December 20, 2005


When government withers (Suzanne Mettler, 12/20/05, CS Monitor)

These budget cuts continue a quarter century of governance guided largely by the idea that, in Ronald Reagan's words, "Government is not the solution ... government is the problem." But an assessment of these decades reveals that as government's role in citizens' lives diminishes, so, too, does active civic engagement. [...]

But since the mid-1970s, younger generations of Americans have disengaged from politics. Participation in voting, for instance, has plummeted among the young and less advantaged. Not even the higher turnout rates in the exceptional 2004 election brought levels back to where they had been: Among 18-29-year-olds, 61 percent of those with some college education voted, compared with 73 percent in 1972, and 34 percent of those with no college voted compared with 42 percent in 1972. This year's Election Day featured dismal turnout rates.

Huh? The point of withering the government is to get people to depend less on it, so of course they begin to care less about it.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 20, 2005 12:43 PM
Comments alienation from the central government has occured as it's arbitrary power has increased. the administrative state buruearacy has little connection to the voter and only a nominal conection to the elected official.

Posted by: Tom C. Stamford, Ct., at December 20, 2005 1:16 PM

If they had power we'd care about them.

Posted by: oj at December 20, 2005 1:20 PM


You've been locked up in your little world too long. Try starting up a small business or hiring some employees and tell me if you still feel that way.

Posted by: Tom C. Stamford, Ct., at December 20, 2005 1:49 PM

My wife and I began a small business 3 years ago, thanks to the income tax breaks "for the rich."

Posted by: Bartman at December 20, 2005 2:00 PM


We are a small business.

Posted by: oj at December 20, 2005 2:01 PM

in one of the few unregulated areas left. how big is your payroll? Many employees?

Posted by: Tom C. Stamford, Ct., at December 20, 2005 2:33 PM

Note carefully that "civic engagement" transmorgrifies into "engaged with politics".

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at December 20, 2005 3:46 PM

Your wife works for a major university and you're a stay-at-home mom. How does that make you a small business?

Posted by: joe shropshire at December 20, 2005 3:58 PM

I notice she uses 1972 which is before Watergate and the malaise of Carter. Wonder what the figures would be in 1976 or 1980 by comparison. I would imagine that she went back and tried all the preceding elections and found that 1972 made her argument and none of the others did. Am I sounding cynical? I guess I am. I don't trust the MSM a foot.

Posted by: dick at December 20, 2005 5:14 PM

A.O.G. pounced on it: we should be looking not at "active civic engagement," which the article identifies with politics, but rather at involvement in civil society via voluntary associations, including religious institutions.

For example, we know someone who just made a contribution the the National Rifle Association, and took an elected position in his community's largest gun club. Was that "civic engagement?" Probably not the way the article understands it.

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Posted by: erp at December 20, 2005 7:45 PM

your official PJM nickname is ..."flounder"

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Posted by: toe of doom at December 21, 2005 3:52 PM

This is the Flounder, he is a legacy

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at December 22, 2005 1:49 AM