Selling votes – for iPods and college tuition

Take a look at some of the things for which college students at NYU would sell their vote:

Two-thirds say they’ll do it for a year’s tuition. And for a few, even an iPod touch will do.

That’s what NYU students said they’d take in exchange for their right to vote in the next presidential election, a recent survey by an NYU journalism class found.

Only 20 percent said they’d exchange their vote for an iPod touch.

But 66 percent said they’d forfeit their vote for a free ride to NYU. And half said they’d give up the right to vote forever for $1 million.

As pathetic as that is, the answer to the question of whether or not every vote counted was, thankfully, “yes”:

Also, 70.5 percent said they believe that one vote can make a difference — including 70 percent of the students who said they’d give up their vote for free tuition.

Betsy Newmark makes an imporant point about how “selling votes” is not exactly a new concept:

And for people tut-tutting over those who would be willing to sell their votes for an iPod Touch, college tuition or a million dollars, I’d ask how many have sold their votes for promises about Social Security or universal health care?


Does selling your vote for college tuition or a million dollars make less sense than selling your vote for your promised largess from the federal government? I don’t think so.

Good point. Politicians (especially Democrat politicians like Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and Barack Obama) “buy” votes all the time with promises of “free” this and “free” that. So it’s not exactly surprising to find that some people are willing to sell – and in some cases – give up their right to – their vote, in exchange for something “free” or in exchange for … money.

What struck me about this survey is what it indicates about a certain segment of our society today – specifically, the “me” generation.” What we are seeing here are the politics of narcissism in full effect: the majority of those surveyed believe their vote counts and could make a difference … but that they’d give up that right to vote if that meant they could go to college for “free,” or if they were given a million dollars without doing anything to earn it.

This is what happens when our society abandons teaching the virtues of personal responsibilty, gives up on expecting the best out of young people, and starts encouraging them to take the easy way out, and to feel like they are “owed” or “entitled” to something they didn’t work to earn. Ironically, some of the same people who teach their sons and daughters this type of selfish behavior are the same people who would chastize others for supposedly “not doing more to help the poor, disadvantaged, etc.” And some of the same people who practice this behavior would be the first to wag their fingers at you for not living up to their standards of selflessness – the standards that they don’t hold themselves up to.