According to recent polls, only 42% of Americans could name the three branches of the federal government and only 28% could name two of the five rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. Even worse, 35% believed that “from each according to his ability to each according to his need” was embodied in the Constitution (but it came from Karl Marx!). In short, voters are politically dumb. Yet, their decisions directly affect 300+ million Americans and influence the rest of the world in an ancillary way. From a purely self-interested perspective, spending the time to understand political issues is a clear waste of time, as is voting itself. What does this tell us about the viability of democracy in America? In this episode, Ilya Somin, author of the soon-to-be-released “Democracy and Political Ignorance” shares his perceptive views and insights. Ilya is a Professor of Law at George Mason University, a prolific blogger and a frequent guest on Mainstream Media. There is no more important issue in America, and no better guest to discuss the topic than Ilya Somin.
Thomas Jefferson famously commented that given the choice between a government without newspapers and newspapers without government, he’d prefer the latter. The Founders felt freedom of speech to be so important that was embodied as the first of the Bill of Rights amendments to the Constitution. Ten years later, John Adams, whose love of America was second to none, signed the Sedition Act, which criminalized any public criticism of him or the Congress. Tension between government and a free press has never gone away. What is the role of the media in democratic life today? Is it truly, as Edmund Burke observed the “Fourth Estate,” having almost as much influence as elected officials? Has the consolidation of media into a few mega-corporations been compromised objectivity? Did objectivity ever even exist? Ben Swan, award willing journalist, blogger, new anchor and television host gives his insider views on the controversial role of the media in public life today.
Join Bob in this episode for a post-mortem Libertarian review of the election. The electoral process clearly shows the genius of the Founders. Was the election about jobs, values, or both? Was this a rejection of the major parties or an endorsement? So much to discuss: so little time.
Voting advice is a public service offered by the entire staff of the Bob Zadek Show. With Election Day right around the corner, Bob is channeling the greatest Libertarian minds (living or dead) and suggests how they would cast their ballots in California. In the second half of this episode, Tim Hannon who is running for attorney general joins Bob to talk about being a Libertarian and what he would do if he won the election. They ponder questions such as: should felons have the right to vote? Should you lose your right to vote if you don’t use it? What about imposing a literacy test for voters? A civics test?
Back for his second has appearance will be Gary Johnson, a two-term Governor of New Mexico. Gary has been touring the country on behalf of Our America Initiative (http://ouramericainitiative.com/) and will provide straight talk on election issues of importance in California and around the country. Is this a precursor to 2012? Tune in and decide for yourself.
If you think the essence of democracy is that politicians get to pick their voters, then Prop 27 is for you. So are Cuba, North Korea and China, for that matter. But if you want voters to pick their representatives, Prop 27 should be taken out with the trash. To help you decide, this Sunday Bob speaks to Steve Maviglio, who is an incumbent’s best friend and an enemy of citizen control of redistricting . They will discuss why Prop 27 is the most important measure on the California ballot . . . and how it could affect the rest of the country.