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Argument: Voters are too apathetic to make good laws

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Supporting quotations

James Boyle. "The initiative and referendum: its folly, fallacies, and failure." (1912): "Though the evils of the representative system are admittedly great the fact must be kept in mind that direct legislation by the people is also attended by abuses of a very serious kind So far as our experience has already gone in the United States a number of glaring defects have been exhibited by the people in their role as law makers. The impressive of these is their strange apathy even in the face of great sues They as a mass have so little interest in legislative subjects that only a small percentage will attend the polls for special elections and at general elections when individual candidates are to be chosen though the propositions be printed on the same ballots with the names of the candidates a large proportion of the voters will not put themselves to the slight trouble of placing a pencil mark under the word yes or no. The conclusion is unavoidable that the people considered as a body do not know anything nor do they care anything about the merits or demerits of a particular law. They may know little in the opinion of most of us about the respective merits of candidates for representative offices."


Prof Woodrow Wilson speaking as President of Princeton University at the annual meeting of the Civic League of St Louis March 9 1909: "You say that your legislatures do not represent you and sometimes I dare say they do not, though I think they are generally just as good as you deserve and therefore you say let us directly vote upon the measures which they vote upon. Do you not see that this is simply adding another piece of machinery which after you cease to be interested in it is going to be used by the same set of persons for the same objects. If you do not see it you will see it after you have tried it awhile."[1]

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