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Mike Rowe on Voting, a right not a duty.

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#1 RememberSchiff

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Posted 13 October 2016 - 05:20 AM

https://www.outdoorh...opinion-voting/

 

When asked by a fan, Jeremy, about encouraging everyone to go out and vote, Mike gave this thought-provoking answer.

 

...I also share your concern for our country, and agree wholeheartedly that every vote counts. However, I’m afraid I can’t encourage millions of people whom I’ve never met to just run out and cast a ballot, simply because they have the right to vote. That would be like encouraging everyone to buy an AR-15, simply because they have the right to bear arms. I would need to know a few things about them before offering that kind of encouragement. For instance, do they know how to care for a weapon? Can they afford the cost of the weapon? Do they have a history of violence? Are they mentally stable? In short, are they responsible citizens?

 

Casting a ballot is not so different. It’s an important right that we all share, and one that impacts our society in dramatic fashion. But it’s one thing to respect and acknowledge our collective rights, and quite another thing to affirmatively encourage people I’ve never met to exercise them. And yet, my friends in Hollywood do that very thing, and they’re at it again.

 

Every four years, celebrities and movie stars look earnestly into the camera and tell the country to “get out and vote.” They tell us it’s our “most important civic duty,” and they speak as if the very act of casting a ballot is more important than the outcome of the election. This strikes me as somewhat hysterical. Does anyone actually believe that Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen DeGeneres, and Ed Norton would encourage the “masses” to vote, if they believed the “masses” would elect Donald Trump?

 

Regardless of their political agenda, my celebrity pals are fundamentally mistaken about our “civic duty” to vote. There is simply no such thing. Voting is a right, not a duty, and not a moral obligation. Like all rights, the right to vote comes with some responsibilities, but lets face it – the bar is not set very high. If you believe aliens from another planet walk among us, you are welcome at the polls. If you believe the world is flat, and the moon landing was completely staged, you are invited to cast a ballot. Astrologists, racists, ghost-hunters, sexists, and people who rely upon a Magic 8 Ball to determine their daily wardrobe are all allowed to participate. In fact, and to your point, they’re encouraged.

 

The undeniable reality is this: our right to vote does not require any understanding of current events, or any awareness of how our government works. So, when a celebrity reminds the country that “everybody’s vote counts,” they are absolutely correct. But when they tell us that “everybody in the country should get out there and vote,” regardless of what they think or believe, I gotta wonder what they’re smoking.

 

Look at our current candidates. No one appears to like either one of them. Their approval ratings are at record lows. It’s not about who you like more, it’s about who you hate less. Sure, we can blame the media, the system, and the candidates themselves, but let’s be honest – Donald and Hillary are there because we put them there. The electorate has tolerated the intolerable. We’ve treated this entire process like the final episode of American Idol. What did we expect?

 

So no, Jeremy – I can’t personally encourage everyone in the country to run out and vote. I wouldn’t do it, even if I thought it would benefit my personal choice. Because the truth is, the country doesn’t need voters who have to be cajoled, enticed, or persuaded to cast a ballot. We need voters who wish to participate in the process. So if you really want me to say something political, how about this – read more.

 

Spend a few hours every week studying American history, human nature, and economic theory. Start with “Economics in One Lesson.” Then try Keynes. Then Hayek. Then Marx. Then Hegel. Develop a worldview that you can articulate as well as defend. Test your theory with people who disagree with you. Debate. Argue. Adjust your philosophy as necessary. Then, when the next election comes around, cast a vote for the candidate whose worldview seems most in line with your own.

 

Or, don’t. None of the freedoms spelled out in our Constitution were put there so people could cast uninformed ballots out of some misplaced sense of civic duty brought on by a celebrity guilt-trip. The right to assemble, to protest, to speak freely – these rights were included to help assure that the best ideas and the best candidates would emerge from the most transparent process possible.

 

Remember – there’s nothing virtuous or patriotic about voting just for the sake of voting, and the next time someone tells you otherwise, do me a favor – ask them who they’re voting for. Then tell them you’re voting for their opponent. Then, see if they’ll give you a ride to the polls.

 

In the meantime, dig into “Economics in One Lesson,” by Henry Hazlitt. It sounds like a snooze but it really is a page turner, and you can download it for free.

 

Mike

 

 

 


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#2 Tampa Turtle

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Posted 13 October 2016 - 08:40 AM

The musings of Mr Mike are not Holy Writ for BSA or otherwise. I recommend folks register and by all means get educated on the candidates and issues. But his comments seem to focus mostly on the un-likability of the presidential candidates and overlooks the many other races and lssues at the state and local level that will be decided.


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#3 cchoat

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Posted 13 October 2016 - 10:23 AM

Rights, duty and obligation. 

 

You have the right to vote, the duty to research and make yourself familiar with the various canidates, and the obligation to cast an informed vote.

 

That's how i would boil down Mike Rowes long comment on voting.


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"Let not the uniform police get you down."


#4 Fehler

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Posted 13 October 2016 - 10:49 AM

Yet another right winger complaining that too many stupid leftists vote.


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#5 sst3rd

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Posted 13 October 2016 - 11:27 AM

Yes.


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#6 CalicoPenn

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Posted 13 October 2016 - 11:55 AM

Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they can do this is by not voting - Franklin D. Roosevelt

 

Mr. Rowe,

 

Beyond our inalienable rights - the rights of all people, no matter where on this Earth we live, the rights we U.S. Americans have come From the People, By the People and For the People.  Those rights include the right to vote and the right to keep and bear arms.  The vast majority of U.S. Americans are not serving and have not served in the military.  The vast majority of Americans have not 'borne arms' in the defense of our rights.  If we did not have a full-time military, then perhaps our right to bear arms would also be a duty to keep and bear arms in order to be prepared to come to the defense of our rights.

 

But our military defense is not the only defense of our rights - the most important defense is not, in fact, our military - it's our vote.  For most U.S. Americans, the only way, as citizens, we come to the defense of our rights is to vote - and that makes voting not only a right, but a duty of all U.S. Americans.  If you are not an active service member or a veteran and you do not vote, then you are a free-loader when it comes to defending out rights - and that means you have failed in your duty as an American to help defend our rights.

 

Voting is as much of a duty as it is a right - and while you are correct that people should educate themselves in order to make a good choice, we are not required to do so, and, as past elections have shown so often, even when shown facts, U.S. Americans are more than willing to ignore facts and vote for people that don't truly have their best interests in heart. 

 

To answer you question, Mr. Rowe - if my neighbor needs a ride to the polls in order to do his/her duty and exercise his/her right to vote, and I know that s/he is going to vote for the person I am not going to vote for - then I'm going to open my passenger door and bring that person to the polling place - and that's what Liberal-Moderate-Conservative TRUE U.S. American Patriots do.


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#7 fred johnson

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Posted 13 October 2016 - 02:10 PM

Yet another right winger complaining that too many stupid leftists vote.

 

Huh ... how the tables turn?  Mocking as right wing someone who is encouraging others to read, learn and be informed.  I often hear the right being criticized as blue collar uneducated.  

 

I don't understand the arguments here.  Rowe's article was pretty simple and rather bland.  Essentially he's saying the country needs informed voters.  Not really supporting either side.  Just that we need informed voters.   


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#8 NJCubScouter

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Posted 13 October 2016 - 03:30 PM

When I meet with Scouts to have the discussion required by First Class requirement 5 (not sure if that's still the number in the new book), I give them a gold star (figuratively) if they say that voting is both a right and an obligation (not a legal obligation, but an obligation of good citizenship.)  If they don't mention voting at all, that's what I suggest to them.

 

And as if to set a good example, I have already voted.  New Jersey does not officially have "early voting", but they do have mail-in voting (formerly absentee voting but you no longer have to be absent.)  If you are willing to jump through a few hoops, you can turn mail-in voting into early voting, without mailing anything.  In case anyone was wondering, I voted "Yes" on the referendum to amend our state constitution to permit gambling casinos in northern New Jersey.


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#9 Chadamus

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Posted 13 October 2016 - 09:09 PM

I'm assuming Mike Rowe has something to do with Scouting. Someone please tell me if I should stop assuming.
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#10 RememberSchiff

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Posted 14 October 2016 - 05:04 AM

I'm assuming Mike Rowe has something to do with Scouting. Someone please tell me if I should stop assuming.

Yes, like Buzz Aldrin has something to do with NASA, Mike has something to do with Scouting. :)

 

IMO, Mike is that uncommon Eagle Scout who is a role model. He is fun guy too, e.g., at our 100th anniversary, he claimed to have taken CLEAN out of Scout Law and then compromised with a slogan "A Scout Is Clean … But Not Afraid to Get Dirty."

 

While National is talking vague and academic about STEM or STEAM programs, Mike is specific and hands-on about national vocational training for high-paying jobs.

 

Personally I had hoped that he would be one of the Key 3.

 


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#11 SSScout

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Posted 14 October 2016 - 09:02 AM

Best TV show .   "Dirty Jobs"  extolled the virtues of the work that a civilization needs done and that good people can take pride in doing.  And the odd "make a living at" that  only the dedicated can love.   Asphalt paving, insect exterminating, sewer inspection,  animal removal from crawlspaces/chimneys/wall crevices/ , bee hive collecting,  junk yards, farm manure collection/spreading,  fishing,  trash incineration, goat breeding, cow birthing,  boiler cleaning,  ship barnacle cleaning,  crime scene clean-up, potato farming, brush/forest fire fighting,   petroleum recycling, grease recycling....  Mike did it "in person", making the ordinary man and woman visible in their importance. 

 

See the back episodes.....   http://www.discovery...ows/dirty-jobs/    and    http://mikerowe.com/videos/dirty-jobs/   He started out as an opera singer.


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#12 T2Eagle

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Posted 14 October 2016 - 10:22 AM

i disagree, urging people to do what is virtuous is a good idea, and I believe voting is a virtuous act.  The underpinning theory of democracy is that the people through their collective will produce the best governance.  The more people who vote the more accurately our will is expressed, and therefore the better our governance will be.

 

As for giving an opponent a ride, without hesitation, and if you have a friend voting the same way I'll drive him also.


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#13 Sentinel947

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Posted 14 October 2016 - 11:10 AM

I agree with Mike. Voting is a neutral act. Its not a holy act. Being an informed voter and voting your informed conscience (wherever that leads you!) Is good.

Has anybody seen the Jimmy Kimmel short about the ACA vs obamacare? Uninformed voters are dangerous. They can fall for anything.
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#14 NJCubScouter

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Posted 14 October 2016 - 11:37 AM

Uninformed voters are dangerous. They can fall for anything.

 

They sure can fall for anything.  And there is another sentence that comes after that, that is just about screaming to leap out of my keyboard, but in the interest of not turning this discussion into a knock-down drag-out I will keep that comment in my keyboard.


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#15 NJCubScouter

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Posted 14 October 2016 - 11:57 AM

Best TV show .   "Dirty Jobs"  extolled the virtues of the work that a civilization needs done and that good people can take pride in doing.  And the odd "make a living at" that  only the dedicated can love.   Asphalt paving, insect exterminating, sewer inspection,  animal removal from crawlspaces/chimneys/wall crevices/ , bee hive collecting,  junk yards, farm manure collection/spreading,  fishing,  trash incineration, goat breeding, cow birthing,  boiler cleaning,  ship barnacle cleaning,  crime scene clean-up, potato farming, brush/forest fire fighting,   petroleum recycling, grease recycling....  Mike did it "in person", making the ordinary man and woman visible in their importance. 

 

See the back episodes.....   http://www.discovery...ows/dirty-jobs/    and    http://mikerowe.com/videos/dirty-jobs/   He started out as an opera singer.

 

Well... I liked Dirty Jobs and probably watched every episode, some more than once.  But I think the high-sounding language you are using was, if anything, "implied" much more than it was actually on the screen.  Mike Rowe is an entertainer and he played the "dirty jobs" for laughs.  It was mostly a comedy show and many times he was clearly making fun of the people whose job involves the hind end of a cow or crawling through "liquid waste" or whatever it was that was on the agenda that week.  (And don't me wrong, I credit him for doing all those things himself, if only for a few minutes each, at the same time he was making fun of it.)  I think some of the interviews that he has given about his own philosophy about the importance of hard work and the ordinary man, etc., which we can all agree with, have resulted in the elevation of the tv seriesn in some peoples' minds to something more than (as I said) was actually on the screen.

 

And I actually think his voice work on "The Deadliest Catch" probably gets the same point across even better, although I don't know whether he actually writes any of his narration, or just reads it.  But he reads it very well.


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#16 desertrat77

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Posted 14 October 2016 - 12:32 PM

 

 

Personally I had hoped that he would be one of the Key 3.

 

Agreed, he'd be a great choice.  But he's smart, confident, and he has opinions that often run contrary to what is considered "acceptable" these days.  In a word, he stands on his own two feet.

 

He'd never make the cut at National.


Edited by desertrat77, 14 October 2016 - 12:55 PM.

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#17 David CO

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Posted 14 October 2016 - 12:37 PM

i disagree, urging people to do what is virtuous is a good idea, and I believe voting is a virtuous act.  The underpinning theory of democracy is that the people through their collective will produce the best governance.  The more people who vote the more accurately our will is expressed, and therefore the better our governance will be.

 

As for giving an opponent a ride, without hesitation, and if you have a friend voting the same way I'll drive him also.

 

I believe in majority rule, but I do not believe that the majority is always right.  I certainly don't believe that the majority is always virtuous.  

 

The majority does not always produce the best governance.  Far from it.  


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#18 NJCubScouter

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Posted 14 October 2016 - 01:16 PM

I believe in majority rule, but I do not believe that the majority is always right.  I certainly don't believe that the majority is always virtuous.  

 

The majority does not always produce the best governance.  Far from it.  

 

I think the Framers of the Constitution mostly agreed with you, which is why they put in checks and balances, three national-level elected offices (President, Senate and House) all with different-length terms, super-majorities required to amend the Constitution, etc.  Of course, the question of whether the majority in a given election has been right, virtuous or has produced the best governance is often a matter of one's perspective - whose ox being gored, so to speak.


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#19 NJCubScouter

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Posted 14 October 2016 - 01:24 PM

Agreed, he'd be a great choice.  But he's smart, confident, and he has opinions that often run contrary to what is considered "acceptable" these days.  In a word, he stands on his own two feet.

 

He'd never make the cut at National.

 

I don't think he'd be at all interested in being involved in the bureacracy at National, or in raising money for the salaries of said bureaucrats.

 

I think he might be interested in a mostly-honorary position such as the one Bear Grylls has in the UK.  (Or at least I think its mostly honorary.)  But I doubt the BSA has much interest in creating such a position at this point.  One might suspect that the actual Key 3 would not be enthusiastic about overshadowing themselves.


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#20 Rick_in_CA

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Posted 15 October 2016 - 10:03 PM

Huh ... how the tables turn?  Mocking as right wing someone who is encouraging others to read, learn and be informed.  I often hear the right being criticized as blue collar uneducated.  

 

I don't understand the arguments here.  Rowe's article was pretty simple and rather bland.  Essentially he's saying the country needs informed voters.  Not really supporting either side.  Just that we need informed voters.   

I agree, I don't see him taking a side. I'm a liberal, but I agree that we need voters that are thoughtful and informed. I haven't missed a national election since I became old enough to vote. But I rarely fill in the entire ballot. If I don't feel I can make an informed decision on an issue or race, I leave that part blank.


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