October 25, 2008

Wisdom from the Master

Robert Heinlein, that would be:

The America of my time line is a laboratory example of what can happen to democracies, what has eventually happened to all perfect democracies throughout all histories. A perfect democracy, a "warm body" democracy in which every adult may vote and all votes count equally, has no internal feedback for self-correction.... [O]nce a state extends the franchise to every warm body, be he producer or parasite, that day marks the beginning of the end of the state. For when the plebs discover that they can vote themselves bread and circuses without limit and that the productive members of the body politic cannot stop them, they will do so, until the state bleeds to death, or in its weakened condition the state succumbs to an invader the barbarians enter Rome.

My emphasis. I saw this at Andy McCarthy's post where he used this Heinlein quote in response to Barney Frank already planning what a Democratic Congress and a President Obama will do:

I think at this point there needs to be a focus on an immediate increase in spending and I think this is a time when deficit fear has to take a second seat . . . I believe later on there should be tax increases. Speaking personally, I think there are a lot of very rich people out there whom we can tax at a point down the road and recover some of the money.

I've written previously (and/or commented at other blogs) that the American franchise should entail a degree of difficulty -- that is, there should be a requirement to register to vote in advance (like 30 days before an election) so that election officials can verify you are indeed eligible to vote. A person should be required to show a photo ID in order to vote. Period. I would abolish absentee voting. Period. I would advocate a constitutional amendment to mandate all states have uniform voting procedures for national (i.e. presidential) elections.

Why should voting be "tough?" Simple: I want people voting who CARE about the process, are smart, and are willing to "jump through a few hoops" in order to vote. As Heinlein wrote, Congress instituting things like the "motor voter" law, and stuff like same-day voter registration, "provisional" ballots, and fighting against laws that require showing a photo ID dilute the importance of the franchise. People that would otherwise care less about politics and/or the candidates and issues can now succumb to the whims of groups like ACORN who essentially tell folks who to vote for -- mainly candidates who will "give" them something.

We Americans tend to forget just how freakin' wise our Founders were. They knew precisely what Heinlein wrote some 200 years before. That's why they came up with the first sentence of Article I, section 3 of the Constitution, as well as Article II, section 1 ... among others. (While I've little hassle with Amendment 17 -- which changed Article I, section 3, I do reiterate all of my recommendations from above for it.)

Just think about it: Do you honestly have NO problem with someone voting who made absolutely NO effort to register? Who made NO effort to learn one tiny little thing about the candidates? Who has NO form of ID whatsoever to show at the voting booth? Who has NO problem with a "campaign worker" telling him/her whom to vote for ... and actually does it?

All the while you have done precisely the opposite ... ?

Posted by Hube at October 25, 2008 09:22 AM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

No, I for one don't have a problem with what you propose with regards to voting, Hube, but why abolish absentee voting? You would deny many thousands of military members and contract workers serving overseas a vote? Why? And if that isn't your intent, what's your plan for them? Seems to me they have more at stake (and perhaps more right) than most in having a say who their next CiC should be. It could be argued (did it myself when part of the military family) that it doesn't really matter...when one is obligated for service doesn't really matter who the CiC is...you do their bidding regardless but to remove the choice?

Posted by: Nancy Cleveland at October 25, 2008 11:32 PM

Nance: Establish voting stations at various military bases for military personnel and for Americans working overseas establish stations at the US embassy and consulates.

Posted by: Hube at October 26, 2008 10:20 AM


Would the same idea apply to college students? Set up voting booths on campus and then apply that student's vote to the count of their home state?

Posted by: Mike Matthews at October 26, 2008 10:43 AM

Nope. Go home and vote.

Posted by: Hube at October 26, 2008 10:46 AM

Is it because college students tend to vote Democrat that you think this, Hube? If so, that's silly. Do you realize how many college students pack up and MOVE to another state? I have a relative who went to school in California. Coming home to vote ain't all that easy. Or do you suggest a college student registering in the state in which they go to school? Because, if so, haven't conservatives been complaining about that for fear that some students could possibly vote twice in their home state and then in their school state?

Sorry, Hube. Going home to vote is a bit ridiculous for a college student who's going to school thousands of miles away from his or her home state.

Posted by: Mike Matthews at October 26, 2008 12:01 PM

Yes, Mike -- it's b/c most college students are Democrats. Get real, huh? I mean, use your skull -- the GOP benefits more by absentee ballots, yet I advocate their abolition.

I don't see a problem with registering in your college town if you live far from home.

Posted by: Hube at October 26, 2008 12:07 PM

I gotta disagree, Hube. There are legitimate reasons for absentee ballots, although I will agree that we overuse them currently.

For example: this Election Day, as I have for many years, I'll be working for the Department of Elections running a polling place other than the one I am to vote in. (The location I vote in is well-staffed and where I work isn't so much.) If not for the absentee ballot, I'd face a choice: not help out with enabling others to vote, or give up my own right.

The problem with setting up voting machines for troops who are overseas is the sheer number of ballots you'd have to support. Even if you just set up voting for federal offices (taking away their right to vote for local candidates and ballot issues), you're still looking at over 50 different ballots to maintain and offer to servicemen. (Over 50 because the territories also elect non-voting members of Congress.) It would be an administrative nightmare, plus dealing with ballot security and fraud prevention.

I could agree with limiting absentee ballots to those who are away on official government business, such as the military, embassy workers, others who are in the same situation as me. For those who are vacation or away on personal or non-governmental business, they made a conscious decision to be elsewhere instead of being available to vote.

Posted by: Paul Smith at October 26, 2008 03:45 PM

"Go home and vote."

You mean like this?

"In those days a decree was issued by the emperor Augustus for a census to be taken throughout the Roman world...Everyone made his way to his own town to be registered."

Okay, so the Roman census was for purposes of taxation (you don't get to vote for emperor) but the methodology is the same. Joseph is doing contract work in Florida, but he and Mary have to pack all their stuff in the station wagon and drive back to Bethlehem (Pennsylvania) to vote, despite the fact that Mary is well into the third trimester.

Posted by: G Rex at October 27, 2008 09:51 AM

G Rex, the situations aren't really comparable. Joseph lived and worked in Nazareth, and under our current rules would be permitted to vote there. The decree required Jews to travel to their ancestral homeland to participate in the census. Augustus' decree would be more comparable to requiring me to vote in Northern Connecticut since that is where my dad's family is from for generations back.

Posted by: Paul Smith at October 27, 2008 02:40 PM

Cut my analogy some slack, Paul. The point was that absentee voting isn't limited to college students who can't be bothered to drive back to Jersey for the day. I voted absentee in Maryland when I was stationed in California, because you maintain a home of record while in the service - you don't even have to re-register your car to the state of your duty station. When I was an undergrad at Ohio State, however, I changed my registration to that state. Not only did I get to vote for John Kasich, but I qualified for in-state tuition.

At least I didn't try to claim Joseph and Mary were homeless!

Posted by: G Rex at October 27, 2008 04:03 PM

The fallacy here is that a vote in itself does not determine a policy. Therefore the fear factor expressed by elitists like Heinlein is unfounded.

It is an elitist position that would deny the vote of any citizen. On the basis of what criteria would such a division be made between those eligible and not eligible to vote?

It is exactly this kind of elitism that kept the vote from women and blacks for several centuries plus.

Fortunately for our nation, this elitism has been abolished. Therefore, to foster maximum voter participation, I favor registration where the people are, whether it be "home" or elsewhere.

Posted by: Perry at October 28, 2008 09:56 AM

Baloney, Perry. The kind of elitism you're referring to was the LAW -- which prevented blacks and women from voting. WHat Heinlein (and myself) merely want to do is ensure the integrity of the very process itself -- me by making it just a bit of a "hassle" to vote so that we get people who WANT to vote. This is neither elitist nor stupid. Indeed, it helps to PREVENT stupidity, i.e. loonies like you hopefully from casting a woefully uninformed vote!

Posted by: Hube at October 28, 2008 10:26 AM

Oh I know, Hube, it is your (and the GOP's) ideological mindset to suppress the vote of those who do not support your ideologues. There is a history of it to demonstrate my point; and, it goes on to this day.

I believe suppression is intolerable in a country like ours that claims to value democratic systems so highly that we even go to war to force it. Not that I am for the war extreme, of course, but I am for permitting everyone who registers legally to vote legally, without arbitrary suppression to enhance the advantage of a particular party or ideology. Your approach is arbitrary suppression, based on one's effort to register. That's wrong!

Check this out in your spare time, Hube:

Posted by: Perry at October 28, 2008 12:16 PM

LOL!! Greg Palast is one of, if not THE, biggest conspiracy loon out there, Perry. You're becoming more and more irrational w/each comment.

Your first comment is completely ridiculous in the extreme. Consider: I have on this very blog a link to a group called Verified Voting. This group advocates printed receipts for people's votes so there can be no question as to electronic (or other) booth fraud. Second, I advocated abolition of absentee ballots except in extreme circumstances. Absentee ballots traditionally favor the GOP, Perry. So, once again, you have done what you so often accuse me of doing -- that is, inject your own lunacy into my real point. Yoru second paragraph essentially sums up MY very point, yet your inane use of "suppression" when all I actually want is an orderly process just makes you end up being the radical nut your are.

So, here -- I'll do the same: Your way invites chaos, the very chaos we have seen grow and grow with each passing election. You don't care about it b/c it allows people like you -- idiots who don't know a damn thing about issues or candidates -- to dilute the very process itself. And this goes to the heart of Heinlein's thesis. The republic won't long survive such nonsense. But waddya you care, anyway? You're already a well seasoned citizen and won't be around much longer, right?

Posted by: Hube at October 28, 2008 12:25 PM

Right, Hube, now you play the shoot the messinger game instead of debating the issue at hand. Moreover, Robert Kennedy Jr was a coauthor on the piece, which you conveniently overlooked. You need this push back to focus you on the issues, then your intelligence can be revealed. Did you read it?

Posted by: Perry at October 28, 2008 12:40 PM

You don't dictate the dialogue or issues here, Perry.

Palast is a known conspiratorial NUTJOB who has myriad wacky "theories" about how the GOP "stole" elections in '00 and '04. And he conveniently manufactures all his "theories" from the on-site location of ... England!

RFK Jr., while not as loony as Palast, is enough of a moonbat to at least offer a chuckle to. Oh, and he's another buddy of Chavez, too!

So what's your point, Perry -- that people should NOT be concerned about what groups like ACORN are doing??

Posted by: Hube at October 28, 2008 01:35 PM

C'mon Perry -- did you READ the middle paragraph of my 12:25 comment? Read it REALLY well? How precisely does that pigeon-hole me into the ogre you're trying to make me out as?

Posted by: Hube at October 28, 2008 02:23 PM

In my opinion, Hube, your second paragraph constitutes voter suppression.

I understand that to disagree with you is "lunacy"!

Instead of continuing to attack the messenger, why not read the piece.

There is no doubt in my mind that there is an extensive GOP effort to smear ACORN. Just the fact that the GOP accuses ACORN of "voter fraud" is evidence of their smear motivation.

Folks (you too) need to understand the difference between registration fraud (which ACORN has committed in some cases) and voter fraud (which ACORN has not committed because they cannot).

The statistics state that of one million votes, one is a voter fraud. Thus, regardless of the origin, voter fraud does not appear to be significant.

However, what is significant is voter suppression. The GOP has a history of it!

Now here, read this carefully, Hube, and note the documentation:

Posted by: Perry at October 28, 2008 04:42 PM

Perry,what I wrote in that 2nd parag. -- "This group advocates printed receipts for people's votes so there can be no question as to electronic (or other) booth fraud. Second, I advocated abolition of absentee ballots except in extreme circumstances. Absentee ballots traditionally favor the GOP, Perry" -- are BOTH extremely palatable to the left ... the SAME left you just screamed about whose votes I'm trying to supress!! See -- YOU DID NOT READ MY SECOND PARAGRAPH. Either you lied, or your dogma completely and utterly blinds you to common sense.

You say the GOP has a history of voter suppression? I say the Democrats have a history of voter fraud. Your facts do not "trump" my facts, PERIOD. Face it -- the GOP plays the game to "suppress" traditional Dem. voters just as the Democrats try to "suppress" GOP voters. Much of this "suppression" comes in the form of completely legal tactics and political strategy, however. What loons like Palast do (and I've read plenty of his stuff, Perry) is extrapolate to the Nth degree and then scream X-Files-esque conspiracy.

Amazingly, you are on record as saying the 2004 election stolen, yet the evidence of that is so much more remarkably non-existent than what we see regarding ACORN today. In fact, the two are complete polar opposites. The facts surrounding ACORN's misdeeds are quite lengthy and solid. Now please tell me how concern voter [registration] fraud is some sinister type of "suppression," when in fact the evidence of fraud is overwhelming? Are you saying NO ONE should concern themselves with it based on the supposed "facts" you cite? Really?

At least *I* am on record dealing with the problems of electronic voting, even though all you can offer is ridiculous conspiracy about stolen elections. Even though the chances are remote, the perception is there that electronic voting is vulnerable to hacking. Thus, mandating paper trails and receipts is an excellent first step in overcoming this "weakness."

Posted by: Hube at October 28, 2008 04:55 PM

BTW, Perry, scroll down to the bottom right and click the link. Read Fund's book.

Posted by: Hube at October 28, 2008 04:56 PM