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Video: You Know, Maybe We Shouldn't Encourage Everyone to Vote

In Australia, they have both compulsory and ranked-choice voting.  I'm not sure either idea is a good one for the United States.  The ranked-choice system is intriguing in a number of ways, but we already suffer from growing public trust issues vis-a-vis our elections, amid long and drawn-out vote tabulation messes -- so asking Americans to wait even longer, as a complex process plays out behind closed doors, doesn't strike me as the wisest course of action.  We should be emphasizing fast, efficient, and reliable results.  As for requiring all eligible adults to vote, well, just watch this:

Maybe it's just me, but I'd probably rather these people sit at home on election day rather than have an opportunity to cancel out my ballot.  A longer version of the compilation is available here.  I'm not here to dump on Gen Z, which is a popular pastime among older generations (including, and perhaps especially, Millennials).  Similar 'fool-on-the-street' videos, showcasing public ignorance, have been made for years.  Jay Leno made a whole bit of it on the Tonight Show before any of these kids were born, in which their forebears also failed basic civic and current events quizzes in spectacular fashion.  I will observe that if you're going to pick a location to highlight cluelessness on such things -- while maximizing the likelihood the exact same people have more knowledge about trivial matters such as the Kardashians -- Southern California does seem like a solid bet.  Clips like this don't necessarily prove anything about how widespread these problems are.  We have no idea how many people this guy had to interview in order to produce enough dumb answers to edit together a video that makes the intended point.  Maybe a ton of people rattled off correct answers to the rudimentary questions, and those responses were left on the cutting room floor.  That said, ignorance on civics has been an entrenched problem for quite some time.  This New York Times story about the ongoing 'crisis' was published more than a decade ago:

Fewer than half of American eighth graders knew the purpose of the Bill of Rights on the most recent national civics examination, and only one in 10 demonstrated acceptable knowledge of the checks and balances among the legislative, executive and judicial branches, according to test results released on Wednesday. At the same time, three-quarters of high school seniors who took the test, the National Assessment of Educational Progress, were unable to demonstrate skills like identifying the effect of United States foreign policy on other nations or naming a power granted to Congress by the Constitution...The scores of high school seniors — students who are either eligible to vote or about to be — dropped to 148 from 151. Those scores mean that about a quarter of 4th- and 12th-grade students, and about one-fifth of 8th graders, ranked at the proficient or advanced levels. 

Here's an updated entry within the genre, appearing in the Washington Examiner last year:

It’s bad enough that civic education is in the tank. In the most recent national testing, only 24% of 8th graders were “proficient” or better in U.S. history, while a pitiful 15% were proficient in government and civics. Only one-third of Americans can pass the basic citizenship test...But don’t worry, supposedly the experts have our backs. Their answer is to launch a series of wars over the content of history and civics to be sure that what little students might learn or retain is politically correct...The sad truth is that instead of debating how to improve civic education, experts are turning it into a political football...So what we have increasingly in the teaching of U.S. history and civics is adults fighting their political wars on the battlefield of their children’s education — children who, by the way, need Civics 101, not The Politics of Civics. The California Legislature is doing its part to improve civic education, debating over the terms of teaching ethnic history. California educators are on their third draft to try to create an ethnic studies curriculum that, instead of celebrating and teaching ethnic heritage, seems to prefer attacking white nationalism, colonialism, and the like. The attempt to incorporate critical ethnic studies has had even proponents of ethnic studies divided and unable to agree on a proper curriculum.

In response to the cringe-inducing video above, one social media user remarked, "the war on rote memorization and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race." I'm sure there's data out there on the efficacy of different teaching methods and pedagogy -- and maybe this is just the cranky old man in me coming to the fore -- but I tend to agree that just drilling basic facts into young brains is a valuable discipline. It may not be perfect, but it has value.  In an age in which much of the population has infinite quantities of information literally at their fingertips, yet so many people can't answer simple questions about how our government works, steps should be taken to mitigate that worrisome imbalance.  The problem, as the Examiner op/ed notes, is that a lot of people in charge of educating rising generations are fixated on woke ideology, to the exclusion or subordination of all else.  It's an extreme disservice to kids, but proponents don't care.  They care about indoctrination, and buzzwords like "equity" and "fairness."  That's how you get successful reading curricula canceled because the approach is deemed too "colonialist," or whatever.  It's how gifted and tracking programs in schools are determined to be drivers of 'inequality,' and are therefore placed in the crosshairs:

By the way, two of the young ladies featured in the embedded clip said they're current UCLA students.  I hope taxpayers won't be forced by the Biden administration to help 'forgive' their student loans:

Student loan "forgiveness" would be inflationary.  It is regressive.  It is deeply unfair to the majority of Americans who didn't go to college, who chose less expensive schools, or who've worked hard to pay off their own loans.  It will further explode the costs of higher education.  In short, it is truly dreadful public policy, so of course Democrats are pursuing it.  I'll leave you with this:


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