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Originally Posted by Redrum View Post
american puritans and the various protestant offshoots that composed the bulk of the american populace during its formative years heavily emphasized reading the bible for yourself instead of relying on a cleric to do it for you, and as such the average protestant in 18th century europe (or america) was a whole lot more literate than say his catholic or orthodox counterpart.

but then again i wouldn't exactly consider literacy a sign of general intelligence or awareness of issues anyway. there are plenty of people out there who know how to read yet couldn't tell their foot from their ass otherwise, so using literacy rates as a gauge for how knowledgeable or educated a population isn't very useful anyway. literacy rates in america are above 90%, yet how many people are capable of discussing politics, economics, and general policy on a level beyond repeating what they hear on MSNBC or fox news...not very many...
Literacy is a prerequisite for an informed citizenry. Necessary but not sufficient, etc etc. People today are far less than ideally informed, but at least they possess the tools to become so. This was not the case in the old days. Even if people could wade through the Bible, there simply wasn't access to information on anything like the level we understand today. You'd be lucky to see a couple dozen books in your lifetime, much less a daily newspaper, much less instantaneous feeds of news from the whole fucking world.
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even if you discount this and continue with the claim that people were a whole lot less informed or educated in the 18th century they still as a rule were a lot more involved in local politics 200 years ago than they are now.
What are you basing that on, exactly? I can imagine people being more involved in village politics simply as a matter of necessity.

I've got a million people in my county these days, so it's a lot harder to stay up on local political issues that it would have been 200 years ago. With increases in communication and the movement of political power up the line, it's mostly trivial shit happening at the local level anyway. If I was a lifer here I might care, but the state and national stuff affects me a lot more right now.
Old 12-15-2011, 12:17 PM Gibonius is offline  
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Originally Posted by Gibonius View Post

What are you basing that on, exactly? I can imagine people being more involved in village politics simply as a matter of necessity.

just the fact that it was so much more decentralized. people had a much larger voice in politics at a local level simply because the federal government didn't matter all that much back then. having a much larger say in local politics while being relatively ignorant of what was happening in dc is arguably better then being completely aware of everything DC is up to but having no say at all.
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Old 12-15-2011, 12:37 PM Redrum is offline  
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Originally Posted by JCviggen View Post
Check your math.

There's what, 300 million people in America? The 4 largest ones combined barely add up to 1/3rd of the population and no candidate or party is going to get anywhere near 100% in them. And many of the "empty" states get bare minimum/no campaining under the current system anyway, not much to lose there.
three major states have been locks for either of the two parties for a very long time now. as a result they become a lot less relevant in presidential elections, and all of the campaigning switches to the "swing" states.


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You appear to be assuming gigantic cultural and political differences across state lines which for most of them simply isn't the case. You can connect large blocs on the map that aside from the state's name are extremely similar in all relevant aspects.
there is a massive cultural divide between the general geographic regions of the united states, the most obvious being a comparison of the south to the new england area. so much so they might as well be different countries.
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I still see no reasonable defense to give "minorities" more voting power to compensate for their numbers. But they're not even minorities they just happen to have a state name with few residents behind it.
the idea is that the states are to be united under equal footing. again, it prevents smaller states from being completely irrelevant. granted, they're still mostly irrelevant, but it's better than being completely ignored. the senate does a lot to prevent them from becoming completely ignored as well. while i don't think live in wyoming and probably never will, and thus having nothing to gain from them being granted equal representation, i still think they shouldn't be completely ignored on a national/federal level.
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Anyway, all this discussion about the EC is a bit of a red herring. The biggest improvement would probably be to divide the states' electoral votes proportionally. Because there are no huge ideological differences between most of the states I don't think the EC makes that much of a difference in itself to the outcome. The "winner takes all" principle is a far bigger flaw.
i'd agree with this. alternative or proportional vote is far superior. but i still think the electoral college is superior to direct democracy when it comes to electing a head of state, especially in a country that still supposed to be decentralized and more about local governments and less about a strong centralized one, like america (at least in theory anyway).
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Old 12-15-2011, 12:41 PM Redrum is offline  
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