I agree with DT_Battlekruser, and in fact I take it one step farther than he does: People in general aren't only too stupid and ignorant to vote for a good leader, the government makes them that way.
Think about it. A bad government has everything to gain from brainwashing people into blindly supporting them. To put it bluntly, they want
1984 to happen in real life. It's a vicious cycle; stupid, ignorant people vote for a bad government, and a bad government makes people dumber and more ignorant. From what I can tell, this is the real reason representative democracy fails, it falls into a self-reinforcing loop of bad governments and stupid people, which slowly leads towards 1984.
I'll also have to say I disagree with CaptainWill. In his list of five points, from what I can see, he got four of them wrong, as well as the initial sentence for a total of five wrong out of six.
I'll sum up some of the reasons for voter apathy:
1. People's basic needs have been consistently met.
2. Society is libertarian to the point where people rarely cry out for freedom.
3. The media has caused people to become cynical and not sure what to support.
4. The nature of entertainment has made people retreat into their personal lives.
5. Class no longer exists, causing identity crises and the breakdown of traditional voting groups.
0. The problem isn't voter apathy. If all the people who aren't voting went out and voted, chances are they'd elect the same old (and bad) parties anyway. Getting people to vote does us absolutely no good if they still vote for bad leaders. In a more general sense, this is one aspect of the fact that political freedoms are not a goal in themselves,.
1. This is only true in developed countries. As far as I know, in the rest of the world, more than one billion people
have no access to safe drinking water, and another one billion people
don't have sufficient nutrition. The world's problems extend well beyond the United States' problems.
Also, there's the problem of whether having one's basic needs fulfilled is really enough. Think about it: 10000 years ago, our farming methods and water purification and transportation systems were several times less efficient than they are now. And yet, according to some studies, cave men actually had more
leisure time than we do. Why, in our technologically advanced civilization, are we still working 10 hours a day to feed ourselves? If the total product per person has gone way up...why hasn't the total work hours per person gone down? Oh, we can make all sorts of excuses about supporting technology and organizing ourselves and so on, but the fact is, our advancements have
made us more efficient, because otherwise we wouldn't have used them. Having your basic needs fulfilled is not
enough if you are getting an unfairly small portion of what you produce.
2. Libertarian? When patent and copyright laws still exist, we still have to wear clothes in public, homosexuals still can't marry and women still can't choose what to do with their own bodies? You've got
to be joking.
3. On the contrary, in most cases the media is specifically geared towards making people support whatever the government is trying to do. It may not be readily obvious, but let's face it, it's true. We keep on hearing about these evil people staging a nudity rally outside some embassy, and these other evil people making use of copyrighted products, and still more evil people who crashed airplanes into the World Trade Center towers. Do you ever hear about how ridiculous public 'decency' laws are, how ridiculous the concepts of copyrights and patents are, and even a word about the inside job theory of 9/11? Well, so far I haven't, anyway.
4. This one is correct.
5. What do you mean, class no longer exists? The government, and the rich, greedy, corrupt people, would love to have you believe this. On paper, no, class does not exist. But in reallity, let's face it, there are in fact rich, greedy, corrupt people, and the rest of us are paying for them to live lives of luxury they never honestly earned.