Note: It seems that the comment plugin is hopelessly broken. The developer is useless, so I need to find a solution for commenting that is more reliable. For now, it is the basic comment system that comes with WordPress. This summer, I hope to move off the WordPress software (I host my own site), so I’m not going to invest time in a new commenting system for WordPress.
Most discussions about political reform are a way to avoid facing the reality of the people in charge of the system or the system itself. Often, it is a form of escapism where the proposed reform will magically make the people in charge into the sorts of honorable or virtuous people the system demands. Regardless of the political system, reform is an internal operation, performed by the people in charge for the benefit of the people in charge. The reformers always need elite support.
That said, thinking about how the system should be altered in order to serve the ends of society can get at what is wrong with the system. Take voting, for example. American elections are now hopelessly corrupt. The path forward for those not supportive of the ruling class is to protest the whole election. When the votes are rigged and the parties are decreasingly polite fictions, voting is a waste of time. Every vote cast, regardless of the candidate, is for the ruling party.
For most people concerned about this, voting reform would probably start with the companies counting the votes and the voting process. They would want open and accountable voting systems, for example. That way the vote can be compared to actual humans in the district. Maybe the voters would have to present a picture ID in order to vote, which would mean no more mail-in voting. The idea is to reduce the amount of fraud by making it more difficult for the ruling party to commit fraud.
The trouble though is all of those things are just polite ways of saying voter reform means making it harder to vote. The ruling party has always used this claim to justify smashing up the voting system. Democracy, they tell us, is about everyone participating equally in the voting process. That means the system has to be usable by the retarded, the lazy and the disinterested. The only way that can be done is to make the system easy to rig. If the retarded can vote, the imaginary can vote too.
That right there is the point of thinking about voting reform. The honest reformer here must start with the fact that too many people vote. In a democracy, the truth is decided by fifty percent plus one. Although it rarely happens, an election can be decided by one vote, which means the winner is picked by that retarded guy. In a close election, the winner is picked by a handful of the dumbest people. Put another way, in a democracy, the toughest problems are decided by the dumbest people.
Really, what voting reform is about is how to stop the stupid, the crazy and the disinterested from voting. You figure out barriers to put in the way of these people in order to discourage them from trying to vote. Voting is still open to all citizens, as long as they can navigate the voting process. The trouble with this approach is it is not honest about what it means to be a citizen. It says everyone is a citizen with a vote, but in reality, it subtly takes the vote from the undesirable.
Building a system on a lie opens the door for the sorts of people who seek to undermine order so they can plunder society. This is the story of the last century. The drive to open up voting for blacks, for example, was never about bringing blacks into the process so they could have a voice in government. Blacks and black voting were just a cat’s paw for others seeking to undermine the social order. We see the same thing happening now with giving foreigners the right to vote in our elections.
That is what modern voting reform is, when you stop and think about it. One side lies about making it easier to vote, so they can stuff the ballot box. The other side lies about making it fairer, so they can prevent fraud. This is why efforts to fix voting will only make things worse. It is a game built on a lie that encourages both sides to keep lying about their intentions. In a game that rewards the best liars, the people behind the massive election fraud have the advantage, which is why they win.
The real question of voting reform is what sort of person should be participating in the governance of society? When you start from that point, voting reform stops being about rigging the system and about defining citizenship. A citizen is someone who has a stake in the outcome of elections. They have skin in the game. The health and prosperity of society is an extension of themselves and their people. That last part is vital, as the individual can only exist in the context of his people.
The civic nationalist types used to answer this question with money, because they have been conditioned to put a price on everything. They no longer answer this question for the same reason. The trouble with a money requirement, like owning property or paying taxes, is it turns citizenship into a commodity. In theory, a foreigner who owns property in a society should have a vote, even though he really has no skin in the game. He can always sell his property and go to the next place that will have him.
The starting point, when you think about citizenship as having a stake in the outcome of society, is biology. The prerequisite of citizenship, the minimum requirement for voting, is having been born in the jurisdiction. If you were born in the place, then you can qualify for voting there. Voting where you were born would solve the problem of invaders piling into a state and changing its character at the ballot box. The state of Virginia would go back to be a normal state again.
Being born into the jurisdiction is a nice feature, but it is not the answer. Most people in jail were near home when they committed their crimes. What you want is people with a stake in the future of the society. Obviously, these are people who are parents or will be parents at some point. Rationally, the ballot should be limited to married people with kids or maybe married households over a certain age. A 30-year old couple can be assumed to want children. The old couple probably had children.
The other aspect to this thought experiment is what sort of behavior does a society want to reward? The current voting system is neutral about behavior. As long as you are probably a human and you possibly exist, you can vote. The fact that you are in jail, a foreigner or imaginary does not matter. That cheapens the value of citizenship, which in turn cheapens society. Our current voting system encourages everyone to be a rootless raider, a vulture feasting on the carcass of society.
Anchoring the vote in biology flips this around. It encourages the sorts of behavior that are required to maintain social stability. Extend this to holding office and you end up with a system rooted in the goals of the people, rather than in the goals of outsiders, which is what we see today. More important, it shifts the focus from the present, which is what we have now, to the future. This is why aristocratic systems are conservative. The king is always thinking about perpetuating his line.
The point of this sort of exercise is not to create a reform program. The ruling party has no interest in election reform, other than to cancel the next elections. The only way they agree to reform is if they are standing on the gallows. The point here is to break out of the conditioning that comes with the current voting mindset. Elections are supposed to be a tool, not a goal. Once you accept that, you can start thinking about who should be wielding the tool and why.
A new year brings new changes. The same is true for this site as we adjust to the reality of managerial authoritarianism. That means embracing crypto for when the inevitable happens and the traditional outlets are closed. Now more than ever it is important to support the voices that support you. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you prefer other ways of donating, look at the donate page. Thank you.
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