Say “no” to unqualified voting

We’ve been indoctrinated to believe voting is a “right,” and that much of progress in America is related to the gradual expansion of the franchise to the point where anyone with a pulse can enter a voting booth.  We’ve even become so “inclusive” that some cities are allowing non-citizens(!!) to vote.

Before I get bombarded with the usual Progressive insults, let me state for the record that I do not believe voting should be limited on the basis of ethnicity or wealth (i.e. landowning requirements).  But on the question of voting, there is one thing of which I am certain: the automatic universal franchise for those born here is the worst idea in the history of republican thought.  Why have I reached this conclusion?  Consider this:

A new survey conducted by the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center finds that most Americans are ignorant of many very basic facts about the Constitution.

* More than one in three people (37%) could not name a single right protected by the First Amendment.
* Only one in four (26%) can name all three branches of the government.
* One in three (33%) can’t name any branch of government. None. Not even one.

You can’t do anything in life well without knowing the rules.  Why should voting be any different?  Now, note carefully what the Washington Post (motto: “Democracy Dies In Darkness“) says next:

The protection of constitutional rights is in large part the business of lawyers, judges, government officials, and other experts. But public opinion plays an important role, as well, which it is unlikely to do as effectively if most of the public is ignorant.

No.  Emphatically no.

The informed and invested citizen is the primary protector of our constitutional freedom.  Therein lies a major part of the problem: being informed and taking action requires effort and some level of personal sacrifice (such as leisure time).  For the vast majority of people, this is simply too much work.  It’s well-said that “Few men desire liberty; most men wish only for a just master.”  Voting is not a “right.”  It is a privilege, and carries with it the reverse of the coin: responsibility.  To hand over the responsibility largely to “lawyers, judges, government officials, and other experts” (notice the order in which these are listed?) is to hand over the privilege of having a voice as a citizen.  By not acting to enforce the Constitutional role on our various government functions, the public has allowed them to determine the limits of their own power (hint: none).  A true citizen refuses to accept that, and challenges — physically, if necessary — undermining of the Constitution.

The only way to be able to do that is to know the Constitution.  It’s no surprise to anyone who’s read this blog for long that I believe voting should be restricted to those who have passed a civic exam at least as difficult as the citizenship test (which, frankly, is not a high bar).  Such an arrangement does not preclude participation on the basis of ethnicity, religion, gender, wealth or any of the other categories that have been used historically to deny the franchise.

What it does is require the would-be voter to earn the privilege — something nearly everyone can do (excepting the mentally incompetent, who already are not allowed full privileges in society).  By bestowing citizenship on those who enter our nation illegally, and allowing anyone with a pulse to vote, our nation shows it does not value either.

“What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.”
— Thomas Paine, The American Crisis, 1776

Frankly, studying for an exam is a small price to pay for the franchise.  Others have theorized about requiring much, much more.  (While I don’t subscribe to Heinlein’s exact solution, the requirement to have a “citizen” demonstrate a commitment to something more than their own narrow self-interest would go far to fix what ails us.)

The next time you’re contemplating the sorry state of our nation, just remember it’s likely a good number of the people surveyed were in a polling place last November, and their vote was swayed more by emotions (“I feel like there should be universal health care”) than by knowledge and analysis (“There is no such thing as a free lunch“).

Idiocracy, indeed.

Advertisements

This is my shocked face (not really)

A survey finds most American Christians are actually heretics in their religious views:

A survey of 3,000 people conducted by LifeWay Research and commissioned by Ligonier Ministries found that although Americans still overwhelmingly identify as “Christian,” startling percentages of the nation embrace ancient errors condemned by all major Christian traditions. These are not minor points of doctrine, but core ideas that define Christianity itself. The really sad part? Even when we’re denying the divinity of Christ, we can’t keep our story straight. Americans talking about theology sound about as competent as country singers rapping.

The article notes that today’s mega-churches are a “Bible-less alternative version of Christianity.”  This should not come as a surprise:

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,  and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

(2 Timothy 4:2-4)

This is not a new development; rather, it’s a rapid acceleration of a long-term trend.  Years ago I had an ongoing discussion with a coworker who claimed to be Christian but also was emphatic that “all people are basically good.”  Pointing out the Scriptural warning that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) didn’t dissuade her from her position (thus indicating what level of authority she attributed to the Bible).  I pointed out this was easily observable, in that babies are the most self-centered creatures on the planet.  If they’re hungry, they scream to be fed.  If they’ve soiled their diaper, they scream for a change.  They don’t care if you just worked a 12-hour shift, or have the flu, or are worried about something else.  Sometimes it seems they scream just because they can.  The point?  Such self-centeredness is our default setting!  Children have to be taught not to snatch toys from another, or to smack another child who said something they didn’t like.  I’ve even joked you can learn everything you need to know about international relations by watching a kindergarten class.

Sadly, nothing I said had any effect.  The same individual, right after 9/11, expressed amazement that Christian missionaries were in Afghanistan (and that several were held by the Taliban for a short while).  She asked why they would go to a place that clearly didn’t want them.  I simply said “maybe because God believes that’s the kind of place where the Word most needs to be heard.”

America needs to hear the Word again, too.  More importantly, it needs to believe the Word again.  Everything else is merely symptoms of this root problem.

Inmates running the asylum

I’m more than a little tired of hearing of colleges rescinding invitations to speak on campus after leftist-indoctrinated students and (in many cases) faculty stamp their little feet, throw a hissy fit and demand exclusion of ideas with which they disagree (all in the name of ‘tolerance,’ of course):

Williams College students invited Suzanne Venker, a writer and longtime critic of feminism, to speak Tuesday night, but changed their minds and took back the invite for her talk, “One Step Forward, Ten Steps Back: Why Feminism Fails.” . . .

The students who run the series decided to cancel the event, co-president Zach Wood explained, after its Facebook page began to attract acerbic comments and “things got a little out of hand.” …

Somewhat ironically, Venker had been invited to participate in Williams’ “Uncomfortable Learning” speaker series, which was created precisely for the purpose of exposing Williams students to perspectives that contrast with those they regularly hear on campus.

This is but one of many reasons why a college ‘education’ is rapidly becoming a useless commodity and a bad financial investment.  We are raising a generation of children to believe it’s their right — duty, even — to drown out the voices that don’t comport with the utopian memes with which they’ve been indoctrinated.  And so you get the irony of students yelling “fascist” at various right-of-center guests in an attempt to drown out their presentations, all the while historically oblivious to the fact they are acting little better than the brown or black shirts — the original fascists.

Where are the faculty and administrators willing to be adults and push back, reminding the students that speech is either free for all, or not free at all?  Where are the mentors telling these students that avoiding unpleasant challenges to your pet view of life is no way to prepare for navigating the adult world?  Does no one these days quote Aristotle to these little totalitarians?

Far from being a place to expand one’s horizons and learn to think critically about the challenges of life, higher education today is largely an assembly-line process by which students check boxes next to impractical courses to get an increasingly worthless degree, all the while being conditioned to be part of the leftist collective literally hell-bent on telling all of society how to live — by force, if necessary.  For many, the result of the college experience is a lifetime hangover of debt and an aversion to traditional ideas of limited government, personal independence, and self-reliance.

For collectivists, all those results are features, not bugs.  It creates an ill-prepared and debt-saddled mass of citizenry that can be swayed in support of ever-larger government to bail them out.  For the rest of us, it’s time to reevaluate how much social emphasis we place on completing such a process

And we wonder why things are a mess

I’ve long said people should have to pass an objective civics knowledge test before being allowed to register to vote.  If you can’t even name the branches of government, you shouldn’t be allowed to vote for who runs them (and yes, wisecrackers, I know we don’t vote for the U.S. Supreme Court…).

Now I wonder if I shouldn’t modify that position to include pop quizzes before going into a voting booth:

Over one-third of Likely U.S. Voters remain unaware which political party controls the House of Representatives and which has a majority in the Senate – less than two months before an election that may put one party in charge of both.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that only 63% are aware that Republicans have majority control of the House. An identical number (63%) know that Democrats run the Senate…

Ninety percent (90%) believe voters in countries with democratically elected governments have a responsibility to be informed about major policy issues, but just nine percent (9%) think most Americans are informed voters.

“Ninety percent” believe voters have a responsibility to be informed.  Wonder how many of those respondents believe they’ve fulfilled that obligation.

Have you?

NO INCUMBENTS, PLEASE!

Everything goes, nothing matters

Ever marvel at how little followup occurs in the coverage of the various headlines that briefly grab our attention each day?  Is nobody interested anymore in getting past first impressions and discovering the truth behind this constant chatter?

All of these stories have something in common: tons of unanswered questions, which the news media shows no interest whatsoever in following up on. And no consequences. People die, nations rise and fall, money disappears, and everybody forgets. This can’t just be about the diminishing returns of the grotesquely over-hyped “information age” — though the blowback from computers and all they have wrought may be tremendous. No, the memory hole is the truest signifier of the times we live in: the Age of Anything Goes and Nothing Matters.

The list at the link above doesn’t even touch on the seemingly endless flood of U.S. domestic political questions: Fast and Furious, Benghazi, the IRS suppression of political groups in a campaign year, and so on, and so on.

Short Attention Span Theater: there are many in this world counting on that effect to cover their guilty hides.  Expect more from your information sources.

There are some of us paying long-term attention, though.  And I’ll say this: when the day comes we decide enough’s enough and take the gloves off, watch out.  Those who’ve spent their days monitoring the Kardashians instead of the real world will have a hard time figuring out where the “sudden” whirlwind came from.