Only Surfin’ for Procrastinatory Links

18 Oct

NPR’s Weekend America just aired an interesting segment on the problem of ignorant American voters. Apparently,

Only two out of five Americans can name the three branches of the federal government. Only one in seven can find Iraq on a map. A majority don’t know the name of their Congressional representative.

The ignorant voter problem has bothered me since I first took an interest in politics. I think it’d be interesting to work out the various problems, both philosophical and practical, that it poses to democracy in general and American democracy in particular — what can be done to mitigate it? would a more informed voting population mean a decline in demagoguery? (I don’t think, as one contributor suggested, that we should impose qualifying exams for voting rights, since this has historically been a tactic of oppression against poor and deprived groups.) I encourage anyone familiar with relevant literature to submit recommendations in the comments thread.

Also:

Gadflies Slavoj Zizek and Christopher Hitchens endorse Obama.

Hitchens and Chris Mathews talk electoral politics on Halloween, 2000. It’s hard to believe that eight years ago, third party candidates (Buchanan, Nader) received attention on major network political talk shows. Who’s talking about Nader today? Yet another reason why that (fraudulent) Republican victory was a major political tragedy–it dealt a crippling, retrograding blow to the viability of a serious 3rd party left.

And lastly, dancing Sifaka.

Enjoy your Saturday.

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