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That New Civics Test

In light of obvious confusion around the world as to the purpose of a plebiscite or referendum, the Government (see below) has decided that it would be timely to revise the so called ‘Civics Test’. Some of these changes are set out below:

1. What does a government do when it governs?
a) Runs the trains
b) Runs the country
c) Ruins the country
d) Don’t know

2. What is representative democracy?
a) An expression of popular sovereignty
b) A popular expression
c) An unpopular expression
d) Don’t know

3. What is an election?
a) A vote in which an electorate is asked to choose between two identical candidates
b) A vote in which an electorate is asked to choose between a lot of identical candidates
c) An irritating expedient to make governance possible
d) Don’t know

4. What is a referendum?
a) A process complementary to the system of representative democracy, in which difficult and important decisions are made by the elected legislature
b) A process complementary to the system of representative democracy, in which difficult and important decisions are completely avoided by the elected legislature
c) A process in which New Zealand gets to keep its flag
d) Don’t know

5. What is often the result of a referendum?
a) Remorse
b) The resignation of the Prime Minister
c) People asking for another referendum
d) All of the above

6. How many chances should you get in a referendum?
a) Two
b) Three
c) Eeny Meeny Miney Mo
d) Don’t know

7. What do you think of multiple choice questions?
a) Yes
b) No
c) Sometimes having to make choices gives rise to what is called ‘Fustaigne’s Paradox’. When voters are given distinct options, none of which is the right answer, then the imposed choice of only one option can result in an outcome that is displeasing to people who didn’t want to answer the question in the first place.
d) Don’t care

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