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  1. #1

    National Review Comes Out Against Democracy Explicitly

    https://slate.com/news-and-politics/...xplicitly.html

    In the last week-plus, the nominally intellectual right-wing publication National Review has run three separate articles arguing that voting shouldn’t be easier to do, because if it is, stupid, ill-informed people will do too much of it. What?

    Roughly speaking, we got to this moment like so:

    1. Donald Trump lost a presidential election, in which Georgia was one of the states that he lost by a very narrow margin.

    2. Trump and his allies in the Republican Party claimed his losses in Georgia and elsewhere were the result of fraud—a centralized plot, carried out in predominately Black areas and coordinated with foreign governments, to rig voting machines and submit fake ballots. This culminated on Jan. 6 when Trump supporters, many of whom were members of white-nationalist groups, stormed the grounds of the Capitol.

    3. Republican-controlled state legislatures and statehouses in Georgia and elsewhere passed laws rolling back automatic voter registration, mail-in voting, and early in-person voting, on the grounds that such restrictions are needed to restore public trust in the electoral system. Historically, these methods have been disproportionately used by Black voters and lower-income voters who tend to vote Democratic.

    4. Many observers interpreted the Georgia law as a suppressive, racist one on the grounds that it limits methods of voting used disproportionately by Black people in response to claims about Black-led election theft that have been made most publicly by psychotic white-power militias and a former president who, polls have typically found, is perceived as racist by more than half the country. Indeed, evidence from other states indicates that Republicans have sought to limit non-Election Day methods of voting not because of any principle involving election security, but because it suppresses the Democratic and/or Black vote. It also does not necessarily make sense that the alleged problem of Venezuelan communist leader Hugo Chavez fixing the 2020 election using voting machines even though he is dead would be remedied by requiring prospective voters to travel to an office somewhere to register instead of registering them automatically.

    5. The case that the law is suppressive and racist has been sufficient to persuade a number of major corporations with business in Georgia (likely more mindful of employees and potential customers than of the merits of the issue, granted) to denounce the law. Though public opinion polling on the subject is not definitive, Republicans seem to perceive the idea that they will be seen as making a Jim Crow–style attack on civil rights as a problem, and have started responding to it. Mostly, they’ve tried to argue that only a “woke” leftist would see a link between (ostensibly security-oriented) voting restrictions and race.

    National Review authors Andrew McCarthy, Dan McLaughlin, and Kevin Williamson, however, moved beyond the entire framework of election security. Instead, they suggested, it is good when restrictions make it harder for people to vote, because people should be discouraged from voting unless they’re really motivated to do it.

    Here is the nut of McCarthy’s argument:

    It would be far better if the franchise were not exercised by ignorant, civics-illiterate people, hypnotized by the flimflam that a great nation needs to be fundamentally transformed rather than competently governed. Left to their own devices, many such people would not even take note of elections, much less go through the effort to register and vote.
    And Williamson's:

    Voters — individually and in majorities — are as apt to be wrong about things as right about them, often vote from low motives such as bigotry and spite, and very often are contentedly ignorant.
    And McLaughlin’s:

    The theory of what Democrats and progressives urge is that they particularly want the votes of the subset of people (mostly younger voters) who are unwilling or unable to plan ahead, and can be swept into the voting booth on a momentary enthusiasm without deliberation or reflection. The point made by Republicans and conservatives is not that these people should be barred from voting, but that the system benefits from deliberation and reflection, and so should not bend over backward to accommodate voters who are unwilling to play by the rules of adulthood.
    It might seem that the National Review is cracking under the strain of the Republican Party’s current unpopularity, which leaves it dependent on the electoral college to have any chance of defeating the large majority of American voters who would prefer to have a Democratic president and Congress. The days when the conservative movement could point to a map colored in from coast to coast for Ronald Reagan, and proclaim that their ideas were obviously winning, is long past. If you can’t win democratically, maybe it’s time to give up on democracy as a goal altogether.

    Theories about moving the ballot box out of the easy reach of the masses also belong firmly within the magazine’s intellectual tradition. Here’s what the National Review’s founder and guiding spirit, William F. Buckley, had to say in 1957 on the subject of how widespread the franchise ought to be:

    If the majority wills what is socially atavistic, then to thwart the majority may be, though undemocratic, enlightened . It is more important for any community, anywhere in the world, to affirm and live by civilized standards, than to bow to the demands of the numerical majority…Millions who have the vote do not care to exercise it; millions who have it do not know how to exercise it and do not care to learn.
    Sounds familiar! Unfortunately for the magazine’s current editor, Rich Lowry, who defended the Georgia law this week under the headline “Anyone Using the ‘Jim Crow’ Charge as a Political Weapon Should Hang His Head in Shame,” Buckley was specifically defending Jim Crow when he wrote it. His argument was that given “the median cultural superiority of White over Negro,” it was only appropriate to prevent Black people from joining a political majority that might favor things like integrated education—that, in the face of such a possibility, “the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas in which it does not predominate numerically.” The magazine would make similar arguments for years about the white apartheid government in South Africa.

    The National Review’s current writers, contorting themselves to prove this is not another Jim Crow–apartheid thing, are forced to argue that making it more time-consuming to register and cast a ballot is important because it selects for literate and civic-minded voters, as if free time on a given Tuesday, and the ability to navigate paperwork-heavy bureaucracy, are traits with an ethical valence. (Is it clear that someone who votes by default on the customary day is necessarily more civically engaged and informed than someone who has gone to the trouble of figuring out how to take advantage of expanded voting options like drop boxes and early voting days?) Writes McCarthy: “If voting is as crucial as the Left says it is, people should be proud to exert the close-to-zero effort that is called for. Indeed, doing so is a source of pride for those who care about the country.”

    Williamson takes things even further with this nuclear holocaust of an analogy: “There would be more voters if we made it easier to vote, and there would be more doctors if we didn’t require a license to practice medicine. The fact that we believe unqualified doctors to be a public menace but act as though unqualified voters were just stars in the splendid constellation of democracy indicates how little real esteem we actually have for the vote, in spite of our public pieties.” But “we” don’t act one way or another about unlicensed or “unqualified” voters because “we” don’t recognize those categories. Williamson et. al treat the celebration of an egalitarian electorate as a contemporary fad along the lines of TikTok, but the idea that voting shouldn’t have anything to do with alleged signifiers of intelligence and seriousness is, in fact, the culmination of centuries of consideration and agitation done by Americans who believed in perfecting the concepts of “all men are created equal,” “government of the people, by the people, and for the people,” and “one person, one vote.” Williamson’s idea that “the vote” exists somehow apart from—and must be protected against—the voters is a rejection of the basic concept of self-government.

    There are centuries of grounding behind the idea that restrictions making voting more difficult—particularly those imposed in the American South by almost unanimously white legislators and executives—have racially discriminatory effects and are sometimes explicitly discriminatory in intent, a well-established body of knowledge that the National Review authors dismiss as hyperbolic, woke fantasy. There is also a lack of evidence, within our laboratory of democracy, that states which have made it unusually difficult to register and vote are run more competently or responsively—New York state stands as a very strong non-partisan counterexample, something McLaughlin actually admits, then ignores.

    We can go on. The minority rights which Williamson claims to be concerned about are already a central feature of the American system, and are often the kind of thing that the National Review complains about when cited by, say, criminal defendants and non-Christians; McCarthy seems confused about whether China, which basically operates on the elite-consensus system he proposes, but also serves as his reflexive example of a place where it would be oppressive to live, is good or bad; McLaughlin, meanwhile, makes the incredible claim that “Republicans and conservatives,” the people who were just convinced by various online hoaxes to smash through the Capitol taking selfies in an effort to extend the presidency of a man who watches 16 hours of cable TV every day, believe to an extent that Democrats and liberals do not that the electoral system “benefits from deliberation and reflection.”

    Ultimately, though, the relevant question is not whether these arguments are tight, well-considered, and commensurate with American values, but whether they’ll spread beyond the creepy, colonialist pages of the National Review to influential and quasi-respectable conservative figures like Mitch McConnell and Samuel Alito. Unfortunately, it’s not difficult to imagine: Unlike the stories about Hugo Chavez and Dominion voting machines, the National Review’s new/old theory of civics has the benefit of not requiring its supporters to believe in an ever-shifting set of myths and conspiracies about how the other side got its votes to count. They just have to tell themselves there’s no reason to count those votes at all.
    And the 3 respective article links:

    McCarthy: https://www.nationalreview.com/2021/...ng-rights-con/
    Williamson: https://www.nationalreview.com/2021/...-fewer-voters/
    McLaughlin: https://www.nationalreview.com/2021/...-made-to-vote/

    I mean, this is pretty explicitly stated, and no amount of high minded language can cover that up. It's consistent across all three authors, and is increasingly a popular argument in conservative circles.

    And it's patently, 100% anti-democratic on every single level. There is no mistaking this, there are no bones about it. The conservative wing of the US is beginning to get explicit in its rejection of democracy.

  2. #2
    The right wing in the US has been flirting with fascism for years. This is a surprise to exactly nobody who has been at least nominally sentient.
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  3. #3
    The Insane PC2's Avatar
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    No, the OP is confusing 'explicit' with 'implicit'. Unless they say they don't believe in the democracy then it's not explicit. Wanting tighter regulation does not mean they are against the idea of leaders being decided by voters, it means they disagree about who is a valid voter.

    Personally I think we should be getting rid of restrictions and not adding them. For example the age limitation is arbitrary and I think young people should have the right to vote.
    Quote Originally Posted by Edge- View Post
    Part of this is correct, voting should be voluntary and not "mandatory" because not every citizen wants to vote. Citizens should not be coerced into voting against their will.
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  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by PC2 View Post
    No, the OP is confusing 'explicit' with 'implicit'. Unless they say they don't believe in the democracy then it's not explicit. Wanting tighter regulation does not mean they are against the idea of leaders being decided by voters, it means they disagree about who is a valid voter.

    Personally I think we should be getting rid of restrictions and not adding them. For example the age limitation is arbitrary and I think young people should have the right to vote.


    Part of this is correct, voting should be voluntary and not "mandatory" because not every citizen wants to vote. Citizens should not be coerced into voting against their will.
    Not at all. Their collective arguments boil down to, "Many voters are too dumb to understand the government and what's good for them in the future and shouldn't be allowed to vote."

    When, if there were a problem about inadequate voter education (which there already is), the pro-democracy mindset would be to propose solutions to help educate and inform voters so that we can have more people engaged and making informed decisions.

    It's pretty simple.

    Edit: And despite its mandatory voting laws, Australia hasn't seemed to collapse yet. Though they did elect ScoMo, so the jury may still be out on forced participation in voting.

    Though it's a really good thing literally nobody is seriously proposing such a notion so his argument is little more than a strawman.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by PC2 View Post
    No, the OP is confusing 'explicit' with 'implicit'. Unless they say they don't believe in the democracy then it's not explicit. Wanting tighter regulation does not mean they are against the idea of leaders being decided by voters, it means they disagree about who is a valid voter.

    Personally I think we should be getting rid of restrictions and not adding them. For example the age limitation is arbitrary and I think young people should have the right to vote.


    Part of this is correct, voting should be voluntary and not "mandatory" because not every citizen wants to vote. Citizens should not be coerced into voting against their will.
    If you aren't old enough to fight to defend your country, you shouldn't have the right to vote. Honestly, 18 is a fine age for people to start voting. Less restriction on voting as far as valid forms of identification needs to be a federally mandated issue that the states can't overturn, that the states have so much control over voter rights is absolute insanity. That the US government should have an independent watchdog that oversees all laws and regulations that pertain to voters, headed by representatives from all levels of government, both sides of the political aisle and a variety of different groups of citizens.

  6. #6
    The Insane PC2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edge- View Post
    Not at all. Their collective arguments boil down to, "Many voters are too dumb to understand the government and what's good for them in the future and shouldn't be allowed to vote."

    When, if there were a problem about inadequate voter education (which there already is), the pro-democracy mindset would be to propose solutions to help educate and inform voters so that we can have more people engaged and making informed decisions.
    I disagree with their opinion. There should not be an education requirement. Like I said I don't even believe in an age restriction so obviously I don't believe an education is required to be a valid participant in a democracy.

    With that said, I personally don't care about how high they set the bar because I'm sure I can jump through any hoop they put up.
    Edit: And despite its mandatory voting laws, Australia hasn't seemed to collapse yet. Though they did elect ScoMo, so the jury may still be out on forced participation in voting.
    It's about ethics and it's not about the collapse of a country. Coercing people into voting and threatening them with punishment for non-compliance is unethical.
    Last edited by PC2; 2021-04-10 at 04:13 AM.
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  7. #7
    Well they're right. Stupid, uneducated, poorly informed people shouldn't vote. And thankfully most of them don't.

    Democracy is overrated. It doesn't work when the people who vote are too stupid to know what's at stake and what the problems really are. Voting should be a privilege of the educated and successful, not a right.
    Last edited by enigma77; 2021-04-10 at 04:03 AM.

  8. #8
    The Insane PC2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by enigma77 View Post
    Well they're right. Stupid, uneducated, poorly informed people shouldn't vote.

    Democracy is overrated. It doesn't work when the people who vote are too stupid to know what's at stake and what the problems really are. Voting should be a privilege of the educated and successful, not a right.
    Dumb and uneducated people deserve to be represented just as much as geniuses and people who have a PhD from Harvard. Everyone is equal. Democracy is about representing everybody and that requires everyone's input and feedback. Elites don't know what is best for the general populace.
    Optimism! (HumanProgress.org)

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by PC2 View Post
    I disagree with their opinion. There should not be an education requirement.
    Literally didn't say any of that.

    Quote Originally Posted by PC2 View Post
    Like I said I don't even believe in an age restriction so obviously I don't believe an education is required to be a valid participant in a democracy.
    That's nice. I never said anything about an education requirement.

    Quote Originally Posted by PC2 View Post
    With that said, I personally don't care about how high they set the bar because I'm sure I can jump through any hoop they put up.
    This? This is patently undemocratic.

    Quote Originally Posted by PC2 View Post
    It's about ethics and it's not about the collapse of a country. Coercing people into voting and threatening them with punishment for non-compliance is unethical. Voting should be voluntary.
    Nobody is talking about it being mandatory.

    You're tilting at windmills, Don.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by enigma77 View Post
    Well they're right. Stupid, uneducated, poorly informed people shouldn't vote. And thankfully most of them don't.

    Democracy is overrated.
    Thank you for the full throated rejection of Democracy.

  10. #10
    The Insane Underverse's Avatar
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    Why do we care about what National Review says? Never heard/read about them.

    I guess I agree with the principle that weak minded idiots shouldn't be allowed to vote. That's a big part of what led to Trump's election after all. But as long as we're saying that everyone gets to vote, it should be as easy as possible to do so for everyone.

    Anyway, an underrated side effect of democracy is that it validates the political process and puts a magnifying glass over everyone involved. That's a good thing for transparency, and without transparency, corruption blooms.

  11. #11
    Given the recent partisan trend of the college educated...joke's on them soon?

    To quote David Frum (like, ewww, though): " If conservatives become convinced that they can not win democratically, they will not abandon conservatism. The will reject democracy."

    Very telling that their instinct, rather than to educate voters, or put out better ideas, is to shrink the voter pool. Disgusting.
    "We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both."
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  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Edge- View Post



    Thank you for the full throated rejection of Democracy.
    No problem, I'm a supporter of the other kind of Republicanism. Aristocracy. In a modern context that means something slightly different from what it did historically, of course. Academics, businessmen, financially successful people, the upper classes should be calling the shots, everybody else should be ruled, not rule.

    Democracy is the rule of the fools, it's painfully obvious in modern American society. That's how you got Trump elected, after all.
    Last edited by enigma77; 2021-04-10 at 04:35 AM.

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    The Insane Underverse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PC2 View Post
    Dumb and uneducated people deserve to be represented just as much as geniuses and people who have a PhD from Harvard. Everyone is equal. Democracy is about representing everybody and that requires everyone's input and feedback. Elites don't know what is best for the general populace.
    Eh...I'd say elites know what's best for the general populace better than the general populace does - which isn't to say that either party necessarily would have the best interests of the general populace at heart. I mean, look at how many people voted for Trump against their interests. If anything, elites are consistently voting mostly blue which tends to be better for lower/middle classes. Democrats tend to be more educated as well.

    Now imagine if Democrats had a congressional supermajority - that could probably be done by excluding anyone without a college degree. Not saying it's a good idea, but if we're just looking at statistics...

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    The Insane PC2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edge- View Post
    Literally didn't say any of that.

    That's nice. I never said anything about an education requirement.
    I was disagreeing with the authors, not with you.
    This? This is patently undemocratic.
    I ment I don't care from a personal perspective. Just because something won't negatively effect me that doesn't mean I'm okay with it and want to put requirements on other people. As I said I want to open up democracy and not restrict it.
    Nobody is talking about it being mandatory.

    You're tilting at windmills, Don.
    The fourth article that you posted talked about it. It was the article called "Not everyone should be made to vote" which mentions how Australia makes people vote and threatens them for non-compliance. Nobody should be "made" to vote against their will.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Gestopft View Post
    Given the recent partisan trend of the college educated...joke's on them soon?
    Past/current trends are irrelevant though because they eventually change based on new developments and the unique issues of each era.
    Last edited by PC2; 2021-04-10 at 04:44 AM.
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  15. #15
    Well. We are a republic, not a democracy. If registering to vote is too difficult, you don't deserve the right to vote. If you can't even register to vote, how are you going to understand the complexity of policy?

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by enigma77 View Post
    Well they're right. Stupid, uneducated, poorly informed people shouldn't vote. And thankfully most of them don't.

    Democracy is overrated. It doesn't work when the people who vote are too stupid to know what's at stake and what the problems really are. Voting should be a privilege of the educated and successful, not a right.
    The reason that democracy doesn't discriminate (few exceptions do exists depending on country), is because democracy is supposed to adhere to the betterment of the entire social collective. If you deny the vote for a group, there is no reason to adhere to them, because they have no course of bargaining anymore. That's why under monarchy or aristocracy, members of that class who wielded the power, they didn't pay any taxes or weren't beholden to the law in any extend that those who weren't in power, and everyone without power did pay taxes. It is why the first forms of democracy who did give the vote, only to those who held land (and had a penis), resulted in those land owners having proportionally more rights and causes of action to enforce their rights, and all those without, had fewer and their capacity to enforce them were very limited. Equally so is the system not in any way beholden or encouraged to try and uplift those without voting rights, to the point where they'd gain it (and it has mostly a historically factor of being a course of maintaining power with those who already had it, and putting every measurable roadblock in place that you can think off to stop those without to keep them there).

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by PC2 View Post
    The fourth article that you posted talked about it. It was the article called "Not everyone should be made to vote" which mentions how Australia makes people vote and threatens them for non-compliance. Nobody should be "made" to vote against their will.
    Which is why you aren't. You aren't enforce to vote, you are enforced to meet up to the voting place and gain a voting ticket; at which point (if memory serves), you aren't even required to enter a voting booth, you can literally deliver it back blank instantly.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Sole-Warrior View Post
    Well. We are a republic, not a democracy. If registering to vote is too difficult, you don't deserve the right to vote. If you can't even register to vote, how are you going to understand the complexity of policy?
    I think we should deny the vote to people, who proclaim that they are a republic and not a democracy; because republics are democracies, and is a terminology to describe a structural form of that democracy. Because, if they are incapable of the simple fact to recognize democracy, by another name, they clearly don't have the mental factuality to determine the future of the nation.
    Last edited by Howel; 2021-04-10 at 04:54 AM.
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    I Don't Work Here Endus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sole-Warrior View Post
    Well. We are a republic, not a democracy.
    The USA is a constitutional democratic republic. The claim that it's "not a democracy" is flatly a lie.

    Do you have free elections, where citizens get to vote for representatives? That's a democracy. That's what the word means.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Sole-Warrior View Post
    Well. We are a republic, not a democracy. If registering to vote is too difficult, you don't deserve the right to vote. If you can't even register to vote, how are you going to understand the complexity of policy?
    Now tell me in your reality, how do the representatives in our supposed undemocratic republic become representatives if they aren't voted in? Are they born into the position, does a ray of light come from the heavens to divinely pronounce them a representative, is there a lottery system where there name is drawn? Seriously I want to know in your reality how a person becomes a representative if they are not, you know, Democratically voted in to office? So maybe Mr. Pot you should not be so quick to call out Mr. Kettle about not understanding the policy if you don't understand that a Republic is a form of Democracy.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by enigma77 View Post

    Democracy is the rule of the fools, it's painfully obvious in modern American society. That's how you got Trump elected, after all.
    Trump received fewer votes than the other guy. It was your precious aristocracy that put in place the system that gave him power despite the will of the people, because they believed this same dogshit you do about the uneducated and poor peons beneath them. So congratulations on providing a perfect refutation to your own garbage.

  20. #20
    Scarab Lord downnola's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by enigma77 View Post
    Well they're right. Stupid, uneducated, poorly informed people shouldn't vote. And thankfully most of them don't.
    They have to live under the same government as anyone else and should have a say in who represents them.

    It should be noted that the least educated in America end up voting for people who the National Review ends up apologizing for on a daily basis so take that for what you will.

    Democracy is overrated.
    So is fascism but that doesn't stop the illiberal and anti-democratic from polluting my eyeballs with their nonsense, sweaty.
    Last edited by downnola; 2021-04-10 at 05:53 AM.
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