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The JUST education section explores media literacy and education as they relate to the needs of learners attempting to interpret, react to, and affect change for their own personal development as well as for the  benefit of their respective cultures and communities.

Richard KroonBob Lasewicz

« Jefferson, Education and the Franchise | Main | Help Wanted: Only Informed Voters Need Apply! »
Monday
Aug062012

If Democracies Need Informed Voters, How Can They Thrive While Expanding Enfranchisement?

Jennifer L. Hochschild

H.L. Jayne Professor of Government, Professor of African and African American Studies, and Harvard College Professor

Three uncontroversial points sum to a paradox: 1) ... Citizens need to know who or what they are choosing and why – hence urgent calls for expansive and publicly funded education, and rights to free speech, assembly, press, and movement.  2) In most if not all democratic polities, the proportion of the population granted the suffrage has consistently expanded, and seldom contracted, over the past two centuries. ... 3) Most expansions of the suffrage bring in, on average, people who are less politically informed or less broadly educated than those already eligible to vote.

Putting these three uncontroversial points together leads to the conclusion that as democracies become more democratic, their decision-making processes become of lower quality in terms of cognitive processing of issues and candidate choice. The paradox is both historical – why have democracies expanded the franchise to include relatively ignorant voters? – and normative – why should democracies expand the franchise to include relatively ignorant voters? Read more...

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    I like democracies because in democracies everyone have right to come have serve his services to it’s nation.
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