November 04, 2006

Vote U.S.A.

Space Ship One. Winner of the $10 Million X-prize. Built by free market Venture Capitalists, Scientists, and private aeronautic experts. First vehicle flown into space by a private citizen. Only in America are such things remotely possible. Next week is a critical mid-term election that may greatly effect the way we do things in this country. Everyone please do your duty as a citizen and vote. It is Your country! It is your future.
My wife and I both voted yesterday as we have the option to start voting a week before the general election. I studied the sample ballots in the newspaper before we went so I would be more informed about the issues on the ballot. It was truly a wonderful time. They asked our names and addresses and entered us as having voted in their computer database, but they did not ask for any I.D. Then we got to try out the new-fangled electronic touch screen voting machines(yes-they still had the old pencil and paper booths with the man behind the curtain, and they seemed to be what everyone else chose to use). The computers were simple and reliable enough that even my wife could not make it crash. On the left side of the machine, behind a plastic window, there was a roll of paper just like the cashiers at the supermarket use. You could visually watch the tape print out your votes on the paper roll and store it automatically back in the machine after confirming your choices. Works O.K for me.
After we voted, we walked next door to the sheriff's office and I renewed my CCW permit which was due to expire next month. It is good for five years and costs a total of $93.00. Then I had to take the application back to the courthouse and have it notarized for another $2.00. After that we walked across the street to the post office and I mailed the letter to Parris Island I had written the night before. While we were out, my wife renewed her drivers license as well.
To paraphrase that credit card commercial:
Carry Permit $95.00
Drivers license $13.00
Voting against 2 new tax increases and the crooks behind them-PRICELESS!!!

Note to those who live in states that do not allow early voting. Due to the expected huge increase in voter turnout and shortage of new voting machines, Republicans are scheduled to vote on Tuesday and Democrats will vote the following day on Wednesday.



Aethelred said...

You almost had me going there ... voting responsibly, licensed weapons carry, encouraging the democratic (small "d") process.
Wow, thought I, Svin's gone all liberal and egalitarian. What next, flying the Tricolour from his deck? Serving "liberty chips"?
But then you closed with partisan rhetoric.
All's right with the universe after all.

Basil said...

Vote I will, but not with confidence. Me thinks a universal franchise is a bad idea. Why is the vote of an educated, tax-paying, hard-working American valued at par with a dole-sucking, illiterate, non-prodctive, part-time criminal? So much for equity. Plato specifically warned against popular democracy after he saw his mentor, Socrates, ordered to death by a democratic lynch mob. Look closely into the two root words of "aristocracy" and you see Greek for "rule by the best". Such rule is not the artificial aristocracy based on blood lines. A true aristocracy is based on accomplishment and intellect. But we've come too far down the slippery slope of universal franchise to change it now. And our congress is full of people better suited to selling used cars. I suppose a con man knows a good scam when he sees it. But I will vote, if for no other reason than the hope that I can put a spanner in the gears and some sand in the crankcase. "The government that rules best, rules the least." We are not too far gone that a venture capitalist can't put a rocket into space if it suits his fancy. Let me know when such men start advertising for moon colonists.

muninn said...

Well...uh... I...
LOKI MADE ME DO IT !!!!!!!!!!!!!

muninn said...

I have long advocated a more"progressive" voting scheme. It would take some mathematical formulae which I cant do in my head, but essentially it would make all citizens stockholders. The more you paid into the system every year(taxes), the more votes you get to cast.Everyone would still have their one-man, one vote no matter what so no one is disenfranchised. Those who are more productive have "Extra input"
Most people I try to explain this system to complain that the rich would have way too many votes. First, the rich love tax shelters so they will try to keep their contributions to a minimum. Second,It may reduce tax-cheating because to some people it may seem worth it to pay more taxes for more political input. Third, it addresses the problem inherent in Capitalist societies that there are a whole lot more Joe six-packs out there than millionaires.It gives those few who create wealth the political strength to stand against the masses of people who just use their votes to loot the public treasury. You could even factor in a plus x-factor for military service a-la Heinlein. One man, one vote, one time, is a marxist strategy we have seen too many times before.
As you say-God save the Republic.

Aethelred said...

Omigod, oligarchy? 15th Century France as a political ideal? You ARE turning frog!
Shoot, Munin, talk to your brother about these things, will you? Corporations as the model for nation-states? And what, pray tell, is your profit?
A "military discount" on franchise? Now there's a recipe for something inedible ... as if Old Bob didn't know it, too.
Corporations sell stock to raise capital to invest to earn profit. Nations exist to protect their citizens and accomplish group tasks beyond the scope of individuals (bridges, dams, levees, pyramids, etc.). To sell the control of that particular power is to guarantee injustice, aristocracy and ultimately popular revolution.
Oh, and by the way, very few of my friends have actually endured the military, which may not mean much, but I would hate to think that the voting power of so many intelligent, well-educated and thoughty individuals would become diluted to worth less than that of someone whose sole background is schoolyards and boot camp.
I agree with Basil that universal franchise is a bad idea, and a fiction, in any case. Personally, I would (despite Heinleins scoffing dismissal of it) base the franchie on intelligence, requiring a "voting test" and a "voting license" --- we require young people to prove they can drive before we turn them loose on society, but give them partial control of a nuclear-armed nation without a thought!
But then, nobody let me edit the Constitution.
"Preserve the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity"? Indeed!

muninn said...

Well, after doing some research, I suppose there are oligarchical elements to my scheme, but after examining several historical examples of oligarchies I find that they were not the worst of govvernments and are actually quite similar to what we practice today. Your description of the different roles of corporations and govornments is adequate for this discussion. The"profit" to be earned by modifying the franchise would result in a massive reduction of the welfare state. A dollar spent by the govornment is worth less than a dollar invested as capitol. The government has been granted(or usurped) powers today that would profoundly disturb the founders of our republic. Departments of education,housing,welfare,health,environment,ad-nauseum,etc...The electorate vote for these not realizing that the politicians are bribing them with their own money. They should all be privatized, as I (along with James Madison) "Can not put my finger on the clause in the constitution which authorizes payments from the treasury for the good of individuals"
"The power to tax is the power to destroy." Nowhere was this done more flagrantly than in 15th century Florence. A republic with elected officials and professional paid(or rented) militaries.When the de Medicis gained control of the elected ruling council.,they increased the taxes on their political opponents year after year until their entire fortunes were forfeit to the republic and they were forced to emigrate or be imprisoned. My scheme makes this impossible. The more you pay in taxes, the more political power you gain.
Your Jim Crow like proposal for an intelligence test to vote is inherently unworkable. Who writes the test? Do we take it just once, or for every election? Will someone with a score of 100 be allowed to vote, but one with a score of 99 not. My proposal is based on the premise that the people who make the most money are most likely(but not in all cases) to be the more intelligent portion of the electorate. Precisely the people you, Basil, and myself agree should have the most say in our governance(which is still and ought to be derived from the people).
Colonel Cooper had a proposition that winners of the Congressional Medal of Honor should for the rest of their lives be exempt from the income tax. I support this proposition and offer it as support of the idea that those who risk their lives to defend us deserve an enhanced voice in matters political, which if kept to the founders original intent devolve largely upon matters military and the defense of the Republic(as you have correctly stated).
Democracy is indeed 2 wolves and a sheep deciding on what shall be for dinner. We can do better.
All the best-Muninn

Aethelred said...

Well, Munin, "Jim Crow-like" is a tad harsh, as I was proposing a test of attainable, not inherent, ability. One cannot (unless one is a multi-millionair pop musician) change one's racial heritage, but virtually anyone with two brain cells to rub together can learn enough to vote intelligently.
I personally believe that a benevolent dictator is the most efficient, effective and economical form of government. Of course, choosing a successor can be a right beeyatch, but for the lifetime of il duce, it can be wonderful ... or horrid.
I would encourage you to stop thinking of government as "they", at least for the purposes of rants. It is a fiction, much like "the media" and "the foreigners" and other mysterious monoliths invented and adopted by cynical manipulators as convenient bugbears for the intellectually challenged proles.
So anyway, as a parlor pink (not to Heinlein's ghost) I'd steer clear of elitism until they hand me the platinum baton.
Now I've got to go vote. Tremble in fear as I flex my might!

Basil said...

If U.S. voters were informed, politicians wouldn't rely on sound bites and slander to get elected. Only half of our voting age population shows up to cast a vote at all. Of the rest, how many do you think have even heard of the Federalist Papers, much less read one? The founders understood that an ignorant, uniformed citizenry would be a threat to democracy. And that's what we have at present. The only mitigating factor is that the founders constructed a system by which the worst excesses of government can be curtailed before stupid ideas become law.

Oligarchy doesn't work either. By the end of the republic, the Roman Senate represented the interests of the patrician class, and no one else. And tyranny, as defined by Plato, was just fine as long as the tyrannt ruled for the common good. But that's pretty much a hit or miss affair.

Tocqueville said that the problem with America is that the elites were too busy in spheres other than government. Thus, Americans tended to elect leaders of mediocre caliber.

So, we're saddled with an ignorant and ill-informed populace, mediocre leadership, and no model for good government, only a precious few laws to restrain the worst excesses of bad government. How did the nation even get this far? I suppose we'll continue to muddle along until a crisis pitches democracy into the bin and something else emerges. Meanwhile, the barbarians are hammering at the gate. The unwashed masses from the Third World are pressing Western Civilization for a slice of the pie, and the demographics don't look good for our side.

God save the republic!

muninn said...

I agree that the use of the terms "THEY, or THEM" to describe some mythical bugbear(i.e. the gun lobby, big oil, world govornment, aliens, christian fundamentalists, commies, fascists, hippies, etc...is a weak literary device to be avoided. I believe I have used the word only as intended by Mr. Webster in my "Rants". If you are saying that my Weltanschaung causes me to see our govornment as an externality and that this view is reflected in my writing, well you are entitled to your opinion. Please remember that I am the only one of us here who is not a published writer. I believe that "We the People" are the govornment. I fear we may soon get the type of government that we deserve. Thanks for the critique. If I ever feel the need for a Dictator, I will keep you on my speed dial.
All the best-Muninn