I have heard many times that voting is not really a right, but a privilege bestowed upon us by our good benefactors. They warn that you may lose the privilege to vote if you commit a crime, or are not a citizen, or any number of other reasons. They warn that if you are eligible to vote, you should do so, or else some day that privilege may be gone.
Well now some gauleiter at the Brookings Institute named William Galston wants to force this privilege down our throats. Vote, he says, or pay a fine! Well at least that's the way he wants it to be. He seems to think that the US should model it's voting system after Australia's, where eligible voters who don't exercise their voting "privilege" get fined. Incidentally, Australia has one of the highest "Mickey Mouse" vote rates in the world (A Mickey Mouse vote is where you make a nonsensical vote, like writing in the name Mickey Mouse).
I think that if the US were to enact compulsory voting, then it is only reasonable (both morally and logically) to also enact a rule that says that if less than 100% of eligible voters cast a ballot, then the results of that vote are null and void. The door should swing both ways.
Of course, that would not be an ideal solution. An ideal solution would be to eliminate all democratic mechanisms altogether and banish voting to the realm of tyrants and pitchfork mobs.
Let's take a look at how retarded and backwards the Brookings Institute's thinking is on the matter:
The Brookings Institution scholar is among those who are dismayed at the turnout in this country. Those in the wide middle of the spectrum are the ones who abstain from voting, and Galston thinks that's not good. Get more people in the process by making it easier to vote through things like liberalized absentee voting.
Dismayed at the turnout? Dismayed that not everyone agrees with your notions of mob rule? Dismayed that not everyone's beliefs match your own, especially if that belief is apathy? Shouldn't one's difference of opinion be respected, rather than overridden through forced participation?
What Galston is doing is "counting the hits and ignoring the misses." He is too blind to see that a non-vote is a rejection of the system. It is, in a way, a vote of no confidence, or of apathy, or of disengagement. The non-vote is, in reality, the most powerful "vote" in a democracy. But of course, the Brookings Institute is blinded by their democratic fanboyism. They cannot conceive that non-participation in democratic mechanisms could ever be legitimate, or ever have a meaningful message behind it, or even be the moral thing to do. Nothing could so effectively take away the power of one's voice than by forcing that person to cast a vote in a democracy. It is forcing one's consent to the system. More important than the candidate(s) to be voted on is whether or not one consents to the system at all. To paraphrase Spooner, you are no less a slave just because you get to vote for a new master every couple of years.
And if you want some really delicious irony, read this part where Galston, who is advocating forced democracy, argues against a specific instance of popular opposition to his idea:
But, as Robert pointed out, an ABC News poll indicated that 72 percent of Americans are opposed to compulsory voting. Isn't this a non-starter?
Galston conceded that it could be tough but added that perceptions change. Just look at the public's turnaround on "don't ask, don't tell," he said.
And if you didn't notice, Galston also implicitly conceded the mercurial and ever-shifting beliefs of the majority. Hey I'm for social maturation and evolution of ideas as much as the next guy, but given that the only constant of popular opinion is that it always changes, why should we be trying to force popular opinions into policy and law? What is moral today is immoral tomorrow, and vice-versa, all through popular dictate? No thanks.
By forcing everyone to vote, everyone will be forced to play the game; to consent to the overall system. Mandatory voting is a sure-fire way to maintain the status quo, preserve the current power structure, and eliminate any real chance of change whatsoever.