such as whether someone who cannot understand simple voting instructions in plain English is properly informed on the issues. Spanish speaking media is fairly large, but the diversity of opinion and information is still much less than that of English media is my assumption. In the case of Creole the media is even more much less developed.
Off the topic for while :
Setting qualifications for voting is legitimate in my opinion since I can't see how having totally uninformed people voting helps anybody. A co-worker (native English speaker...) once informed me her mother knew nothing about who to vote for and asked her who to choose just before going into the voting booth...
A multiplicity of languages can help since in the case of Miami and South Florida it has increased business and trade with South American and Carribean countries. But a multiplicity of languages does not have to, and should not, come at the expense of one unifying language.
Jason Menard
Sheriff

Joined: Nov 09, 2000
Posts: 6450
Originally posted by herb slocomb:
There are also social costs of translating government documents into Spanish and Creole(French derived) and defending against expensive law suits from those who claim their rights were violated because something wasn't translated properly or at all.

I somewhat agree with this. I don't believe there should be any requirement to translate government documents. Further all public education should be taught in English, although public education should also be responsible for teaching kids the English they need to succeed in the classroom. I'm not sure if there is a good socially justifiable reason for requiring that the public pay for government documents to be translated into multiple languages. With that said, there may be certain cases where it is desirable to translate into multiple languages, particularly where public health and safety might be a factor.
Setting qualifications for voting is legitimate in my opinion since I can't see how having totally uninformed people voting helps anybody.

I have some issues with this. Such a law would only serve to exclude individuals or groups from fully participating in society. Who is to make the determination whether or not someone is qualified to vote? Additionally, it would divide society needlessly. I think this concept goes against our basic values. Besides, if such a thing were enacted, entire Democratic districts in Florida would be excluded from voting.
Robert Heinlein had an interesting take on this in one of his books. He proposed that only citizens could vote. The thing was though that citizenship was not automatically granted at birth, but rather was given only after a period of public service. Everyone else was just a taxpayer.
Heinlein asserts that in a democratic society, voting is the ultimate form of power. He argues that the only people who can be trusted to make responsible decisions for society are those who are willing to die to protect it. Maybe a bit extreme, but it is a good commentary on social responsibility.
frank davis
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 12, 2001
Posts: 1479
Originally posted by Jason Menard:

Robert Heinlein had an interesting take on this in one of his books. He proposed that only citizens could vote. The thing was though that citizenship was not automatically granted at birth, but rather was given only after a period of public service. Everyone else was just a taxpayer.
Heinlein asserts that in a democratic society, voting is the ultimate form of power. He argues that the only people who can be trusted to make responsible decisions for society are those who are willing to die to protect it.

Heinlein is wise man indeed. In principle, can't we all agree that "only people who can be trusted to make responsible decisions for society " should be allowed to vote? Does it make sense to allow untrustworthy and irresponsible people to make decisions that affect the future of everyone in our society and even in the world?
Implementing such a common sense proposal would admittedly have some issues, but not insurmountable and not without precedent. We already do this to some degree already. For example, convicted felons in Florida cannot vote now as a general rule. Even though criminals are overwhelmingly disproportionately Democratic, this law still remains in effect(although Democrats are making noises about it now).
The next step is to set some minimal standard of mental competence for voting. Of course the Democrats will scream about this also since they will again be disproportionately disenfranchised, but the Republicans are in control now and they need to do what's right for the country.
[ February 24, 2003: Message edited by: herb slocomb ]
John Dunn
slicker
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 30, 2003
Posts: 1108


Heinlein asserts that in a democratic society, voting is the ultimate form of power. He argues that the only people who can be trusted to make responsible decisions for society are those who are willing to die to protect it. Maybe a bit extreme, but it is a good commentary on social responsibility.


Hmmm, this doesn't take into account Henry David Thoreau, Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Muhammad Ali, the anti-war students in the sixties, Bill Clinton - just to name a few.
I thought, I bet this guy was a veteran... I was close:
Before beginning to write SF, he attended the University of Missouri and the Naval Academy at Annapolis, graduating in 1929. He served five years in the Navy aboard destroyers and aircraft carriers, finally retiring from active duty after contracting tuberculosis, the first in a series of illnesses which would accompany him to the end of his life.
Robert Anson Heinlein - bio
So he went to the US Naval Academy and was involved with the military and who attempted to run for office. How convenient... I guess the military made him a 'more responsible' citizen when it came to making decisions.


"No one appreciates the very special genius of your conversation as the dog does."
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
Hey, be careful when joking about military!
Dan Chisholm
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 02, 2002
Posts: 1865
I think that individuals benefit from developing multilingual skills. For example, my wife is from Taiwan so we would like our daughter to learn some Mandarin so that she can communicate with her mother's side of the family.
Although multilingual skills are valuable, I think that a multilingual public school system discourages the development of language skills beyond the language that is spoken in the home. When I was in college, I rented a room in a four bedroom townhouse in San Jose, California. Everyone in the house was Mexican or Mexican/American except for me. One day I programmed the VCR so that it would pick up some English language channels. The next day I found that those channels had been deleted. I reprogrammed the English channels and again found them to be deleted the following day. I was then informed that English language television would not be permitted in the house because Alma and Umberto did not want their preschool age son, Caesar, to be exposed to English.
One could argue that Alma and Umberto have every right as parents to deprive their son of any educational opportunity that they may deem undesirable. Even so, I'm not sure that the child benefits by having limits placed on his ability to communicate with other Americans.
My Grandmother was the daughter of German immigrants and grew up in a German section of Detroit back in the days when such an area existed in that city. At home her family spoke only German so my grandmother's English skills were very weak when she started school. One day the teacher told my grandmother that she needed to improve her English skills but she said that it was difficult because she rarely had an opportunity to speak English outside of school. The teacher told my grandmother that she should just stop speaking German and force her parents to speak English too. My grandmother did exactly that. From that day forward, my grandmother spoke only English but her parents continued to speak only German.
Based on the above two instances, I think that kids benefit when the public school system teaches classes only in English. Otherwise, the kids might not have an opportunity to learn a valuable skill.
[ February 25, 2003: Message edited by: Dan Chisholm ]

Dan Chisholm<br />SCJP 1.4<br /> <br /><a href="http://www.danchisholm.net/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Try my mock exam.</a>
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
Well, speaking about military, I remember when our TV said that Japan wants Russia to return Kuril islands, me and my mother voted and decided that we should return. Russia has so much land it has no idea what to do with, and Japan is overpopulated. If they want these islands, why not to give them islands. But my father said "why should we give our territories? " I can only blame his military service for him being so mean. On the other hand, with politicians like me and my mother, Russia could eventually end up very badly...
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
Originally posted by Dan Chisholm:
I was then informed that English language television would not be permitted in the house because Alma and Umberto did not want their preschool age son, Caesar, to be exposed to English.


Are you serious? Why did they do that? They did not want him to learn English at all, or they just wanted to "protect" his Spanish for a while?
Jim Yingst
Wanderer
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 30, 2000
Posts: 18671
I was then informed that English language television would not be permitted in the house because Alma and Umberto did not want their preschool age son, Caesar, to be exposed to English.
I could imagine a slightly different situation which would be more justifiable, IMO. If the parents figure that Caesar will be exposed to plenty of English everywhere except their home, then it might make sense to focus heavily on Spanish at home in order to ensure that the child will be fluent in both languages. Children routinely exposed to two or more languages become bilingual much more easily than adults, and I think it's not a bad idea to try to make use of this fact. However, that's only if the child is getting plenty of English exposure elsewhere. Which from what Dan said, may not be the case. Were I a parent in this situation, I'd consider it vital to pay attention to how much the child is using both languages. As noted by others, if the kid doesn't learn English well, his parents aren't doing him any favors. He'll eventually pick it up from the outside world despite his parents' efforts - but maybe not as well as he could have otherwise. And really, teaching English to children of immigrants (and immigrants themselves) is one of the more productive uses a television can be put to; seems a shame to lose that benefit.


"I'm not back." - Bill Harding, Twister
Jim Yingst
Wanderer
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 30, 2000
Posts: 18671
Re: Heinlein. It may be a mistake to believe that all the ideas esposed by characters in one book are actually endorsed by the author. It's worth noting that two years after Starship Troopers, he wrote Stranger in a Strange Land - which was widely enjoyed by the members of the counterculture movement a few years later, largely for its apparent endorsement of free love. And it contrbuted "grok" to the language. I suspect few of these readers of Stranger were big fans of the ideas in Troopers. The point being, Heinlein tossed around a lot of ideas in his books, and enjoyed challenging the preconceptions of his readers. That doesn't necessarily mean he himself fully endorsed all the ideas that wer voiced by his characters.
That said, there are a lot of strong (or at least strenuous) arguments put forth in the book - whether they're actually Heinlein's beliefs or not, the ideas can certainly be discussed...
I guess the military made him a 'more responsible' citizen when it came to making decisions.
The characters in the book argued more that it wasn't that public service made them more responsible, but that only those who were particularly responsible would bother to suffer through it. It was a filtering mechanism to protect the right to vote from those who didn't really value it enough. This says nothing against Thoreau, Gandhi, etc. because in their respective societies, they didn't need to serve in order to vote, and they were able to strongly influence society in other ways. A Troopers character would argue that that was fine - but that if Thoreau or Gandhi had lived in the Troopers society, and if they really wanted to shape the future of that society, they would've done their public service first in order to demonstrate it. Note that military service was not necessary to earn the right to vote, but some sort of public service was required. All such jobs, military or otherwise, were intentionally made as grueling as possible (or at least, notably ickier than most people would normally put up with). The main character in the book was in the military, and that's the institution we learn the most about in the book. But it certainly wasn't the only option to those who wished to be citizens.
Now I'm not saying I agree that such a society would work, no. I just wanted to clarify some of the points. I think that the biggest problem with the system as presented in the book is that it would be too susceptible to abuse from those wishing to keep "undesireables" from the right to vote. While Heinlein's characters may assert that everyone had an equal chance to complete their service and vote, it's not too difficult to imagine situations where blacks, or arabs, or women, or gays, or members of particular religions, or whoever the oppressed-group-du-jour might be, might find themselves routinely assigned to far more difficult/intolerable assignments than the "mainstream" population was, because the people in charge of the various service institutions didn't want "those people" to make it through service. While in principle it may sound reasonable to make people earn the right to vote rather than merely giving it to them, in practice such a filtering system is ripe for abuse.
Coming back to the real world now, this is the main issue I see with Herb's subsequent suggestions:
In principle, can't we all agree that "only people who can be trusted to make responsible decisions for society " should be allowed to vote? Does it make sense to allow untrustworthy and irresponsible people to make decisions that affect the future of everyone in our society and even in the world?
In principle I'd agree. But how do we determine who can be trusted to be responsible? I have a hard time imagining a system for this that will actually be fair and immune from massive abuse.
The next step is to set some minimal standard of mental competence for voting.
OK, cool. Let's pretend for a moment that we can arrive at substantial agreement on what exactly "mental competence" is, and further that we can devise an accurate means of testing this. (Ignore the load groans and/or derisive snorts from the teachers, psychologists, and many others in the audience.) Let's say we set the minimum competence at, oh, an IQ of 80. Cool. Keep at least some of the numbskulls from voting. Hold elections, let the winners run the country,and see what happens. Things go OK. But gee, some of the people who were elected didn't do as good a job as we hoped. The folks who elected them must have been morons. We should raise the minimum IQ to 90 to eliminate some more of those pinheads. Next time - heck, let's make it an even 100. (Now that the 80-90 folks are gone they can't outvote us on this anymore.) And so on. While the shape of the bell curve may limit the amount you can increase the IQ requirement in any one go, I don't see a limiting process to prevent rule by a small intellectual elite. Well, other than maybe fear of a revolt by the proles.
[ February 25, 2003: Message edited by: Jim Yingst ]
frank davis
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 12, 2001
Posts: 1479
Originally posted by Jim Yingst:
In principle I'd agree. But how do we determine who can be trusted to be responsible? I have a hard time imagining a system for this that will actually be fair and immune from massive abuse.

You don't have to strain the limits of your imagination, we already are doing this now, at this very moment, to some degree without "massive abuse". Nearly every State has some sort of restrictions on convicted felons voting. I don't think severely retarded people requiring a guardian can vote(my god, can they?). All we need is a few more incremental increases and we've reached a minimal standard of responsibility.

I don't see a limiting process to prevent rule by a small intellectual elite.

If you were one of the "responsible" and "trustworthy" ones, you would clearly see that since in a democracy the majority rule, there is little chance that most people will vote to have their own vote taken away...
frank davis
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 12, 2001
Posts: 1479
Originally posted by Dan Chisholm:
I was then informed that English language television would not be permitted in the house because Alma and Umberto did not want their preschool age son, Caesar, to be exposed to English.

I do not think the example of the Spanish speaking parents hindering their child's ability to learn English is an exceptional one. Many Spanish speaking communities in the US have reached sufficient size to be self supporting to the extent that English is an optional language.
In California, one of our most populous States, most of the children being born have Spanish names. In certain cities in South Florida, Spanish is the de facto official language used by a majority of the citizens and politicians. Throughout the US as a whole, those of Spanish speaking origin have/are becoming the largest minority group and are scheduled to become a majority in the future. The issue is whether this means anything significant or not. Michael Savage's point, is yes, it is significant. Combine this with his other 2 themes, Culture and Borders, and you see the potential for erosion of national identity and the increasing Balkanization of our society.

Based on the above two instances, I think that kids benefit when the public school system teaches classes only in English. Otherwise, the kids might not have an opportunity to learn a valuable skill.

A teacher today, at least, in some districts that I know of, would probably get reprimanded if they made the same remarks your teacher made to your grandmother. Ask any teacher; today's emphasis is on diversity, not on unity. Cultural differences are emphasized and enhanced/encouraged where ever possible. What little historical traditions of the US that do exist, are seldom emphasized. In a our democracy, there needs to be some common understanding or respect inculcated in the citizens in regards to such things as the Consitution, the democratic process, and related traditions. Instead, the laws and political insitutions are sometimes taught to have been traditional means of oppression.
The US experiment in democracy has worked thus far because of its citizens respect for its political insitutions and a culture that supports such respect. Orignially this respect was inherited from the British origins of US society. But remove this respect and the US will become like many other societies who have failed in their democratic experiments.
I know in one school district, kindergarten children who already speak Spanish are sent to special spanish classes during the day to receive more advanced lessons. The kids were already bi-lingual, they just needed some special polishing of their Spanish skills. There were no special English classes for any of the students. Native English speaking students did not have any opportunity to go to special spanish classes. During the time the other students went to their advanced spanish class, the other students had a type of free time or recess.
John Smith
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 08, 2001
Posts: 2937

I don't think severely retarded people requiring a guardian can vote(my god, can they?). All we need is a few more incremental increases and we've reached a minimal standard of responsibility.

What if I am just moderately retarded? Can I vote? What if you and the state think I am retarded, but I consider myself a genius? Can I vote if I think that the best government is no government at all? What if I am a woman? Can I vote if my skin color is green, I have difficulty hearing, and I have a dragon fly tatto on my back? What if I am an alcoholic who is drunk all the time, and I like to mix it with heroin? Can I vote if I belong to a communist party and KKK? Can I vote if I am an asshole? What if in addition to all the above, I am also an anti-Christ and I like to have sex with trees? Does it all make make me a worse voter than the "model German citizen" who elected Adolf Hitler in 1933?
Eugene.
[ February 25, 2003: Message edited by: Eugene Kononov ]
frank davis
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 12, 2001
Posts: 1479
Originally posted by Eugene Kononov:

What if I am just moderately retarded? Can I vote? What if you and the state think I am retarded, but I consider myself a genius? Can I vote if I think that the best government is no government at all? What if I am a woman? Can I vote if my skin color is green, I have difficulty hearing, and I have a dragon fly tatto on my back? What if I am an alcoholic who is drunk all the time, and I like to mix it with heroin? Can I vote if I belong to a communist party and KKK? Can I vote if I am an asshole? What if in addition to all the above, I am also an anti-Christ and I like to have sex with trees? Does it all make make me a worse voter than the "model German citizen" who elected Adolf Hitler in 1933?
Eugene.
[ February 25, 2003: Message edited by: Eugene Kononov ]


Some of hypothetical questions you mention have no obvious bearing on the issue of being a trustworthy and responsible member of society
worthy of making decisions that affect the community, the nation , and the world. The point is simply this, voting is serious since it affects the very structure and rules of a society and even how that society interacts with other societies.
As a society we can reach a consensus on who is and who is not responsible and trustworthy to vote, just as we as a society make similar decisions all the time in different contexts. In child custody cases, the fundamental right of parenting is decided to a large extent using similar criteria. Parents who are irresponsible lose custody of their children in divorce cases and also in other extreme cases. Drunk drivers lose the right to drive. Drivers must prove they are competent to drive. Those whose vision is not acceptable are not allowed to drive. Many professions require a certain level of competence. People determined to be insane are hospitalized against their will under the Baker Act. The list could go on and on, the fact is we already make many such similiar type of decisions on responsiblity, competence, and trustworthiness all the time in our society. Why is voting seen so trivial and unimportant that no mininmal standards should be applied???
Dan Chisholm
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 02, 2002
Posts: 1865
Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:


Are you serious? Why did they do that? They did not want him to learn English at all, or they just wanted to "protect" his Spanish for a while?

I'm not sure what they were thinking. Alma's brother Norberto and his Mexican/American wife Debbie also lived in the house for a while. Debbie told me that Norberto's family treated Debbie like a second class citizen because she was born here in the United States and didn't speak Spanish. I suppose that Alma was afraid that Caesar would be reduced to second class status within the Mexican community if his English skills were developed.
John Dunn
slicker
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 30, 2003
Posts: 1108

Originally posted by Jim Yingst:
Re: Heinlein. It may be a mistake to believe that all the ideas esposed by characters in one book are actually endorsed by the author.


I was talking about the 'concept' or 'idea' Herb mentioned and was pointing out that it CAME from a guy who seemed to be a big military guy. (I was right.) I couldn't have been refering to his books as I never heard of them and don't care too much for sciFi.
Anyway, the concept about needing to die for one's society in order to be able to make responsible decisions, sounded like something my Dad and his generation would say. Most of his friends had done military time and most had served in a war. So of course, they all thought active service made their opinions better. Those folks argued with their children in the sixties about Viet Nam and it was the kids (or students), who were right.
btw, Mahatma Ghandi, did serve the military as a medic. This will give you an idea of just how strong his feelings and integrity could be:
click on 'World War 1' on the left
Ghandi Bio
frank davis
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 12, 2001
Posts: 1479
Originally posted by Dan Chisholm:

Debbie told me that Norberto's family treated Debbie like a second class citizen because she was born here in the United States and didn't speak Spanish. I suppose that Alma was afraid that Caesar would be reduced to second class status within the Mexican community if his English skills were developed.

Hmmm, imagine entire US cities where those without Spanish speaking skills are second class citizens. Some people say they exist in Florida now...
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
But this is why communists were hated by non-Russian people in the Soviet Union -- because they required "a standard language" and other nations saw it as discrimination.

They were hated because of the "standard language" but loved because of the gulags so it all balanced out.
I have a feeling that the language thing would have been forgiven if they could have thought of a reason to love communism. I also think the way they "required" a common language was a bit on the heavy-handed side.


Associate Instructor - Hofstra University
Amazon Top 750 reviewer - Blog - Unresolved References - Book Review Blog
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
As a society we can reach a consensus on who is and who is not responsible and trustworthy to vote, just as we as a society make similar decisions all the time in different contexts. In child custody cases, the fundamental right of parenting is decided to a large extent using similar criteria.
Are you suggesting that every person before they can vote have a trial to determine whether they are competent. Because that is what we do in child custody cases. We don't have a generic rule that we apply. We have a trial and the judge makes a decision based on the trial.
Drunk drivers lose the right to drive.
Only after a trial.
Drivers must prove they are competent to drive.
Because they pose a danger to others on the raod if they can't drive!
Those whose vision is not acceptable are not allowed to drive.
But driving is a privelidge not a right guaranteed by the Constitution.
Many professions require a certain level of competence.
Only as a safety measure.
People determined to be insane are hospitalized against their will under the Baker Act.
Only if they are a dnager to themselves or others. Insane people who are not dangerous can not be held against their will.
Why is voting seen so trivial and unimportant that no mininmal standards should be applied???
You have it exactly backwards. We see voting as being so important a right that no one can take it away from you.
John Smith
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 08, 2001
Posts: 2937

As a society we can reach a consensus on who is and who is not responsible and trustworthy to vote...

Well, voting upholds the opposite principle: an individual can decide whether the society/establishment/government is trustworthy to exist. If not, an individual can vote for the reform of that establishment. What's firmly embedded in the voting principle is that an individual is above the society, not the other way around. "A Clockwork Orange" is a good reference on the subject.
Eugene.
[ February 25, 2003: Message edited by: Eugene Kononov ]
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
In NY, the only restrictions on voting are:
must be 18 or older
must be a citizen of the USA
must be a resident of the state
must not be enrolled to vote in another state
must not be in prison or on parole
There is no other requirement.
My own feeling is that you have the right to be as uniformed as you like. Being uninformed is no reason to deprive someone of their right to vote.
And why should someone be deprived of the right to vote because they are intellectually challenged? I have met many people with Down syndrome who I would trust with the vote more than some of the people who post in MD!
frank davis
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 12, 2001
Posts: 1479
Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
As a society we can reach a consensus on who is and who is not responsible and trustworthy to vote, just as we as a society make similar decisions all the time in different contexts. In child custody cases, the fundamental right of parenting is decided to a large extent using similar criteria.
Are you suggesting that every person before they can vote have a trial to determine whether they are competent.

First I am simply establishing the fact that we as a society makes such types of judgements on people all the time. The issue of the methods and means of how such determinations are or could be made is a separate issue that I have not yet began to address.


Drivers must prove they are competent to drive.
Because they pose a danger to others on the raod if they can't drive!

Voting for constitutional amendments or electing fanatical leaders such as a Hitler is not dangerous???

Those whose vision is not acceptable are not allowed to drive.
But driving is a privelidge not a right guaranteed by the Constitution.

The Constituion does not prevent rights in general or the right to vote from being taken away in all circumstances. As I gave in a previous example, convicted felons are rountinely denied the right to vote in many States.

Many professions require a certain level of competence.
Only as a safety measure.

I propose minimal standards also "only as a safety measure".


People determined to be insane are hospitalized against their will under the Baker Act.
Only if they are a dnager to themselves or others. Insane people who are not dangerous can not be held against their will.
.

Someone who votes to amend the Consitution, whether State or Federal, yet uninformed on the issues, or votes for the next Hitler, is not a danger to others???
.

Why is voting seen so trivial and unimportant that no mininmal standards should be applied???
You have it exactly backwards. We see voting as being so important a right that no one can take it away from you.

Then why are convicted felons denied a right to vote???
Is not child rearing an even more important right, yet that can also be denied as well as many other rights. Because a right is important does not mean it can't be taken away.
frank davis
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 12, 2001
Posts: 1479
Originally posted by Eugene Kononov:

Well, voting upholds the opposite principle: an individual can decide whether the society/establishment/government is trustworthy to exist. If not, an individual can vote for the reform of that establishment. What's firmly embedded in the voting principle is that an individual is above the society, not the other way around. "A Clockwork Orange" is a good reference on the subject.
Eugene.
[ February 25, 2003: Message edited by: Eugene Kononov ]


I will agree that governments are established for the benefit of individuals and not the other way around. This principle is so fundamental and important it cannot be empahsized enough. However,
individuals acting through governments establish various conditions on voting already such as age and criminal convictions. Would you say this is entirely inappropriate and without any justification? If you say No, what principle distinguishes this situation from my modest proposal?
frank davis
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 12, 2001
Posts: 1479
Originally posted by Thomas Paul:

And why should someone be deprived of the right to vote because they are intellectually challenged?

Perhaps a combination of factors are needed to determine eligibility to vote. But doesn't anybody find it unsettling that a medically senile, retarded person on crack cocaine with a history on criminal convictions that knows nothing about any issues except that they always vote for the Democratic candidate has an equal voice as you do in determining the future of our society and the world ?
Don't let this sacred dogma about voting cloud your common sense. Democracies have failed and fallen into chaos many times. I'm simply trying to lower the odds of that happening here.
Dan Chisholm
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 02, 2002
Posts: 1865
Originally posted by Jim Yingst:
I could imagine a slightly different situation which would be more justifiable, IMO. If the parents figure that Caesar will be exposed to plenty of English everywhere except their home, then it might make sense to focus heavily on Spanish at home in order to ensure that the child will be fluent in both languages. Children routinely exposed to two or more languages become bilingual much more easily than adults, and I think it's not a bad idea to try to make use of this fact. However, that's only if the child is getting plenty of English exposure elsewhere. Which from what Dan said, may not be the case. Were I a parent in this situation, I'd consider it vital to pay attention to how much the child is using both languages. As noted by others, if the kid doesn't learn English well, his parents aren't doing him any favors. He'll eventually pick it up from the outside world despite his parents' efforts - but maybe not as well as he could have otherwise. And really, teaching English to children of immigrants (and immigrants themselves) is one of the more productive uses a television can be put to; seems a shame to lose that benefit.

I agree that parents can help their kids to learn a foreign language by speaking it at home. I often encourage my wife to speak to our daughter in Mandarin for exactly that reason. I have noticed that Asian and Middle Eastern parents speak their native languages at home but they also encourage their kids to watch Sesame Street and they buy Reader Rabbit and Disney computer games for the kids to help them to learn English. From my point of view, the Asian and Middle Eastern parents appear to be teaching their children to function in both cultures. On the other hand, the roomates that I described earlier seemed to be trying to isolate their son from the English language and American culture.
[ February 25, 2003: Message edited by: Dan Chisholm ]
Jim Yingst
Wanderer
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 30, 2000
Posts: 18671
If you were one of the "responsible" and "trustworthy" ones, you would clearly see that since in a democracy the majority rule, there is little chance that most people will vote to have their own vote taken away...
It can be done in incremental steps. Right now, IQ 80 and above are the majority, by a fairly large margin. (I sure hope anyway.) They can vote to remove everyone under 80. Then with the 80-and-under crowd gone, in the next election the average IQ of voters might be, say, 110. (I'm estimating very roughly based on the shape of the bell curve.) They could then try to eliminate everyone from 109 down, but that's pretty risky at that point. However eliminating everyone under 90 is much more feasible. Now in the next election after that, average IQ is 115. It's now feasible to eliminate everyone with IQ below 100. Next election, 105 may be possible, or 110. Etc. Sure, you could not possibly have gotten the original voting population to agree to eliminate everyone under 110. But if you eliminate a few at a time, so they're no longer around to stand in the way of future decisions, you can eventually arrive there.
Now there are some limiting factors to this I suppose. The more disenfranchised people there are roaming the streets, the more vulnerable the society becomes to a popular uprising. So the intelligentia has an incentive to keep the proles happy, or at least distracted. (Not that this already happens in our current society, no of course not.) Further, let's say the limit is currently 110. Bob with IQ 125 is smart enough to note that if the people from 110 to 120 are eliminated, in the next election after that Bob himself may be vulnerable. So it's in Bob's interest to keep those stupid 110s around, as a safety buffer for himself. Of course this means that the 130's will have to get a little more devious, using their influence to subtly revise the testing process and lower the scores of those cretins who are currently testing in the 110-120 range...
Looking back at this post I'm thinking that I was envisioning a much wider bell curve than is usually associated with IQ - if the standard deviation for the population is supposed to be 10 points, then the incremental steps probably have to be smaller than I stated above. (I'd imagine that there's also a significant number of people who were opposed to this whole scheme from the outset, so this limits the number of people you can pick off in each vote.) But using nice even multiples of 5 and 10 is good enough to demonstrate the principle; feel free to mentally revise the numbers to something that feels more plausible for you.
[ February 25, 2003: Message edited by: Jim Yingst ]
Jim Yingst
Wanderer
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 30, 2000
Posts: 18671
But doesn't anybody find it unsettling that a medically senile, retarded person on crack cocaine with a history on criminal convictions that knows nothing about any issues except that they always vote for the Democratic candidate has an equal voice as you do in determining the future of our society and the world ?
It's not an equal voice. Said individual has an excellent chance of being in jail, lost, or too strung out on crack to be able to show up at the polls.
I'll agree that the idea of this person deciding the fate of the nation is unsettling. But (a) he's a pretty small minority so the influence of his demographic should be minimal, and (b) many of the possible schemes to disenfranchise him, I find much more unsettling.
[ February 25, 2003: Message edited by: Jim Yingst ]
frank davis
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 12, 2001
Posts: 1479
Originally posted by Jim Yingst:
If you were one of the "responsible" and "trustworthy" ones, you would clearly see that since in a democracy the majority rule, there is little chance that most people will vote to have their own vote taken away...
It can be done in incremental steps. Right now, IQ 80 and above are the majority, by a fairly large margin. (I sure hope anyway.) They can vote to remove everyone under 80. Then with the 80-and-under crowd gone, in the next election the average IQ of voters might be, say, 110. (I'm estimating very roughly based on the shape of the bell curve.) They could then try to eliminate everyone from 109 down, but that's pretty risky at that point. However eliminating everyone under 90 is much more feasible. Now in the next election after that, average IQ is 115. It's now feasible to eliminate everyone with IQ below 100. Next election, 105 may be possible, or 110. Etc. Sure, you could not possibly have gotten the original voting population to agree to eliminate everyone under 110. But if you eliminate a few at a time, so they're no longer around to stand in the way of future decisions, you can eventually arrive there.
Now there are some limiting factors to this I suppose. The more disenfranchised people there are roaming the streets, the more vulnerable the society becomes to a popular uprising. So the intelligentia has an incentive to keep the proles happy, or at least distracted. (Not that this already happens in our current society, no of course not.) Further, let's say the limit is currently 110. Bob with IQ 125 is smart enough to note that if the people from 110 to 120 are eliminated, in the next election after that Bob himself may be vulnerable. So it's in Bob's interest to keep those stupid 110s around, as a safety buffer for himself. Of course this means that the 130's will have to get a little more devious, using their influence to subtly revise the testing process and lower the scores of those cretins who are currently testing in the 110-120 range...
Looking back at this post I'm thinking that I was envisioning a much wider bell curve than is usually associated with IQ - if the standard deviation for the population is supposed to be 10 points, then the incremental steps probably have to be smaller than I stated above. (I'd imagine that there's also a significant number of people who were opposed to this whole scheme from the outset, so this limits the number of people you can pick off in each vote.) But using nice even multiples of 5 and 10 is good enough to demonstrate the principle; feel free to mentally revise the numbers to something that feels more plausible for you.
[ February 25, 2003: Message edited by: Jim Yingst ]


Ooops, I missed the incremental approach, good point.
But I don't think IQ should be the only factor since "trustworthiness" and being "responsible" or, in short, character, are even more important.
In principle, having the most trustworthy, responsible and intelligent people deciding important societal matters is not such a bad idea. Finding such people is another issue. And as far as people being disenfranchised; if everyone is being treated equally on every other matter and no other rights have been abridged, has there been any real disenfranchisement?
 
permaculture playing cards
 
subject: The Savage Nation