Scientific Study Says People Are Too Stupid for Democracy

Makalakumu

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http://news.yahoo.com/people-arent-smart-enough-democracy-flourish-scientists-185601411.html

The democratic process relies on the assumption that citizens (the majority of them, at least) can recognize the best political candidate, or best policy idea, when they see it. But a growing body of research has revealed an unfortunate aspect of the human psyche that would seem to disprove this notion, and imply instead that democratic elections produce mediocre leadership and policies.The research, led by David Dunning, a psychologist at Cornell University, shows that incompetent people are inherently unable to judge the competence of other people, or the quality of those people's ideas. For example, if people lack expertise on tax reform, it is very difficult for them to identify thecandidates who are actual experts. They simply lack the mental tools needed to make meaningful judgments.
As a result, no amount of information or facts about political candidates can override the inherent inability of many voters to accurately evaluate them. On top of that, "very smart ideas are going to be hard for people to adopt, because most people don’t have the sophistication to recognize how good an idea is," Dunning told Life's Little Mysteries.


As we debate gun control, global warming, and other complex issues, this study comes as a shot of strychnine to the optimism gland. Enjoy.
 

Tez3

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I don't know about the US but one doesn't need qualifications here to practice or call oneself a psychologist. This is because it's not considered a proper or exact science (one can't prove or disprove anything in psychology) science.....and nothing on this thread or the other about liberals being mentally ill has done much to disprove that.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/sep/14/psychological-profile-behavioural-psychology

http://cynicalbastards.com/cynic/psych.html

If anything is stupid it's believing psychologists :lol:
 
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Makalakumu

Makalakumu

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I don't know about the US but one doesn't need qualifications here to practice or call oneself a psychologist. This is because it's not considered a proper or exact science (one can't prove or disprove anything in psychology) science.....and nothing on this thread or the other about liberals being mentally ill has done much to disprove that.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/sep/14/psychological-profile-behavioural-psychology

http://cynicalbastards.com/cynic/psych.html

If anything is stupid it's believing psychologists :lol:

In the US, you can earn advanced degrees in psychology. This study is coming out of Cornell, one of our top institutions. That said, it actually seems like common sense. For example, how is the average person really supposed to understand the global warming debate? Most people don't have anywhere near the education to understand what either side is saying and are simply falling back on their pre-existing ideological biases to make a decision. The average voter has no clue about the efficacy of "carbon taxes" and has no economic background to really evaluate them. So, how is the average person supposed to cast a vote?

In the end, I think a lot of modern politics is explained by this study. The voting has little to do with reason and more to do with who spent the most money and screamed the loudest for attention. Candidates are judged on their looks and superficial aspects because no one understands what they hell they are saying.
 

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Add to this that news agencies are often unabashedly biased now. Fox News, MSNBC and many others make no bones about their slant. While it's called news, they're really sharing opinions.

In another thread, CC said something interesting about not need to be spoonfed his philosophy. This is a real problem we're having now, where people not only need to be spoon fed their opinions, but can no longer distinguish between their own opinion and the one they heard online or on TV.

Edit: Just want to add that the one thing that jumps out is the word "stupid." I think that stupid and ignorant are very different, and I'd say that most people are ignorant. I work my 40 doing something other than politics.
 

Tez3

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It's still not a proper science though.
It makes me laugh when people go on about how stupid other people are. Perhaps people vote for anyone at all because they are well educated and clever enough to know that it doesn't make the slightest bit of difference who gets into power because all politicians are money grabbing, self centred, pompous prats. The people vote for whoever they dislike the least knowing that someone has to get in and once in the people don't get a say in anything. It's not that they don't understand the politicians...it's that they understand them only too well.
 
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I’ve alluded to this point several times… unfortunately. It’s not something, as an American, that I am proud of.

At the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, Benjamin Franklin was approached by Dr. James McHenry as he exited Independence Hall. Dr. McHenry, one of Maryland’s delegates, asked Franklin, “Well? What do we have, a Republic or a Monarchy?”

Franklin replied, “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

"It is an axiom in my mind that our liberty can never be safe but in the hands of the people themselves, and that too of the people with a certain degree of instruction. This it is the business of the state to effect, and on a general plan." - Jefferson to George Washington, January 4, 1786


The Founders realized how integral a part the People had in maintaining a functional Republic and knew that the maintenance of liberty and freedom depended mostly upon them with limited government.

Knowing that, don’t you find the decline in our educational system, standards, and performance since the inception of the Department of Education quite interesting? Coincidence?

Also, at one time, only those “People” with something to lose; with “skin in the game”, were allowed to vote. But, that was considered unfair and over time everyone who lives here over the age of 18 can now vote; regardless of how ignorant they are.

That being said, the Electoral College actually has the final say as to who is elected. But how many people know that? How many people realize the College is hand-picked by the duopoly (that’s the dominant two parties, Republicans and Democrats.)

Not only are these people put in place to perpetuate the duopoly, but their identities aren’t revealed until well after the elections so if you actually cared enough to research them to attempt to glean their motives, it wouldn’t matter anyway. However, in most cases, they usually follow popular opinion; but not always as the Cook Report points out. Still, it’s about 95% of the time so what’s the difference?

I personally like the appeal of a Heinlein approach. This theory asserts that only citizens can participate in government, and to become a citizen one must first have a certain level of education and also contribute to society.

The idea is that by sacrificing to achieve a certain level of education and by sacrificing part of one’s early life one will place a higher value on the liberties and freedoms they obtain from it. In essence, it creates a greater level of responsibility and leads to one feeling they have “skin in the game.”

Sacrifice could obviously include military service, but could also lead to the creation of other programs. For example, a “Peace Corps” that instead of focusing on other countries, goes out to our poorer communities and helps rebuild slums, feed the poor, and/or provided medical assistance and indigent care.

Of course, those serving in a life-long, career-type capacity would be included; firemen, police, etc. But all would also be required to have a certain level of education including, not omitting as schools in Washington DC are now doing, but including an in depth study of Civics and Government.

If you don’t know things work, how can you participate? It’s like asking a European to coach an American Football team. Can you imagine the look you’d get when you threw a soccer ball onto the field the first day and asked the team why they had on all that armor?
 

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CC, the American football thing? Not a good analogy, Europeans not only know what it is but there's also plenty of European teams playing American football out there.
http://ezinearticles.com/?American-...pportunity-For-Football-and-Travel&id=4380973

That in itself is probably a comparision of Americans and Europeans. Draw your own conclusions.

Only you would miss the entire point of the post and focus in on something silly like that. Just create your own analogy after taking in the post...okay? I'm sure you'll get the gist. ..smh

Bob, why I do I let you talk me into posting?
 

Tez3

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Only you would miss the entire point of the post and focus in on something silly like that. Just create your own analogy after taking in the post...okay? I'm sure you'll get the gist. ..smh

Bob, why I do I let you talk me into posting?

Who's Bob?

You are only saying it's silly because you were caught out making not only a generalisation but managing to insinuate that Europeans are uneducated enough not to know what American football is, a small thing perhaps but telling.
As for your longer post, you gave your opinion, I'm not going to argue with that, it's yours, only when you start posting your opinion as facts would I disagree.
 
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Makalakumu

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Add to this that news agencies are often unabashedly biased now. Fox News, MSNBC and many others make no bones about their slant. While it's called news, they're really sharing opinions.

In another thread, CC said something interesting about not need to be spoonfed his philosophy. This is a real problem we're having now, where people not only need to be spoon fed their opinions, but can no longer distinguish between their own opinion and the one they heard online or on TV.

Edit: Just want to add that the one thing that jumps out is the word "stupid." I think that stupid and ignorant are very different, and I'd say that most people are ignorant. I work my 40 doing something other than politics.

You're right, stupid is too inflammatory, ignorance fits...much of the time. Then, we need to take into account people who simply aren't willing to look at any new information or attempt to learn enough to judge for themselves. Sometimes, people identify so strongly with their "team" they don't want to hear counter information. I wonder if the whole idea of democracy simply produces this kind of polarization? The issues get so complex that people can't understand the nuances and suddenly they are relieved of the duty of thinking. Then, the only job they have left is to yell and scream about what they are told to believe and try to identify with a particular tribe of politicians.

IMO, this goes beyond ignorance. It might have started as ignorance on the individual level, but as a collective...it becomes stupid.
 
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Makalakumu

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"It is an axiom in my mind that our liberty can never be safe but in the hands of the people themselves, and that too of the people with a certain degree of instruction. This it is the business of the state to effect, and on a general plan." - Jefferson to George Washington, January 4, 1786


The Founders realized how integral a part the People had in maintaining a functional Republic and knew that the maintenance of liberty and freedom depended mostly upon them with limited government.

Knowing that, don’t you find the decline in our educational system, standards, and performance since the inception of the Department of Education quite interesting? Coincidence?

Most people don't realize that in the early 1800's, before public education, literacy rates in the colonies were over 90%. The Last of the Mohicans was considered light reading.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_of_the_Mohicans
 

Kembudo-Kai Kempoka

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I don't know about the US but one doesn't need qualifications here to practice or call oneself a psychologist. This is because it's not considered a proper or exact science (one can't prove or disprove anything in psychology) science.....and nothing on this thread or the other about liberals being mentally ill has done much to disprove that.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/sep/14/psychological-profile-behavioural-psychology

http://cynicalbastards.com/cynic/psych.html

If anything is stupid it's believing psychologists :lol:

As one trained in psychology, I agree ;)
 

Kembudo-Kai Kempoka

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I have always despised the idea that anyone in the US can vote, and have that vote cancel out the thought-out and informed perspectives of politically astute persons, merely by turning 18 years of age.

"Average" intelligence and education has plummeted in the US over the last 50, 75, 100 years. We have become, effectively, a nation of idiots. And this grand quorum picks representatives based on single-issue opinions, soundbytes, and -- for fricks sake -- name recognition on ballots. Yep. Buncha research into voting behaviour indicate that one of the number one variables influencing voters' selection is how often they have seen any given name on a ballot. The guy with the most postbills and yardsigns, wins.

Stars and Stones... really?

As a California resident, I chew over local representatives, their histories and qualifications, positions, and long-term ramifications of their positions in office. When Proposition and ballot initiatives come up, I read the hell out of them. I look up the websites of noted money-pacs behind the pro and con positions, read the blogs, listen to the talking heads debate their points, and do my damned best to make an informed choice as a responsible voter. I liken it now to taking a good piss in the wind: Some single issue idiot who never even passed grade school civics can cancel out my vote, merely because one of his stoned surfer buds told him he should like some person or some issue X.

We have no-brainers that have come and gone, shot down because the "other side" threw more money at the name-recognition part of the campaign.

I, sadly, agree with the title of the thread. I have seen it play an active role in the political tides for as long as I've been playing in the pool. I'm probably best categorized as a centrist Libertarian, because I tend to look at the folks in each of the main 2-parties in our political climate, and consider them too dense to think beyond their rhetoric. I vote issues, not parties; intelligent representatives of a process... not parties. Yet, I know countless folks from both sides of the aisle who cast patently stupid votes, simply because it's the position of their affiliated organization. F'n stupid. Reprehensible. Deplorable.

And it's the good old U.S.of.A. One of the wealthiest, most consuming nations on the globe, and yet we are a village of idiots.

Did I mention, I usually pretend I'm Canadian when I travel abroad?

To quote an old t-shirt, "I'm not prejudiced... I hate everybody."

D.
 

celtic_crippler

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Who's Bob?

You are only saying it's silly because you were caught out making not only a generalisation but managing to insinuate that Europeans are uneducated enough not to know what American football is, a small thing perhaps but telling.
As for your longer post, you gave your opinion, I'm not going to argue with that, it's yours, only when you start posting your opinion as facts would I disagree.

Would you please stop playing the victim for 5 minutes and stay on ^&#$% topic?

That was not a %^&* insult!

Jesus Christ!
 

Sukerkin

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Little side excursion ... er ... put aside {:lol:} a very good thread with some illuminating opinions put forward. It just goes to prove what I have said several times about Martial talk, the strong but 'soft touch' regulation combined with encouragement of people to think about what they are saying often leads to some excellent discourse. I found myself dropping 'Thanks' on almost every post above ... I stopped because I realised I was clicking 'Thanks' on almost every post above :chuckles:.

Take a bow my forum-mates :).
 

celtic_crippler

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Little side excursion ... er ... put aside {:lol:} a very good thread with some illuminating opinions put forward. It just goes to prove what I have said several times about Martial talk, the strong but 'soft touch' regulation combined with encouragement of people to think about what they are saying often leads to some excellent discourse. I found myself dropping 'Thanks' on almost every post above ... I stopped because I realised I was clicking 'Thanks' on almost every post above :chuckles:.

Take a bow my forum-mates :).

Allow me to return the favor. LOL
 

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You're right, stupid is too inflammatory, ignorance fits...much of the time. Then, we need to take into account people who simply aren't willing to look at any new information or attempt to learn enough to judge for themselves. Sometimes, people identify so strongly with their "team" they don't want to hear counter information. I wonder if the whole idea of democracy simply produces this kind of polarization? The issues get so complex that people can't understand the nuances and suddenly they are relieved of the duty of thinking. Then, the only job they have left is to yell and scream about what they are told to believe and try to identify with a particular tribe of politicians.

IMO, this goes beyond ignorance. It might have started as ignorance on the individual level, but as a collective...it becomes stupid.

Willful ignorance is sometimes a symptom of stupidity. :)


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granfire

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Willful ignorance is sometimes a symptom of stupidity. :)


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well, they say the difference between ignorance and stupidity is the willingness to learn...
 

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