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Thread: Democracy: Is having the vote something to gloat?

  1. #1

    Default Democracy: Is having the vote something to gloat?

    So in the UK we are getting relatively close to our general election (on the 7th May). This sparked up some discussion between me and my mates about voting. Well during the discussion I found out I was in the extreme minority, as it turns out among my friends I was the only one planning to vote.....

    Now during the last election I was only just 18 and able to vote and I really enjoyed it and have always held voting as a big thing. I honestly believe in democracy. Even though I do acknowledge that the execution of democracy is sometimes... tenuous and that it has it's fault I think as a over political ideology it's the best we have.

    However while talking to my friends they brought to my attention how they feel very disenfranchised by our current system and that voting would be meaningless to achieve actual change. So now I find myself questioning democracy (at least as we know it currently).

    So I was wondering If you guys could contribute your thoughts and ideas to help me come to a consensus. The more data the better .

    So what do you think of democracy in your country or even just as an ideology? Do you vote? Do you not? And if so why? What is democracy to you?

    P.s. My questioning of democracy doesn't mean I'd want to adopt a fascist or dictatorship! I simply want to ask questions about it in the hopes of understanding it better and maybe coming up with ideas on how to improve it or possibly a better ideology :O!!!!!

    Thanks for reading

  2. #2


    Of course they feel that way. Young people don't vote so politicians don't cater to the young vote. Know who votes? OLD PEOPLE. You'll see politicians all over the elderly cause they vote like clock work.

  3. #3


    Quote Originally Posted by AshleyAshes View Post
    Of course they feel that way. Young people don't vote so politicians don't cater to the young vote. Know who votes? OLD PEOPLE. You'll see politicians all over the elderly cause they vote like clock work.
    i'm two days into 44 and i don't vote (usually) and for all the reasons that littledudes' mates hold, and more. simply put, it's just a load of foreign crap forced on us, and we, the british people, only ever got voting rights once 'they' were sure that our votes wouldn't matter to their hold on power. even if many people have lost sight of that or don't know how to express it, they know it instinctively.

  4. #4


    Democracy, to me, is something worth fighting and dying for. Even if it's to maintain the ability to allow my fellow citizens the right to chose not to vote. At least in a free democracy you have the option to do that in the first place. It is easy to take for granted the privileges that are afforded to us that have the luxury of having democratic (or..well I guess a democratic republic) government, but for myself...actually exercising the right to vote and making a difference in a very small way, EVEN if it may seem unimportant at the time, is part of something much larger than just the specific election going on at the time.

    Having said all that personal opinion regarding those that don't vote, and yet feel the need to bitch/complain afterwords? Shut up, your opinion means very little to me if you can't be bothered to even participate in the first place.

    P.S - as an afterthought, there have been some INCREDIBLY close races in the US in recent times, with results determined by less than 5k votes, or even less! Thinking that your vote 'doesnt matter' is just..foolish.
    Last edited by Dan09; 12-Feb-2015 at 04:57.

  5. #5


    Your mates' failure to vote only multiplies the importance of yours.

  6. #6


    Quote Originally Posted by Maxx View Post
    Your mates' failure to vote only multiplies the importance of yours.
    This. Not voting because your demographic feels disenfranchised (because most of them aren't voting) just perpetuates the badness. You should reject that self-defeating mindset.

    Now, does that mean your vote will "count"? Well, not always, but that's a bad reason to simply stop voting. That's a better reason to work on making the system fair. The US, for instance, has all kinds of thresholds in the system (e.g., the Electoral College) that have several times influenced the results of elections. Democracy works, but its practice is often less than perfect. Unfortunately, eliminating anachronisms like the Electoral College system requires feats of consensus that are difficult to achieve.

  7. #7


    Democracy is too often confused with freedom here in the US of A, but it really means majority rules. While I believe it is one of the best political systems going in the world abuse and unfairness crop up often. In my home town wealthy people moved in and voted in laws requiring all new homes be large so those of us with moderate incomes that grew up here can not afford to stay. GET OUT AND VOTE! Those who would take from you will and sadly the lower classes don't think it doesn't matter or are swayed by hand outs in to voting for those who want to control them. Get your news from several sources including ones you don't like and make your own choice.

  8. #8


    I think if you don't vote, you're more a part of the problem than the solution. My son once complained to me that there was no one good to vote for in one of our past elections. I told him that for my entire life, I've felt like I've been voting for the lesser of two evils, but I've always gone out and cast my vote. I also advised him that he vote for the candidate that best represented his personal interests. Since he's a teacher, I told him that he should vote for the most pre-education candidate. There's always a good reason to vote, and there are no good reasons not to. To many good people have died in battle defending democracy. I don't intend to let them have died in vain, even if I'm voting for an ass hat.

  9. #9


    Voting as a system is, unfortunately, a collective action problem. It's quite true that any single vote is essentially meaningless in populations the size of today's nations. But it's also true that when a lot of people all start to feel that their vote is pointless, it starts mattering in elections.

    In my opinion, your vote "mattering" is the absolute worst question to ask. I've never understood it personally. Why would someone only vote if they're the deciding vote on an issue. By that logic, nobody would vote at all. Imo, the point of voting is that it's a symbolic act. You vote because it shows that you're participating in the system that decides your laws and your leadership. If you don't like them, you can vote against them and show how you feel, whereas if you do like them, you get to support them. When one person votes, with meaning, and is proud of that act, it inspires others.

    On top of that, it's perfectly possible to multiply your personal power. Want to have your "vote" matter. Go back to those friends and convince them all to vote and to vote the same way as you. Now your "vote" is 5 votes. In the 2014 election in America, I feel confident in stating that because of my volunteering, I was personally responsible for over 20,000 votes. That may sound exaggerated to you, but I'm probably ball-parking low. That's more than most people can do, of course (I had the dual advantages of being a lawyer and being politically involved), but if you really care, it's very possible to talk to your friends and family, then encourage them to talk to their friends and family. The network effect is how votes matter, imo.

  10. #10


    The reason that so many people feel disenfranchised is that the system of democracy we have is of mere representation. We vote once, with one of a few barely-distinguishable choices, then we allow the political system to run its course. We don't truly know what our representatives are doing; what choices they're making. They can completely ignore their manifesto and do whatever they like. And so much happens behind closed doors.

    I like to vote. I have no loyalties to any party; I'm only interested in policies. But I have refused to vote in several elections. In those, the manifesto of every (reasonable!) party contained both policies that I am in favour of, and those which I am vehemently against. I could not bring myself to vote for any party that would enact immoral policies, so I voted for no one.

    In any case, the "first past the post" system (of the UK) means that, unless I vote for one of the two "realistic contendors", my vote makes no difference at all.

    Another distressing thing about politics is the way in which society as a whole has lost interest. Most people are not interested in politics. People who are fascinated in it will investigate, contemplate, and try to build up a coherent understanding of how to achieve what they want through politics. People who aren't (i.e. the vast majority) will mostly allow themselves to be spoon-fed carefully-calculated, disingenious rhetoric and will be swayed on image, misinformation and bias. They won't even know what they're voting for, and probably couldn't recall a single policy or pledge of their "chosen" party.

    I actually think it's a good thing that some people don't vote out of disinterest. Unless they are willing to educate themselves and spend a huge amount of time trying to wrap their head round political issues and figure out how different parties would actually work (as opposed to what they say), then it's better that they don't vote! An uninformed vote only introduces noise into the process.

    I used to think that we could harness the "collective intelligence" of society by asking everyone to vote on, say, a particular policy, and that any "misinformation" or errors would cancel themselves out, and the democratic outcome would be the "best" and "fairest" outcome. Now, I'm not so sure.

    With politicians who are highly trained in rhetoric and in giving nothing away but a vague, shallow, abstract "impression" in interviews... And with the (complicit) media, both funded by and donors to political parties, only interested in shallow attention-grabbing "sound bites" (between which they can smuggle in advertising and profit from us), what hope is there for representative democracy in its modern form?

    I don't think we can solve the problem of disinterest in politics. But maybe we can make each vote count by adopting proportional representation. And maybe we should allow people to vote on individual policies, rather than voting for a representative to act "in our best interests" (ha ha).

    In the long-run, I don't think we need political parties at all. All we need is a civil service to manage and enact policy, and a system (internet, smart phones, etc.) to allow citizens to discuss and vote on policies.

    An interesting development in this area is Democracy OS, a platform that allows people to vote on individual policies, rather than for politicians. The idea is to put power back into the hands of the people. It looks pretty interesting.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by ArchieRoni View Post
    Want to have your "vote" matter. Go back to those friends and convince them all to vote and to vote the same way as you. Now your "vote" is 5 votes. In the 2014 election in America, I feel confident in stating that because of my volunteering, I was personally responsible for over 20,000 votes.
    I wonder whether those >20,000 people would have voted differently if you'd have argued in favour of another party.

    If they were really so easy to persuade that they could have been persuaded either way, do intelligent votes really matter... or do the media (and social pressures) distort the "fair choice" that voting supposedly offers...?

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