2010 August 29 Sunday
Razib On Stupidity In Democracy

Razib gives Mitt Romney about a 30 point IQ edge over Sarah Palin. If she's at 115 then that'd put him at 145. Anyone got a way to quantify their IQs?

Kingmaker: Why Sarah Palinís Endorsements Really Are That Big A Deal vs. Romneyís Problem in a Nutshell. I estimate that Mitt Romneyís IQ is around two standard deviations above Sarah Palinís. Thatís democracy.

Mitt's too smart to get elected President. I hear "We are DEVO, D-E-V-O".

Here's what's sad: Sarah, by making babies (excepting the Downs one), raised the average IQ in America. Women as smart as her should make more babies. Her kids are smarter than the average IQ in America.

I suspect there's an optimal IQ range for voters. Too low and they haven't a clue about what's happening. Too high and they tend to embrace impractical complex theories that are untethered from real life. Maybe voters with IQs in the range 120-130 would vote in the best leaders. Or maybe 115-125.

Giving the voting franchise to the masses was obviously a mistake. We need to figure out how to cut back on the voting power of the masses. How to do it?

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2010 August 29 10:30 PM  Democracy Failure


Comments
OneSTDV said at August 30, 2010 1:52 AM:

"Giving the voting franchise to the masses was obviously a mistake. We need to figure out how to cut back on the voting power of the masses. How to do it?"

Expand felon voting ban to misdemeanors. Difficult English-language test. Anything other than that I can't see happening, though I haven't thought too hard about this particular subject.

OneSTDV said at August 30, 2010 1:53 AM:

Oh ban anyone on welfare too.

ASPIRANT said at August 30, 2010 2:05 AM:

I don't think you can really quantify something like this in terms of IQ. It is a pretty good gut feeling way of qualifying your idea, but you're putting more scientific weight behind it than is justified. You're getting full of yourself.

CamelCaseRob said at August 30, 2010 5:40 AM:

I've seen John F. Kennedy's IQ listed as 117, virtually the same as Palin's.

Mr M said at August 30, 2010 7:29 AM:

ONESTDV has some good ideas, but with the hyperaggressive prescutors out there, I disagree with expanding the felon ban to misdemeanor offenders. People get arrested for taking pictures of cops now. Revoking voting rights for those on welfare (non-retirement SS) would be powerful in prventing the US from bcoming the UK, and possibly an incentive to get off welfare.

Black Death said at August 30, 2010 7:55 AM:

I've often felt that giving everyone the right to vote was a big mistake. Inevitably, the people at the lower end of the scale want to vote themselves bigger shares of the pie, and pretty soon the pie is all gone. And who wants to bake a pie when those who have contributed nothing to its making get to gobble it up? For that reason, I think the franchise should be limited to those who are net contributors to the cost of government. People who take out more than they put in, such as government employees, welfare recipients, farmers who get subsidies, those who subsist on Social Security, employees of firms that live off government contracts, etc., would not be allowed to vote in my fantasy world. I would exempt only military veterans, who clearly have earned the right. The poll tax might have been a way to approximate this, but it's unconstitutional. Too bad. But it's interesting to speculate as to how high such a tax should be set if it were permissible. How much should it cost to vote? $100? $1000? $10000? Higher?

Dave Gore said at August 30, 2010 8:48 AM:

High IQ doesn't equate to leadership ability or even rational policies. People don't praise George Washington for his intelligence or curse Hitler for his low IQ. Palin is smart enough that her leadership traits come into play.

Mthson said at August 30, 2010 8:51 AM:

Could Palin really be at 115? I like her, but she clearly seems to be not a reader or a thinker.

In most professions, an IQ of 115 would make you relatively elite: http://www.iqcomparisonsite.com/Occupations.aspx

Many politicians are just figureheads, but I'm sure she relies more on aids than most.

kurt9 said at August 30, 2010 9:10 AM:

You guys need to forget about Romney. He was the architect of the Massachusetts health care reform, which is now imploding.

no said at August 30, 2010 9:37 AM:

Would you rather have someone leading with an IQ of 110 who was a friend and ally or someone with an IQ of 155 who was a arch globalist traitor?

There's far more to this than IQ, its about motivation, loyalty and heart.

Support Ron Paul.

James Bowery said at August 30, 2010 10:47 AM:

Randall asks: "We need to figure out how to cut back on the voting power of the masses. How to do it?"

Merge democracy and the market.

Mercer said at August 30, 2010 11:53 AM:

Romney's problem is the gulf in ideology between the MA general electorate and GOP primary voters.

"Sarah, by making babies (excepting the Downs one), raised the average IQ in America. Women as smart as her should make more babies. Her kids are smarter than the average IQ in America."

What evidence is there her kids have above average brains? She has two that are old enough for college but have not attended college. That tells me they are likely not above average.

Dog of Justice said at August 30, 2010 1:02 PM:

I think Heinlein had it right regarding the franchise: while it should be universal in the sense that anyone can earn it, it should be restricted to those who have demonstrated real commitment to the society's continuation.

What evidence is there her kids have above average brains? She has two that are old enough for college but have not attended college. That tells me they are likely not above average.

Her husband's IQ is plausibly lower than hers.

Dave in Seattle said at August 30, 2010 2:37 PM:

Limit voting to married people. Limit voting to people not collecting welfare or social security. Limit voting to people who don't work for the government. Limit voting to people who pay income taxes. If I could only choose one I would say that being married is a pretty good indicator of fitness and such a restriction might be supported by the bulk of the population. Of course the communists don't want to limit the franchise, they want to give voting rights to non-citizens and felons.

kurt9 said at August 30, 2010 3:50 PM:

If I could only choose one I would say that being married is a pretty good indicator of fitness and such a restriction might be supported by the bulk of the population.

No, limit the franchise either to those who pay income tax and/or who are not on any public support. More narrowly, it could be limited to those who file "schedule C" as part of their 1040. Marriage is a far less measure of economic productivity than the payment of income taxes.

gordon-bennett said at August 30, 2010 5:50 PM:

Here are a couple of ideas:

1. You get one vote for each dollar of tax (net of benefits) you pay.

2. Everyone gets 1 vote but can get 1 extra vote for each of these conditions:
* married for 25 years;
* raising 1 or more children to age 15 without police intervention;
* being a graduate in a proper subject such as Maths or Hard Science from an approved college;
* lived/worked abroad for 2 or more years;
* taxable income over (say) $100,000 pa.

In short, the more closely you resemble the ideal citizen then the more votes you get.

OneSTDV said at August 30, 2010 6:33 PM:

"Would you rather have someone leading with an IQ of 110 who was a friend and ally or someone with an IQ of 155 who was a arch globalist traitor?"

That's exactly why I DON'T support Ron Paul. Liberaltarians are one step away from globalists:

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20014453-503544.html

Regarding opposition the Ground Zero Mosque, Paul said:

"This is all about hate and Islamaphobia," he argues.

Randall Parker said at August 30, 2010 6:38 PM:

Mercer,

Average IQ in this country is 97. For people who are below age 20 the average IQ is even lower. Really, her kids are in all likelihood above average for their age cohort.

You can have an IQ of 105 and not attend college and yet be a half standard deviation above average.

It is hard to internalize just how dumb the masses are. Half are below 97 IQ and below the age of 20 half are probably below 95 or 94.

gordon-bennett,

I like the idea of earning more votes. It has a much more positive spin on it than taking away votes. It would be harder to take away voting franchise than it would be to give extra votes to people who have, say, become military officers or paid more than X dollars total in taxes.

Dave in Seattle,

It would be futile to wage a direct assault on old folks collecting Social Security. Any modification of the voting franchise has got to be done in ways that won't trigger a big counter-reaction.

How about this: Raise the voting age to 25. But someone who serves in the military gets to start voting sooner after 1 year's service and gets to continue to vote sooner as long as they complete their tour of duty.

Dave in Seattle said at August 30, 2010 7:06 PM:

You could also move election day to Saturday and give income tax payers a 2% rebate if they vote.

Stephen said at August 30, 2010 8:04 PM:

Here's my idea: Only women get the franchise (being more community oriented and longer term thinkers than males).

Seriously.

Mike said at August 30, 2010 8:20 PM:

Two voting requirements:

1. must speak English (ie, no voting information supplied in other languages)

2. must have passed High School English and Social Studies, or, must own some real estate.

Basically the idea is to weed out the bottom 20 percent in income and IQ terms, and balance out the conservatives and liberals. Giving extra votes to people who have made significant contributions to society is also a good idea. examples: being a JP, soldier, cop or employer gives you the right to an extra vote. I certainly don't support the idea of giving the vote based purely on property ownership, as I don't like the idea of anti-white, free market, open borders libertarian types deciding immigration or trade policy.

Also, as the Russians found out to their cost in 1917, a high IQ liberal without a vote or a stake in society can turn into a very dangerous Marxist. The key to containing them is to buy them off with low-paid stable employment (security is more important to liberals than high wages) and deny them political access to the underclass.

Abelard Lindsey said at August 30, 2010 8:25 PM:

Here's my idea: Only women get the franchise (being more community oriented and longer term thinkers than males).

Seriously.

http://www.cato-unbound.org/2009/04/13/peter-thiel/the-education-of-a-libertarian/

"I stand against confiscatory taxes, totalitarian collectives, and the ideology of the inevitability of the death of every individual."

Men tend to have a greater commitment to these values than women.

Seriously.

Mthson said at August 30, 2010 8:49 PM:

Peter Thiel (in the above link) is right, as usual. The main reason society shifted to the left in the 20th century was giving women an equal say in how to run society and increasing the NAM portion of society, both of whom skew liberal.

not too late said at August 30, 2010 10:47 PM:

voting rights

how about

male, 21, property owner

just common sense

James Bowery said at August 30, 2010 11:15 PM:

Well, not that _that_ question is resolved, lets move on to the next great question...

PS: Thanks for that public service, Randall.

Dave in Seattle said at August 30, 2010 11:32 PM:

As far as giving women the vote, there was a comment on the Business Insider web site from a woman when Scott Brown became the new senator from Massachusetts: "He's so handsome I wish I could drive to Massachusetts right now and vote for him." I thought that comment summed up how women vote pretty well.

Stephen said at August 31, 2010 2:42 AM:

The problem is that we're looking at providing incentives to encourage certain types of people to vote, but really we should be imposing disincentives so that votes a properly valued. Something like: every citizen who votes for a candidate is levied extra income tax to help pay for every spending bill yea'd by that candidate. An advantage of this system is that we have clear economic signals combined with a feedback loop: eg a citizen's vote has a personal consequence because the citizen is financially liable for the candidate's legislative actions, while the candidate must restrain his natural inclination to spend taxpayer money because the citizens won't vote for him next time if he doesn't spend it wisely.

Matra said at August 31, 2010 9:36 AM:

Raise the voting age to 25. But someone who serves in the military gets to start voting sooner

being a JP, soldier, cop or employer gives you the right to an extra vote.

Why should some civil servants, particularly those in the military, get special treatment? I don't see much of a difference between a social worker and a soldier who is engaged in nation-building in Haiti, Somalia, Afghanistan, or any of the other places where the US engages in nation-building.

dearieme said at September 1, 2010 7:15 AM:

Deny the vote to anyone under 35, over 70 or in government employment.

no i don't said at September 1, 2010 2:42 PM:

"Giving the voting franchise to the masses was obviously a mistake."

Well... maybe. Democracy is utopical and doesn't really exist in practice. There's no such a thing as "the will of the people" or "the voice of the people" The populace is blind in any system, so when multitudes move so determined in one way.... whatch out!

What political system is desired? It all depends if its purpose is to serve the people or the system itself.
So... since a neo-orwellian oligarchic colectivism could easily last hundreds of years if started now, I'd rather stick to our fragile pseudo-democracy. Big Brother could become very big, but maybe not very brotherly...

Randall Parker said at September 1, 2010 6:05 PM:

The one group I'd give preference to for voting: Cops. They confront the worst humans. They understand how bad the worst humans are.

So let me put it this way: Which occupations have people doing them who see life most clearly?

Randall Parker said at September 1, 2010 6:07 PM:

dearieme,

Deny the vote to:

1) People who can't read at a 10th grade level.

2) Convicted felons.

3) People on the dole. Unemployment, food stamps, Social Security, welfare all should revoke for voting.

4) Yes, government employees. I'd make an exception for cops though. Ditto for prison guards.

WJ Alden said at September 3, 2010 12:18 PM:

Instead of "one man, one vote" (perhaps the dumbest idea ever invented) I'd propose a point-scale voting system. You start with three votes. Subtract one for those who receive welfare or social security. Subract all for convicted felons. Add one for military vets, for combat vets, for being a high school graduate, for being a college graduate, and for passing a basic civics test (which would mean the ability to read); also add another for being a native born citizen, and another for each parent who was a native born citizen; add one for being a parent.

Yes, everyone sans convicted felons should have a say in how they are governed. That does not mean we should have an equal say. The concept of "equity" should have a role.

That's the basic idea, though I'm not saying that's the precise point system we should use.

And yes, I know this will never happen. That doesn't mean that it shouldn't happen, but it's about as likely as reading tests or poll taxes.

WJ Alden said at September 3, 2010 12:33 PM:

BTW, Romney as candidate is probably done for. I can only say probably because Republican voters are very "good" about voting for the perceived establishment candidate, which benefits Romney; and because Romney is still a very smart man.

The problem with him, as candidate and as leader, is that he has shown himself to be nothing more than a country club, business wing, establishment figure. He endorsed all the right establishment candidates in their primaries - McCain in Arizona, Bennett in Utah, etc. His health care project in Massachusetts is imploding, but he refuses to acknowledge it was an error. I now realize he would do absolute zilch to do anything to enforce our immigration laws.

It's a bummer, because I supported him in 2008 and still think he's the smartest candidate we've got. But he's not the leader we need. We need someone willing to rock the boat, willing to disregard the MSM. He's not that guy.

no i don't said at September 4, 2010 2:20 PM:

What good is it to have intelligent voters, if all the choices suck big time, whether reps or dems...

no i don't said at September 4, 2010 2:30 PM:

"The one group I'd give preference to for voting: Cops."

Hey, that's a good one Randall! And, they could even be immediately followed in line by mall-guards...

We finally got some humor needed so much around here.

It seems that you have a sense of humor and sharp sarcasm after all Randall. I like it.

Cheers!

WJ Alden said at September 5, 2010 12:05 PM:

"What good is it to have intelligent voters, if all the choices suck big time, whether reps or dems?"

Perhaps the choices suck because the voters are dumb?

no i don't said at September 8, 2010 2:35 PM:

"Perhaps the choices suck because the voters are dumb?"

Hmmm, perhaps, but that would be the same as saying "every people deserve their own government" which of courese is false. Remember Bush's first victory?


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