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Response to OneTenthofOnePercent (Reply #33)

Thu Aug 9, 2012, 11:56 AM

45. If stupid people are the problem...

 

then it's pretty stupid to think the Electoral College is a solution.

It is true that the Dead Men of 1787 conceived the EC as a means for allowing electors (who would presumably be among the "better sort" to make their own decisions, even against their original pledges. In practice, however, cases of electors voting against their original appointment are extremely - extremely - rare. We're talking like one or two in the last century. There is no deliberation or substantive decision-making or sense of uncertainty in the proceedings of the EC. Electors vote for their original candidate. The EC results are predetermined by the election night counts. The electors themselves wouldn't even need to show up. Thus cases when the EC system yields a different result than the popular vote have been arbitrary. If ever there was a case when the EC should have taken seriously its supposed original function of providing a check on tyranny or mass incompetence, it would have been in 2000, when the demonstrably stupidest candidate in recent memory emerged the winner, not because of the popular vote, but because of the arbitrary mathematics of the EC.

Otherwise, as an intelligent person I'd urge you to reconsider how you consider "stupid." There isn't a single functioning definition of the concept, and there is no invisible ranking of every human being on the planet from number-one-smartest to number-seven-billion-dumbest, so that you can make statements about "the law of statistics" (?) dictating that "half of everybody else is more stupid than that." (Also, if you care for the discipline of statistics, you need to start respecting the difference between average and median, which are among its most fundamental axioms.)

If the "average person" is really "stupid" at a given time, then you also have to wonder what the society is about.

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