[n] infants, [n] votes
Munn, N. (2016). [n] infants, [n] votes. Presented at the 2016 Australasian Association of Philosophy Annual (AAP) Conference, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, July 3-7, 2016.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/11282
The inclusive presumption suggests that we should only disenfranchise those whose inclusion will undermine democratic values. Most people think we ought not to enfranchise infants. What harm would enfranchised infants do to our democratic institutions? At worst, they would systematically vote badly, choosing the worst of the available options. More plausibly, they would (mostly) fail to cast valid votes, and those who did successfully cast ballots would select randomly among the available options (as do some enfranchised adults). Neither of these possibilities provides good reason to disenfranchise them. I argue that in a well-constructed democratic system, the inclusion of infants (and all other currently disenfranchised citizens) will on balance be positive. To the extent that in extant democratic systems, enfranchising infants will do harm, that is an issue not with the infants, but with the system, and ought to be addressed from that side.
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