Thursday, October 28, 2004

The Medium Lobster is equally baffled and amused to see the usual parade of frenzied liberals calling for an end to voter fraud and intimidation, for coherent ballot design, and a general increase in the voting population. These "democracy fetishists" have developed such an entirely irrational belief in voting - as if it were some basic right of democratic citizenship, what a thought! - that they've overlooked the obvious: when fewer citizens participate in a democracy, that democracy becomes stronger than ever.

Do we really want the participation of voters who are easily intimidated from voting by the mere assignment of felon status? Or those who are evidently too addled to make sense of ballots such as this one? Only if we live in a society that sees democracy as a good in and of itself - and the Medium Lobster would want no part of such a deranged nightmare world! The purpose of democracy is not, after all, to select leaders whose policies carry the support and sanction of the public. The purpose of democracy is to select the right leaders - regardless of public intent. Tragically, occasional efforts to account for voter intent has often conflicted with democracy's higher, more noble calling.

This is why the reduction of the voting electorate is critical to the maintenance of democracy. For the most intelligent and informed of citizens will surely turn out for the polls, while those who most be prodded by "Get Out the Vote" organizations are clearly always lazy, ignorant, uninformed, and weak - for why else would they need to be convinced to vote? Indeed, society must discourage voting by making it as cumbersome and as confusing as possible. While unnecessarily byzantine ballots such as Montgomery County's may shave off a chunk of the easily-frustrated vote, a good portion of the elderly and the ignorant could still figure out how to vote. After all, the successful completion of a ballot isn't the best, most accurate assessment of one's intelligence; an IQ test is. IQ assessments should be made mandatory before any voter registers, in order to weed those competent enough to participate in Freedom from the ranks of the unwashed.

Ah, but you object, would a forced IQ test on every potential voter be truly cost effective? The Medium Lobster would humbly suggest that no sacrifice should be too great in the cause of safeguarding democracy, but for those fiscal conservatives who might balk at budgeting such a program, there are other options. Economic status correlates quite nicely with one's level of education; providing citizens with an economic disincentive to vote should be able to weed out the ballots of society's undesirables. How to do this? A simple tax levied at the polls would work - a poll tax, if you will. In addition to discouraging lesser-heeled - and thus less-informed - Americans from voting, this approach has the benefits of greatly boosting the revenues of state and local governments, many of which are still struggling to keep up in the heady mad dash of the current economic recovery.

But the Medium Lobster can see that this would be a controversial move - no one wants new taxes, after all! For the tax-averse, the Medium Lobster suggests a final, more direct approach: simply weight the votes of the economically-disadvantaged as counting less than those of a normal, healthy, wealthy American. One could count the votes of those living beneath the poverty line as, say, three-fifths of a vote, thus correcting for their undue over-representation and thereby creating a smaller pool of more competent, deliberative voters. America, democracy, and Freedom Itself would be all the better for it.
posted by the Medium Lobster at 6:19 PM



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