Bryan Caplan  

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More educated people think more like economists; in fact, more educated people pretty much have more reasonable views across the board. Furthermore, by a happy coincidence, more educated people are more likely to vote. Once my book gets to policy implications, these facts inspire a number of shocking suggestions:

  • Stop trying to "get out the vote" - higher turnout reduces voters' average competence.
  • Give college grads extra votes, as Britain did until 1949.
  • Require would-be voters to pass a test of economic literacy.

These proposals are hardly the core of my book; I intended them primarily as "Why not?" exercises to get people thinking. But at the same time, that's what I said; it's in my book in black and white.


So I can hardly protest that in my interview tomorrow on CBNC's Street Signs, host Erin Burnett apparently plans to focus on my views of the franchise. It's not the ideal way to get my fifteen minutes of fame - especially because it's only four minutes starting at 2:50 PM - but that's the way it's going down. If I don't come across as crazy, I'll consider my interview a success!

Update: CNBC just cancelled on me, but frankly, it's more than balanced out by a great review in the Economist.


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COMMENTS (46 to date)
Mark Seecof writes:

How about, do not invite uneducated would-be immigrants into the country?

Horatio writes:

How about deporting economically ignorant citizens^?


We could just make the voting process itself a bit harder. Assign candidates 3 digit numbers on one page and require voters to bubble those numbers in 5 pages later. The errors should average out so that this effectively eliminates the dumbest voters. To target education directly, we could give them little math problems. For x, bubble in the first perfect number greater than 4, for y, the first perfect number greater than 28. For the socialist candidate, find the derivate of x^4 using only limits.

James writes:

Mark Seecof: Why go to the trouble of keeping them out of the country when it's far easier just to keep them out of the voting booth?

Mark Seecof writes:

James, I just don't think we'll put any educational requirements on the franchise. I think that would be politically infeasible. By contrast, I think controlling immigration is politically feasible. So to maximize the fraction of voters who are smart, we should maximize the fraction of citizens who are smart, which means we should minimize the immigration and naturalization of the non-smart.

TGGP writes:

I agree with Seecof again here, but I'd deport the more socialist people if I could. The question is, which country would we send them to? In the case of actual immigrants the simple answer is where they came from (which will also be easier for them to adapt to, since they already lived there and likely have relatives and other connections). For run-of-the-mill bozos it's trickier.

Eric Falkenstein writes:

Why not a plutocracy? Wealth is correlated with IQ. and wealthy have an interest in raising the country's wealth. Stock market increases have corresponded historically with rising wages (1929-33 was worse for investors than workers, and bad for both). So why not like Rollerball. Hand out 'shares' in the US at citizenship (say, 1000 shares), extinguishable at death or original owner, but traded only on a central exchange.

The problem would be that once someone sells their shares, they are disenfranchised. But you could say have this only affect the Senate, so Senators would be elected by share votes like a corporation, and balanced by the House, but the President would be chosen by the popular vote through the electoral college.

The problem with the House of Lords is that it was hereditary, and they tended, like corporate Republicans, to discourage imports and competition. But I'm giving you a good start...

Biomed Tim writes:

Although I suspect the viewers on CNBC are generally better educated in economics, I have my doubts about their familiarity with public choice theory. For that reason, they might indeed think you're crazy, and therefore I hope you'll consider revising your talking points. But then again, maybe you're trying to generate controversy?

What does your publisher think? Whatever you do, I wish you luck and don't forget to flirt with Erin :)

p.s. love the book so far.

Snorri Godhi writes:

Wasn't there an unusual number of Nazis in German universities already in the 1920s? wasn't there a significant number of Nazis in American universities in the 1930s, for that matter? and wasn't Marxism always more popular in Western universities than in the general Western population?

Maybe we could consider a 3-tier system: one vote if you don't have a degree; two votes if you have a degree; no vote if you have a PhD (which I do BTW).

Sudha Shenoy writes:

1. In Britain, it was not university graduates, tout court, who had extra votes. The two old Universities of Oxford & Cambridge had parliamentary seats. So only their graduates could vote for these seats.

2. There used to be property qualifications for voting. If you rented, the house/flat had to have a minimum value. This meant voters had at least some notion of economic realities.

Daniel Klein writes:

Bryan: Bravo, you are pushing the envelope and making people face up to certain realities about the collective stupidity of the democratic process.

For all those who treat you as crazy, you can hit back: Why not let 10 yr olds vote?, etc.

David Thomson writes:

"Require would-be voters to pass a test of economic literacy."

I have nothing whatsoever against a literacy test to establish one’s right to vote. The racist South, by the way, did not have literacy tests. They were merely scam jobs to prevent blacks from voting.

Our Founding Fathers would be appalled to see a marginal to functionally illiterate person entering the voting booth. A viable democracy may not even be possible if the ignorant can cancel out the vote of a more educated individual. And no, I am not advocating elitism. I am utterly convinced that the system is far better served when the modestly educated balance out the process. The Schechter brothers, for instance, kept the Harvard elites from possibly destroying our nation.

Horatio writes:

It seems most of us are throwing around ideas that are not politically feasible. Mark's idea could work, but it may not be in the nation's economic interests.

We need a solution that will sell to a large number of Democrats and Republicans. If we require even native born Americans to take the citizenship test before they could vote, that would solve much of the problem. This is something we could get pass the Republicans but it would kill the Democrats who depend on the low-IQ spur of the moment turnout. The average Democrat may be as smart as the average Republican, but the Democrats have a larger standard deviation i.e. lots of academics and welfare queens.

If the Republicans offered universal health care, they could get enough seats to pass this without the approval of the Democrats. We are already 3rd from the top in terms of government spending on health care. If we eliminated the perverting forces of Medicare and Medicaid, we could provide universal coverage at lower costs and without raising taxes. The biggest problem would be getting the AARP to acquiesce.

Robert Speirs writes:

The problem is not that the less intelligent vote at random. If that were so, their votes would cancel each other out, leaving the cognitive elite in control. The problem is that the less intelligent, being less prosperous, vote themselves other people's money. Excluding them would have the effect of reducing the size and power of government. The Democrats and others who like big government know this and so would never agree to intelligent democracy.

dearieme writes:

SS, the Ancient Scottish Universities also had an MP of their own. That means that there must have been a few people in Britain represented by 3 or even 4 MPs. As for "property qualifications for voting": that was scrapped for national elections long since, but was preserved for local elections into (I think) the 1960s. It was also used for jury membership until about then.

dearieme writes:

SS, I correct myself. According to Wikipedia "The Combined Scottish Universities was a university constituency in the United Kingdom Parliament (from 1918 until 1950). It was formed by merging the Edinburgh and St Andrews Universities and Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities constituencies." It had 3 MPs.

shayne writes:

Regards voting and voting rights ...
The problem has more to do with the given array of candidate representatives than with voters or their relative economics knowledge. I haven't been impressed with any politician or 'want to be' politician at any level since Newt Gingrich.
As an alternative to any of the voter restrictions/qualifications suggested here to improve our voting system, I would suggest the following alternative: modify the IRS Form 1040 to include a section for taxpayer guidance on how that taxpayer's money should be spent, e.g., Defense, Social Programs, Agriculture Support, Retiring the Debt, Education, etc. I suspect the broad category list could be held to 10 or 12 basic categories, with perhaps one block available as a 'write-in'. Each taxpayer could designate the proportion of their taxes to be used for each category that they think is appropriate for the times. Of course, the law would have to change to ensure the elected representatives were obligated to adhere to the taxpayers' recommendations in aggregate.
The taxpayers then get to vote their 'shares' and their vote counts in direct proportion to their 'share of ownership' (funding) of the government every April 15th. Folks who don't pay taxes - or few taxes - have minimal impact on legislation and folks who don't care (don't designate proportions on their 1040) can take what they get from the judgments/influences of their elected representatives, just as it is now.
It's the perfect 'survey' and economics as a social science (not political science) is served, as is democracy.

Regards immigration ...
Mark (and others) obviously seem to think immigration as it currently stands is a problem. I concur, but not as the problem is being discussed. The argument, here and in the capitol, seems to be whether there is greater benefit or cost related to the current population of illegal immigrants in this country. What is truly remarkable on a libertarian blog is that every alleged solution is in the form of 'newer and better' regulations - 'means testing', educational qualifications, intelligence quotient testing, ability to climb fences, etc. - as qualifying criteria for immigrants.
Economists, at least, should be able to realize that the market already has the means to control immigration. Immigrants come here precisely because they perceive greater opportunity to be productive here than wherever they came from. The 'benefit' of immigrant labor to an economy is its ability to be productive, regardless of IQ, education or other alleged measure of possible contribution. The labor market here will naturally and dynamically assimilate those immigrants who are productive and deny opportunity to those who aren't. NO clever immigration control legislation is required. Mark erroneously stated in an earlier comment on Arnold's question, Why do the Poor Commit more Crime?, that, "On our experience so far, unrestricted immigration would damage America's political culture and average human capital; the very factors which make economic growth possible."
Our immigration is not unrestricted. As a matter of fact, the current restrictions we have contribute heavily to the situation we currently have. Precisely in context with Arnold's question, the 'poor' (and allegedly, least desirable immigrants) tend to ignore our laws, while the potentially most desirable will tend to adhere to them and subsequently be restricted from entry. Again, the market has better mechanisms and ability to exert and enforce immigration control than any clever legislation or fence, if the that market is allowed to be fluid. To the degree that unrestricted (or less restricted) immigration would be overly costly, the problem is in our welfare system and not our immigration system. An unproductive U.S. citizen is no more desirable than an unproductive immigrant.

I'll confess a philosophical bias I have here. I spent about 18 years of my productive life in defense and the defense industry, working towards the demise of the old Soviet Union. I didn't spend that time and effort helping to enable the deconstruction of the Berlin Wall, only to see it re-constructed on our southern border. The thought of that turns my stomach. As a practical matter, I'd rather see the U.S. invade and annex Mexico as the 51st state, so the cross-border labor traffic would no longer be considered 'illegal' immigration. It would be far less costly than the current or proposed policies/enforcement and far less abhorrent than that fence.

Snorri Godhi writes:

Robert Speirs wrote: The problem is that the less intelligent, being less prosperous, vote themselves other people's money.

Intuitively, it sounds right, but actually it's not true: almost all the benefits of state spending go to the middle class ... and most of the tax money comes from the middle class as well, given that effective tax rates are regressive. As I understand it, the middle class is bribed with its own money.

reason writes:

Then if we can just make university education unaffordable for the riff-raff... oh wait we have already.

And your mob calls us 'Liberals' elitist. I hope you are joking, it is only a small step from disenfranchisement to culling or compulsory sterilization. The real answer is to improve the political and education processes.

David Thomson writes:

"I didn't spend that time and effort helping to enable the deconstruction of the Berlin Wall, only to see it re-constructed on our southern border."

I'm sorry but your point does not make any sense. The Berlin Wall was built to keep people in the country. Our wall will prevent outsiders from sneaking in. That is a huge distinction which you cannot be allowed to ignore.

Horatio writes:

"Then if we can just make university education unaffordable for the riff-raff... oh wait we have already."

Considering the tuition rates at state schools and government subsidized loans, any American who is smart enough to get through college can also find the means to pay for it.

shayne writes:

David:

The distinction is not as "huge" as you imply. The fences, both in Berlin's case and in our case was constructed precisely to protect the right of the constructor's constituents to be non-productive or minimally productive. Only the potential flows are different. In Berlin, the socialist faction constructed the fence (wall) to dissuade potentially productive Berliners from flowing to a place where they could actually be productive and acquire a lifestyle commensurate with that productivity. Hence it was protecting (and enforcing) its citizens' under-productivity. The very same applies here. Our immigration quotas, as well as our fence, are mechanisms to protect our citizens' under-productivity. It is often cited that unrestricted immigration would lead to immigrants 'taking American jobs', or words to that effect. Again, the market has inherent mechanisms for correction - it will retain the most productive workers, U.S. citizens or not. If U.S. citizen workers are inherently more productive, why do we need quotas or fences to protect American jobs?
Regards the difference in flow mentioned above - Berlin versus the U.S. southern border - it exists only because of the relative opportunities on either side of the fences. But in both cases, the constructors of the fence are protecting the under-productivity of its citizens.

All that aside, I can hardly conceive of a more ineffectual mechanism for protecting an economy than a physical fence. I can just envision the future debate when that ineffectuality becomes more glaringly apparent: "We'll have to authorize an additional $23 Billion to add barbed wire to the top of the fence [or any other favorite fence enhancement], because folks are climbing over [or tunneling under, or going around, da, da, da] it!" A fence only defines a border, not an economy. As I recall from Adam Smith, land, labor and capital are required for an economy. Fences and immigration quotas are inherently focused at protecting the lowest common denominator of the labor element - my basic question remains, why does the lowest productivity U.S. citizen labor element require protection?

TGGP writes:

The Berlin wall reduced the options of East Berliners to one country. The Great Wall of America will reduce the options of Mexicans by one country.

There's no way the U.S could handle taking over Mexico. We thought we could change Iraq and we were dead wrong. I say let other problems remain the problems of other countries since we have no idea how to deal with them.

tb writes:

Gee, there are so many great ideas here. It's easy to see why you guys deserve the franchise more than everyone else. I just don't understand why you limit your dreams to taking away people's voting rights- I'm sure things would be better for you if you limited a lot of other rights, and not just based on intelligence. I also don't understand what you think a right is.

Libertard writes:

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Twisted_Colour writes:

Is Paris allowed to vote?

Horatio writes:

tb

Why should voting to steal the property of others be a right? Unconstrained democracy makes as much sense as "stakeholders" being given the same right to vote in corporate elections as the shareholders have.

Righteous Bubba writes:

Taxation without representation anyone?

tb writes:
Why should voting to steal the property of others be a right?

Boy, nice loaded attempt to change the subject. What does "stealing the property of others" have to do with anything? I thought this was a discussion of who should have the right to vote, not what they they vote for.

Unconstrained democracy makes as much sense as "stakeholders" being given the same right to vote in corporate elections as the shareholders have.

Hey, I have an idea, since according to you rights aren't inalienable: let's limit the right to vote to people who believe in democracy. That makes at least as much sense as limiting it to people with advanced degrees and people who own things.

Libertard writes:

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Muad Dib writes:

A pox on all parties for your faint-hearted dance around this unholy Cow of democracy! Now that Capitalism has emerged victorious and the true measure of Man, what's to fear anymore from institution of Economic Theocracy?

Skeeterbytes writes:

Paris gets ten votes; Latrell Sprewell gets fifteen votes; Barbra Streisand gets twenty-three votes; you get two-thirds of a vote; Bill Gates gets the rest.

Should make campaigning much easier.

TGGP writes:

tb, Horatio was not changing the subject. Giving people the right to vote means they can vote for what they choose, including stealing the property of others (which is, of course, what the government does).

Regarding your proposal to restrict voting to those who believe in democracy, what do you think would be the policy result of this? Caplan gives reasons why we should prefer the more educated to hold more of the franchise, so to make your idea seem better you should do so as well.

tb writes:
tb, Horatio was not changing the subject.

Yes, he was. What's being questioned here is the right of undereducated (in your view) people to vote period. Horatio was asking why people should have the right to vote for certain things. These are not the same thing.

Giving people the right to vote means they can vote for what they choose,

That's right! As long as they don't violate the constitution. And the right to vote is not "given", unless you mean "God-given". By the way.

including stealing the property of others (which is, of course, what the government does).

This is a fringe view, and another subject altogether.

Regarding your proposal to restrict voting to those who believe in democracy, what do you think would be the policy result of this? Caplan gives reasons why we should prefer the more educated to hold more of the franchise, so to make your idea seem better you should do so as well.

I don't know what the policy result would be, but society would benefit by keeping subversives such as yourself from undermining democracy via the ballotbox.

But you've missed the point: once you make other people's rights as citizens contingent upon your policy goals, what's stopping them from doing the same to you, and in ways you won't like?

Horatio writes:

tb
How was I changing the subject?

The subject is voting rights. I do not believe voting is a right. If I decide to play "futbol" with the Europeans in my department and we decide to vote on which field we are going to play on, you have no right to vote in that process. Even in an organization that you do have voting rights for, you do not have the right to vote for anything. If I and ten buddies vote to threaten Bob with violence in order to get his cash, that would be a violation of Bob's rights and we do not have the right to vote in such a way. Why is it any different when 50 million people vote to threaten 1 million with violence in order to get their money?

tb writes:
How was I changing the subject? The subject is voting rights.

I don't know how much clearer I can make it. The right to vote at all is not the same subject as the right to vote for certain policies.

I do not believe voting is a right.

Well, you would be wrong about that.

If I decide to play "futbol" with the Europeans in my department and we decide to vote on which field we are going to play on, you have no right to vote in that process.

Except that's not what's being suggested here. You're talking about denying voting rights to citizens. That's the same as denying a vote to one of your footballers because a) you think he's dumb and b) you think he'll vote for something you don't like.

Even in an organization that you do have voting rights for, you do not have the right to vote for anything.

Yes you do. Given the opportunity, you can even vote to steal your fellow citizen's voting rights if you want to. How gross a violation of everything America stands for is that? Fortunately, we have a constitution and courts to prevent such a law from being enacted.

If I and ten buddies vote to threaten Bob with violence in order to get his cash, that would be a violation of Bob's rights and we do not have the right to vote in such a way. Why is it any different when 50 million people vote to threaten 1 million with violence in order to get their money?

This has nothing to do with the right to vote. And is one of the dumbest, tiredest cliches in the Libertarian book. I'm no civics expert, but the government also protects (or at least gives legal recourse for) you and your property against fire, criminal theft, criminal violence, vandalism, tainted food, foreign invasion, terrorism, catastrophic natural disaster, illiteracy, unsafe water, unfair business practices, bridge collapse, old-age poverty, and sexual predation to name a few. It does not constitute a "threat of violence" to require you to pay to maintain this service or move elsewhere.

Greg Jaxon writes:

Your claim is that "One person one vote" debases the currency of decision-making, by over-printing it and failing to concentrate it in the hands of those who are like yourself. But that is only a third of the awful Truth.

Next you must recognize how elections realize the Marxist ideal to distribute "from each according to his ability; to each according to his need". Voting rights are not earned, and your opportunity cost of voting is proportional to the productive power on hold while you wait in a queue outside the booth. Being unearned, irredemable for gold, beer, or goods of any kind (not even redeemable for a campaign promise!), and having no shelf-life, votes carry so little economic weight that it is not clear WHAT information they embody. Certainly no accurate consumer preference info. Can balloting identify the greatest good to the greatest number if no auction process forces us to bid wisely? What will a bum purchase when it is no sacrifice to get on line for it? Almost anything!

No. At best, voting is a battle averted by giving the day to the side with the larger army. Just as in battle, the loser must surrender his claims and submit. The moral way to register to vote is as "conscientious objector".

reason writes:

Anybody for "The glass bead game". I think what we REALLY is to select an elite caste early in life and train them to be responsible Libertarian rulers. Not need for that messy democracy business.

You people seem to think that democracy is valuable only a method of making good decisions. You forget that it is important in ensuring that everybody's interests are represented. To ensure that everybody is on board with the social contracts that underly our society.

You are essentially just let us peak though that camoflage you are wearing to elitist authoritarian hiding underneath.

Horatio writes:

tb wrote

"I don't know how much clearer I can make it. The right to vote at all is not the same subject as the right to vote for certain policies."

You clearly do not understand the subject. The organizations you have the right to vote in and the policies you can vote on all fall under the purview of voting rights. Voting rights derive from property rights.

"Well, you would be wrong about that."

Government Law != Natural Right. People who believe that are the same people who have never done anything to move civilization forward.

"Except that's not what's being suggested here. You're talking about denying voting rights to citizens. That's the same as denying a vote to one of your footballers because a) you think he's dumb and b) you think he'll vote for something you don't like."


Wrong again tb. What I am suggesting is that even if the government decides that some guy in Fargo is a member of my soccer club, he has no legitimate right to vote in our elections.


"Yes you do. Given the opportunity, you can even vote to steal your fellow citizen's voting rights if you want to. How gross a violation of everything America stands for is that? Fortunately, we have a constitution and courts to prevent such a law from being enacted."

The constitution is little more than toilet paper for the paternalists in DC.


"This has nothing to do with the right to vote. And is one of the dumbest, tiredest cliches in the Libertarian book. I'm no civics expert, but the government also protects (or at least gives legal recourse for) you and your property against fire, criminal theft, criminal violence, vandalism, tainted food, foreign invasion, terrorism, catastrophic natural disaster, illiteracy, unsafe water, unfair business practices, bridge collapse, old-age poverty, and sexual predation to name a few. It does not constitute a "threat of violence" to require you to pay to maintain this service or move elsewhere."

The government does more harm than help in most of those areas. Give me money to pay for a bunch of crap you don't want or I'll throw you in prison where you will probably be a victim of violence. You don't believe that last sentence was a threat? Bob should take our beating and accept our theft, because we will protect him from criminals who are not members of this government. This is essentially your argument, and a poor one at that.

reason writes:

Of course the real argument is that one man one vote when it is really respected has a performance record behind it. It has for instance over the long term protected private property better than any other stable political system.

Maybe I'm exagerating with slippery slope arguments about moving away from it (although slippery slope arguments are a favourite tactic by Libertarian's to argue for extremism - so touche!). But throw away a cohesive society at your own peril! Under all the civilised veneer, we are all apes and tend to get a bit violent if we see our livelihoods threatened.

tb writes:
"I don't know how much clearer I can make it. The right to vote at all is not the same subject as the right to vote for certain policies."

You clearly do not understand the subject. The organizations you have the right to vote in and the policies you can vote on all fall under the purview of voting rights.

I understand that you think that. It's like attacking freedom of religion because you hate Mormonism. Really, really hating Mormonism is not an argument against people's right to believe in the faith of their choice.

Voting rights derive from property rights.

Obviously that's not the case in any modern democracy that I can think of- in most or all of them all adult citizens have the right to vote. It used to be the case, but society has concluded that it was unjust.

"Well, you would be wrong about that."

Government Law != Natural Right. People who believe that are the same people who have never done anything to move civilization forward.

First of all, voting is not a matter of law, it's a constitutionally-guaranteed right which cannot be taken away except in very special circumstances. Second, the people making an argument may be the most feckless dirtbags on the planet, but pointing that out does not constitute a counter-argument.

"Except that's not what's being suggested here. You're talking about denying voting rights to citizens. That's the same as denying a vote to one of your footballers because a) you think he's dumb and b) you think he'll vote for something you don't like."

Wrong again tb. What I am suggesting is that even if the government decides that some guy in Fargo is a member of my soccer club, he has no legitimate right to vote in our elections.

How is this analogous to the topic of this thread? Hint: the topic is not "everything I hate about voting and the government" it is, more or less, "should voting rights be made contingent upon educational level and wealth."


"Yes you do. Given the opportunity, you can even vote to steal your fellow citizen's voting rights if you want to. How gross a violation of everything America stands for is that? Fortunately, we have a constitution and courts to prevent such a law from being enacted."

The constitution is little more than toilet paper for the paternalists in DC.

Do you even consider yourself an American? What are you?

"This has nothing to do with the right to vote. And is one of the dumbest, tiredest cliches in the Libertarian book. I'm no civics expert, but the government also protects (or at least gives legal recourse for) you and your property against fire, criminal theft, criminal violence, vandalism, tainted food, foreign invasion, terrorism, catastrophic natural disaster, illiteracy, unsafe water, unfair business practices, bridge collapse, old-age poverty, and sexual predation to name a few. It does not constitute a "threat of violence" to require you to pay to maintain this service or move elsewhere."

The government does more harm than help in most of those areas. Give me money to pay for a bunch of crap you don't want or I'll throw you in prison where you will probably be a victim of violence. You don't believe that last sentence was a threat? Bob should take our beating and accept our theft, because we will protect him from criminals who are not members of this government. This is essentially your argument, and a poor one at that.

I guess you could consider it a "threat". I just consider it a responsibility, and the cost of living in such a nice country. You can always move if you don't like our reasonably free, reasonably fair business environment.

tb writes:
Of course the real argument is that one man one vote when it is really respected has a performance record behind it.


Which as true, but as someone at Sadly, No! (where they're having a great time with this thread) pointed out, OMOV is not really about achieving the "best" results, it's about legitimacy.

Joe S. writes:

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Horatio writes:

"I understand that you think that. It's like attacking freedom of religion because you hate Mormonism. Really, really hating Mormonism is not an argument against people's right to believe in the faith of their choice."

It's not like that at all. Please be careful when making distinctions; you seem to have some independent concepts convolved. I attack law X because X is not and should not be a right. I hate X because it leads to Y.


"First of all, voting is not a matter of law, it's a constitutionally-guaranteed right which cannot be taken away except in very special circumstances. Second, the people making an argument may be the most feckless dirtbags on the planet, but pointing that out does not constitute a counter-argument."

Cannot be taken away unless the government jumps through more hoops than it does for normal laws. Fundamentally, the constition is just a list of laws. Laws the government often chooses to ignore rather than jump through hoops for.


"How is this analogous to the topic of this thread? Hint: the topic is not "everything I hate about voting and the government" it is, more or less, "should voting rights be made contingent upon educational level and wealth.""

In case you didn't notice, the education and wealth restrictions on wealth are treatments rather than cures. The disease is the government's lack of respect for property. Those people should not have the right to vote to steal my money in the first place. My first choice is to keep people who are not co-owners of my property from having any control over it. My second choice is to make it very difficult for them to actually exert any control over my property.

"Do you even consider yourself an American? What are you?"

Last time I checked, rebelliousness and disdain for paternalism were prime attributes among our founders. Blind "patriots" are as American as British soldiers in red coats.


"I guess you could consider it a "threat". I just consider it a responsibility, and the cost of living in such a nice country. You can always move if you don't like our reasonably free, reasonably fair business environment."

I am taking responsibility for my country. My country would be a far better place if the government were a far weaker entity. Considering how much damage the government does with all the money it steals, any true patriot should be working to limit the funds that go into the beast.

tb writes:
In case you didn't notice, the education and wealth restrictions on wealth are treatments rather than cures. The disease is the government's lack of respect for property. Those people should not have the right to vote to steal my money in the first place. My first choice is to keep people who are not co-owners of my property from having any control over it. My second choice is to make it very difficult for them to actually exert any control over my property.

Horatio, you're damn near incoherent and I need to cut you loose. You can't just restrict people's rights in order to effect your policy goals. That's why they're rights. If you really want to outlaw taxation and enshrine the inviolability of private property as the value that trumps all others, your going to have to take it up with the US Constitution.

Another thing: the US is not exactly the poster-child nation for the crippling effects of big government, seeing as we're the richest, most powerful nation in history, and became that way during the period of our history with the biggest government, most generous social programs and highest taxes.

TGGP writes:

tb, I don't know how much of what is written here you actually comprehend, but America was not founded on the principle of "one-man one-vote". We had an electoral college as well as heavy restrictions that prohibited most of the population from voting. As these restrictions were loosened the bounds of acceptable behavior on the part of the government also expanded. The "right" is not granted by God or the Constitution (excluding later amendments or laws).

The United States has long been a better than average place to live (that's why we've had a positive rate of net migration for so long). This has been true both before and after the New Deal/Great Society/[insert expansion of government here]. The question is whether we would have been better off without those expansions.

tb writes:
tb, I don't know how much of what is written here you actually comprehend,

Not all of it is comprehensible, frankly.

but America was not founded on the principle of "one-man one-vote". We had an electoral college as well as heavy restrictions that prohibited most of the population from voting.

Just because the country started that way doesn't make it right. We also had human slavery.

As these restrictions were loosened the bounds of acceptable behavior on the part of the government also expanded. The "right" is not granted by God or the Constitution (excluding later amendments or laws).

Except you can't exclude the later amendments. They're as much a part of the constitution as anything else. I take your point though, that the right to vote has not always been regarded as universal, like it is today.

The United States has long been a better than average place to live (that's why we've had a positive rate of net migration for so long). This has been true both before and after the New Deal/Great Society/[insert expansion of government here]. The question is whether we would have been better off without those expansions.

Yeah, I don't get this part. With the recognition of greater individual rights and expansion of government has come the greatest explosion of prosperity in history. We didn't collapse like the Soviet Union, we got really, really, fantastically rich. And more free. This suggests to me that the new way is better.

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