Today’s the day of Scotland’s historic vote on whether it should be an independent country after 307 years of membership in Great Britain.
This a simple majority vote, and is described as very close at a near 50-50 split.
Which brings us to a bigger question: should such a momentous decision be made by a simple majority of voters on a single day, at a single point in time? My answer would not be “yes.”
It depends on how much a person believes in a pure democracy. I do not trust it overly; I fear the tyranny of the overbearing majority that Madison feared. Apparently the Scots have no such trepidation.
So, this is the sort of thing Scotland will get:
Conor Matchett, 19, a philosophy student at the University of Edinburgh, said he was both nervous and optimistic about the outcome after voting Yes.
“I want change. It’s as simple as that,” he said. “I believe a Yes vote is the only way to do that.”
Matchett, originally from York, in Northern England, but granted a vote in Scotland’s referendum on the grounds of his residency here, said he was voting to counter what he felt was the continuing politics of austerity from British politicians down south in Westminster.
“They are attacking the welfare state and many other things that people in Scotland hold really dear,” he said.
It seems unwise that a 19-year-old college student, attending school in Scotland but actually from York, should have a say in this matter. Hope/change; sound familiar? “Simple as that.”
And if college students from York can vote on whether Scotland should remain part of Great Britain, why not 16-year-olds? Where did that idea come from? Why, from reality, that’s where:
A massive turnout of around 4.2 million Scots, about 97% of eligible voters, is expected, and residents as young as 16 have been granted permission to vote in the referendum.
This is apparently the first time 16-year-olds in Scotland have been able to vote, and if the outcome is tight enough they might be the ones to decide the election. The youth vote is widely perceived as favoring independence; that would make intuitive sense, since independence from their parents is generally a yearning of that age group. But no one really knows how the group will lean in the referendum, and at least one poll indicates they favor “no” to independence.
How did the 16-year-olds come to be included in the referendum? Apparently the Scottish Parliament made the decision, with the support of the more left-leaning parties and Scotland’s leader Alex Salmond, who favors independence and saw the youth vote as helpful in the fight to achieve it.
It’s a logical extension of trends on the left that have been designed to increase their share of the vote by enfranchising more low information and easily-manipulated voters. As such, it makes perfect sense, and it’s no surprise that it is gaining favor across the pond, in countries that are even further along on the leftist path than we are.
Is this what’s next for the US? Fortunately, it would require a lot more than a majority in Congress to change our voting rules at the national level and ban the prohibition of voting under 18; it requires an amendment to the Constitution. At the local level, however, the movement to extend the vote to below 18 has already begun, and has had some success.
The whole thing has a snowball effect. As more and more immature and poorly informed voters are enfranchised, they will make poorer and poorer decisions. And that, of course, is all part of the plan.
[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]DONATE
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