Epistocracy as Privilege
Another day, another display of privilege from Aeon titled, “The right to vote should be restricted to those with knowledge”. No mention of the fact that so-called literacy tests were used to disenfranchise minorities in the Bad Old Days, but of course, we wouldn’t ever do that. All I can think to do is re-quote Kenneth Wesson:
If poor inner-city children consistently outscored children from wealthy suburban homes on standardized tests, is anyone naive enough to believe that we would still insist on using these tests as indicators of success?
and paraphrase Anatole France: the law, in its infinite impartiality, will allow the rich as well as the poor to fail exams because they’re exhausted from working three jobs to make ends meet.
And even if you don’t care about social justice, examinations necessarily and intrinsically select for people who can think like the examiners, so giving people extra votes if they pass an exam pretty much guarantees more homogeneous thinking. Study after study is showing that the more diverse an organization’s leaders are, the better the decisions they make. Epistocracy might work—might—in an unchanging world, but I’m pretty sure it would be a recipe for unfairness, civil strife, and eventual disaster in the world we actually have.