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The 145 Solution
Sapience, not Sentience
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In the modest and unassuming manner natural to this column, I advance a small proposal for the emendation of such tatters of the Constitution as can be found: For voting in federal elections, we should employ a literacy test to disenfranchise the majority of the population, to the infinite betterment of the country. This wise move should be accompanied by an increase in the voting age to twenty-five.

The necessity cannot be denied. Consider the following:

Forty-three percent of Americans think Saddam Hussein was personally involved in 9/11.

Sixty-four percent cannot name the three branches of the federal government.

Fourteen percent are illiterate.

Twenty-six percent think the sun goes around the earth.

These numbers may be understood in various ways. To a curmudgeon, who obtains a sour satisfaction from the endless repetition of human folly, they provide the satisfactions of confirmation. We all enjoy being right. In practical terms, they mean that democracy, or our mild approximation thereto, is a sham, a fraud, an impossibility, and a bad idea. No one so blankly ignorant, so mentally without furniture, so muddle-headed, limited, and barren, should be allowed within hailing range of a voting booth.

Such people cannot possibly know anything of national questions. Those who live in a featureless tundra of the mind usually do so from stupidity. It is unreasonable to blame them for a genetic condition over which they have no control, but it is equally unreasonable to allow them to vote. As for the fairly intelligent who through intellectual shiftlessness learn nothing, I have no patience with them. What possible cause is there for thinking the willfully dull, the deliberately ignorant, or the dull and ignorant, are ompetent to influence policy on matters that they cannot spell? Given that everyone today has access to virtually every book ever written and to the internet, there is little excuse for living in Oprah fog and Eminem darkness.

If fourteen percent are illiterate, a larger number must be nearly so. People who can barely read don´t. People so little engaged as to think Iraq attacked New York –forty-six percent!—vote almost at random, or in the direction in which they are shooed by cunning electoral mechanics and fixers.

The educated and thoughtful may have no idea of the night in which the rest live. We tend to associate with people like ourselves. Consequently if you know where Iran is, you probably don’t know anyone who doesn’t. But—a pre-Copernican quarter of the population believes that the sun moves around the earth? As we said in the Sixties, that’s a whole nuther head-space.

Thus a test of literacy, or more correctly of competence to vote. It might involve reading a paragraph of prose at the level of college, or of what used to be the level of college, and answering questions about it. There might be questions such as how many Congressmen are there, name a country bordering of Iraq, list three rights guaranteed (ha!) by the First Amendment, and when did World War Two take place.

This laudable proposal would transform politics. The basalt principle of current American governance is that you can fool enough of the people enough of the time. The smart can safely be ignored. People with capacious and well-stocked mental larders are statistically insignificant. Thus candidates campaign by grinning and smirking, hiding whatever intelligence they may have, and professing sympathy for orphans and the downtrodden. In France, a candidate with the mind of a lawn chair would be held in contempt, but in America he is thought to be of the people, and authentic. Unfortunately, he is.

The current fourth-grade posturing of politicians would last microseconds with an electorate well on the right side of the bell curve. We would have far fewer dolts and poltroons. I’m sure you can think of several of these.

I suspect people would be surprised to learn how little the members of the House of Representatives know. A Congressman of my acquaintance told me of going with a colleague on a junket to Thailand. His fellow legislator repeatedly referred to the country as “Taiwan.” Thus are we ruled. Allowing the foolish to vote makes likely the election of the equally fatuous, or of a wily confidence man.

Objectors to my splendid idea will assert that a government and electorate of the highly intelligent will exploit the rest. The franchise is said to protect the majority from the unscrupulous. But it does not. IQs on Wall Street are said to begin at 145. Has the franchise protected anyone from them? Allowing the dim and untutored to vote simply provides the bright and unscrupulous with gullible vote-fodder. It does not prevent but makes possible the exploitation.

A voting age of twenty-five would ensure some degree of maturity, or might, even in an age of mall rats. It is ludicrous to think that teenagers can vote sensibly. They haven’t lived long enough. Like so much of American life, the adolescent vote sprang from the unrealistic idea that we are all equal in everything. Girls can be SEALs, everyone should go to college, that sort of thing. During Vietnam, the argument was that if the young were old enough to die in Asia, they were old enough to vote. And if six-year-olds are old enough to die in car accidents, they are old enough to drive.

While we are at it, we might as a minimum require candidates for federal office to have scored in the ninetieth percentile on the GREs. Again, It is curious that while in France intelligence and cultivation are regarded as good things, in America the use of words of more than one syllable is regarded as evidence of elitism, both being mortal sins. The only offense worse than being superior is knowing that you are.


But why not do yet better? If I may soar even higher into wild and uncontrolled supposition, suppose that candidates for high national office–Congress, the Supreme Court, and the Presidency–were required to have an IQ of 145 or better. This is the beginning of real intelligence, perhaps aproaching the entry level for Silicon Valley (though intelligence at the level of a valley may not be the image I am looking for). Such men—at this level, almost all are—can keep in mind the various pipelines proposed for Caspian hydrocarbons, the effects of shifting exchange rates, and so on. They are precious hard to con. When they travel, they usually know where they are.Intelligent government: What a concept.

So much for ineffable wisdom and preternatural insight. The implementation of my splendid system is left to the student as an exercise.

Book of the week if you haven’t read it: We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People, a wonderfully funny in a dismal way about the absurdity of the American “reconstruction” of Iraq, by a State Department guy who saw it.

(Republished from Fred on Everything by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Democracy 
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  1. Rich says:

    The problem isn’t the less intelligent, the problem is those with presumably high IQs who think they’re smarter than everybody else and have been leading us over a cliff since that smart guy from Illinois decided to make war on the South.

    • Replies: @grey enlightenment
  2. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Ompetent on matters they cannot spell?

  3. Harold says:

    As someone with an IQ over 145 and who knows others of a similar level of intelligence, I know that their political opinions range, with few exceptions, from the ludicrous to the lunatic.

    I agree with the over 25 idea though. Better yet, make it men over 30 who have children, and who are married to the mother of their children.

    Also, it matters little who the politicians are, it is more important who creates the entertainment, and, to a much lesser extent, the educational curriculum—the narratives from which the common man derives his moral sensibilities.

    It wasn’t morons who came up with the idea to flood their own countries with people from alien races. It wasn’t morons who inculcated the masses with the belief that to object to such is a wicked sin.

    Dangerously stupid ideas are the purview of the highly intelligent.

    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
  4. Ghostface says:

    Be careful what you wish for. There is no correlation between education and political leaning. Perhaps more useful: 1) nobody employed by the government can vote and 2) you must be a taxpayer to vote.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  5. This seems a solution, but reality proves otherwise. Who sets the standards? Just like any club (or any state board) they keep upping the standard until only 5% qualify. Then these elites will require special privileges due to their voting duties (since they must keep up with events): special pay, perks, tax breaks, pensions, days off to read ect. Those who loudly object are expelled, due to misconduct, and can no longer vote. The end result is what our century knows as a communist party. This is better than a dictatorship, and may be better than democracy, but communist parties have not been a roaring success.

    How about a simple standard, like voter ID? I estimate the number of people voting illegally in the USA to be over one million, maybe millions, mostly legal green card holders. This must be widely known by the powers that be, hence their relentless effort to ban voter ID. I can’t buy a beer without an ID or withdraw money from my bank, so why is it such a burden to produce one to prevent vote fraud? Surveys show that many foreigners with legal resident status think they have the right to vote and most think they should. So how many vote because no one checks? The billionaires prefer these “voters” because they are less educated and easily fooled by the media BS they produce.

    Fools like Jon Stewart mock those who advocate voter ID by stating the number of voter fraud convictions is tiny. Of course, if no one checks IDs it is nearly impossible to catch someone! Then our media establishment scours the nation to find some elder person who for some reason has no ID and therefore could not vote as an example of how voter ID is unjust. Every true democracy has a voter ID method, except the USA, even though the vast majority of voters think its a good idea, even if to prevent multiple voting by citizens. There is no better example of this nation’s corrupt “democracy” than the fact those in charge refuse to establish a verifiable voting system. Even former President Jimmy Carter declared that our voting system fails international standards for fair verifiable elections.

  6. Hal says:

    If people over 3 SD were in charge, either as voters or as the elected, then we might take steps to limit the population. Considering carrying capacity and overshoot, this is a good thing.

  7. Dave Pinsen says: • Website

    Best case might be for voters to have IQs of 100 or more and for elected officials to be between 120 and 145.

  8. IQ is a very poor correlate for wisdom. And what we want is wisdom first and smarts second. Visit a Mensa gathering or read their Bulletin or LinkedIn forum.

    As an earlier post said, taxpayers only should vote. Fleshing that out, it means nobody who receives more in benefits than they pay in taxes should vote. No government worker should decide on how to spend public monies. Welfare should be freely given, but require the recipient to abdicate voting as well as reproduction. This alone will essentially wipe the polls clean of illiterates and imbeciles.

    I’d add women to the list of those denied suffrage. And I like requiring voters to be married with children. Those voting for war should send their own kids first.

    • Replies: @unpc downunder
  9. WRB says:

    The right to vote is overrated. Between elections, almost nothing can be done if a politician breaks campaign promises.

    I would like to see mandatory IQ tests for politicians instead (tests should include some geography, history and economics questions as well.) The test scores would not affect eligibility, but would be made public.

  10. High intelligence is no safeguard against folly. IQs on Wall Street begin at 145, we learn. So how, exactly, is America made better by making the composition of Congress more like that of Wall Street?

    A preacher once said, “Give a thief a crowbar and he’ll break into a railroad boxcar and steal a case of wine. Give a thief a Yale law degree and he’ll steal the whole railroad.” How indeed did Ivan Boesky come from such a smart set?

    To whatever extent we suffer because of dunces in the Congress, we suffer a hundred times over because of crooks and trators in the same place.

    Note to Fred: I understand your occasional spelling errors because I know your struggles with eyesight. May I volunteer my services as a proof reader?

  11. A good proxy for all this used to be “free, male, landowner, age 21.” This could be modified to “net tax payor, landowner, age 25” and the quality of candidates would surely rise.

    IQ is not wisdom as has been pointed out but yes, people who don’t know the solar system is heliocentric or who can’t name the three branches of government should not get to vote.

  12. Truth says:


    Taxation without representation for over 100 million Americans.

    Hey, didn’t we have a war against that?

  13. pancho says:

    I would offer that this article should comprise the critical-reading text for the exam for the voting booth.

  14. Realist says:

    “For voting in federal elections, we should employ a literacy test to disenfranchise the majority of the population, to the infinite betterment of the country”

    An IQ test would work similarly But I am not a fan of Democracy.

    Of course none of this will happen….idiots will demand to vote and all politicians see this as a positive..

  15. Gene Su says:

    IQ/Intelligence can mean many different things. Allow me to propose something far better:

    We repeal EVERY single program funded by the gov’t – federal, state and local. We’ll even defund the military. Then, we have an amendment added to our Constitution: If you vote for a government program, you have to pay for it. No more elitist politicians voting for one progressive disaster after another that has to be funded by taxes paid by someone else. From now on, if you want something, you have to pay for it.
    We’ll have some sort of ballet at voting time that can track who votes for what. If you vote for welfare, you pay for that out of your pocket. If you want to give a billion dollars away to failing businesses, you can pay that yourself. If you want to fund the public (non-)education system in this country, you can pay that from your own purse.

    • Replies: @abj_slant
  16. @The Anti-Gnostic


    Being a net contributor to the government coffers would take care of most concerns about IQ, reading ability, temperament, etc. In general, net contributors will be reasonably intelligent and have a reasonable understanding of how the world works on the ground. There will be some bad eggs and, unfortunately, college professors would likely be included, but they’d be swamped by the competent.

    Of course, this will never happen. Indeed, it was tried and was slowly defeated. But it’s the right call. Actually, my guess is that one way or the other – sooner or later – the competent will regain their position. But it’s going to a bumpy ride to that destination, one that I likely won’t see in my lifetime.

  17. The fatal flaw in your argument is your implicit conflation of intelligence with character and wisdom. There are a lot of idiots with IQs three standard deviations or more to the right of the mean. You can find reasonably high densities in the vicinity of any “institution of higher learning” in this country. There are also many borderline – and not so borderline – sociopaths on this end of the bell curve. Trolling any executive washroom or watering spot will yield a rich harvest of these.

  18. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    As far as I’m concerned they can lower the voting age to ten. Why? Because you can only vote for who’s on the ballot. Remember, before they’re elected they’ve been selected. You’re asked to choose between one ventriloquist’s dummy or his other one.
    In the last ten years if voters were screened so that only mental defectives could vote there would be not one difference in any of our national policies. We’d have the same cast of characters. I wish the right to vote could be sold; I’d auction mine off to anyone anywhere as long as the amount offered made it worth my while to get out of bed.

    • Replies: @Hacienda
  19. Sean K says:

    There really is no point in considering Fred’s suggestions because none of them will happen. The trend leans towards the polar opposite; the stupid are given the vote and they outnumber the intelligent who do vote. I gave up voting years ago for this reason. My vote will be cancelled out by an illegal Mexican alien who will vote himself, and by extension, his brethren who are also here illegally, state benefits that I pay for through taxation. I’m not sure how this ends, but I can’t think of any positive scenario.
    And Fred, this makes three consecutive articles where you have not slighted negroes, what gives?

  20. weird how when I saw the title 145 I knew he was talking about IQ, without even reading the artticle

    I’m partial to restricting voting to individuals of an IQ above 130 or so an or a net worth above a certain threshold. Odds of such a plan being implemented, zero.

  21. @Jus' Sayin'...

    but there are sociopaths on the left side, too. more than 80% of serial killers have a below average IQ, as do most inmates. The people on the right side create economic value though creating technologies, companies, and research. The left side consumes and are mostly ‘takers’ . Consumer spending is important, and these people are good for Facebook and twitter, but they should have no say in how the country is run. HS dropouts, who tend to have the lowest IQs of all, vote democratic more than republican; keeping them away from the polls would help curb the growing entitlement spending problem.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  22. @The Grate Deign

    lol only a handful of examples of frauds like enron and worldcom that got huge media coverage by the left, no wonder people are mislead to think capitalism is corrupt. the problem is not capitalism, it’s the liberal media for blowing these things out of proportion. There have maybe only been 10 major accounting frauds on Wall St. in the past 25 years out of thousands of companies,

  23. @Rich

    you don’t think people of average IQ are capable of making bad decisions, too? lol.

    • Replies: @PatrickH
  24. Realist says:
    @Jus' Sayin'...

    “The fatal flaw in your argument is your implicit conflation of intelligence with character and wisdom”

    Sadly there is no test for integrity. Which is at least as important as intelligence.

    • Replies: @David
  25. JVO says:

    Wall Street starts at IQ 145? Think again. Finance, even at the top, is full of very average intellects.

    • Replies: @Sure Thing
    , @MarkinLA
  26. @JVO

    Too true. My brother is Chief Auditor of an international bank. I knew quite a few of the Young Turks/Masters of the Universe before they became corporate CEOs and the like. Most are smart but not brilliant. Much of their smarts are acquired from intensive repeated testing to get in and from experience of the system when they do , but non-system intelligence – cultural/social – is very poor, particularly in Americans.

    A handful who have very high IQs score exceptionally only on numeric
    tests, which are drawn from praxis: they can’t identify conceptual mathematical intelligence or cross-lingual competence. Even if they could, they would make on difference to good governance.

    The most effective would be drawn from the ranks of social intelligence, which correlates well with above-average IQ, but does not extend to the outliers: the top percentile tends to idiot-savants, prone to psychosis and depression and other delusions.

    So I would only use conventional IQ tests as a preliminary
    weed-out and ensued close clusters to high average, but excluding the I-S group, often mistakenly called ‘genius’.

  27. Borachio says:

    “Taxation without representation for over 100 million Americans. Hey, didn’t we have a war against that?”

    And you think we’re represented now?

    • Replies: @Truth
  28. Truth says:

    No, but the illusion created by the legal right to pretend does have value in an of itself.

  29. MarkinLA says:
    @grey enlightenment

    The people on the right side create economic value though creating technologies, companies, and research.

    Except there are probably far more of them who create very little and just push money around collecting huge salaries and bonuses.

  30. MarkinLA says:

    Wall Street starts at IQ 145

    I don’t think he really meant the IQ scale. It is 145 on the greedy, backstabbing, ruthless, sociopath scale.

  31. You are barking up the wrong tree. None of this has any chance of happening. There is a very simple and viable solution which will fuel itself to the fruition that we all desire.

    Simply start non-profit property owners associations to collectively further the interests of owners of real estate (property taxation, zoning, security, floodplains, infrastructure).

    Association voting should be by dues payers and according to property owned: a vote for each house, a vote for each 10 acres, a vote for each 100 acres, etc. or maybe according to property taxes paid. And each vote should be paid for.

    Over time this will lead naturally and inconspicuously to the complete overthrow of “one man one vote” which is the crux of the problem, the one thing that the founders sought to prevent.

    • Replies: @Sure Thing
    , @Kyle McKenna
  32. @Big Bad Wolf

    ..and re-create a land-owning aristocracy, complete with heritable privilege?

    Neo-landlordism is a huge part of the problem: in fact, it’s global.

    Try a nekkid land-grab like that – via the banksters , and it will be more than Occupy to contend with..

    Just sayin’. 😉

    • Replies: @Big Bad Wolf
  33. David says:

    There may be one. In the Righteous Mind by Haidt he describes an experiment where subjects were asked to take a side on some issue of disagreement and then compose lists of “pros and cons,” arguments for their side and arguments against. IQ was highly predictive of the number of arguments for their side but not predictive at all of arguments against.

    I review other people’s analyses of large reinsurance transactions. Naturally, underwriters that want to do a deal have lots of reasons. I always ask why they wouldn’t want to do it. I believe that intellectually honest people readily distinguish themselves by the answers they give to this question.

    • Replies: @Realist
  34. Realist says:

    Well you may have a point. But the fact that people so readily lie is a big problem.
    Your IQ (integrity quotient) test is some what subjective and an IQ (intelligence quotient) strives to be objective.

  35. AG says:

    an IQ of 145 or better

    IQ 145 represents 99.8650032777% position.

    This represent you are in those top 1 % category, or one out of 741 people can have such intelligence.

    In real life, IQ based on proffesional ranking,

    Physicians are at top. But even physicians only have a median IQ 120. Police detectives only have median IQ of average people at 100.

    Agree to have smarter people to run the nation. Just some reality check. Not many people are eligible at IQ 145. If you feel you are at 145, it is dunning-kruger effect. Do a test at legit psychologist office. Combination of scholarly test scores, educationa achievment, and wealth/income are better way to find those at above 1% intellectual talents.

  36. j says: • Website

    I propose that only married property-owner men (and women with three children) vote. Only they have true personal interest in defending the country. Even if illiterate they will vote responsibly.

  37. rod1963 says:

    I spent 20 years working with flight test aerospace engineers, maybe not as bright as Fred’s Wall Street and Silicon Valley scam artists and sociopaths but way above average. Two things I learned from them was that IQ is over rated, you can have a fine Ivy League school pedigree and a total dud in the workforce. The other was that being technically proficient didn’t translate into everyday or common-sense intelligence. A lot of these guys were helpless outside of their job. They were like a specialized breed of insect.

    Politically they were all over the place, probably worse than the AF maintainers they worked with.

    The problem with HBD – eugenics types here is that they put IQ on a pedestal thinking it the end all and be all. It’s not. They neglect culture and ethics, thinking such things belong in the trash bin of history just like the Lefties do.

    Look at all the morally bankrupt, high IQ types in Silicon Valley promoting open borders and importing foreign workers to replace Americans. Or Wall Street investors supporting trade agreements that have gutted the country economically and socially. The investment bankers generating massive speculative bubbles in real-estate and stocks and when they burst we get the bill.

    They also own Congress and the president.

    This is your high IQ’s in action. They make great decisions for themselves but that’s it. They are about as anti-social and self-absorbed as they come and damn the long term consequences. After all they can always flee to their private islands or mega yachts if things go belly up here.

    High IQ isn’t enough. Intelligence bereft of conscience and ethics makes a person nothing but a monster.

    • Replies: @Stan D Mute
  38. Hacienda says:

    Right now I encamped at a Motel 6 by the 60 Freeway where there is a constant stream of semis passing by. There are many tenants here. Old people, part timers, odd jobbers. The rent is cheap at $54 a night with free maid service done by a kind, ESL pretty Mexican service woman. The repairs are done by a mid 50’s graying, polite, crusty white guy. The utilities are paid for. It beats renting an apartment, living in the Hemet refugio and any other place east of Corona to the Atlantic Ocean.

    There is simply nothing to get out of bed, leave the Motel 6 for- least of all voting.

    • Replies: @Truth
  39. @rod1963

    All you’re telling us is that people tend to act in their own interest first. The Wall Street guy who pockets a quick ten million bonus for selling repackaged liar loans to a pension fund? The loans could have gone right, but the ten million was definitely going right for him. How do we test for character and civic-mindedness? A car hurtling down the highway and driver has a split second to decide whether to swerve and avoid certain death in form of a concrete truck or hit a small group of kids walking on the shoulder? How many times have you read of the person who jumps into the water to save a drowning victim, then later family interviews tell us the jumper couldn’t swim? He jumped to his certain death with no hope whatever of saving the original victim anyway – essentially just a suicide. How do we learn which voter will vote against his own personal interest when he believes it favors his nation? And is it a continuum? Will he vote against his interest if it costs him a nickel but not if it costs him a dime?

    Government in America today is about one thing only: taking something from one group and giving it to another. Must everything be “fair” to both sides? It seems to me that the best form of government is the one that actually does the least. How do we elect a government that just says, “No!” to every request made of it?

  40. Corvinus says:

    “have been leading us over a cliff since that smart guy from Illinois decided to make war on the South.”

    The South had made their own bed on the issue of slavery, Dick.

    “Dangerously stupid ideas are the purview of the highly intelligent.”

    So, that would include YOU, right, Harold, with the alleged 145 IQ? Or are one of the exceptions?

    “Fools like Jon Stewart mock those who advocate voter ID by stating the number of voter fraud convictions is tiny.”

    Say it with me, voter fraud does NOT exist. It is a MYTH.

    “If people over 3 SD were in charge, either as voters or as the elected, then we might take steps to limit the population. Considering carrying capacity and overshoot, this is a good thing.”

    To quote, “dangerously stupid ideas are the purview of the highly intelligent”.

    “This could be modified to “net tax payor, landowner, age 25″ and the quality of candidates would surely rise.”

    [Laughs] Would surely rise. Meaning, you may be right.

    “IQ is not wisdom as has been pointed out but yes, people who don’t know the solar system is heliocentric or who can’t name the three branches of government should not get to vote.”

    One can certainly dream.

    “We’ll have some sort of ballet at voting time that can track who votes for what.”

    You spelled “ballot” as “ballet”. According to Anti-Gnostic, you are disqualified from voting.

    “Being a net contributor to the government coffers would take care of most concerns about IQ, reading ability, temperament, etc.”

    Point of emphasis. If a person is paying taxes, regardless if it is $100 or $1,000,000, they are a net contributor. Furthermore, define “competent”. Do you fit that description, Citizen Of A Silly Country?

    “I gave up voting years ago for this reason.”

    And our country thanks you for your contribution!

    • Replies: @Truth
    , @Reg Cæsar
  41. Truth says:

    That’s OK, Ranch, half these guys don’t think you should be eligible to vote anyway.

    • Replies: @Hacienda
  42. Truth says:

    ““have been leading us over a cliff since that smart guy from Illinois decided to make war on the South.”

    Can you guys go one thread without mentioning Barry?

    • Replies: @abj_slant
  43. No one should be allowed to vote but me.

    Face it, fellow geniuses, that’s what y’all are saying.

    (For those of you with Asperger’s or an uncharacteristic lack of ability to think logically, my comment does not necessarily mean that I disagree.)

  44. No one so blankly ignorant, so mentally without furniture, so muddle-headed, limited, and barren, should be allowed within hailing range of a voting booth.

    “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” — Churchill

  45. @Big Bad Wolf

    Simply start non-profit property owners associations to collectively further the interests of owners of real estate (property taxation, zoning, security, floodplains, infrastructure).

    This is how we get Federal Flood Insurance.

    • Replies: @Big Bad Wolf
  46. @The Grate Deign

    Give a thief a Yale law degree and he’ll steal the whole railroad.” How indeed did Ivan Boesky come from such a smart set?

    Michigan State, btw.

    • Replies: @Kyle McKenna
  47. @Kyle McKenna

    Wow, it was actually called “Detroit College of Law” at the time.

  48. Hacienda says:

    I’m between houses, Truthy. The tenants, they’re not political. They’re just sweet Californians. The big flaw of Motel 6s is the air. The ventilation is awful.

  49. @Sure Thing

    Don’t react. Think it through thoroughly and carefully. Then respond.

  50. @Kyle McKenna

    Property owners are motivated toward long term responsibility. Think it through carefully.

    • Replies: @Kyle McKenna
  51. The founders sought to prevent monarchy and democracy. Democracy has crept in through the machinations of the Marxists and is currently running amok. Monarchy is lately rearing its ugly head, too. It is not likely that these two will be defeated head on. They need to be supplanted by something which doesn’t require believing. It must be a real common interest. Real estate is one. Surely it beats letting the Wall St. banksters run things.

  52. @Big Bad Wolf

    You need to visit eastern and southern coastal areas sometime. Storms are treated as lotteries you cannot lose, courtesy of the US taxpayer. You get to rebuild your vacation house bigger and better each time.

    • Replies: @Big Bad Wolf
  53. anon • Disclaimer says:

    Hey dreamers, you can cook up these fantasies but as they are not politically feasible, they will never happen.
    There is a lot of ignorance out there. However how many of them don’t vote at all, 64% voted in the ’12 election, 34% in ’14.
    IMO, make it harder to register, e.g. go down to the county office and personally fill out a form without help in English.
    Ban mail-in ballots for all but the infirm and require ID’s at the polls
    Ban “walking around money” and prosecute violators.
    Even this wouldn’t pass in Mexifornia.
    Eggheads are dangerous, nutty and liberal.

  54. @Truth

    I believe the point here is to ensure there is no representation without taxation for that 100 million, to reduce corruption and greed.

    • Replies: @abj_slant
  55. “Hey dreamers, you can cook up these fantasies but as they are not politically feasible, they will never happen.”

    And part of the reason they will never happen is too many people on the right talk about extremist solutions such as getting rid of democracy and restoring monarchy. Offering serious solutions to real world problems is the first step towards becoming a viable alternative to liberalism.

    Those who argue that raising the educational requirements of the average voter will favour liberal elites, forget that a lot of liberal power comes from being able to manipulate and exploit low IQ groups. If the low IQ people couldn’t vote that high IQ liberals wouldn’t be able to do so much political damage.

    Personally I’m in favour of doing away with political parties and directing electing government ministers or senators for particular portfolios. That way the voters could directly influence the core policies of government without the elites being able to control issues like immigration by taking them off the agenda.

  56. abj_slant says:
    @Gene Su

    We’ll have some sort of ballet at voting time…

    Not sure if that was a typo, but the mental picture it conjured seemed appropriate.

  57. abj_slant says:
    @Devil's Advocate

    I wholeheartedly agree with no representation without taxation.

    OTOH, I probably wouldn’t be eligible to vote under Fred’s plan.

  58. abj_slant says:

    I think he meant the OTHER smart guy from Illinois.

  59. PatrickH says:
    @grey enlightenment

    Of course people of average intelligence can make bad decisions. However, one of the strange results of modern intellectual meritocracies is that the people at the top tend to grow up and live in bubbles that provide little access to other ways of life.

    That’s a very recent phenomenon. Before WWII, there were remnants of an older world of inherited privilege everywhere in the Western world, even in the United States. In that kind of social system, the very intelligent might well start life as tenement dwellers, farmers, factory workers etc. They saw something of how the world worked, and what human nature actually was. Since WWII, and especially since the 1960s, our social systems have been re-sorted to put people with high IQs at the top of society – or to make it relatively easy for them to find their way there. As a result, very few high-IQ people in North America or Western Europe have the kind of knowledge of the world and of practicalities that a Lincoln might, or a George Washington Carver. The descendants of the Baby Boom usually don’t even have the experience of growing up in large families to teach them the value of sacrifice for the common good, or sharing, or saving to buy what they need.

  60. @Stan D Mute

    The problem with this list of traditionalist fantasies is that not enough people will vote for them. For a start, the working class will see this as class warfare, and good luck trying to get women to vote themselves out of power. I assume you are starting from a military dictatorship and then working back towards late 19th Century democracy.

    Realistic suggestions for restricting the franchise (some already mentioned) :

    -a voting age somewhere between 21 and 25 (which is when most people finish their formal schooling and enter the real world)
    -must speak the native language (ensured by providing voting materials and assistance in English only)
    -must be a taxpayer, military service veteran, or have a degree (weeds out illiterates and illegals, while flattering liberals and providing something for conservatives)
    -must vote in person at a voting both and provide a suitable photo ID

  61. @The Anti-Gnostic

    IQ is not wisdom as has been pointed out but yes, people who don’t know the solar system is heliocentric or who can’t name the three branches of government should not get to vote.

    In my state, two years ago, the stupid people were far more likely to understand the meaning and importance of marriage than smart people– even if they honor it in the breach. Somalis aren’t smarter than sociologists, but they’re a damned sight wiser.

  62. @Corvinus

    The South had made their own bed on the issue of slavery, Dick.

    No need to use such harsh, outdated language. Call it what it was: Multiculturalism. Diversity. Kumbayah.

    They loved Sambo, and wanted him home.

  63. During Vietnam, the argument was that if the young were old enough to die in Asia, they were old enough to vote.

    Georgia lowered the age to 18 in 1943, though I’m not sure in which election it took effect. (Yes, that means Barry Goldwater was the first candidate to carry the “boomer” vote.)

    Georgia’s mistake was lowering it for both sexes. That accomplished nothing.

    I would allow any citizen facing draft registration during the next Congress to vote. The 26-month difference in voting age between the sexes would concentrate the high-school mind on the stakes involved. It would not assume maturity, but help develop it.

    And no, this would not violate the 19th and/nor 14th Amendments. It’s based on settled law, and no one’s rights are abridged.

    • Replies: @D. K.
    , @D. K.
  64. D. K. says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    The U.S. Constitution, as currently amended, makes citizens eligible to vote for congressional offices under the same terms as the citizens of the various states are eligible to vote for the most numerous branch of their respective state legislatures. (As Justice Scalia has pointed out, no one has a constitutional right, per se, to vote for president and vice president, as the presidential and vice-presidential electors are not required to be chosen through direct elections. Formally, the sovereign states themselves, along with the District of Columbia, choose the president and the vice president, through the mechanism of the Electoral College; they are free to choose those electors in the manners they see fit.)

    I fail to see how your proposal would pass constitutional muster, under either of the amendments cited, since Selective Service registration– there is no draft, and was none even when I registered, back on November 7, 1974– is a mere statutory obligation, and federal statutes that conflict with constitutional rights are unconstitutional and invalid, at least to the degree of those conflicts, as the courts may rule. Your criterion also would make any male of that age residing in the territories of the United States, legally or not, eligible to vote, since they are subject to Selective Service registration, as far as I know, irrespective of their nationality or immigration status.

    • Replies: @D. K.
    , @Reg Cæsar
  65. D. K. says:
    @D. K.

    From the Selective Service System’s homepage:



    The Selective Service System has not now, or in the past, collected or shared any information which would indicate a man’s immigration status, either documented or undocumented. The Selective Service System has no authority to collect such information, has no use for it, and it is irrelevant to the registration requirement. Consequently, there is no immigration data to share with anyone.

    You want to protect yourself for future U.S. citizenship and other government benefits and programs by registering with Selective Service. Do it today.

    If you are a man ages 18 through 25 and living in the U.S., then you must register with Selective Service. It’s the law. According to law, a man must register with Selective Service within 30 days of his 18th birthday. Selective Service will accept late registrations but not after a man has reached age 26. You may be denied benefits or a job if you have not registered. You can register at any U.S. Post Office and do not need a social security number. When you do obtain a social security number, let Selective Service know. Provide a copy of your new social security number card; being sure to include your complete name, date of birth, Selective Service registration number, and current mailing address; and mail to the Selective Service System, P.O. Box 94636, Palatine, IL 60094-4636.

    If you have a social security number, you can register online (click here). It’s quick and easy.


  66. Nice try, you guys. Important question. Too bad we are making no progress.

  67. D. K. says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    I belatedly noticed that you had explicitly limited your “draft registration” criterion to citizens alone, and not opened it to all of those who would be required to register with the Selective Service System during the forthcoming Congress that was then being voted upon in the election at hand! Mea culpa!!

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  68. SFG says:

    Fun fact: the draft was what always made me oppose feminism. They want to be equal, but they don’t want to die in a war. Hah!

  69. @D. K.

    I specified “citizen” because illegal aliens are required to register. (“Not in violation of the law” would also bar illegals, and citizen felons as well.)

    I wouldn’t oppose allowing those non-citizens subject to registration to vote, either, were our immigration policies more selective. (Way more selective!) Many states in the 19th century allowed immigrants to vote before becoming citizens, to encourage homesteading. Needless to say, standards were higher then.

  70. @Kyle McKenna

    I understand. I just unloaded a house on Hilton Head Is. What you complain of is caused by government mandated and guaranteed insurance, something that property owners associations would not likely support. If insurance were voluntary and free market, the rates would equalize the risk reward landscape so that houses would either not be rebuilt or would be paid for by real insurance at realistic rates.

  71. @D. K.

    …and federal statutes that conflict with constitutional rights are unconstitutional and invalid, at least to the degree of those conflicts, as the courts may rule

    Ah, but this federal statute already conflicts with constitutional rights. Males and females both get the vote at 18, but the former don’t get the right to vote until 26. It’s contingent (if enforced) upon registration.

    The Supreme Court just dismissed two draft-related cases in the past couple of years, so the Justices are apparently cool with this discrepancy. I say, don’t fight it, leverage it.

    A state’s setting a male voting age of 15 years, 10 months would indeed be unconstitutional on its face. But my law would be sex-neutral on its face. Congress, not the state, created the imbalance. It’s up to them to rectify it. Which ain’t agonna happen anytime soon.

    • Replies: @D. K.
  72. D. K. says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    The sovereign states, individually, all are free to set whatever minimum age limits that they care to set for their own state and local elections, so long as they do not set those above the eighteenth birthday of their respective citizens (due to the 26th Amendment, ratified in 1971). Whatever the qualifications are, age-wise and otherwise, for the electors of each state’s most numerous branch of its own legislature, those electors also are thereby eligible to vote in all federal elections held within their respective federal legislative districts, for U.S. representatives, U.S. senators, and state electors to the Electoral College.

    Why you wish to find a way to make teenage boys eligible to vote at any earlier age than teenage girls– who mature earlier than boys– is beyond me, unless it is for the simple partisan reason that boys are more likely, overall, to vote for your party than girls would be!?! Selective Service registration seems, to me, to be an odd criterion to add to voter qualifications, since there is no actual draft that puts such boys at any genuine risk of having to fight a future war, as conscripts, while exempting similarly aged girls, who are exempted from Selective Service registration– more as a social anachronism than from anything else, I should think.

    As for contingencies to exercising the franchise, it is always contingent on other conditions, such as legal competence and not being a felon. I do not think that your choice would prevail, consitutionally or politically, in this day and age, regardless.

    I was able to start voting, legally, about six months before my 18th birthday. In Indiana, at least back then, in 1974, we 17-year-old minors were eligible to vote in primary elections, as long as we would (the gods willing) turn 18 on or before the date of that year’s general election.

  73. orly says:

    i like the idea about saddam.
    purge all republicans from the voting list.
    its a start…

  74. AnAnon says:

    a federal judge recently shot down a requirement for partyless voting(IE you have to remember the name of the candidate you want to vote for) in, I think NC, on the basis that it violated the voting rights act or some such. If that is unacceptable, you can forget any other attempt to limit the franchise based on common sense.

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