We once had a long discussion about the franchise, questioning whether the universal franchise was really a good idea and debating approaches. The debate took place here, at VC, and at Elise's place. Different models were offered: a Starship Troopers model that linked citizenship to military or other public service; a property qualification, for 'skin in the game' reasons; I think we also discussed some education qualification. In the end, none of it proved very persuasive, although it was interesting to see what arguments people had for and against things like the service qualification.

I think the debate was worthwhile, although it offended some readers so badly that they asked to have their blogs removed from the sidebar so they wouldn't be associated with someone who would entertain the question. Well, philosophers entertain a lot of ideas; as someone said, the mark of an educated mind is to be able to entertain an idea without accepting it.

So, I'm prepared to entertain the idea. How about denying the franchise just to white men?

The idea is first justified by consequences: progressives would do way better if white men didn't vote, not just in America but across the Anglosphere. Isn't that unfair, to deny people the vote just because they don't vote the way you'd like? Why yes, the author admits:
Let's be clear, it may be unfair, but a moratorium on the franchise for white males for a period of between 20 and 30 years is a small price to pay for the pain inflicted by white males on others, particularly those with black, female-identifying bodies. In addition, white men should not be stripped of their other rights, and this withholding of the franchise should only be a temporary measure, as the world rights the wrongs of the past.
So, they won't be stripped of their rights, other than voting rights? Well, and property rights: it turns out, the whole point of this is to take their money.
At the same time, a denial of the franchise to white men, could see a redistribution of global assets to their rightful owners. After all, white men have used the imposition of Western legal systems around the world to reinforce modern capitalism. A period of twenty years without white men in the world's parliaments and voting booths will allow legislation to be passed which could see the world's wealth far more equitably shared. The violence of white male wealth and income inequality will be a thing of the past.

This redistribution of the world's wealth is long overdue[.]
Ok, so, just voting rights and property rights, then. Oddly enough, there's actually a solid philosophical argument against that exact combination. It's fine to have redistribution in an oligarchy, Aristotle says, because the regular redistribution of wealth to the poor makes them willing to accept a lack of political control. But you can't have redistribution in a democracy, as this will produce violent revolt:
In democracies the rich should be spared; not only should their property not be divided, but their incomes also, which in some states are taken from them imperceptibly, should be protected. It is a good thing to prevent the wealthy citizens, even if they are willing from undertaking expensive and useless public services, such as the giving of choruses, torch-races, and the like. In an oligarchy, on the other hand, great care should be taken of the poor, and lucrative offices should go to them; if any of the wealthy classes insult them, the offender should be punished more severely than if he had wronged one of his own class.
So, denying people power for the purpose of taking their wealth is right out. If you give them the power, you can claim that they owe you compensation from their wealth. If you take the power, you have to spare their wealth. Trying to take the power so you can take their wealth reliably produces civil war.


Tom said...

Well, if we go by what they seem to do once in power rather than the ostensible reasons they offer in debate, the left really seems to want an oligarchy, so their view of giving wealth to the poor is consistent.

Grim said...

The idea is that the oligarchs themselves provide the wealth that gets transferred, though, which is very much not the left's idea. :) They want to control the power so they can decide how much of your stuff to take.

That's certainly the proposal here. The idea of 20-30 years' franchise loss is that this will enable everyone else to vote on how much of 'white men's stuff' they deserve. (I'm guessing the answer will be "almost all of it," or perhaps even "all of it.")

The proposal is described as progressive, but it's really just "Taxation, without Representation." Except George III didn't have a huge grudge against the colonists, holding them to be responsible for all the ills of the world and in charge of property they'd somehow stolen from people like him. He just had some debts to pay off.

E Hines said...

Ok, so, just voting rights and property rights, then.

And the right (not obligation, mind you) to serve in government. From the linked-to article: ...without white men in the world's parliaments....

Maybe if we denied the franchise and the obligation to serve in government (but they can keep the stuff they have other than losses through taxation, eminent domain (see ) to Progressives, then Conservatives and Libertarians could get a whole lot more done for the good of our nation.

Oh, wait....

Eric Hines

Cassandra said...

The idea is first justified by consequences: progressives would do way better if white men didn't vote, not just in America but across the Anglosphere. Isn't that unfair, to deny people the vote just because they don't vote the way you'd like?

Well, that was basically what some on the right were arguing back then (if women couldn't vote, we wouldn't have all these (*&^ Democrats in office passing expensive entitlement programs) :p

Progressives believe the wealthy use government power to "take" money from workers and "give" it to themselves. Conservatives believe progressives use government power to take money from earners/the wealthy and give it to their pet groups (anyone income below a certain threshold).

I think the conservative view has more merit - it's not clear to me that poor people are poor because the rich steal from them (and government helps them do this). We don't have "maximum wage laws", after all :p

Still, there is a certain parallelism between the two cases, even if they're not strictly equivalent.

Grim said...

Some on the right may have argued that, but you were clear enough that you rejected all forms of biological distinction (except youth, I suppose). The linked parts of the discussion are clear about that.

Actually, one of the most interesting parts of the discussion for me was your proof that women don't really vote that way; single women may, but married women didn't. Once they are established, they perhaps satisfy the same desire for security even more securely by being part of a family that controls its own means. Higher taxes in return for more government services isn't such a great deal.

So then the game changes, and you start wondering: what can we do to help more people become independent centers of wealth who don't really benefit from the government's tax and spend policies, because they can take care of themselves more efficiently?

Gringo said...

You might be interested in what HuffPo has done to the article:

Huffington Post SA has removed the blog "Could It Be Time To Deny White Men The Franchise?" published on our Voices section on April 13, 2017.

We have done this because the blog submission from an individual who called herself Shelley Garland, who claimed to be an MA student at UCT, cannot be traced and appears not to exist.

Was the author, whoever "they" may be, sincere or trolling to get a reaction?

Christopher B said...

Gringo .. kinda telling that they couldn't be bothered to check that stuff BEFORE the article went up. Like the Instant-man likes to say, layers of editors and fact-checkers

Ymar Sakar said...

My idea during that era was none of the above. Instead cancel voting abilities for anyone that is a ward of the government, food stamps, or other welfare. Conflict of interest. People will figure out how to game a system within about 6 months.