Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Zogby as fool

Zogby’s poll in Iraq found this:

About 76 per cent of Sunnis say they "definitely will not vote" in tomorrow’s elections, according to the poll conducted by US-based Zogby International for Abu Dhabi television. Only nine per cent of Sunnis say they will cast ballots.

"There are deep divisions that exist - divisions that are so deep and pronounced that this election, instead of bringing people together, may very well tear them apart," said James Zogby, a Zogby International analyst and host of Abu Dhabi television’s Viewpoint.

So Zogby’s opinion is that the election actually has a divisive effect on Iraqi society. In some ways I can understand how this would be so. But I have a question for Zogby (or Teddy Kennedy, for that matter): Why is this a bad thing? Is the opposite true? That is, if not having an election will "bring people together" then I suppose he ought to start making explicit arguments that elections are bad things, in Iraq or anywhere else. This is not deep thinking and, frankly, I am finished with Zogby. The motions of his mind are dull as night.

Discussions - 7 Comments

The idea that the Iraqi election will be a failure if the Sunni minority does not like it is a total mystery to me - particularly on the moral level. Are we really going to be that upset over a minority which brutally exploited the Shia and the Kurds engaging in a prolonged violent sulk? A sulk precipitated by the fact that they are no longer holding the whip?

And does that blockhead Zogby really think that it is the franchise which divides Iraq - not the Kurds the Sunni minority gassed or the Shia they fed through brush shredders, or the pilgrims Quaeda Sunni killed with car bombs?

When your starting premise is blame America first, it is amazing the conclusions you can draw...

That second paragraph looks exactly like a cut and paste from our last election. I guess the only thing these "analysts" can some up with is that America can’t do anything for a good reason.

Bingo. Zogby is an idiot, and who cares if the former oppressors don’t choose to participate in the democratic process?

Yes, sometimes "division" is a good thing.

Elections in Iraq and anywhere else are bad if and only if the government that is formed then has the ability to violate Natural Rights/minority rights. The less a government is limited the more devisive its elections will be. When majority vote means the right for A and B to get together and determine what type of Mosques to build with C’s money then elections are bad things in Iraq and elsewhere. In a certain sense we are C... But I digress.

Election turnout will be discussed, but more importantly will be the constitution that is formed afterwards, they may not need a Washington if they can find a Madison.

I know Dr. Schramm loves the electoral college, and I generally disagree with his arguments for it. In the United States we could probably do without it and go to straight popular vote. But it may be that we would be getting rid of it at just the time when the nation needed it the most. It could serve a purpose.

If the Iraqi elections used an electoral college then turnout would be greater. Do you think New Yorkers would ever let the state go red, or Texas blue? Likewise wouldn’t the Sunnis in a Sunni area turnout to prevent a Shia victory, if not for the sake of the nation at large then at least for a more narrow geographic area?

Perhaps not, if sunni’s really wanted to sabotage the election they could turn out to vote for those who are viewed as most anti-sunni, then they could argue bias and the rest of it, for the same reason that it would look bad if New York actually turned Red.

On the other hand without an electoral college there will be less explicit focus on those areas that were most against the winner. So would an electoral college in Iraq have made the elections there more or less divisive? A second question: Does the existence of Deep divisions manifest itself in higher or lower turnout?

I was just wondering because as Gary points out Zogby sounds like he could be talking of the american situation, only he is saying this as a result of projected weak turnout rather than strong turnout, as was the case in our last election.

Deep divisions exist as evidenced by low projected turnout, When Saddam was "president" turnout was higher than the actual number of people therefore under Saddam deep divisions were so minimal that we had an inflationary gap. What is better 1% turnout in these elections or Saddam and 104% turnout?

Why is turnout good or bad? Obviously there are deep divisions that exist, this can be proved by the various reactions to the american troops from gifts to IED’s. Higher or lower turnout is not needed to prove deep divisions and in fact can’t. Turnout can be high or low with or without deep divisions.

In fact, while I think it is a poor/unscientific indicator I would argue that in general extremely low turnout is a very healthy sign while extremely high turnout is a very unhealthy sign. In my personal opinion the best government would be that which governed least, something along the lines of what Bastiat envisioned in his Laws. In this restricted republican government, those who voted could not obtain special priveledges by doing so. Please read Bastiat. Since this would be true the economic interest in voting would decline (not that voting would cease in all aspects and for all people to be important, but that it might cease to be important for the reasons that would have one man a master and another a slave). Since this is a purely hypothetical (but not Utopian) government, I am guessing that turnout would be less than 10%.

On the other hand dictatorships such as those of Saddam often times hold elections with extremely high reported turnouts, 104% for example in his last election. I don’t mean to directly attack those who favor a republican government with strong partisan citizens(as an ideal), but I believe that human nature being as it is, turnouts above, say 80% are signs of tyranny. Unless you force the populace to vote at gunpoint or otherwise make it too dear for them not to do so, I don’t believe you will ever see that level of participation.

While I don’t think turnout qua turnout is a clear sign of anything, I can say with complete confidence that reduced turnout in this comming Iraqi election vs the last one in which Saddam was elected with 104% of the vote, is an indication of improvement. And it is my hope that the future of Iraq sees 10% turnout before it ever goes over 80% again.

It’s funny but, you know, so many signals have already been sent that the Sunnis are going to be cut in on political/constitutional dealmaking anyway even if they don’t turn out, I think the Sunnis (or certain scheming Sunni elites, at any rate) may be feeling emboldened about sitting out. With everyone bending over backwards to include them no matter what, what do they have to lose with a sullen/fearful de facto boycott? The maxim of the souk, let us recall, is "When you’re up, you press your advantage; when you’re down, you scramble for compromise." Has all the hand-wringing over Sunni turnout (not least by critics of Bush looking for something to complain about) given the Sunnis a moral advantage of sorts?

I’m not sure this is such a good thing. The Sunnis have been "top rail" in The Land Between the Rivers for a long, long time, and IMHO having what Nathan Bedford Forrest would call "a skeer throwed into ’em" might be good for both them and the larger cause of a new and free Iraq.

Polling has started in IRAQ. Lets hope things turn out ok there.

Voice of the Free.
Libertarian Blog.

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