Last night on Fox’s Your World with Neil Cavuto, fellow Fox host John Stossel waxed scientific on the counter-intuitive nature of human intuition. Noting that “we’re alive because our ancestors had the instinct to avoid the tigers and know when to harvest things,” Stossel says that “in a modern economy,” our instincts “are not good.”
His chief example of this theory? “Our instincts say that everybody should vote, but some people are dumb or don’t pay attention, and they shouldn’t vote,” he said. A naturally concerned Cavuto asked him who exactly qualified as “dumb,” to which Stossell replied, essentially, “kids.” Thus, he prescribed that we end the Get Out The Vote campaign because kids don’t pay attention so they don’t deserve to vote:
STOSSEL: I’m not saying we should have a test or something. But this endless cheerleading — let’s go to the rock concerts and register the kids. And the kids aren’t paying attention. And it’s important in a democracy, it’s important to vote. And these are important issues. The people who participate ought to be the ones who pay attention…I’m just saying we shouldn’t have these “Get Out The Vote” campaigns and make these statements: “Everyone has to vote. It’s your patriotic duty!” Well if you’re not paying attention, I think it’s your patriotic duty not to vote.
Watch it via Media Matters:
Stossel apparently likes to time his antipathy for democratic participation with the election cycle. In 2008, he insisted that “some people” — specifically young Americans — should just stay home. In 2010, he believed young people should just “stay in the mall.” After all, “Brain surgery, we don’t want everyone doing brain surgery. And voting is difficult and important too.”
Of course, young voters were very informed on salient issues that matter to them in 2008. And, according to seven separate polls, Fox News viewers — whose average age is in the mid-60s — appear perpetually misinformed. So unless he’s advocating for his own audience stay away from the polls, perhaps it’s Stossel who should just stay away from democracy entirely.