What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close

Are College Students Too Liberal to Vote?

March 13, 2011, 2:57 PM
800px-dartmouth_college_campus_2007-10-20_34__crop_12

One way to win to elections is to keep the people who support your opponent from voting. That’s why Republicans in New Hampshire proposed new laws last week making it difficult for college students to vote.

Last year, a conservative group calling itself Latinos for Reform ran an ad suggesting that Latinos should express their satisfaction with both parties’ immigration policies by not voting at all. The group’s website still carries a message telling Latinos that if they don’t want to be taken for granted, they shouldn’t vote. Not voting, of course, is precisely the way to ensure that politicians do take you for granted. But since Latinos largely vote Democratic, protesting immigration policy by staying home on election day would have overwhelming benefited Republicans.

College students, of course, also largely vote Democratic. The Twenty-Sixth Amendment guarantees the right of Americans 18 and over to vote, but the proposed legislation would have let college students vote only if their parents had established permanent residency in the state. Most students would presumably still be able to vote in their state of origin, but the law would make it much more difficult for them to vote than it would be for other more conservative citizens. The proposed legislation was ostensibly part of an effort to crack down on voter fraud. But, as Greg Sargent points out, there is little evidence of such fraud, and for the most part anti-fraud measures just make it more difficult for liberal groups to vote. New Hampshire Speaker of the House William O’Brien made it clear that was part of the motivation for the New Hampshire bill when he told to a Tea Party group that students lack “life experience” and “just vote their feelings.” “Voting as a liberal,” he told them, “that’s what kids do.”

The New Hampshire bill failed, partly because O’Brien’s comments hit YouTube. Even if as a very general rule our judgment improves as we get older, younger people also have a perspective and legitimate interests that older people lack. And if we are going to treat college age citizens as adults—tax them as adults, try them as adults, and even to serve in the armed forces as adults—we should allow them the same say in our government as everyone else. Making it difficult for the young to vote is no different than making it difficult for the elderly to vote would be. The great virtue of democracy in a society like ours is it forces parties to appeal to voters of all types—to the young and to the old, to blacks and to whites, to gays and to evangelical Christians. Steve Benen is right when he says that if Republicans want to win elections, “they should field better candidates and adopt a more sensible policy agenda, not push schemes like voter-ID bills that depress minority, youth, and low-income voter turnout.”

More from the Big Idea for Monday, March 14 2011

 

Are College Students Too Li...

Newsletter: Share: