Disclaimer: I’m a voluntaryist and I consider voting to be morally wrong. However, for the sake of playing devil’s advocate, I wanted to write up an article on who should be allowed to vote. And no, it’s not everyone.
Here are 5 requirements someone must meet in order to be able to vote, and 1 rule that would bar them from doing so.
The idea is simple: people will not manage a resource responsibly if they have no skin in the game. This is also known as the Tragedy of the commons, and is used to describe
a situation in a shared-resource system where individual users acting independently according to their own self-interest behave contrary to the common good of all users by depleting or spoiling that resource through their collective action.
That’s essentially what voting usually is. People vote for their own self-interest and they don’t particularly care whom they harm. Democrats vote for women to get government-sponsored abortions, and they don’t care that Christians deplore that their tax money is being spent on something they find morally reprehensible. War-hawks vote for war, and they don’t care that hippies don’t want to be paying for bombs to be dropped on innocent people. Almost everyone’s doing it, and that’s one of the reasons democracies are such a bad idea. But if we wanted to improve the system rather than abolishing it, how would we go about doing that?
Voting is a privilege. And privilege without responsibility is disastrous. Right now, voters have no responsibility whatsoever for the results of their policies, and that needs to change. We have to ensure that votes have consequences. That the people who vote will have skin in the game. Which brings me to rule number 1.
People should only be allowed to vote if…
1. They agree to be conscripted if there’s a war.
That’s right. If you want the right to vote, you have to sign up for the military to be able to conscript you in a time of need. In the United States, that’s called selective service, except they’re sexist and they only conscript men, as soon as they reach the age of 18. It doesn’t matter if they oppose the war or don’t even vote, they still get conscripted to fight a war that someone else voted for. Does that seem fair?
Instead, conscription should be based on votes. If you vote for anything or anyone, you agree to be held responsible for their actions. That means if your presidential candidate wins and starts a war, off you go to Iraq! It doesn’t matter what gender you are, or really what age, unless you’re so old you’d be of no use at all. In which case, perhaps you shouldn’t be allowed to vote for others to be shipped off to war.
As a consequence, I expect there to be far fewer pointless wars. Knowing they’d be the ones killing and dying on the frontlines, people would only vote for wars that were absolutely necessary.
2. You have to own immovable property.
This one’s really important. If you own real estate or land, that’s going to really make you think about the consequences of your policies. You can’t just screw up a city by voting for free stuff and then move somewhere else when it all implodes. Or I suppose you could, but it would make it much harder. If you want people to make responsible decisions about the future, they need to care on a personal level. Which brings me to rule number 3.
3. You have to have children.
Single, childless people shouldn’t be able to vote. Which would exclude me too (for now). Why you might ask? Well, think about what’s happening in modern socialist democracies. The debt is at or above 100% of GDP, unfunded liabilities greatly exceed the capacity of the government to pay them (social security is a Ponzi scheme), and it’s getting worse with every year.
What is government debt, anyway? Government debt is using unborn children as collateral for the benefit of the current generation. Someone has to pay it off, either directly or through the resulting inflation and devaluation of the currency. That won’t be the old people voting for more pensions and benefits. It won’t even be the middle-aged people. No, it’ll be the kids who can’t even vote yet, either because they’re too young or not even born. If that isn’t taxation without representation, then I don’t know what is.
The best way to make people think twice about going down paths of governance that are unsustainable in the long-run is to make sure they have kids to worry about. If you’re worried about whether your kids will have a good life or not, 30 years from now, that’ll make you reconsider the entire socialist platform very quickly.
4. You have to have a functional family.
That means two parents, preferably of different genders (not because I don’t like gays, but because having a mum and a dad is better for a child’s psychology). If you’ve divorced, that usually means you care more about yourself than your kids, which doesn’t bode well for your voting proclivities. There are exceptional circumstances, of course, but I think it’s safe to say that most of the time divorce is a selfish, destructive thing to the children who get caught in the middle of their parents’ mess.
5. You have to be paying taxes.
People who don’t pay into a system should have zero say in how it is run. I think this one is common sense enough, if you’re not an entitled parasite that wants to live off of others, that is. And if you are, guess what? You shouldn’t be able to vote.
People should be barred from voting if…
1. You accept welfare or any other form of benefit from the government.
Why? Because that makes you biased. Someone who personally receives $1,000 a month from the government is never going to vote for a reduction in that amount, even if such a reduction were necessary for the benefit of society as a whole (e.g. because the government was in debt and going broke).
As it stands, politicians can essentially bribe voters by promising them free stuff. This is corrupt, unsustainable, and immoral.
The fallacy of universal voting
Unfortunately, universal voting rights (universal suffrage) are seen as a major achievement of western democracy. It’s true that who should vote shouldn’t be discriminated against based on gender or race, but it should certainly be discriminated against based on merit. The fact is, a lot of people out there can’t even figure out how to make good decisions in their own lives and essentially live a miserable existence of their own making. Others, regardless of age, will do anything to avoid responsibility. Some want to live off of others without lifting a finger, and some have moral crusades and want to fix what they see as problems in society, while they can’t even get their own lives in order.
People like that shouldn’t be allowed to vote, and this list should exclude most such people. I’d be curious to hear your comments and any amendments or further additions to the list.