Tuesday 16 May 2023

Is it time for Britain to adopt "geniocracy"

There's suddenly a lot of fuss about vote-rigging with Labour and the Conservatives both bitterly accusing the other side of "gerrymandering".

The Tory press have been bitterly accusing Labour of vote-rigging over the idea of expanding the franchise to 16/17 year olds, and to people from overseas who are long-term resident and tax-payers in the UK.

Keir Starmer is such a dishonest and unprincipled flip-flopper it's impossible to know whether he'd actually go through with what he's "pledged", but the principle is sound. Giving more people the right to vote is a good thing, within reason.

Then there's the absurd Tory toff Jacob Rees-Mogg, who outright admitted that the Tory government implemented new voter ID rules in order to gerrymander elections in favour of their own political party, which is exactly what a lot of critics accused them of doing as they were doing it.

Lots of Tories have tried to argue that it's ridiculous to give votes to 16/17 year olds because they're too ignorant and uninformed about the world to use their votes wisely, however it's an absurd generalisation to pretend that the average 16/17 year old is more ignorant and unwise than the most ignorant people in older generations, who all get the right to vote, no matter how dull-witted or politically illiterate they happen to be.

This Tory insistence that youngsters are too ignorant to be allowed to vote raises the question of why intelligent and informed 16/17 year olds should be denied the vote, while the even the most stupid and gullible of over-18s get exactly the same voting power as people who actually know anything about what's going on.

If the Tories are right, and ignorance is something that needs to be combatted in elections, there are ways to do it.

People could do a simple politics test at polling stations, with the results defining the weighting of their vote, with the votes of those who score highly on the test counting for more than those who get all the answers wrong.

I'm not talking about some kind of intense and intimidating exam, just a check up on the absolute political basics:
  • Who is the current Prime Minister?
  • Who is the current head of state?
  • Who is the current MP in your constituency?
  • Which is the UK's finance minister? [Home Secretary, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Leader of the House of Commons, Speaker of the House of Commons]
  • Which is the UK's upper legislature? [House of Commons, House of Lords, Supreme Court, Houses of Parliament]
  • When is the name of legislation when it becomes law? [White Paper, Bill, Act, Point of Order]
  • Which level of government is responsible for libraries and bin collections? [The Government, House of Commons, House of Lords, Local Authority]
  • Which organisation isn't Britain is a member of? [UN, NATO, WTO, EU]
  • What is a measure of national wealth? [Average wage, GDP, Population density, Gini Coefficient]
  • Which political ideology is based on public ownership of core industries? [Capitalism, Liberalism, Socialism, Conservatism]
The first three could be set questions, followed by a random selection of (relatively easy) multiple choice questions about politics.

Tories would obviously scream that it's unfair to make people do a test before they're allowed to vote, but this would just expose their hypocrisy, because they're the ones who just introduced the principle of making people do things before being allowed to vote (acquiring and bringing the correct photographic ID).

They'd also object to the idea that those who know about politics should have more say than those who know nothing, because they know that tricking the gullible into voting against their own political interests is absolutely crucial to the success of Tory politics.

And in objecting, they'd be demonstrating their hypocrisy and venality. They want smart 16/17 year olds to be collectively punished because some of their age group are ignorant and uninformed, but they want the votes of ignorant and uninformed over-18s to count exactly the same as the votes of those who actually know what's going on!

The name for knowledge-based voting systems is "geniocracy", and with modern technology, it's easily implementable, and the data would be easy to collect and work with.

Hardcore "geniocrats" reckon that only people of above average intelligence should be allowed to vote, and only the very intelligent should be allowed to stand for public office, but there's absolutely no need to ban people from voting at all. The system could simply be operated to assign more weight to the votes of the politically informed than the politically ignorant.

If the post-election data showed that certain demographics (age, region, voting preference etc.) are lacking in basic political understanding, it would be in the public interest to help them to improve.

The data would tell us which parties had been most politically disadvantaged by the ignorance of their own voters, which would create very strong incentives for all political parties to ensure that their voters have a basic level of political understanding.

Of course it's almost impossible to conceive a system like this ever actually being implemented, because no ruling party truly wants an informed and politically engaged electorate capable of actually following what's going on, and holding them to account. But it's an interesting idea, because it's the logical solution to the problem of political ignorance that the Tories say they're so concerned about, and it's entirely compatible with their new policy of making people prove things before voting, isn't it?

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David said...
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David said...
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Mr. Magoo said...

This article is dangerously authoritarian.

Capitalism sucks because its capitalism, not because its being managed by unintelligent people, or because mostly unintelligent people are voting. In fact, I'm certain that people who don't know the title of the UK's finance minister are even interested in voting.

While I'm also totally against people having to take photo-ID with them to vote, it is not similar to people having to pass a test to vote (or have their vote weigh less than the votes of others' depending on how many questions they get right).

Who is going to decide what questions should be on this test? Will it be the same 'independent' committee that decides how much MP's get paid?

Mr. Magoo said...

"Which political ideology is based on public ownership of core industries? [Capitalism, Liberalism, Socialism, Conservatism]"

A-ha! So, only people who approve of your definition of socialism (not Karl Marx's) should be allowed to vote?

What this boils down to is that you believe only left-wing people who think so-called core industries should be nationalised should be allowed to vote! Who the hell shall decide what counts as a core industry?

State ownership of industry is not socialism; it is exploitation of the workers (for profit) by the state.

midlaj said...

"Which political ideology advocates for public ownership of essential industries? [Capitalism, Liberalism, Socialism, Conservatism]"
It's important to clarify that the question is about understanding political ideologies, not advocating for or against any particular stance.
The issue at hand raises questions about the definition and boundaries of public ownership in different ideologies. The belief here is that state ownership of industries, often associated with socialism, can sometimes lead to worker exploitation for the benefit of the state rather than true socialist principles.

Jessica Lauren said...

It's premature to advocate for geniocracy in Britain. While meritocracy is ideal, practical implementation requires thorough consideration of diverse perspectives and societal implications. OTHM assignment writing services can offer insights into exploring this topic, fostering informed discourse and critical analysis before any drastic shifts in governance models are proposed.