If policies are promoted that people actually like as opposed to barely resent, they'll start reading and talking and you won't hear the end of it.
Local elections directly affect people. Local boards and councils set tax rates and allocate money to schools, police, fire and other public services. Local elections often are covered extensively by local newspapers. Yet voter turnout often is quite low. Why?
I think people get more interested if there are ways for them to have an effect on outcomes or if they can see people they know doing things. I'm sort of embarrassed, but I joined an organization pushing for instant runoff voting in MA thanks to a friend convincing me to try it out (and I want it to happen!), but I hadn't heard from them since that introduction. Without a friend there, it's difficult for me to work up the courage to go time and time again as I'm kind of introverted.
The idea is that only the knowledgeable vote. If you do not feel confident that you have a good grasp on political issues, your vote dilutes the signal sent by those less ignorant.
Encouraging ignorant voters to vote is often the visible part of the propaganda iceberg, the kind of politics we have increasingly witnessed in most of the Western world in the last two decades and that used to be the preserve of third world dictatorships.
You then see elections via mud-slinging and highly visible non-issues taking on most of the mindshare, and the media is captured by interest groups who need it to hijack a larger percentage of the vote. It is harmful to the fabric of society as all sides of the political debate become vote harvesting machines and the citizenry is radicalised and encouraged not to reason about issues  .
"A free society gives its citizens the right to vote but that right should come with the responsibility to not abuse that right by voting ignorantly." 
 https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-me-care/ - "the research [...] found that college students’ self-reported empathy has declined since 1980, with an especially steep drop in the past 10 years. [...] during this same period students’ self-reported narcissism has reached new heights"
Government is also often as convoluted as possible, artificially increasing the cost. I just don't see how this argument makes sense.
Perhaps in that the alternative is even worse, but then that's not a great argument either, in part because even if people are paying attention, I don't think most people have the intelligence to understand the complexity of the world, especially when the government is lying to them.
I saw firsthand the affect that engagement has. A group of self interested people were going to build a library in a way that was bad for the community. We mobilized a small group of neighbors and were able to get a much better outcome.
As people realize the majority does not rule, they are choosing to not waste their time. When someone has spent the last 30+ years watching politicians sell their future so so business and the rich can concentrate even more wealth, why should they bother participating in Democracy Theater?
Call these people lazy at your own risk. Far too many people are sitting right at the homeless/hungry threshold that can trigger rebellions/uprisings. We are dangerously close a critical mass of people deciding that "The Hamptons are not a defensible position."
 Actual policy changes correlate well with the preferences of the economic elite. The average citizen's preferences have almost no correlation to the same policy changes.
I don't say that with any malice. I'm among the ranks of the lazy too unless I'm pissed off about something! Try sitting through a city council or school board meeting -- it's awful.
That points to a particularly brittle concept of democracy that needs to change.
Voters shouldn't have to gain a national consensus to feel like their party or idea actually matters.
> We are dangerously close a critical mass of people deciding that "The Hamptons are not a defensible position.
I think this may be right, but the question is, will the US military shoot its own citizens? If a few things go the wrong way in the next decade or two, I think we're going to find out. Rather than stocking up on more guns and ammo, I think enthusiasts should make sure they have helmets, body armor, and some sort of a means of communication.
There is actually evidence that they wouldn't. Soldiers tend to actually take things like their oath to defend the constitution seriously. They also tend to get actual training... unlike the police, who already shoot a disgusting number of people each year.
Stocking up on guns is a somewhat outdated tactic, and everybody loses if this turns into a shooting war. We are far too interdependent; loss of even "insignificant" amounts of infrastructure can easily have a "trigger effect" that cascades across the remaining infrastructure.
That's a significant part of the problem. We need to learn to avoid tribalism/factionalism asap. Most people can discuss specific issues, but when a group identification becomes part of the foundation for your identity, disagreement becomes an insult. We're seeing a lot of this now, unfortunately.
 individual circumstances will vary
100% agree, but good luck when a multibillion dollar media machine pushes exactly that. Most of the "enlightened" people I know get their news from The Daily Show and comparable sources.
I was responding to what I thought was a conception of democracy as "majority rules", which is a simplistic and dangerous notion of democracy.
What you are describing is something I do not understand. For example, how is Education Secretary Betsy Devos' advocacy for for-profit charter schools and vouchers not a direct representation of the ideas held by a large majority in her party?
That doesn't really matter, organized soldiers always slaughter an untrained rabble. The armed wacko thing is all about intimidating the police and their fellow citizen in a time of disorder.
How do you know? I'm not an armed wacko, but I am generally of the belief that the US government primarily serves corporate interests and the upper class and that democracy is mostly theater.
A not-insignificant number of people that I grew up are in that worldview. It's incredibly frightening.
Generally, there's a reason people don't do things you expect them to do: they may be occupied with something else, don't see the point, etc.
Elections in cities are never decided by exactly one vote; if they were, they would certainly go to a court and the court would decide anyway.
That means that I know whether I choose to go to the polls or not, it won't affect the outcome. Now, of course, if a whole demographic realizes this and doesn't vote, it does swing the election. However, when I am sitting at home deciding whether to vote or not, I am not deciding for a whole demographic; I am just deciding whether I as an individual will vote.
I might get downvoted, because the idea that our individual vote doesn't really matter goes against everything we are taught in democracies. We REALLY want to believe our vote matters, and as a whole, it DOES. We want everyone to vote, it allows our democracy to function. So we tell ourselves little lies that our vote AS AN INDIVIDUAL matters.
Deep down, though, we know it doesn't, so many people decide to stay home.
It's like people who say that their individual choices won't help fight climate change, so they won't change their habits. A lot of people do that, then nothing happens and the problem just gets worse.
Well why not have them read the "Science and Technology" section and talk about that with their friends? How is sports, which has a negligible direct impact on your life, seen as more relevant than reading the "Health" section? And the problem isn't just sports. The crime section is just as guilty, reading about most crimes in no one serves to keep me safe.
Health section is about what you should do, about learning that one more of your favorite food is unhealty, about one ml ore expensive healthy food you should buy to cleans yourself. So it is nagging combined with incinsitent half-science.
I like the sound of that but at the same time it gets tricky when you have a legal system that stands up for the rights of everyone, including people that you, they or I don't like. Look at the civil rights movement in the 1950's and 1960's, the current LGBT rights movements or the debates about civil rights as they pertain to Muslims. There's a plurality of citizens that would gladly chastise these groups or violate their rights in other ways such as putting them under constant surveillance or restrictions due to their religion, race or sexuality but that is incongruous with a society that holds all individuals are to be treated the same and only held to account when their actions violate a law, not before.
I'm a bigger believer that the problem is cultural when, especially in American society, we started to hold that feelings mattered far more than thought. Debate began to get watered down and the winner was not the person who could show their position reflected what was objectively true and morally correct but instead who could virtue signal the loudest and express their grievance in the most emotional manner possible. It's always 'dream this', 'dream that', 'as an American it is your God-given right to' or 'America is the best nation in the world and there's nothing we can't do' but almost never 'here are the facts about issues the Americans are facing and here are some reasonable ideas about what we can do about it. Let's discuss what you think about it'.
Politicians are very in-tuned with what people want to hear and they do tell them what they want to hear. Even worse, pundits know what people want to hear and actually have an influence on the opinions of their listeners and they'll be damned if they'll let facts and honesty get in the way of their ratings, wealth and access.
America needs to start fostering a culture where they stop equating feelings and sense of self-worth with reality before we can really start discussing how giving primers on good policy will make a difference. Until that happens it's just a waste of oxygen, ink or electricity.
Emotions matter for most people, including the people who claim they don't, that's just the reality. I don't know why it's fashionable among folk who prefer intellectual pursuits to discard emotions so much.
Emotion is the root of all action and social interaction. It's also why I or anyone else chooses to pursue anything intellectual. But that doesn't justify manipulating the emotions for destructive and self-serving purposes. I consider deliberately flattering people and dealing in overly simplistic platitudes to foresake intellectual honesty and reinforce their bias because they consider it comfortable to qualify as destructive and self-serving.
People are generally fairly reluctant to challenge their own biases. There are some reasons for that, but this doesn't represent some abnormal pendulum swing.
Same for manipulating emotions for self-serving purposes.
This isn't a problem with emotions, it's a problem with incentives, and, well, corruption. Something like this can actually be very, very rational.
If people are acting in self-serving and self-preserving ways that's a fairly clear message that they do not feel terribly safe and do not trust the systems around them to accept their mistakes.
I don't think they're wrong.
Most people on this site are aware that objectivity and not caving to their own bias isn't easy and, more or less, requires constant effort and that is the same kind of effort that should be promoted amongst the public at large.
As almost anybody here could tell you, just because something feels true certainly does not make it true but we seem to relish a culture that seems to believe that person's emotions should never be challenged and doing so is merely cruel rather than, at times, necessary.
Just because confronting bias is hard to do, and may hurt someone's feelings, doesn't mean that that bias should be ignored, or worse promoted. I'm not talking about whether or not conservatives, liberals, libertarians or whoever else is right but instead challenging the notion that what we need to promote more civic engagement is to tell people what is going on in the country and the world in a manner they want to hear it. What we should be doing is telling people what is going in the world and country in a manner that actually is and at the same time the public needs to be calling out demagogues for what they are and understanding why they are dangerous.
Disparaging others with the intention of trying to show your own value and grandstanding with no intention of actually refuting someone else's argument, isn't debate either.
"Goddamned priveleged white males will never understand oppression like us."
"Liberalism is a mental disease amongst emotionally unstable snowflakes who can't think clearly like conservatives."
I know many people are above talking like that but it's not uncommon. If someone is willing to talk like that to you because you disagree with them do you really think they're going to take any interest in what you have to say that would contradict their views?
— Isaac Asimov
Currently that form is in disuse, so if being born nowdays it would be just José Ortega Gasset, although people could formally/informally use "José Ortega y Gasset", "José de Ortega y Gasset", or even "José Ortega i Gasset" (in case of being written in texts in Catalan, instead of Spanish, a form that is still in use in some Spanish regions having the Catalan/Valencian in addition to the Spanish).
Learning history can serve as another example.
Ignoring the disagreeable parts of reality may be pleasant as long as reality's ignoring you back, but when it presents real dangers, ignorance is a recipe for getting into real trouble more effectively.
Of course, being dead is an incredibly effective way of avoiding one's personal inconveniences too, but for some reason we don't seem to lionize that to anywhere near the same extent...
This or, rather, the theory of having never existed in the first place, is, indeed, a very interesting subject, but in the context of the present discussion it can only be taken for what is known as a "strawman argument".
Not at all. I'm sure if you make a sincere effort you could, for instance, find a way to take it as a (little-needed) reductio ad absurdum.
Moreover, with the way you run your discussion here you are hardly in a position to throw stones with regard to disingenious argumentation.
You're uncomfortably close to trolling, so if you're seriously making an argument for this position wholesale, which I find doubtful, ease off on the equivocation and cherry-picked examples and keep a civil discussion with the other commenters.
Not only does that mak me happy, because I'm an American I figure more is better. I'm currently trying to breed them with 14 legs
I'd also highly recommend Sertillanges on the intellectual life: http://a.co/91XX11G
America's golden years were right after WW2, with the creation of the Bretton Woods system. But since the Nixon shock, the US dollar depends on exclusive deals to retain a relative value to other currencies. e.g: convincing oil exporting countries to only sell their oil in dollars and buying US treasury bonds.
But as these deals become redundant (e.g: as oil becomes less necessary), the US dollar will lose value, and so will things valued in dollars (e.g: savings, wages, etc).
Unless the US finds another way to keep the US dollar afloat, printing more dollars to subsidize the economy will stop helping and the US will lose its privileged position in the world, which this generation takes for granted.
I'm (nominally) a professional, and somewhat educated, but I honestly question whether I can actually read. There are plenty of things written in good English that I cannot read. Many articles in The Journal Nature, most prose written before about 1850, technical books written in other than encyclopedic form...
Come on. We cannot all be members of the intellectual elite. And I'm not being facetious because of a few mentally disabled people. Half the population has an IQ below 100. Let that sink in for a moment. There are (more or less) innate IQ differences and some people excel at intellectual tasks while others do not and actually cannot as a matter of the body they possess. Just ask any school teacher: There are bright kids who get things easily and quickly get ahead and others who cannot progress even if they put in all the hard work and hours they can.
This entire piece seems like Asimov is salty because not everyone is an intellectual. Well, too bad, there are people who enjoy a simple life without the sorrows that come with being an intellectual.
I'm going to quote a junior high school mate, because what he said nearly 25 years ago still rings true. For background: Finland has mandatory conscription military service. Every year you get an honest cross-cut of the entire population.
The sentence you used highlights a real fact, but it leaves it without context. What I'm going to say next is guaranteed to be both insensitive and politically incorrect, but I believe it has to be said.
As my mate said: If you think about the "average" person, with an IQ of 100, you should also realise just how dumb that person appears to you. Sit down and take a deep breath. Half the population is, by definition, dumber than that.
While in the military service, I learned this the hard way. I saw enough people who had trouble tying their showlaces, let alone the ability to hold a constructive argument. And like everyboby else in the military, everyone of them was given an assault rifle and live ammunition within 96 hours of starting their service. That gives a whole new meaning to fear.
The only thing separating some these individuals from Gomer Pyle was the lack of psychosis. (When I became a medic, I met those too. We had to provide them with hard prescription drugs to keep them subdued and maintain a suicide watch to make sure they could be escorted safely out the next day.)
I can say with honesty that the military service recalibrated my view of humanity. And it's not pretty.
The whole "half of people dumber than the median" doesn't really bother me as much as it does other people, especially since IQ often isn't what I care about when evaluating a person.
It should, because criminal behavior is correlated with IQ:
The brain damage they caused with lead not only lowers IQ but increases compulsiveness and correlates with crime when the exposed child reaches the peak years for criminal behaviour.
The question then arises whether the criminality is the fault of the poisoner or the poisoned.
It does become important if you're hiring, looking for a friend or romantic partner, or if you're going to be under that person's authority.
While it may be important to you to have an intellectual match as a romantic partner, there are many other factors involved for most people. Empathy is very important to many, along with, yes, physical attractiveness and financial security.
Asimov was from New York, he's f-n salty. He'd probably quickly admit it then laugh and compose a limerick about it and slap you on the ass.
Also we need dumb people. We need people happy to swim in the shallow end of the pool of ideas. And we need to help them, take care of them, love them like any human. Give them opportunities to do important work. We certainly shouldn't let them have governmental or military powers.
Now, we can shift the average intelligence to the right by a standard deviation, but that requires some real gumption. And only a rare group of people is that brave.
"But don't worry, "we need dumb people" too. You will get help, we will take care of you and love you like any human. Give you opportunities to do important work. But know one thing, we certainly shouldn't let you have governmental or military powers, you are just too dumb for it."
That kind of reasoning is dangerous. Dictatorships are built on "I am smarter than those people, they are just dumb. I know better what's good for them than they do. They can't be allowed to make any decisions, direct or indirect (through voting)".
I don't agree with the OP's paternalism, but I do think that men need to be led to achieve the greatest that each is individually capable of. And to be a great leader requires one to be extraordinary. There is not a Napolean or Alexander sleeping inside each of us. And that's just fine. We are nonetheless equal before God, or for secular ears: equal in dignity and moral worth.
I fully agree but this doesn't make what I wrote less true.
> We should want to be led by people more intelligent than most. And not just more intelligent, but more honest, honorable, and courageous than most. That shouldn't be controversial.
I don't deny that. But we (most of western civilization) live in democracy, Sarah Palin is democratically elected official and by many she is not seen as the brightest person. Donald Trump is the most powerful man in the world, is he "not just more intelligent, but more honest, honorable, and courageous than most." ? In my opinion he is not, but I didn't vote for him, I am not even an us citizen, but this was people choice.
Writing that we should not allow someone to be part of government because we perceive them as dumb ourselves is dangerous, let the people decide, say your opinion in that matter, show candidate faults, but let the people decide.
I don't think I follow. You, I, and everyone else in this conversation are part of "the public" as much as the next guy.
And insofar as our political system forces us to vote for less than ideal people in order to advance or protect important principles--and I think lots of people of all political persuasions felt like this in 2016--it is unfortunate.
For Trump in particular, you may argue that he lacks in intelligence, and I would disagree but see where you're coming from, but he certainly has plenty of courage. That's what Republican primary voters saw in him.
I don't really know how should I interpret what you wrote in context of my answer, can you elaborate what you mean by that? Especially how you think this connects to what I wrote? Because analogy to this would be saying that sun shines while discussing about weather without more context. Which doesn't bring anything new to this discussion.
> And insofar as our political system forces us to vote for less than ideal people in order to advance or protect important principles--and I think lots of people of all political persuasions felt like this in 2016--it is unfortunate.
We could say that "If only people were more knowledgeable, they’d have better politics." Everyone has a different view of “better politics,” but this is a fairly common sentiment. If dumb people vote for dumb people it's not their fault, it's our fault, elites, because we didn't convince them not to, we knew better didn't we? After all they are just dumb people, what do they know? Is that what you are arguing?
So what did you do to stop dumb people from voting on other dumb people? What did OP do? It's our responsibility.
Ask yourself why people voted for Trump and not those smart, liberal elites? They voted for them before, what changed? Those are all important questions. Political perturbations across western world in last year had their reasons. Why suddenly everyone on world economic forum in Davos say that costs from globalization are higher than benefits for western world? That they have political and social costs. Why most "free trade" advocates suddenly say that they were maybe wrong ? Why Larry Summers says that "the basic responsibility of government is to maximise the welfare of citizens, not to pursue some abstract concept of the global good" now ? Maybe those "dumb" people were right after all and maybe we were wrong? Did you consider that for a second?
Where are you reading this, I haven't heard anything like this at all? As far as I know, it's business as usual is it not?
For someone with plenty of courage, he sure is afraid of a lot of people.
Besides, Trump isn't "afraid" of anyone, he just knows playing on people's fear works.
I see no evidence for that.
Not surprising, since the very definition of "IQ 100" is average.
As far as most researchers go, it turns out that the "IQ 100" has gotten harder and harder every year for nearly the past 100 years. In effect, a person with "IQ 100" back in 1930s would only have an IQ score of ~70 today.
Yes, the _average_ person of the 1930s would be considered borderline retarded (defined as below IQ 70) by today's much higher standards.
The average person is far, far more intelligent today than decades past. There are numerous theories why this is happening (better nutrition? Better technology? Maybe better schooling and teaching?) But regardless, we as a society are significantly improving our "IQ scores" decade after decade.
That's not the only possible explanation of the Flynn effect. An obvious alternative hypothesis (which is mentioned in the Wikipedia article) is that people have gotten much more experienced at taking standardized tests, without having actually increased in general intelligence at all.
Don't forget, Richard Feynman scored a 125 in high school, and by the Flynn effect, he'd be considered even dumber today. Let that sink in.
Its an assumption of the IQ Test. The test itself assumes a Gaussian distribution.
IQ Test was a quick-and-dirty testing methodology made in the dark ages of psychology. It turned out to be a decent measurement of general intelligence, but its theoretical fundamentals are... kind of shoddy. I mean, its better than a lot of early 1900s psychology... but its still from an age when psychology was more folk-science than real science.
Fortunately, the IQ Test actually seems to measure something... and due to its age there are a large number of results that span over a century. And the test has been relatively standard throughout the time (with exception of its increasing difficulty, as our population has grown smarter on the average)
The normal distribution simply implies that there is some sort of "average" or middle area, and that the further you go from it both sides (smaller/larger, faster/slower, etc), it becomes harder and harder to find instances of that measurement.
It's just the way it is, and I'm probably not smart enough to explain it to you in a concise-enough way, but that's the gist of it from my understanding.
I'd expect intelligence to be more of an asymmetric distribution, with the vast majority of people being above the threshold of, say, catatonia; most people being under "genius" level, and a blip for geniuses that have really changed humanity's capabilities as being pretty far to the upper bounds, but with incredible impact on the group. Something like a "6 sigma" intelligence on a normal distribution would probably show up a lot more often on the skew distribution I have in mind.
Although, this might be measuring something like E[f(intelligence)] where f is a convex impact-measuring function of intelligence
Average is not enough. If you have 10 people who have an IQ of 80 and one with an IQ of 300, that'd also average to 100. What matters here is the (roughly) gaussian distribution, too.
One-standard deviation above and below is defined as 85 to 115. Two standard deviations (which includes 95% of the population) is between 70 and 130.
Your proposition that someone has an IQ Score of 13+ Sigma above the average only demonstrates your lack of understanding of the IQ test. There's literally no one that's that high. The IQ Test I think only measures like +/- 4 sigma or so... 40 to 160.
The actual IQ test is multivariate and takes several hours to administer, and needs to be given by a trained professional. Hitting a single milestone super-early just means that you've hit a milestone super-early, not that your general intelligence is super-high.
In general, the speed of brain development and how intelligent you will be in the end are not closely related.
On this popular conception of the elite, almost anyone can be a member. All you really need to do is regularly read a news publication.
"What Is Intelligence, Anyway?"
Although, just as politicians are (were?) allowed to insider trade on the stock market, they'd do this (or pass tips to their friends and family) and take everyone's money.
I think modern democracy simply doesn't stand a chance against a well organized communist government in China. Long term, the only way China loses is if they make a big mistake, and I just don't see anything compelling on the horizon.
Look at France. Whatever you might think of Macron and his party, I envy the French for their ability to leave decades of a socialist/conservative political dichotomy behind.
But today he would spin on a sit n spin with his hands out where a web of bits bury his body. Slowly
What would he write now?