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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Informed Electorate Key to Democracy... KJAM Says We're Toast

KJAM Headline of the Week:

Feel free to supply your own Jeffersonian punchlines about the other 796,000 South Dakotans.

But come on, KJAM: the Madville Times has more than 25 regular readers!


  1. "(Jefferson) knew that a democracy could only exist with an educated and informed electorate."

    I listened to interviews with Obama voters on the street, and many of them didn't know anything, yet they were registered and hauled to the polls to vote for Obama. I rest my case!

    I feel that if people aren't informed, they shouldn't be voting.

  2. My take:
    Every uninformed person should get informed, and every informed person should vote.

  3. I'm not sure if Anon 9:16 is joking as I was in the original post. Just in case she/he/it wasn't: Anon, could you wake that case up again for a moment? I've heard a few cases of Obama voters saying some silly things. And I know various Obama spoilsports have been having fun sandbagging the Internet with the "Obama voters uninformed" meme. But I wonder how you square your "case" with the fact that, overall, Obama did best among the most educated voters?

  4. Just because you graduated from college doesn't mean that you are informed. Ever watched Jay Leno and "Jay walking"?
    What's your spin on Obama printing all of this unbacked money for his trillion dollar budget? Are you a little worried about inflation and the dollar going to crap and the beginning of a world currency because no one has faith in the dollar? Just curious.

  5. I'm curious, Anon: Suppose we played a game. I give you a list of 100 voters. The only information I provide is ID numbers and the years of formal schooling each person has completed:

    #001: 12 years
    #002: 16 years
    #003: 8
    #004: 13
    #005: 19
    #006: 10
    #007: 12
    #008: 15
    #009: 11....

    I say that from this list of 100 people, I need you to pick the four people who are best informed about current political events. Those four people will be the team we enter in a quiz bowl that will compete for $100,000 for our favorite charity. Do you pick...

    (1) The four people with the most years of education;
    (2) A representative sampling of people from different education brackets; or
    (3) The four people with the least years of education; or
    (4) A random sample?

    (Optional: consult this study for additional info.)

    [And on the off-topic stuff: I think Obama's plan beats no plan at all. Care to propose an alternative? And world currency: I don't like it... but suppose you and I were Chinese: would we enjoy being beholden to the currency of the U.S.? Don't blame Obama: blame Chinese power politics and the bankers who gamed our economy into the tank.]

  6. "Just because you graduated from college doesn't mean that you are informed."

    Actually, statistically, it does.

  7. Cori, Cori, Cori,

    Never use polls to justify an argument. The same poll you cited as a reliable source will get your dear wife to chase you around the house.(don't know them funny key strokes but that is said with a smile)

    The poll also states that Republicans are better informned than Democrats and that while only 26% of males have low knowledge, 42% of females have low knowledge.

    Your agument has merit, but not proof.

    Joseph G Thompson

  8. Look at the second table in the "it does" link and check out the high/moderate/low knowledge levels of people who rely on "online news discussion blogs" for their information. Compare those figures with "Rush Limbaugh's radio show."

  9. Joe, I know there are all sorts of interesting tidbits in that poll. I also know that no one poll "proves" anything. But that second table certainly merits Anon's attention.

    Stan, I found that table you cite on knowledge levels by news source very interesting. At least blogs beat Fox News (barely)! But if that table is accurate, all the Rush listeners who check in to toss bombs here must raise this blogs knowledge score! :-)

  10. Take a look at where people get their information.

    The new broadcast rating show that
    most people watch either Fox or MSNBC for their news, which leads me to believe that "informned people" today may watch only those "news" programs than confirm their own beliefs.

    To be truly informned requires you to be able to argue, intelligently, both sides of an agrument.

    We are more educated today but much less informned than our forefathers.

    For example, I have in front of me a guide to the 1896 national elections. It is non partisan and covers all the political parties and their platforms. In the preface the author states"This comprehensive volume treats fully every great issue, every party and every question that enter into the political campaign of 1896....the intelligent citizen will be enabled to view and compare them side by side."

    Citizens used to have literary and debating societies where issues were debated civily, with thought, in order that they might be informned.

    Today, if someone disagrees with us, most just call names and refuse to listen. People have forgotton that a clock that does not work, is right twice a day.

    To paraphase an old hymn:
    I once was blind and could not see,
    the truth has set me free.

    Joseph G Thompson

  11. Joe, I'll just say I'm glad I don't have cable. ;-)

    I'll also say that maybe we should get Toastmasters to host monthly debates!


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