miércoles, 27 de septiembre de 2017

The (not German) 2017 election | MercatorNet |September 27, 2017| MercatorNet |

The (not German) 2017 election
MercatorNet |September 27, 2017| MercatorNet |

The (not German) 2017 election

In New Zealand!
Marcus Roberts | Sep 27 2017 | comment 

As Carolyn reported yesterday, New Zealand went to the polls on Saturday to elect its 52ndParliament. Actually, that’s not entirely true, New Zealanders went to the polls for two weeks up to and including Saturday. The fortnight-long early voting period was the longest in New Zealand’s history and around 1.2 million people (representing roughly half of all votes cast) voted before the official Election Day of 23 September rolled around. Although I’m a complete hypocrite because I voted a week before the Election Day (convenience with having two pre-schoolers was my reason), I think that we should go back to having everyone vote on one day. This is because: things change in the two-week period before Election Day, including policies, scandals, events etc; the current election advertising rules are predicated on everyone voting on one day and so there are real anomalies with half the people voting with election adverts ringing in their ears and half voting on Election Day with no adverts allowed at all and no one even allowed to say on social media who they voted for!; voting should be slightly inconvenient for people, one doesn’t value something unless one pays for it in some way; and finally because I think there is some sense of community that is lost by not having everyone vote on the same day.
Leaving that to one side, the election process in New Zealand is based upon a Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) voting system where each person votes for their preferred party (party vote) and their preferred local candidate (electorate vote). The first determines the number of seats (out of 120) that each party receives in our unicameral Parliament and is by far the most important. The second determines those MPs who fill the 71 electoral seats. These 71 electorate MPs fill their party’s seat allocation first. So, if Party A wins 10 per cent of the party vote and five electorate seats, they are entitled to 12 seats in Parliament (10 per cent of 120). Their 12 MPs will be made up of those five MPs who won an electorate and the remaining seven will be drawn from the party’s “list” which is published before the election. (This is the simplified version and I have ignored “wasted votes” and “overhanging seats” and other complications…)
At the moment New Zealand is a bit in limbo as to what the upshot of the election will be. This is for two reasons. First, there are a number of “special” votes (essentially votes from overseas and from voters outside their electorates) which have yet to be counted. This means the final result will not be known for another couple of weeks. Because these votes account for about 15% of those cast, this could change the makeup of the preliminary results. Secondly, the preliminary results indicate that, even after the special votes are counted, there will not be a party that commands a majority (61 seats) in Parliament. This is to be expected: since MMP was introduced in New Zealand in 1996, there has not been an election where one party has gained a sole majority. Instead, coalitions are the norm. And this time, the centre-right (National and ACT) have 59 seats between them. The centre-right (Labour and the Greens) have 52 seats. The party that will decide the government is therefore the NZ First party which has 9 seats. It could either go with the right or the left and we will not know for a few weeks at least which way NZ First will jump.
Before the results came in there was some expectation of a “youthquake”. (A terrible term.) That is, the large number of early voters were seen by some commentators as a sign that the 18-30 year old demographic would be voting in unprecedented numbers. This was going to be a big deal, as the young tended to be less inclined to vote than those over 30 years. (In the 2014 election, the voter turnout overall was about 78 per cent, but the turnout for those aged 29 and below was around only 62 per cent.) As it was, the turnout this year was up on the previous two elections, but only slightly. The Electoral Commission reported that 78.8 per cent of those enrolled (it is a legal requirement to be enrolled in New Zealand) voted. In 2014 the figure was 77.9 per cent and in 2011 it was 74.21 per cent. The 2011 figure was the lowest voting turnout figure in New Zealand’s history. Considering that voting is not mandatory in New Zealand, a turnout of just shy of 80 per cent is pretty good. But all the efforts to get the youth to vote has not seemed to have resulted in a huge rise in turnout. Now, we won’t know the demographic breakdown of the vote for some time yet (at least not until the special votes have been counted) but unless there was a large decrease in turnout from the older age ranges, it seems as if some more young people might have voted, but not many. Quite frankly, after the media campaigns and the Electoral Commission’s attempts to get young people to vote one wonders if it is a futile attempt. Maybe young people in 2017 are really just not into voting. No matter how convenient we make it for them. Wait until they get a mortgage and a family…
September 27, 2017

Our lead story today is not focused on current events. It comes from the pen of Professor J. Budziszewski, of the University of Texas at Austin, a philosopher, who laments the inability of many people today to think straight.

He draws on an insight from Hilaire Belloc, the early 20th Century historian and man of letters, who wrote some very perceptive analyses of Western society. Belloc identified mood warriors as the characteristic modern enemy of Christian culture. Mood warriors do not think; they feel. They do not analyse; they emote.

In particular, the media, including social media, “stupefy discussion rather than informing it, submerging the mind rather than elevating it.”

In a day when the most widely read news medium allows just 140 characters for the expression of complex thought, and in which the rulers of the country find this allotment more than ample for their rants, can we doubt it?
This is a topic which could be argued at great length. But Professor Budziszewski’s brief essay is a great introduction to modernity's flight from rational discourse. 

Michael Cook
The empire of mood over mind

By J. Budziszewski
It isn't logic that rules among opponents of the very idea of God.

Read the full article
Investing in what the world’s poor really want: a response to Bill and Melinda Gates

By Nadja Wolfe
The philanthropic couple continue their love affair with birth control.

Read the full article
Jesuits, founders and dukes in the shaping of post-Tridentine music

By Chiara Bertoglio
And the great composers of the Catholic reformation: Palestrina, Zoilo, Victoria…

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Regret nothing, especially not motherhood

By Veronika Winkels
Becoming a mother means enriching your identity, not forfeiting it.

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The (not German) 2017 election

By Marcus Roberts
In New Zealand!

Read the full article
Don’t use the flag and national anthem to protest

By Sheila Liaugminas
‘Tis the season to protest in America. The president and sports celebrities take it too far.

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Stupid is as stupid does

By Michael Cook
An Australian academic knows why you don't support 'marriage equality' -- you're dumb

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Straight-talking Trump bets on the nation-state at the UN

By Campbell Campbell-Jack
There was more nuance in the President's speech than the media reported

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The HPV vaccine and cancer prevention: expert evidence

By Silvia Carlos
Yes, HPV causes cancer. Yes, the vaccine is safe. Its efficacy in preventing cervical cancer remains to be seen.

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Is Pope Francis a victim of ‘fake news’?

By Michael Cook
Another salvo in a campaign to paint him as a heretic

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