The second thread started a couple of weeks ago, with the interview that Trey Parker and Matt Stone gave to Salon.com in which they responded to an open letter from Sean Penn criticizing their movie (Team America). According to Stone:
"All we ever said was that we thought that uninformed people should not vote -- on either side of the political spectrum. It doesn't matter who you're gonna vote for. If you really don't know who you're gonna vote for, or are uninformed, or haven't really thought about it? Just stay home."So now the question becomes, should you vote even if you are uninformed? In my opinion, the answer is yes, particularly among young voters. According to the Census, for the November 2000 elections, the number of voters was equal to about 59 percent of the number of the U.S. citizens age 18 and over. The ratio was only 36 percent for those 18-24 and rose with age to be over 70 percent for those 65 and over.
I conjecture that if a cohort demonstrates that it will overcome the personal costs of voting, then it will attract resources from the federal government. The elderly turn out to vote, and we have enormous (and underfunded) entitlement programs for the elderly. These two facts are not unrelated. Would Social Security and Medicare really have developed into the programs that they are today if the 18-24 year old cohort had a 70 percent turnout and the 65+ cohort had a 36 percent turnout? I think not. Imagine if student loans were the "third rail" of American politics.
I am not advocating that people should keep themselves uninformed or that they should think of voting as a way to redistribute resources toward themselves. I think that greater voter turnout, particularly among the young, would add some balance to the way the elected officials pursue their policies.