Small Government Is the Cure for Voter Ignorance

Limited government will do less damage.

My fellow Americans, we are one ignorant bunch.

This is particularly true with regard to politics and government, subjects about which the public is a howling void of nescience. To say Americans don’t know much about politics and government would be more than just an understatement. It would be like saying a Galapagos tortoise doesn’t know much about medieval French literature.

Ilya Somin — a law professor at George Mason University in Fairfax — has written a book on the subject: Democracy and Political Ignorance. In it, he shows that Americans know woefully little about their political system, have known very little for a long time, and are not likely to change in the foreseeable future — because they have a very good reason not to.

For instance: In 1964, only 38 percent of Americans knew the Soviet Union, NATO’s principal enemy, was not a member of NATO. In December 1994, the month after Republicans led by Newt Gingrich took control of Congress, 57 percent of Americans had never even heard of him. In 2003, 70 percent of Americans were unaware of the passage of Medicare Part D, “the biggest new government program in several decades.”

Fifty-eight percent of Americans cannot name the three branches of government; 70 percent cannot name their state’s senators; 72 percent cannot name two or more of the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.

Before you start cursing, note that Americans have very little incentive to know such basic things, and even less to study more abstruse details such as the content of specific legislation. (In 2009, only a quarter of Americans knew “cap and trade” addressed environmental issues rather than, say, health care or finance.)

This is because the cost, in time and effort, of becoming an informed voter is fairly high. And what do you get for it? Precious little. It isn’t polite to say so, but votes usually matter only in the aggregate. Your one vote in, say, a presidential election will have almost no chance of changing the outcome, and therefore roughly zero effect on your life personally. Hence, Somin writes, “For most people, the benefits of devoting more than minimal time and effort to learning about politics are greatly outweighed by the costs.”

Granted, there are exceptions — the political junkies who get the same enjoyment from politics that sports junkies get from sports. Sports fans often know a great deal, even though they cannot affect the outcome of the games. (Not even with their lucky hats.) Political fans, Somin writes, likewise “derive enjoyment from rooting for their preferred parties, candidates, ideologies, and interest groups, while deriding the opposition. They … also derive satisfaction from having their pre-existing views validated, and from a sense of affiliation with a group of like-minded people.”

So does the team-sports model rescue democracy from the pit of ignorance? Hardly — because partisan activism is, in important ways, even worse than disengagement. Partisans may know more, but their knowledge is often selective. On top of that, they use it in highly biased ways — primarily to reinforce their existing views and reject new information that challenges their cherished dogmas. And they often tune in to news sources (Fox News, MSNBC) that facilitate close-mindedness.

This renders partisans more susceptible to false beliefs that cement their team loyalty: Democrats are more likely than independents to believe “truther” conspiracies alleging that George W. Bush knew in advance about 9/11, and Republicans are more likely than independents to believe “birther” claims that President Barack Obama was born abroad. It also leads partisans to reject truths that do not square with their partisan leanings. In one series of studies, Democrats completely ignored a factual correction in George W. Bush’s favor. Republicans were even worse, believing a false claim in Bush’s favor even more strongly after seeing it corrected.

Are there any remedies? Perhaps. We could delegate more decision-making to experts. But this only adds a layer to the problem. The experts still would have to be held accountable by elected officials, and ignorant voters “are likely to be poor monitors of elected officials’ supervision” of the experts. On the other hand, if the experts are not supervised, then there is no way to ensure they are pursuing the public interest.

We also could limit voting to the knowledgeable. But not only would this be grossly undemocratic, it wouldn’t improve matters, for the reasons just described. 

Somin suggests two structural remedies. One involves handing over more decision-making to smaller political units — states, or even municipalities — which would allow people to vote with their feet. People who vote with their feet tend to educate themselves first. (Think about how much research you put into buying a house or a car.) And they educate themselves because they know their “vote” — to live on a cul-de-sac, or move to Seattle, or buy a Toyota instead of a Ford — will be the decisive one. When you vote with your feet, the “election” is heavily rigged to produce the outcome you want.

The other structural change? Limit the scope of government. For Somin, the reason is straightforward: A smaller government means deeper knowledge. If the public will learn, say, only 100 things about the executive branch, then it will know a lot more about each agency if there are five agencies rather than 50. There is an “inverse relationship between the size … of government” and “the ability of voters to have sufficient knowledge” to vote intelligently.

For the rest of us, there may be another reason: A smaller government, even in the hands of Those Ignorant Bums on the Other Side, will do less damage than a big one can. When power is decentralized, you can flee to another state if things get too bad in your current one. When Washington is in charge of everything, the cost of voting with your feet gets much, much higher.

Each of these approaches has downsides — though not necessarily the ones you might think. For instance, the cost of moving would seem at first blush to impede “foot voting” by the poor. In fact, Somin notes, “households with an income under $5,000 per year are actually twice as likely to make interstate moves as the population as a whole.”
That’s just one of the many insights to come out of a book on ignorance that is, perhaps paradoxically, highly informative.

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  • John||

    The last time the majority of people in this country took a real interest in government, we had something we like to call The Civil War. We should think God people have lives and are not interested in government. When they get interested, they quickly start killing each other. The Progs have used fact that most people don't pay attention to great advantage. And that sucks. But I really would rather live in a country where most people have better things to do than argue about government.

  • prolefeed||

    The Civil War wasn't caused because there was an informed electorate. The Civil War happened because one man, A. Lincoln, decided to go to war when some Southern states seceded over tariffs.

    Yeah, yeah, slavery, except that wasn't the proximate cause of the war, since slavery wasn't abolished when the war started, and Lincoln explicitly said he would allow the slave states in the Union to remain so.

  • prolefeed||

    "Since Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation as a military measure, it didn’t apply to border slave states like Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri, all of which had remained loyal to the Union."

    From here:

    http://www.history.com/news/5-.....ancipation

  • John||

    So fucking what? The only reason Lincoln ever got elected was because of Southern Agression in Kansas and all over the north via the fugitive slave act. Hell, had it not been for the Kansas Nebraska act destroying the national compromise on slavery, there never would have been a Republican Party. The South wanted to enforce universal slavery on the North. They were the agressors clear through the 1850s. They went back on the Missouri compromise which promised to keep slavery out of the west. They had a corrupt Supreme Court rule that any Southerner could buy land and take his slaves to the north and still keep them as slaves. They enacted a fugitive slave act that told every norther citizen that they were criminally liable if they did not affirmatively help southerners retrieve their slaves. Southerners made hundreds of kidnapping raids into Ohio and Indiana terrorizing free black communities and enslaving free men. And then after they got slavery put up to a vote in Kansas, they sent terrorists over the border by the thousands to kill and terrorize anyone who objected to slavery.

    None of that history gets mentioned. It is fucking disgusting. I am so fucking sick of hearing about Lincoln and never hearing a peep about that.

  • John||

    No the civil war happened because the South via Dred Scott and the figitive slave act sought to make slavery universal in the North and South and then when faced with the prospect of not being able to expand slavery, left the union and stole all of the federal property and kept millions of Americans forcibly in bondage preventing them from leaving.

    Every single drop of blood from that war is on the antebellum South's hands. Even if Lincoln had done nothing, the South planned to create a slave empire i the West and Latin America and that would have eventually lead to the war as the North fought back against Southern aggression in the west. The first act of the Civil War was to attack Kansas and conduct a terror campaign to ensure that it allowed slavery. That would have been repeated in the West had the South been allowed to leave.

    There is no defending the South. The antebellum South is the most foul and immoral thing in all of American history.

  • cavalier973||

    You are, of course, including James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington in your indictment.

  • John||

    They figured slavery would die out on its own. The cotton gin hadn't been invented. The slavery that existed in 1789 was, while horrific, not the expansionist slavery of the 1850s.

  • cavalier973||

    By the way, 53 million + instances of antepartum infanticide is more foul and immoral than 9 million instances of enslavement.

    Also, you are highly offended by chattel slavery; that's commendable. You are less bothered, it seems, by government enslavement of its citizens.

  • John||

    I assume you are talking about abortion. So what? Yeah abortion is really bad. But that does nothing to excuse the antebellum South or make them any less vile.

  • cavalier973||

    But you claimed that it is the "most foul and immoral thing in American History". I disagree, on the premise that murdering people is more evil than enslaving them.

  • RightNut||

    Enslaving & murdering. Its not just that they weren't paid you know?

  • cavalier973||

    "Django Unchained" was a fantasy pic, not a documentary.

  • RightNut||

  • cavalier973||

    Badly treated != murdered.

  • RightNut||

    I think you might be delusional.

  • cavalier973||

    And I think you have difficulty making a compelling argument. A single occurence of a slave ship's crew throwing slaves overboard to save on dwindling food and water supplies does not support the idea that slave owners paid top dollars for slaves, and then had them fight to the death for amusement.

    I know that you Yankees desperately want to justify your forefathers' marching through the South, killing, raping, and looting, but you can't, even with the paper-thin excuse that they were "working to end slavery". The Corwin Amendment puts the lie to that little meme.

    Lincoln was a buffoon; he could have ended slavery peacefully just by allowing the Deep South to secede. Which reminds me, the Upper South was quite willing to remain with the Union, until Lincoln boneheadedly sought an invasion force, thus validating the claim that he was a wanna-be dictator.

  • RightNut||

    does not support the idea that slave owners paid top dollars for slaves, and then had them fight to the death for amusement.

    What?

    As far as I know, none of my "forefathers" were in the military during the Civil War. I'm not trying to justify anything the North or South did, so please take your southern pride and shove it.

  • soupburger||

    Considering that all of your reasoning is dependent on the assertion that abortion which is completely irrelevant almost to the point of being a red herring, is murder which is a highly disputed statement is all just begging the question because you are assuming that abortion is murder and that you are correct. Then we would also have to consider that the overall population of america was a tenth of what it is now so those figures are highly relative. It is a terrible analogy, and you really should be ashamed of yourself for even trying such a pathetic straw man which is rife with fallacious reasoning.

    There was more than one occurrence of slaves being thrown off of a ship, there were multiple occurrences, you would have to be a fool to believe that only happened once as it has been documented in several other cases which I cant directly cite. Furthermore while they were on those ships they were shackled and crammed into cots without any room to move or even sit up, conditions which were very hospitable to various diseases and caused serious physical problems. Then they got to to America and were seperated from everyone they knew and thrown into a plantation or whatever with other people who may not even speak their language. Once they were slaves they could then be torn away from anyone they made any meaningful connection with at any time simply on the whim of their master.

  • soupburger||

    Furthermore, as is mentioned farther up the southern states were sending armed posses into northern abolitionists states to steal back slaves, southern senators were beating other abolitionist senators in congress because of the issue of slavery.

    You southern pride revisionists can sit here and make your paper thin arguments that the war was actually because of states rights, then when that fails you can try and say that they should have just let the south secede they don't matter. Yes the northern soldiers destroyed the south, that is a terrible cold fact but trying to excuse the south in any way makes you nothing more than an apologist.

  • soupburger||

    Should have had some coffee before I typed that out, too many typos and grammatical errors for my taste.

  • Ketogenic Paleo||

    red herring

  • sarcasmic||

    The Civil War happened because one man, A. Lincoln, decided to go to war when some Southern states seceded over tariffs.

    Google up "declarations of secession" and give some of them a read.

    Secession was indeed about slavery. The war was to preserve the union, but secession was about slavery. Mostly.

    Had the South seceded because they thought Yanks talk funny, Lincoln would still have gone to war.

    So yes secession was about slavery, but the war was not.

  • cavalier973||

    This.

    The north was desperate to keep the South from getting out from under its thumb; so desperate, they passed a Constitutional Amendment to prohibit Congress from ever abolishing slavery. It passed, but wasn't ratified before the South declared its independence.

  • KPres||

    Towards the end of the war, Jefferson Davis sent delegates to the English and French requesting military assistance in exchange for abolishing slavery. The Europeans refused, not the least of which because the war was probably already lost, but the lesson is clear...when forced to choose, the Confederacy took independence over slavery. That should be very convincing to libertarians who are big on revealed preference.

  • waffles||

    We would be better off in many ways if there were two confederacies of United States on this continent.

  • John||

    So only after they fought a bloody war for three years and faced with annihilation they were willing to give up slavery? I don't think that means what you think it does.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    A. Lincoln, decided to go to war when some Southern states seceded over tariffs.

    Wrong. The first states to secede happened before Lincoln was even sworn into office.

    The Morill Tariff wasn't passed until after all of the Confederate rebels abandoned their seats in Congress.

    Sell that tariff myth elsewhere.

  • cavalier973||

    Because Southernors were stupid, and couldn't foresee the likely legislative consequences of Lincoln's election.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    That's cute. But the Southerners had the votes in the Senate to block the tariff, as they had blocked tariff increases for the previous 30 years. Or they could write the federal tariff laws, FOR THE PREVIOUS 30 YEARS.

  • prolefeed||

    A. Lincoln, decided to go to war when some Southern states seceded over tariffs.

    Wrong. The first states to secede happened before Lincoln was even sworn into office.

    From Wikipedia:

    "The Morrill bill was passed out of committee and brought up for a floor vote near the end of first session of the Congress (December 1859 – June 1860).

    The vote was on May 10, 1860; the bill passed by a vote of 105 to 64.[2]

    The vote was largely but not entirely sectional. Republicans, all from the northern states, voted 89–2 for the bill."

    And:

    "The second session of the 36th Congress began in December 1860. At first it appeared that Hunter would keep the Morrill bill tabled until the end of the term in March.

    However, in December 1860 and January 1861, seven southern states declared secession, and their low-tariff Senators withdrew. Republicans took control of the Senate in February, and Hunter lost his hold on the Finance Committee.

    Meanwhile the Treasury was in financial crisis, with less than $500,000 on hand and millions in unpaid bills. The Union urgently needed new revenue. A recent historian concludes, "the impetus for revising the tariff arose as an attempt to augment revenue, stave off 'ruin,' and address the accumulating debt."[7]"

    The order of secession:

    http://americanhistory.about.c....._order.htm

  • prolefeed||

    So, to recap the chain of events:

    The Morrill bill was passed by the House on May 10, 1860.

    Lincoln gets elected and is set to take office in March, 1861.

    AFTER that, enough politicians in the Deep South, seeing the writing on the wall for tariffs (and also potentially, in the future, slavery), seceded.

    Lincoln takes office, and instead of recognizing the secession as lawful under the Constitution, resupplies Fort Sumter, a tariff collection post in Charleston harbor.

    Southerners fire on Fort Sumter, April 12-14, 1861.

    Lincoln, instead of negotiating with the Southerners and saying the North recognizes their independence, starts a war and denies the power of Southern states to secede.

    Four more Southern states, with the majority of the population of the Confederacy, secede over this.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    The Morrill bill was passed by the House on May 10, 1860.

    A bill, not passed by both houses and signed by the president means...what exactly?

    Lincoln gets elected and is set to take office in March, 1861.

    An election he won in spite of Southern chicanery and thanks to Democrat infighting.

    AFTER that, enough politicians in the Deep South, seeing the writing on the wall for tariffs (and also potentially, in the future, slavery), seceded.

    What writing was that? That even after the 1860 election, on the day the bill was voted on, had the 14 Southern Senators who vacated their seats PRIOR to Lincoln's inauguration would have defeated the tariff?

    Lincoln takes office, and instead of recognizing the secession as lawful under the Constitution

    What section of the Constitution provides a mechanism for secession from the United States?

    , resupplies Fort Sumter, a tariff collection post in Charleston harbor.

    A Fort that that was deeded, in perpetuity, to the federal government and under siege by rebel forces.

    Lincoln, instead of negotiating with the Southerners and saying the North recognizes their independence,

    Why would he do that?

    starts a war and denies the power of Southern states to secede.

    Seems to me the war was started when the Rebs they pulled their Hugo Chavez move and began seizing federal property within the states, including the seizure of Fort Sumter.

  • prolefeed||

    Lincoln takes office, and instead of recognizing the secession as lawful under the Constitution

    What section of the Constitution provides a mechanism for secession from the United States?

    What section of the Constitution PROHIBITS secession, especially since the Declaration of Independence specifically says people have the right to secede from what they consider a tyrannical government?

    Lincoln, instead of negotiating with the Southerners and saying the North recognizes their independence,

    Why would he do that?

    To prevent a bloody war that would leave hundreds of thousands dead, millions permanently maimed, and remove a huge check on the growth of the federal government.

    Oh, right, none of those are reasons that that bastard Lincoln would eschew a war. Another politician might have decided those costs were eminently avoidable and desirable.

  • prolefeed||

    Should have read:

    "Another politician might have decided those costs were eminently avoidable and such avoidance was desirable."

  • DJK||

    You're conflating rights of individuals to throw off their chains with the rights of states. They are not the same thing; I shouldn't have to remind a libertarian of these things. Plenty of analyses have been done about the composition of the Southern states. The VOTE in the South was split about 60-40 in favor of slavery. Amongst all free men (including those who couldn't or didn't vote), that number falls to 40-60. Include all of those slaves who couldn't vote (but are still individuals with rights) and that number falls even further. The Southern states themselves were anti-slavery if you take into account the preferences of people other than rich landowners who preferred subjugation. It is those subjugated individuals to which the Declaration of Independence refers, not the nobility doing the subjugation.

    I'm disgusted that any libertarian would be an apologist for the South.

  • DJK||

    That's not to say that the North didn't commit atrocities. Sherman's actions in Atlanta were disgusting. I don't think that anyone here would try to deny that fact. But to claim that the South should be indemnified is absurd. Fuck the South and particularly their rights-violating upper class. They got exactly what was coming to them.

  • sarcasmic||

    Google up what it cost to purchase slaves. They weren't cheap. They cost as much as what you pay for a car. And I don't mean a used Pinto either.

    For the slaves to be freed, their owners were giving up millions of dollar. Millions of 1860 dollars. Not trying to excuse anything. Just adding perspective.

  • cavalier973||

    There can be no perspective because FYTW. Everyone should join John, Anonymous Coward, and RightNut on their nightly ritual, where they sneak into the Abe Lincoln Memorial, affix a giant cement cock to the statue, and begin fellating it like the dirty Yankee catamites they are.

  • DJK||

    So, it's either "the South was at fault" or "I like to suck Lincoln's cock"? What an interesting false dichotomy. I can consistently say that I am nauseated that anyone would attempt to defend a Southern government which subjugated the basic human right of self-determination while also maintaining that many of the North's actions in the war were also appalling.

  • DJK||

    This is patently absurd. Any rights determination has to respect basic human rights like self-determination over whether or not someone loses a wad of cash.

  • Lou Reed Channeling Hisself||

    Ignorance is bliss!

  • sarcasmic||

    For instance: In 1964, only 38 percent of Americans knew the Soviet Union, NATO’s principal enemy, was not a member of NATO. In December 1994, the month after Republicans led by Newt Gingrich took control of Congress, 57 percent of Americans had never even heard of him. In 2003, 70 percent of Americans were unaware of the passage of Medicare Part D, “the biggest new government program in several decades.”

    I wonder what percentage of those who are losing their health insurance realize it's because of the ACA, not corporate greed.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    It's ALWAYS corporate greed.

  • prolefeed||

    The problem is that to get back to limited government, you need not just an informed electorate, but an electorate that doesn't know things that ain't so.

  • Hyperion||

    Or you can just wait for an exponentially growing central government to collapse the economy.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    “This demonstrated to me that those who regard universal suffrage as a guarantee for good choices are under a complete illusion. Universal suffrage has other advantages, but not that one.”

    de Tocqueville

  • Hyperion||

    I wonder what percentage of those who are losing their health insurance realize it's because of the ACA, not corporate greed.

    Depending on their political views, and what teevee they watch, MSNBC or FoxNews.

    I would like to see someone get on the street and do a random interview with younger people, say under 30, and ask them a few questions like:

    What do you think about the new healthcare law, the ACA?

    What is it going to do for you?

    I bet that not even 50% of them have a clue that it's even a law, and that 20% or less have any idea 'what's in it'. Most will just say they don't know, or that it's free healthcare. I would bet that nearly all of them who are not working and who do not have employer based health insurance, don't even know that the individual mandate is.

  • Hyperion||

    Which is why I am saying that things are only going to get much worse for the ACA, because when most people are forced to find out what's in it, they are not going to be happy.

  • montana mike||

    I had this exact conversation with a young lady of my aquaintance last night. I've talked to her before and she comes off as fairly intelligent and what you surmise is 100% on the money. She works waiting tables so I started by asking if she had employer coverage and it went from there. She has no clue what this obamastrosity will do to her.

    On a brighter note I suggested she come her to learn how her generation will be taking it in the ass as her life goes on and she seemed receptive. She gets her news from NPR (derp), but doesn't realize it's agitprop....

    She's a nice kid and I was saddened that she doesn't know what's coming for her age group.

  • Doctor Whom||

    Voter ignorance does not require a cure because there is nothing wrong with it. [/politician]

  • Rich||

    We also could limit voting to the knowledgeable.

    Voting is *already* "limited to the knowledgeable". If you don't how to register (or get registered) and find your way to the polling place (or submit an absentee ballot), you don't "get" to vote. So, is it that terrible to require a *little more* knowledge (the branches of government, your senators)?

  • CLamb||

    If you don't know how to register to vote there will come along some friendly politician who will have someone take you by the hand and lead you through it.

  • cavalier973||

    "So, congratulations on getting government validation for your relationship! When's the big date?"

    "Um...never."

  • Mainer2||

    Jeopardy had a category recently about State Governors. All but one of the questions, no one even buzzed in. The only question answered (correctly) was about Deval Patrick. Of course, I answered all them correctly, all the while wondering how three people who could get onto Jeopardy, and not one of them recognized who Jan Brewer is, for instance. Point being...there's an awful lot of people who just dont' follow politics like we do.

  • cavalier973||

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    ewwwwww....

    And I mean that about all possible interpretation.

  • RightNut||

    Why is Rick Santorum on Meet the Press in October of 2013....?

    I know the answer, but it would be nice if the media at least tried to hide it.

  • Stephdumas||

    I saw this video on Youtube who mentionned then the Republican party is no longer the party of Barry Goldwater. If Barry Goldwater and Robert Taft was still alive today, they would have a little chat with Santorum....

    One guy on the Toonzone forums seems to like big gouvernment a little bit too much....

  • RightNut||

    ...Partisans may know more, but their knowledge is often selective. On top of that, they use it in highly biased ways — primarily to reinforce their existing views and reject new information that challenges their cherished dogmas. ...

    We also could limit voting to the knowledgeable. But not only would this be grossly undemocratic, it wouldn’t improve matters, for the reasons just described.

    For starters partisan != knowledgeable, as Tony proves almost daily. If voting was limited to those who were knowledgeable I could take solace in the fact that people voted knowing exactly what would happen. Very little gets me angrier than when I ask one of my liberal friends why they voted for Obama and get a meandering answer or a blank stare, when we both know they voted for him for only one reason.

  • minarchist||

    Small government? Yeah, like that's ever going to happen.

  • bassjoe||

    Um... in order to have a limited government, won't you need an electorate who wants a limited government?That essentially means:
    1. an electorate that's informed of the benefits/risks of a limited government;
    2. determines that the benefits outweigh the risks;
    3. AND rationally voting for legislators, executives, and referenda that actually put into place a limited government, while NOT voting based on other emotionally-based reasons?

    That's an extremely tall order.

  • AlgerHiss||

    I’ve been an election judge. I’ve spent hours observing people as they visit polling/voting precincts.

    Your average voter is one big dumb ass. The comments….the questions from these enema bags only make you shake your head in disgust. I have nothing but contempt for them.

    And yes, one side of the right/left divide is notably worse, and that would be leftists, especially young leftists.

    Oh, there are righties that make you puke with their sanctimony and single issue bullshit such as firearms or ‘borshun .

    But leftists…..they truly treat the voting booth as their church….and the ballot is their communion wafer.

  • Lonely Stalker||

    To be applied to YUROP presto!

    Nothing larger than Schleswig-Holstein (and one or the other "free city" with decaying management infrastructure) sure would be a miracle cure.

  • Edwin||

    "This is because the cost, in time and effort, of becoming an informed voter is fairly high. "

    only to dumb-ass Americans, who are dumbed down because of our crapy public schools.

    Is it really that hard to learn this stuff? We're inundated with it every day, you can't AVOID it. Half my legal knowledge started with Law & Order. Freggin' hell.
    I feel like the vast majority of people almost make a point if immediately ignoring anything new they've learned. It's part automatic with me, but I also make a point of remembering everything new I learn. Every little thing. It all adds up. Is it so hard?

  • Edwin||

    my solution is a move away from the party system. It makes candidates have to be as generic as possible, like any large franchise like McDonald's or Burger King. New, particular ideas get stamped out. Other countries don't have this because they don't have such a strong party-system set up.
    In the meantime, a more achieveable goal would be a marker on each politician in the ballot box marking if they're the incumbent, so people could repeatedly vote out the incumpbent like they want to do so much in these times of widespread idspleasure with politicians

  • 4thaugust1932||

    Cantons_of_Switzerland

  • coma44||

    "Small Government Is the Cure for Voter Ignorance"

    The only way to make that happen is to give the "people" who voted for ....(insert elected officials name here)......the bill for costs of anything their "vote said yes to" while in office.

  • thorsmjollnir||

    Not only does the general population not understand much about the central government partially because of its massive size, but I'm sure many individuals within the government, including the President, are left in the dark about much of its operation, which helps to further fraud and abuse of power.

  • hot frog||

    I agree that small government will do less damage and - given that truth - our present government must be very damaging indeed because it is almost unimaginably large. To illustrate just how large, I've created a website (www.thefrogpot.com) that displays the bureaucratic structure of the 15 cabinet agencies plus the EPA. Leviathan is a mind-numbing labyrinth.

    I'm hoping this website can be employed to induce awe & shock to viewers who will subsequently march to the polls in a mind-numbed, zombie-like state capable only of voting for smaller government and reduced taxes.

  • carminakaka||

    my friend's aunt makes $73/hr on the computer. She has been without a job for 10 months but last month her pay was $14848 just working on the computer for a few hours. view it
    =========================

    http://www.works23.com
    =========================

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