Regular readers know that I believe “facts” are of little consequence in the substantial issues of life. Facts are useful for the mundane decisions, such as which TV, car, or computer to buy. Among the ones on sale, of course. 😉
But when it comes to substantial issues, it’s all about values. And those are not susceptible to facts. Values cannot be proved or disproved based on “facts.” Our values come from many sources, but not from facts. Because if facts are the basis of values, then we would all have the same values.
Does anyone debate that Washington, D.C. is the nation’s capital? That is a “fact.” No debate.
But there is plenty of debate on, say, abortion. The “facts” are irrelevant to this issue even if there is agreement on the facts. The debate is not about the facts. It is about values, which are often based on our life experiences.
Similarly, I place little value on voting. Especially (near) universal suffrage. Since I don’t accept the legitimacy of any form of government, my views on the problems with universal suffrage are purely academic. Intellectual sport, if you will.
Those waiting for the reinvigoration of government are… waiting for Godot.
But for those enamored with “facts” I offer the following facts regarding voting:
1) A Rasmussen Reports poll this year reflects that 42% believe we’d be better off selecting Congressional representatives by random selection from phone books. (Quibble: they should have used something more “inclusive” than a phone book; many folks, including me, do not have a land line or are unlisted.)
I find that percentage quite encouraging. It reflects the public’s disgust with the political system. A disgust that I believe has been building since the 1960’s.
I believe the whole sordid Viet Nam debacle, where over 50,000 Americans died for absolutely nothing because the “best and brightest” could not understand what college students could, began a disaffection with government. Today, it is not just college students who believe the government is full of it. Folks from all walks of life do not trust the government to be able to recognize, much less do, the right thing.
And that disgust with government is how folks come around to my point of view. The first step is disgust. Followed by despair. Eventually, enough folks decide to ignore government.
At that point, government is effectively on life support. No revolutions, no bomb throwing. Government just withers away. (Yes, Lenin was a communist, not an anarchist; but I still like his phrase.)
(Sidebar: if you check out that link to Rasmussen Reports, you’ll find another poll where 57% of voters want to replace the entire Congress and start all over again. So why do the same folks keep getting re-elected over and over again? Well, most persons polled believe that elections are ‘rigged.” In a way, they are: you have to raise lots of cash to get elected and that’s not easy for a newcomer. Hence, the phone book approach…)
But it’s just not me who thinks voting is over rated. The Constitution was written on that premise.
2) The framers of the federal Constitution did not trust the common folks enough to allow them to vote on anything except the House of Representatives. Until the Constitution was amended (17th Amendment) to allow for their direct election, Senators were appointed by each state’s legislature.
3) And of course, even today the President is not directly elected. The Constitution’s framers did not want the people to directly elect the President either. That task was entrusted to “electors.”
You may know that the term “electoral college” is not in the Constitution. Only the word “electors” is in the Constitution. And you may also know the Constitution is otherwise completely silent on just how those “electors” are chosen, other than to give each State’s legislature the power to decide. And in the early days of this country, it was certainly not by a vote of the unwashed masses.
4) At the birth of this country, the masses could not vote. Voting was for a very elite group. And that system produced who? Oh, Jefferson, Madison, Lincoln to name a few. That is what elitism gets you.
Then, along comes the infamous idea to allow more folks to vote. It would be oh-so-democratic. But this country is not named the People’s Democracy of the United States of America. (Although we sure are bordering on it, aren’t we comrades?)
When women finally received the vote less than 100 years ago, the democratization of voting was essentially complete. I assume the ability of the dead to vote in some jurisdictions was granted before women received that privilege. (Of course, dead women couldn’t vote until the amendment passed.)
5) And what has voting by the masses produced? Oh…Nixon, Carter, and Dubya. Exhibits A, B and C in the slam dunk case against voting.
What I find amazing about the Rasmussen Reports poll is that only 42% of respondents think picking Congressional representatives randomly is better than voting for them. I expect that percentage to increase over time. And what do you think will happen as a majority of folks come to distrust the government? A lot of good things, in my opinion.
You say you want a more effective government? Voting isn’t the answer.
Give me that phone book! And the new U.S. Senator from Florida is…Clem Kadiddlehopper! He’d be no worse than the bozos now running that circus we call Congress.
“The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable…” – H.L. Mencken