CNN ARTICLE: http://www.cnn.com/2011/11/28/world/africa/egypt-elections/index.html?hpt=wo_c1
Voting has become synonymous with a country that is labeled as “free”, as well as a country that gives rights to its’ citizens. Dictatorships like North Korea and other countries do not allow their citizens to vote and deprive them of other rights as well. This hints to the idea that when a country deprives its’ citizens the right to vote, other rights and privileges are taken away as well. Which comes first, however, is a hard question to answer. Do the countries start out depriving its’ citizens the right to vote and then become more strict in other areas, or are they already harsh dictatorships and then decide to deprive the citizens to vote? Either way, it seems more people prefer countries that allow citizens to vote than those that do not.
Egypt is a country that once again, is allowing its citizens to vote. It has been a long time, almost 30 years, since any Egyptian’s have voted and a 55-year-old businessman was even quoted saying “This is the first time in 55 years that I (can) vote.” This radical shift towards allowing citizens to vote once again, came only after one of the worst and most historic revolts in the country’s history. The article attached expresses how citizens of Egypt are ecstatic about being able to vote again. This brings a very interesting question to mind, that I pose to the readers of this blog. Should every country in the world allow its’ people to vote? Even though this is a very theoretical idea and almost impossible to put into reality, it is still an intriguing question. Some countries do not truly have an established government but would allowing people to vote help establish that government? Would this create more democracy and peace in our world as well? All of these questions have caused me to debate within myself and I encourage all to do the same.
Political theorists and their ideas would obviously be the most useful to analyze this potential and radical idea. Hobbes, who has been studied vigorously, is a good theorist to start with. Hobbes always encouraged the mixture of ideas and said that no one should be silenced because the more ideas spread, the more information available. In this sense then, he would support the possibility of allowing every country to hold voting for political positions. However, Hobbes’ definition of a political community is that all people are ruled over fear from a political power. In addition, Hobbes does not think people’s rational can be counted on and may be incapable of voting intelligently. This is almost a contrasting opinion relating more directly to political rule so would Hobbes reject ubiquitous voting?
Rousseau offers a different opinion and believed in the people of a country more than Hobbes might have. He had expressed that people who make up the society should have control over the government. “Each of us places his person and all his power in common under the supreme direction of the general will; and as one we receive each member as an indivisible part of the whole.” Accordingly, Rousseau believed that equality did not exist in society when he was writing but this idea might make equality more achievable for every society in the world. Therefore, would he be one to support voting across the globe? If so, what if it the people are incapable of controlling the government themselves; should other countries step in or would that defeat the purpose of having those citizens vote? All of these questions have no correct answer but it is interesting to try and consider how Rousseau and Hobbes would answer them.