Friday, March 10, 2006

Voter Apathy?,7340,L-3225705,00.html

The person above supports mandatory voting, among other ways to reduce “voter apathy”. Why is voter apathy a bad thing, I don't know.

Dear Mr. Safran Hon!

I, too, study at the Tel-Aviv University, and perhaps we even met (I study at the Gilman building, if you wonder.) But unlike you, I do not believe there is something particularly wrong with Western hedonism and its attitude towards elections. After decades of progress, Western civilisation has reached a status – unheard before in history – where a man can fairly sure that whatever government policy is, it will not oppress him, his friends and family, and deprive him of his livelihood (unless he's Marc Emery). In the 1600's, hunger was a prevalent problem in Europe. Now, the prevalent worry of the West – Israel included – is not starvation, but obesity.

The solution for hunger has been found – Western capitalism, and some limited welfare payouts to the few unable to work, can guarantee nobody will starve. Not even in Israel. A westernized perception of human rights guarantees a lack of death camps and mass-destruction. Nothing REALLY BAD will happen if you don't vote, and by now, everybody knows that.

On the other hand, what GOOD will happen if you DO vote? We are left to choose between a nondescript centrist (Olmert) who cannot even point out a single achievement in his 40-year political career to describe how he served Israel, a socialist extremist (Peretz) whose political ideology is best left to the history books, and a sleazy corruptionist (Netanyahu) who has taken the beautiful values of the free market and of liberal economics, and used them as a fig leaf to cover a policy of cronyism and growing government democracy (under Netanyahu's reforms, regulatory bureaucracy GREW). We are left to choose between even more extreme leftists (Meretz) and religious right-wingers (MAFDAL) proudly wrapping themselves in the orange cloths of Gush Katif and Amona.

Their foreign policy differences are equally useless – Netanyahu has signed peace agreements in the past, and will, I am sure, do so again if elected PM. Olmert and Peretz state their positions outright.

Why the hell SHOULD we vote? What is the glorious new future that can be opened to us if we do? What is the POINT?

The idea of a 150-shekel fine for not voting is downright harmful. Personally, if the difference between paying and not paying the fine will induce a person to come to the polls - and otherwise he wouldn't have come to them, this person is probably not the kind of person who follows the nation's politics with care, learning about the different issues and watching the Knesset channel – that person will come to the election anyway. If a person doesn't care about the issues involved, are you SURE you want him to vote?

Most importantly, the whole point of a western democratic republic is the preservation of indiviudal rights. That, and nothing else, is the key point of democracy – the principle that “All men are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights...” To preserve these rights is the purpose of government in a Westernized democratic republic. Not to give money to the poor – well and good though that be ( I support doing that). Not to fund Mr. Ollmert's salary. Among those rights is the right to express my political opinion on Election Day – and that opinion could well be “I don't give a damn.”

Sincerely yours,

Boris Karpa


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6:42 PM  

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