Every election season, scolds emerge from obscurity to complain that only a minority of Americans vote. At the risk of contradicting even the president, I will now explain why that's a dumb argument.

Many people don't give a rip about politics and know as much about public affairs as they know about the topography of Pluto. Frankly, I don't want ignoramuses showing up en masse to vote on propositions that could raise my taxes, restrict my freedom, or make life more miserable for my family. Voting is a right best exercised by people who have taken time to learn about the issues.

In the same vein, high turnout is overrated. Everybody in Iraq votes because the alternative is to get beheaded.

Low voter turnout is a good thing, because it means politics isn't everything. Here, people are free to say they don't care but they're also at liberty to get jazzed up during tight election campaigns. The turnout rates in Minnesota and South Dakota this year topped 70 percent.

The moral: If an election merits attention, voters will come.