As the above title states, I'd like some insight into how this decision has been justified.

What justifications have been used by politicians to enable people that are not mentally capable of making an informed decision to make that decision?

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    Somewhat tongue in cheek, but doesn't 50% of UK electorate feel that the other 50% have severe intellectual impairment because of "voting wrong way", and vice versa? – user4012 Dec 7 '17 at 15:21
  • @user4012 Since the UK system has multiple parties it's worse than that. It could be up to 70% of the local population who are "mad". – origimbo Dec 7 '17 at 15:24
  • @origimbo - I was going for "leave"/"remain" divide, but you are correct – user4012 Dec 7 '17 at 15:44
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    This question appears to be based on a faulty premise...that UK had ever proposed that mental condition be a factor for voting rights. I'm not aware that it ever was. – user1530 Dec 7 '17 at 16:13
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    "What justifications have been used by politicians to enable people that are not mentally capable of making an informed decision to make that decision?" The word "enable" is the problem here. You do not need to enable any specific group to vote. You need a reason to prevent them from voting. – Thern Dec 8 '17 at 16:56

In a democracy, the (intended) point is that all citizens are represented. One's intellect should have no bearing on whether or not they are represented.

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    according to who? And how does one define "represented" as "given responsibility"? – Charlie Dec 7 '17 at 16:13
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    @Charlie according to...the definition of a democracy? As for being represented, every citizen in a democratic representative country (of which the UK is) has representation. They are allowed to vote for said representation. This is not a new concept...modern nations have been (slowly but surely) increasingly enabling voting rights to all citizens. – user1530 Dec 7 '17 at 16:14
  • Do the people incarcerated for reasons of criminal insanity get to vote? (e.g. Hinckley)? If not, then that proves your answer wrong. – user4012 Dec 7 '17 at 16:17
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    @user4012 not at all...they aren't denied the right to vote due to intellect. They are denied the right to vote due to their crime. Ie, it wasn't the 'insanity' that cause their loss of rights...it was the 'criminal' part. – user1530 Dec 7 '17 at 16:19
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    @Charlie you appear to be debating for the sake of debating. Age is an accepted criteria for voting. I'm not arguing for or against that, but that's not what you are asking about. – user1530 Dec 7 '17 at 16:20

This is impossible to implement.

You would need to test and evaluate everyone to be able to decide who is "intellectually impaired".

There would be infinite battle between psychiatrist and other mental health specialists.

On what basis you would draw the line ?

Should we disallow "functionally illiterate" adult who cannot read or understand a political program ?

You open a can of worm that is impossible to close.

  • doesn't answer the question. What has been used to justify the decision? Please add sources – Charlie Dec 7 '17 at 16:08
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    @Charlie: it does justify the answer; why are you being so authoritarian? – Mozibur Ullah Dec 7 '17 at 16:45
  • @MoziburUllah As the OP, Charlie does get to decide what answer to choose as accepted. He is going the extra step and letting Max know that he (the OP) does not feel this answers his question. – CGCampbell Dec 7 '17 at 17:56
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    @CGCampbell: Sure; nevertheless the point made in the answer is still valid; I think its very poor to ask for sources when the OP himself shows no research effort or insight in his question. – Mozibur Ullah Dec 7 '17 at 18:15
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    @Charlie: I'd argue that the key point is, as Max mentions, where you draw the line. Age, citizenship, and incarcerated status are (relatively) black and white conditions. Mental competency is far less clear-cut, and can change - in both directions - over time. Someone might be "OK" today, and not "OK" tomorrow. How is the system supposed to deal with that? And how do we define "OK", and who gets to make that determination? It's a sensitive and difficult subject, and hence contentious - and I'd suggest that that is why there's little political will to change things. – Steve Melnikoff Dec 8 '17 at 10:13

According to an article whose abstract is on the National Center for Biotechnology Information and which was originally published in Schizophrenia Bulletin under the title Schizophrenia: Nazi attempts to eradicate schizophrenia:

Although the Nazi genocide of Jews during World War II is well known, the concurrent Nazi genocide of psychiatric patients is much less widely known. An attempt was made to estimate the number of individuals with schizophrenia who were sterilized and murdered by the Nazis and to assess the effect on the subsequent prevalence and incidence of this disease. It is estimated that between 220 000 and 269 500 individuals with schizophrenia were sterilized or killed.


This total represents between 73% and 100% of all individuals with schizophrenia living in Germany between 1939 and 1945. Postwar studies of the prevalence of schizophrenia in Germany reported low rates, as expected. However, postwar rates of the incidence of schizophrenia in Germany were unexpectedly high. The Nazi genocide of psychiatric patients was the greatest criminal act in the history of psychiatry. It was also based on what are now known to be erroneous genetic theories and had no apparent long-term effect on the subsequent incidence of schizophrenia.

And see also the United States Holocaust Memorial

Wartime, Adolf Hitler suggested, "was the best time for the elimination of the incurably ill." Many Germans did not want to be reminded of individuals who did not measure up to their concept of a "master race." The physically and mentally handicapped were viewed as "useless" to society, a threat to Aryan genetic purity, and, ultimately, unworthy of life ... Despite public protests in 1941, the Nazi leadership continued this program in secret throughout the war. About 200,000 handicapped people were murdered between 1940 and 1945

Not only were they 'unworthy of life' but also unworthy of voting. Bringing these questions back onto the table, given the history associated with them, seems insensitive at best, and at worst - ominous.

(I realise it doesn't answer your question in the terms posited; but then again the question doesn't show much research or insight...)

  • What is the purpose in pasting that? It doesn't have anything to do with the question. – Charlie Dec 7 '17 at 18:50
  • @charlie:try reading the last sentence. – Mozibur Ullah Dec 7 '17 at 18:51
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    @Charlie: It's not at all strange. And, you're right I'm suggesting these ominous connotations; it seems associated with authoritarian tendencies...do you have authoritarian tendencies? – Mozibur Ullah Dec 7 '17 at 20:09
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    @Charlie: I imagine those were exactly the kind of arguments made by Nazis. Try doing some research on it, and see what you find; keep us posted... – Mozibur Ullah Dec 7 '17 at 20:17
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    @Charlie: Because its a silly question and silly questions are best ignored; and you're ignoring everything that I've said or engaging with it; you didn't answer my question about whether you had authoritarian tendencies; am I to take your silence on this as you have? In which case its no surprise you think that Nazis are on the whole ok. – Mozibur Ullah Dec 7 '17 at 21:33

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