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redneck penguin
Registered User
(2/25/01 11:07 pm)
Universal Enfranchisement
I have been wanting to write an essay for some time on Qualified Enfranchisement. I think that universal enfranchisement has not been a very good policy. I realise this may be a distinctly Southron thing but maybe y'all could help flesh it out a little.

1. What should be the qualifications for voting?

Firstly I believe the voter must be able to read and write in English. (This is from the viewpoint of a person living in the Southern United States)

Secondly, I believe the voter should be a taxpayer. This implies that a tax is levied and the taxpayer pays it, not this pay-as-you-go IRS rip-off that we have now.

Thirdly, The voter must not be a criminal.

Fourthly, the voter must not be idiotic. (As in mentally deficient. My son is autistic and when he is 18 he qualifies to vote under the current system)

Fifthly, the voter must not be on the government dole.

Sixthly, the voter must not be under bankruptcy protection.

2. Why?

Universal enfranchisement has led to the creation of special voting blocs in this country. These special voting blocs (i.e. the women vote, the black vote, the one-legged-tuba-players-who-speak-French vote) acquire power not through the vote but through virtue of their being different than a white male voter. For example while homosexuals are a very very small portion of the population they have every major Democratic candidate courting them for their votes. Most of the American voters did not want (or did not care if) the homosexuals in the military but because they were courted during the election they had the power to dictate changes in the military no matter how repugnant to the military or the voters of this country.

Only around fifty percent of the voter even bother to vote, and that is in Presidential elections years. In off years I have seen voter turnouts here in Tex. down in the single digits! While people call enfranchisement a right they treat it as a privilege. I see no 'Right to Vote' listed in the Bill of Rights. For that matter one of the four amendments to the Constitution dealing with the vote restricts the vote to those over 18 years of age. (The ther three deal with eliminating racial qualification, sexual qualification, and the outlawing of the poll tax)

Universal enfranchisement is the first step toward democracy, and democracy is little more than mob rule. We are a republic not a democracy. We are a nation of laws and we are to be guided by those laws not by 50%+1 vote. Those voters could vote to slaughter those that didn't vote their way. This is a drastic oversimplification of course but a possibility under a democratic system.

J S Mill, a noted philosopher from britian about the time of the War for Southron Independence felt that voting was a privilege to be earned not a right. he felt that government should be composed of the best and the brightest that society had to offer and that the only way to ensure this is to have the best and the brightest doing the choosing.

This is just some brainstorming for an essay for my website...please thrash me, trash me, make me think :)


The Redneck Penguin. Deo Vindice. Resurgam

(2/26/01 7:43 am)
Re: Universal Enfranchisement
A couple of other ideas:

1. The moral demand for the universal franchise is mostly based on the idea that what's good and bad is basically a matter of what people want. Telling someone he can't vote is the same as telling him what he wants doesn't matter. After all, no one knows better what he wants than he does.

There are lots of very good reasons to reject the idea that what's good is what people want. Once the idea is rejected the extent of the franchise becomes more a matter of its practical effect than basic justice.

2. The universal franchise makes it look like the government and the people are the same, which is a fiction and a harmful one because it supports unlimited government.

3. To the extent you can't get sensible answers from the people, and "the people" don't have any common identity because they automatically include absolutely everybody and have nothing much in common and are getting more diverse all the time, the people will not in fact rule or even have a very definite influence on what happens. Real power will be in the hands of judges, bureaucrats, and people who can manipulate the system.

Jim Kalb and

Registered User
(4/27/01 2:59 pm)
Re: Universal Enfranchisement
"Man is a social animal; only in the herd is he happy. It is all one to him whether it is the profoundest nonsense or the greatest villainy- he feels completely at ease with it- so long as it is the view of the herd, and he is able to join the herd."-

Soren Kierkegard

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