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man-in-dunce-capIt is not every column that solves all of America’s problems, much less says how in a single piece of popular legislation, but the back-story comes first. As the headline already revealed, it shows how to “restrict the franchise”—a lawyerly, two-thousand bucks an hour phrase for limiting who can vote. Believe me, everyone will love it; even the disenfranchised.

We consider whether we need to stop some people from voting and why; look at where previous attempts failed; finally how we might achieve it and still keep everyone tickled pink.

The issue was raised in a recent Breitbart column entitled, with no fiddle-faddle whatsoever, “Why Are So Many Utterly Stupid People Allowed to Vote? It’s Madness!” Its Greek author wrote about Britain’s forthcoming vote on membership in the European Community, but his point may apply, or not. Defending the direct democracy of his ancient forefathers (his foremothers could not vote) he writes, “Sure, the franchise was restricted to a tiny slice of the population, but they were the richest, best educated and most blue-blooded anyway. Some people are born to rule.” Are they? Plato agreed but parlous few concur with him nowadays.

Dame Science thinks otherwise. Her theory of Natural Selection shows how species compete and brush others aside, sometimes even gently. This implies folly in letting all groups vote forever. But while we like to watch Natural Selection on the Wildlife Channel we hesitate to try it at home. I am a diabetic and would have popped my clogs years ago were not I taking medicine and thwarting Survival of the Fittest. Meanwhile we pay the permanently confused to live comfortably and reproduce at will, because the alternatives scarcely bear thinking about. The same goes for curtailing immigration legal and illegal. So we pat the old girl on the head, tell Dame Science that she did a great job with Galapagos Island tortoises, but otherwise pipe down and have a nice cup of tea—maybe rightly so if my meds are at stake.

What does God think? Dame Science, less wise than her elder sister, Mother Nature, tried to figure out God, got stumped and so, rather petulantly if you ask me, says that He does not exist. This resembles me insisting that Domino’s Pizza does not exist if nobody answers the phone. God may be taking pepperoni out of the freezer.

God designed self-limiting systems. Yeast turns sugar into alcohol, but eventually the alcohol kills the yeast and fermentation stops. This is why wine may be turned into the Blood of Christ but not into Everclear; where widespread drunken brawling would give an unwelcome liturgical meaning to the term “Critical Mass.”

Eutrophic lakeSelf-limiting systems include eutrophic ponds, eventually filled solid with the corpses of algae that over-proliferated there as water grew warmer and the pond shallower. They include suns and empires that expand until they collapse in on themselves. Near the end the former become Red Dwarves, and the latter too if you look at the West’s leaders.

Does Democracy have its own self-imposed limitations? It always has, apart from its recent spread and self-aggrandising predictions. From Greek Democracy half a millennium before Christ, until its glorious rebirth under Syriza leftists and Neo-Nazis, staggered a fairly long interregnum of brutal generals, Turkish administrators and people whose name started with “King.” Adriatic city-states, such as Venice and Florence, were famous democracies before they traded it in to become Italians; a democracy only in the sense that pizza is food. Democracies may have a natural life cycle that includes death just like everything else; which may be as God designed.

Like many modern democratic republics, now possibly nearing the end of the same synchronised life cycle, America started by limiting voting to white males who owned property. States set their own rules, and only New Jersey allowed white, property-owning women to vote; a factor contributing to Westward Expansion. Non-white foreigners could mostly vote too, if they owned property; whereas now a foreign chap rich enough to afford a high-rise and a Green Card can buy enough legislators that voting becomes irrelevant. Only four states let freed slaves vote, if they owned property of course, but after every slave was freed in 1863 there was not room for them all in only four states. Thus the 15th Amendment, in 1870, declared that voting rights could no longer be denied due to “race, color (colour) or previous condition of servitude.” Some warned that letting “them” vote, nationwide, would one day elect a black President but they were alarmists. In 1920 women were allowed to vote, and that led to the Hillary campaign.

Using Public Choice Theory, in each case there were strong motivations for disenfranchised people to agitate and fewer for others to oppose them; socially, morally perhaps, and because they had other things to do. Similarly, many refrained from joining Civil Rights marches in the 1960s, not because they had anything against black people, but because they had jobs. This included plenty of black people too, of course.

Early on, Founder Alexander Hamilton warned of extending the franchise, especially if the propertyless unwashed became a majority and chose to loot the remainder. Recent GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney made the same observation and got the same reaction (apart from being shot by Aaron Burr, who was already dead). Some make the same point today, if there are no cameras and microphones present.

Yet some argue rather convincingly, that huge, impersonal markets make more accurate predictions than any individual or small group. This is the oft-repeated wisdom of crowds, who for the most part look at broad reactions in the marketplace rather than at more specific things. The logical fallacy argumentum ad populum (appeal to people) says, like the perfume ad, “fifty million Frenchmen can’t be wrong,” to which a philosopher might reply “fifty billion flies eat garbage.”

PHONY EXPRESS, Larry Fine, Moe Howard, Curly Howard [The Three Stooges], 1943

A 1998 survey showed that “more American teenagers can name three of the Three Stooges than can name the three branches of government (59% to 41%), know the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air than know the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (94.7% to 2.2%), know which city has the zip code “90210” than the city in which the US Constitution was written…” But perhaps all is still well. Maybe teenagers are getting smarter. Maybe they will vote for their betters. Maybe they will be too stoned to go to the polls. Maybe crowds are really smart if they are devoid of American teens.

Brushing aside the bickering scholars and piles of argumentation, one seeks like Alexander to cut the Gordian Knot and be done with it. So all we need do is watch YouTube. There we see Humanity in its State of Nature and its heartfelt ideal; and they are mostly morons. The vast majority is as opinionated as uninformed as voluble as just plain stupid. Granted these are self-selecting idiots; for those who are stupid, but whom suspect as much or are cowed by their spouses, shut up and post no videos of themselves—but they may well be no wiser. After all they married the self-broadcasting nose-pickers.

Apart from the occasional scholar or concert musician whose talk is posted by an institution, the YouTube self-broadcasters have a direct and proportional correlation between being stupid and inarticulate on one hand, and a desire to inflict it on others. The latter, their audiences, come voluntarily and in droves; and YouTube helpfully displays the viewing figures beside each video screen. Thus ten million watched a phony dub of Hillary Clinton ostensibly breaking wind during a debate, while one per cent of that watched Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman’s most popular clip. That defines it all—celebrity, cheap politics and bathroom humour trump brilliance brilliantly conveyed. YouTube demonstrates what democracy is, where it leads, where America is today and where most wish it to go.

The universal franchise, whereby every adult can vote who wishes to, is a ticket to the asylum. It is, to borrow a phrase from PJ O’Rourke, “like giving your dog a credit card.” So how can we stop it before it is too late?

Unfortunately it may already be too late. Not only do our morons vote, in numbers roughly equalling the rest, but mob rule expands daily; as every outraged Tweet or text from unidentified people who may be hydrocephalic is quoted as a legitimate news source, ranking alongside of the dean of Washington’s National Cathedral, a well-informed scholar or even a professional football player who is at least a known entity. So if we wish to cut the idiots out of democracy we need their approval. That can be done. One fact about idiots is they are not very bright.

My proposed Omnibus Reform Act of 2016 starts by pandering to the crowd; putting minority shoe-shine girls on the banknotes, ensuring double pay for half work, making trade union membership compulsory even for clergy, a job-making and wealth-creating new war every month mandated by statute, and subsidising at least ten free “goes” at plastic surgery not including weekly gender swaps (if ObamaCare does not offer it already). At least twenty more goo-goo “hot button” issues must be included so feel free to add your favourites. Once we disenfranchise half of the electorate we vote it all out again.

The Act’s page 3,478 or 3,479 proposes a teeny constitutional amendment restricting the franchise (a strategy taken from the ObamaCare playbook). When it gets noticed, as it will, our prepared multi-media campaign begins. Franchise, we declare, means the Wal-Marts and Sam’s Clubs abusing their employees; MacDonalds and KFC poisoning our children; franchised car dealerships whose suppliers betray American factory workers; franchised gas station chains depleting non-renewable energy for oil company fat-cats, and so forth. As Lefties did after recent race riots, we hire throngs of the unwashed to march for the cameras and chant slogans. Hastily-assembled consumer groups demand that big and small business sign petitions calling for an end to the franchise threat or are added to the blacklist. Scripted and fully-paid politicians and members of the commentariat take the moderate position; that this franchise mess should be restricted cautiously rather than abolished in haste. David Brooks will shout the loudest for “moderate” restriction, and we need not pay the fool a penny.

Emulating Wag the Dog (America’s best-ever political satire film), we need an unsung hero; an ordinary, “oh shucks” American who gave her—yes her—life for the struggle against unrestricted franchise. This half-black-half-Hispanic-half-Inuit (we are still working out details) watched her illegitimate children choke on the plastic toys in their Happy Meals, dash into the street and be run over by a Japanese-made cigarette delivery van running on Chinese gas (China consumes rather than produces oil, but who pays attention?) driven by an illegal alien who swam here from Iran. The brave, unionised fire-fighters who tried to rescue the kids were stopped by a franchised law-firm, hired by multi-nationals whose other franchises bought and closed the local hospital, and then had their media franchises hush up the “fact” that the youngest child was headed there for her sex-change operation, accompanied by her mother who was originally her father, and two gay siblings under the age of six. Now the bereaved minority ex-dad-ex-mom weeps into the cameras, begging America for justice—and revenge against these evil franchises.

Success is a certainty, and as American as corndogs, Japanese internment or KKK lynch mobs. Relatively few elites will need to know our secret because so many opportunists will flock to the cause. The President will invite the ex-dad-ex-mom for hugs in the Oval Office, when she is not too busy signing television contracts and selling film rights. The corporate franchises themselves will donate fortunes to our campaign in hope that the mob would kill them last. The Heritage Foundation will propose eliminating half of them as a pessimistic sop to the inevitable.

ouija-board-historical-gallery.png__600x0_q85_upscaleFinally, as both Houses vote the new amendment into the Constitution, someone will use a Ouija board to contact Tom Brokaw, who will link this “historic moment” to “The Greatest Generation” on the beach at Iwo Jima, as millions of Americans celebrate madly; either overdoing the gin-and-tonics or torching parked cars depending on the neighbourhood. The next morning, as the National Guard patrols the streets, a taped announcement explains what really just happened.

Yes it will prove difficult at first. But then some celebrity chanteuse will up the ante and reveal an intimate body part that is neither bosom nor backside, and everyone will need to talk about it. A sports team expected to lose will defeat one expected to win, and everyone will need to talk about that too. Then Sam’s Club will offer a fifteen per cent discount for buying a second three-hundred pound tub of frozen tacos made in Korea by Philippine slave labour, and crowds will battle to squeeze through the doors. In other words, nature will take her course.

Elections, already a spectator sport for half of Americans, will become the same for another twenty-five per cent; providing yet another pleasant diversion competing with game shows, soap operas, jello-wrestling and footage from wherever America invades that month. The country, begun as the triumph of the Age of Reason, will become the aristocracy that her Founders loathed, which she has halfway become already by simple Materialism and inertia. Then, as now and as always, various elites will scheme and connive for power. With heroic effort they will dependably play musical chairs or wait for the next available seat. Then as ever, nothing much will happen of any consequence; as the Bush family squats in the middle, insisting on their hereditary “right” to lead.

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24 replies to this post
  1. Rather than restricting the vote because of the stupidity of some/many, why not look into expanding the intelligence of the same people? Of course criteria for stupidity/intelligence becomes an issue. For some dissent is proof stupidity while conformity to one’s pet ideology is a sign of intelligence. Such people serve as the epitome of irony.

    But we also need to consider whether our current system already ‘restricts the franchise.’ After all, is decreasing interest in voting a way of naturally restricting the franchise? And doesn’t Plato’s caste system do the same as those who are put in the lowest caste suffer the same fate as what Adam Smith observed of those who experienced job specialization? And isn’t it true that the consolidation of power can be inversely related to the number of people who can vote? We should note that with the consolidation of power comes a growth in authoritarianism. But what else can we expect from conservative thinking?

  2. I would say that we don’t so much as go out of our way to keep dumb people from voting, but we certainly shouldn’t go out of our way to enable the to vote – and that is what we are doing today. We have voting “helpers”, we have early voting, we have extended voting, we have absentee ballots (that are abused constantly), we have motor voter laws, we can’t even get voter id passed, and on and on. Everything about our voting system is designed to make it easier for morons to vote and for fraud to not get caught.

  3. How about we stop the illusion of control we call “the vote”. Let’s have aristocratic politicians who rule by charisma alone.
    In my home state of Connecticut people always complain about taxes but most people know voting won’t change anything because of the control the Democrats have.

  4. The Monarchy (Hereditary self interest), The Nobility (Military Men Who Defend Territory), The Bourgeoisie/House (Business and Finance who produce Goods and Services), The Church/Proletarians (Dependents who require support). If each of these houses exists, those with related interests can vote for the advocacy of their interests (cultural persistence, military service and security, money and property, a need for commons), but regardless of the size of any constituency, all of them must agree; or at least none of them need object, to the provision of any contract between all (legislation). The error we made in voting was to dismantle the separation of houses in the belief we could construct an aristocracy of everyone, rather than adding a house for the proletarians upon the collapse of the church under darwin, and the consequential enfranchisement of women. We went from a system of TRADE between the classes (church, commons and lords) to a system of majoritarian tyranny. Today, single women and minorities rule, despite the fact that if married couples only voted, we would have remained a high trust homogenous society. All left movement, the destruction of the family, political correctness, the great society failure and the opening of our borders has been accomplished by the aggressive left, media and academy as an attack on western civilizations five thousand year tradition of incrementally suppressing parasitism and free riding, and the constant pressure of eugenic reproduction.

    • Curt,
      Your depiction of the proletarians being dependent for support seems to reverse Lincoln’s view of the relationship between labor and capital as stated in his first State of the Union address. Without the proletariat, the bourgeoisie can provide nothing.

  5. No, we shouldn’t stop the dumb people from voting. But we shouldn’t encourage their voting. Squelch the idea that we’re better off if “everyone votes.” Let those who are willing to make the effort to vote do so, and quit encouraging those who, if left to their own preferences, wouldn’t bother.

  6. With you right up to your disparagement of gin-and-tonics.

    Seriously, does no one realize, DEMOCRACY KILLED SOCRATES?

    It would be somewhat hard to disenfranchise people with guns to cling to. Fortunately for your thesis, that little problem is being taken care of. (Damn the dangling participles, warp factor 2.)

  7. I propose we pay large sums to eligible voters if they choose NOT to vote. Then most would get what they really wanted anyway, and no one would complain about being disenfranchised. We could even set up a pension to pay people in perpetuity not to vote. I think it might be cheaper in the end under this system.

    I’m not sure yet whether I would vote or take the money.

  8. Should I laugh or cry? Mr. Masty thoroughly lampoons our political process with a walk-through of how we could perform a radical transgender operation on the democratic system…. But he makes it so in tune with our current world of outright propaganda construction e.g. “big-lie politics”, that his proposal seems feasible and half-humane.

  9. They run for office so why not allow them to vote!

    As for the rest?… a word, ‘Decadence’….as inevitable as gravity… inevitable as entropy…. as inevitable as old age and death!

    On the upside there is still Plato…there is still the Christ.

  10. Mr Day, I think you failed to note the obviously humorous tone of the piece (references to PJ O’Rourke, the Three Stooges, etc.)

    That said (on a more serious note) is there really much point in *anyone* voting any more? Important social issues like gay marriage and abortion are now decided by unelected judges, not the people or their representatives. And, thanks to vast entitlement programs, most government spending is done automatically, and again the voters and their reps have little control. Given these facts, it’s easy to see why many people, both dumb and smart, have concluded that voting is just a waste of time.

    • Eric,
      Is there much point in anyone voting anymore when the vast majority, if not all, of the candidates from the two major parties are there to represent the upper economic class? While you target the lower economic class as being the scapegoat for the wrongs you see in government, if you follow the money, you will find that you are targeting the group for why we have a failed democracy–though I hasten to mention that no group deserves the scapegoat treatment.

      The job of the courts is to ensure that democratically arrived at decisions do not violate The Constitution. We might disagree with them on specific decisions, but that state purpose protects people from a tyranny of the majority.

      And if you want to know why people are politically dumb, please realize that that seems to be the goal of our society’s cultural managers. And guess where the money for these managers comes from?

      • “And guess where the money for these managers comes from?”

        It’s not about money, Curt, it’s about POWER. The left wing has always lusted for power, and would do anything to get it. That was a major point of Orwell’s 1984. The Inner Party members, like O’Brien, were not particularly rich, nor did they seek to be. By today’s American standards they had middle class lifestyles, but they had what they wanted most: absolute power.

        • Eric,
          It would be interesting to me to know whom you define as the left. In addition, those who have power do not have the need to envy–note that someone besides the left is in this position. However, having no envy does not imply having no sin.

          • I’m talking about the left wing as it actually exists. It’s how they define themselves, based on their own rhetoric and actions.

  11. Issac Asimov solved this problem quite some time ago in a short story in which every four years only ONE American was allowed to vote for President amongst two candidates . The lucky voter was chosen from a pool of registered voters whose data was analyzed by a super computer in order to find the one citizen with the most average opinion of anyone in the country . The designated voter was free to vote as he or she wished, but the computer calculated with efficient probability that the voter would vote in accordance with the General Will which the voter had been proven (mathematically) to represent . Congressional elections were adjudicated in a similar way , only the pool of registered voters was accordingly smaller .

  12. Mr Rieth, good and thanks, but Asimov’s super computer was a deus ex machina. Chesterton, in his The Napoleon of Notting Hill, set in 1984, has the head of government chosen by lottery!

  13. “You still haven’t identified it. It would help if you named some of the people from that group.”

    Quit playing games. Everyone who pays attention to politics knows full well what “The Left’ is.

    • Eric,
      And you can quit with using the imperative. We are equals.

      And no, there isn’t a universally accepted definition of ‘the Left.’ For Some, the Left includes Hillary, Obama, and the Democrats. Being a Leftist, I am offended by that for I seem them having more in common with the Republicans than with us. In fact, if you talked to the people I use to be colleagues with before retirement, you would hear them laugh at whom most Americans classify as the Left.

      • The left wing can be defined in part by what they say they are, and more importantly, by what they actually do.

        On the first part, the left wing says they are collectivists, meaning anti-individual freedom; and they say they are materialists, meaning anti-God and religion. And in this case, what they say they are and what they actually are, happen to match up.

        But there’s more. What the left wing has actually done is set up a political system (Communism) that is responsible for killing more people (about 85 million) than any other ideology in human history. And hundreds of millions more were kept in a state of near slavery by these same governments, denied pretty much all basic human rights and spied on by relentless secret police organizations.

        And, no matter how hard it tries, the left wing can no more distance itself from the vast crimes of Communism than the Catholic Church can disown the Inquisition or various European powers their role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

        • Eric,
          To judge leftists for what they do you must first make sure that you have properly identified someone as a leftist. Then after you look at all of the actions of leftists, you’re going to divide them into groups because all of the actions together don’t fit one paradigm.

          Take your first part. Yes, Marx and Lenin called religion the opiate of the people. However, one has to determine whether they did so because they examined doctrine or practice and behavior. And though never answering that question, Lenin’s description of opiate indicates that he is called religion the opiate of the people because of observation. In addition, some leftists question the leftist credentials of Lenin.

          However, not all leftists are opposed to religion. Rosa Luxemburg, for example, wrote to Christians imploring to join and citing how the socialists of that time, 1905 was when she wrote this, were working for their benefit as well as others. You also have liberation theologians who definitesly were not anti-God and anti-religion. And you have evangelicals like myself who like a significant part of what Marx said, but not all. And I am neither anti-God nor anti-religion. In fact, I share what the Bible says with fellow protesters and invite people from Church to protest. See, that is just a small sample of people who are on the Left who are neither anti-God nor anti-religion.

          But what is more disturbing is the following claim: Collectivism is ani-God and anti-religion. First, that is not true in absolute terms. There is even collectivism in our country both in terms of social safety nets and that we all pay taxes to support a military that is suppose to protect all of us. So how much collectivism has to exist to make one anti-God according to you? BTW, did you know that Martin Luther King Jr believed in collectivism? And, BTW, being anti-God or anti-Religion has nothing to do with the definition of collectivism.

          Now let’s go to your claim about Leftists and Communism. What we call Communism today started as Bolshevism. And please note that not all Leftists were Bolshevists. In fact, Lenin purged the socialists in his nation by eliminating most if not all opposition voices. THat purging and his centralization of power were strongly objected to and even physically opposed by other Leftists including Lenin’s contemporaries. I’ve mentioned them before. So to try to blame all Leftists for the actions of some is the same steroetyping all who belong to a particular race or religion. And, btw, how can one blame the leftists who opposed Lenin, especially those who physically opposed him, for either his crimes or the crimes of his predacessors?

          But you might also want to check your figures. Because the numbers of those who died because of the ethnic cleansing of Native Americans from America, the number of Blacks who were killed becaue of slave trading, slavery, and Jim Crow, the number of those from other nations who died because of our imperialism, by some figures, rival the number of deaths you attribute to Communism.

          Now, I am going to stop here because the note has made its point and is long enough. Your statements about the Left are simply wrong because they describe a group that has mulitiple distinct subgroups as if it was a monolith. And the only way one can honetly do that is by ignoring history and other facts. You can assert what you want and those who do not have an adequate background in history can agree with you; but assertions do not make truth. Facts and sound arguments allow us to discover truth. And what you have demonstrated here is a form of thinking that ignores but a few small, convenient facts simply because they support what you believed before.

  14. “And you can quit with using the imperative. We are equals.”

    You were the one demanding a definition from me.

    And, so long as you align yourself with the most evil ideology in human history, then, no, we are not equals. At least not morally.

    • Eric,
      Expanding democracy can hardly be called an evil ideology. But when failing to make distinctions is deliiberate, then suspicions are aroused about the other side. So the imperative is appropriate here.

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