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Inalienable rights

This is my response to the question posed:

By the way, the concept of only letting those who pay taxes vote (I think it was the original Commonwealth ideology, but not sure): what say you? The professor obviously hated it, but I find it a very interesting proposal, and imaigne that it could very well solve certain current problems of ours.

I’ve given this a lot of thought.

Thanks to government schools, the very idea of a “poll tax” or a “civic literacy test” to vote is tantamount to requiring a “sieg heil” to der Fuhrer: if you promote such things, you are a fascist.

That’s because, in the past, these things were abused to infringe on voting rights. The proposals themselves (you have to read three sentences from “Huckleberry Finn” in order to vote or whatever) were not unreasonable. It was the fact that they were then taken as a way to, with full legal authority, selectively deny people the right to vote.

It was a straightforward power, that when used abusively abrogated civil liberties.

Viewed this way, it seems damn close to certain gun control measures like “may issue” carry permits or, gasp, NC’s Pistol Purchase Permits which can be arbitrarily denied. I’ve heard talk that says the permits are a vestige of Jim Crow laws, a way to prevent blacks from owning arms.

That may be false, but it’s hard to think of a better way to arbitrarily cut off access to weapons by a demographic.

Both the notion of the civic literacy test and the gun registration program seem like sensible first moves, yet we must always remember what will happen when power to deny freedoms is given to the government: it will be used for political ends.

First it’s gun registration, then it’s a public gun owner list, then it’s a checklist for confiscation.

First it’s only those who pay taxes that can vote. Then it’s only those who publicly release their taxes that can vote. Then it’s only those who’ve been audited by the IRS OR paid directly by the FedGov (have to be sure where that money is coming from!) that can vote.

Advocating denying anyone the right to vote for any reason must always and forever be a hanging offense for a politician. The cost is too high to tread near that slippery slope.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. hazelbhenley
    June 23, 2009 at 9:11 am

    I seem to remember you once being in favor of a civic literacy test. Am I misremembering, or have you changed your mind?

    Anyways, I do definitely see your point. It would seem to be a good way of keeping the welfare people from simply voting for those who would give them free money from the hard-workers, but I can’t deny that it is, in effect, taking rights away from citizens. I’d be a pretty crappy libertarian if I believed any differently.

  2. Hober Short
    June 23, 2009 at 10:53 am

    I did previously think such a test would work, but like I said, I gave it a lot of thought and realized that it’s too dangerous.

    And dealing with people living on welfare by taking away their right to vote isn’t the way to fix having people living on welfare. There’s a more immediate way.

    Taking away the right to vote as a way to remedy the excessive exercise of extra-constitutional powers is such a warped bastardisation of the system that it defies logic. Breaking the system (denying the right to vote to some) is no way to fix a broken system.

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