Reclaiming the franchise – part deux

If you are so minded, it isn’t hard to determine who should have their vote suspended until they join the world of wealth creation: those who take wealth contributed by others and give nothing in return (except their purchased vote). There are discrete borders.

The public sector is much harder. It is more diverse, for one thing. No one would argue that the emergency services or the military are not well entitled to their vote. We couldn’t do without them. I would also argue that the diplomatic service, by and large, not only performs an essential function – it is the first port of call if a citizen gets into difficulties overseas – but assists in the creation of wealth, in that part of its remit is to facilitate trade. Indeed, the foreign service is essential to any country’s wellbeing.

Most of the government agencies in Britain do perform a reasonable function, although, being socialists, not particularly well. (I don’t knows enough about the current workings within the US Government, but doubtless other Chicago Boyz do …)

But a whole new, utterly useless industry has crept in. Soft, amorphous, nebulous … the human rights, global warming, multiculti and associated industries. They perform no purpose. There is no hunger among the taxpayers for their existence. Yet they are paid out of the taxpayers’ pockets. The diversity industry is one such. It generates no wealth and performs no service other than placing the yoke of social engineering round the neck of the taxpayer. The human rights industry is another one. The social engineering industry is another. Far from being of service to the taxpayer, I would contend that they are destructive, and if they can’t be shut down, the people attending meetings and doing research and writing reports to no purpose should at least be removed from the electoral rolls because they are, essentially, not engaged in wealth creation or the facilitating of wealth creation, or the governance of wealth creation. In other words, they’re passengers.

In Britain, we also have the fascist Health & Safety departments in local governments which essentially seek to ban everything free people could normally engage in. For example, they want to outlaw swings in parks in case a child falls off. They want to ban parents from taking pictures of their children in public, in case they’re not really the parents, but paedophiles. Other examples are legion. But everything is always for a prim-lipped “moral” – therefore, inarguable – reason.

Also in Britain, and doubtless there will be a similar scam, differently named and presented – actually, being American, probably better named and presented – there is something called a quango. The initials stand for something, but who cares. These are “semi-government” think tanks and various advocacy groups. There are over 1100 quangoes in Britain now, like the liberty advocacy agency Liberty. What purpose it serves other than to provide employment for writers of press releases and spokesmen to go on TV talk shows, who knows? They enjoy favoured tax status, meaning, they are part of the government infrastructure.

Advertised jobs for local town and city councils now bristle with words like “Street football coordinator” (I have no idea) and “Real nappy (US: diaper) coordinator” (ditto) ; “Urdu translators”, “Bengali interpreters”, “Human rights managers” and so on. All of whose salaries, perks and pensions will be provided by the generosity of the taxpayer.

This, clearly, is wrong.

For one thing, the right wing taxpayer is being asked to fund a massive leftist Trojan horse. They contribute no wealth, nor the facilitation of creating wealth, and nor do they perform any essential public service. That they should have a vote on their own perpetuation dwells in the realm of lunacy.

22 thoughts on “Reclaiming the franchise – part deux”

  1. Quango is Brit for the US term NGO, QUAsi Non Governmental Organization. You are exactly correct, all the off payroll spoils jobs that the leftists farm out to organizations outside the government payroll so that the contracts can be channeled through the leftist bureaucracy to do the things government employees can’t do. Organizations like ACORN. Bush tried to co-opt this with his faith based initiative. Somehow I suspect the few remnants of that will be sacrificed to deficit reduction here. But ACORN will get Billions.

    Nonetheless, the solution to this problem is to stop appropriating funds to quangos/NGOs, not to deny their employees the vote.

  2. Well, Mrs Davis, when Bobby Jindal is President, that may happen, but meanwhile, they have a probable eight year clear stretch for further grabs.

    No one is obliged to work for a NGO. If they don’t want to sign a piece of paper agreeing to surrender their franchise for the length of their employment, they can always find a job elsewhere. It’s a free market.

  3. imho this is getting silly–there are a zillion NGO’s, where do you draw the line? who draws it? And, contractors with big giovt business, why should they vote? On and on. As long as you have a big government affecting so much, you are going to have people living off it, wanting to influence it, etc. We can’t even deal with campaign finance, now we’re gonna start deciding who votes? Plus, the specific questions I raised in teh earlier thread on this subject.

    I remember after 1994 the Gingrich Republicans were going to “de-fund the Left.” I think they might have nicked the National Endowment for the Arts by $50M for a year or two; otherwise, that one had the long-term impact of a pebble tossed into the Pacific.

    If people care enough, they can pay attention and vote on such things; the fact that by and large they don’t hardly justifies jumping to denying the franchise. To start denying people the vote on what has to be partisan or arbitrary bases, is, frankly, a little too anti-democratic, even dare I say, fascistic, for this boy.

  4. Marty,

    …is, frankly, a little too anti-democratic, even dare I say, fascistic, for this boy.

    You should read the founders more. This is pretty much the reason they sought to limit not only the concentration of power but the franchise as well. They very clearly saw a problem in which people used to power of the state to their own immediate short term benefit to the determent of others.

    A powerfully organized public employee unions with the political power to vote their own paychecks would certainly be one of the founder’s nightmares.

    Democracy isn’t the primary protector of liberty. The primary protector of liberty is limited government. Long term we face the very real prospect of democratic despotism, Jefferson’s tyranny of the masses, in which no one has any rights saves those granted at the whim of the majority.

  5. Quangos came in mostly under Thatcher. A long story. I am afraid, Verity, that is a strangely vague description of the British system. When you say government agencies, do you mean the civil service? Or local government? Or quangos or a mixture of all three? Or such bodies as the Food Standards’ Agency?

  6. “utterly useless industry”. No argument from me, and most reading this site I would suspect. But it’s still a judgement call, an opinion, and believe it or not, many people do argue that the community organiser types provide a valuable contribution to social welfare yada yada yada. A simple, objective criterion has more chance of success; small as it may be.

  7. Obviously, the problem exists, and equally obviously, the criterion to determine who’s “utterly useless” and who’s not isn’t easy to define.
    As was noted in the previous thread, how to categorize a military contractor, like a privately owned lighting fixtures manufacturing company – as government employee or not? What if government contracts vary, in the total flow if their production, from, say, 12% a year to 68% and in between? What if the lighting fixtures then used only partially for the military part of government; say, 30% of government contract go to equip state archives? Next, what if the same machine operators, designers and technical personnel are employed simultaneously on filling the government contracts and orders by private businesses? What part of their worktime makes them ineligible to vote? And so on, so on. Potentially, the code of rules and regulations for this thing my exceeds tomes of IRS instructions.

    Shannon, you wrote they [the founders] sought to limit not only the concentration of power but the franchise as well. What, then, is the proposed solution? (by the founders or by you, I’d be interested in both)

  8. Would you please listen to yourselves? You are actually advocating denying competent adults the right to vote on the grounds that they have a financial interest in the actions of the government. Who doesn’t? When our federal government was relatively weak, people living near the Atlantic coast in 18th century America would still have been more interested in funding lighthouses than garrisoning the Great Lakes forts. Yet not many of us would deny that keeping ports open for trade and defending the frontiers are both legitimate functions for even the minimal state. Regardless of the scope of government, its decisions will nearly always benefit one interest over another. The relevant question is how much it can help or harm one person over another, and I believe it should have the minimum practical ability to do either. Restrict the government, not the electorate.

    I don’t want to be in the position of deciding that someone can or cannot vote. Neither do I want you or anyone else with that authority over me. This must be a cross-Atlantic cultural difference: a British conservative doesn’t trust the party with which he disagrees; an American conservative doesn’t trust the one he votes for, either. To hell with national saviors, and they can take all the apostles of virtue with them. If you give them enough authority to enact all the things you want done, don’t come crying about what else they do, because you will have given them enough power to ruin you. Make them harmless; reform is impossible.

    You should not claim or seek any power you would not want to see exercised against you, unless you intend to set up a dictatorship (in which case, other terms and conditions apply, as summarized by Mr. T. Jefferson). Vote for whoever is most likely to stay out of your hair for their entire term of office.

  9. Mitch,

    I don’t want to be in the position of deciding that someone can or cannot vote.

    We’ve never had one-person-one-vote in this country nor should we wish to. Limited government isn’t about pure, equal representation. It’s about balancing forces within the society so that no one group dominates another. Senators do not equally represent the people. Vermont with its 650,000 people has two senators just as many as California does with its 36,000,000. The President is elected via the electoral system which takes senators into account. That means that the votes of each individual in a small state counts for more than do the votes of people in large states.

    Yet, without this disproportionate representation America would have never formed and could have never survived if it did. America needs people who live in low population areas. A one-person-one-vote system would instantly and permanently remove such people from any significant influence in the political system. Eventually, they would rebel.

    So, we do have a working precedent for why restricting the franchise from one-person-one-vote is a good thing. I wouldn’t go as far as verity suggest but I would have no problem restricting public employee unions from engaging directly in politics or striking. Likewise, I see no problem in demanding that non-profits who receive government grants restrain from political involvement. After all, we have no trouble demanding that churches stay out of direct politics or face being taxed as for-profits.

  10. There is another problem with deciding who can and who cannot vote on the basis of their employment in the public sector, apart from all the very sensible ones listed above. There are many parts of the private sector that a large proportion of the population would consider useless and, possibly, toxic. Should catwalk models be allowed to vote or raucous rap singers? They probably don’t but that is not the question. What of management consultants, especially those who offer consultancy that they cannot deliver to the public sector? We can all think of examples. What of charities that help illegal immigrants to find all the benefits they can possibly get? And so on. You either say every adult can vote or have some other standard like ownership of property or payment of income tax. But deciding on the basis of not liking somebody’s job is illogical.

  11. Mitch-you seem to define as competent anyone who is breathing and presumably over 18.Well in many places you don’t even have to exist to vote. Let someone show their compopetence by holding a job and paying taxes on what they earn by providing something that people are willing to pay for without the gov’t coercing them.This shows something at a minimum.People who can’t handle their own affairs certainly have no business determining that which must be done collectively. Is it any surprise that someone who has never met this criterion is completely incapable of leading this country?

    I did work for NY State in two different agencies. I knew the jobs were worthless,except for putting bread on my table ,but doubt if the people I worked saw it that way.Why should they? Everyone feels entitled. The only thing one should feel entitled to is the fruits of ones own labor,paid for by those wiling to hire you.
    Get much beyond that and eventually you create a Hobbesian world.

  12. What I am objecting to is unaccountable people furthering leftist agendas that have never been voted on, and to have these people and these agendas funded by the taxpayer. For example, the huge mass immigration industry in Britain would vanish like a puff of smoke were its funding put to a vote. The taxpayer should not be burdened with unelected individuals gnawing away at the roots of our liberties. If we must have organisations forwarding man-made global warming rubbish, and demanding pleasant lifestyles for “asylum seekers”, and other agendas destructive to a settled society, it should be on their own dollar – meaning money that they can raise privately for their cause and will pay their salaries. Currently, both in the US and Britain, we are employing people in government/quasi government agencies to forward negative agendas.

    We are in a position in advanced Anglosphere countries of financing our own destruction, and I object.

  13. Helen, with respect, I don’t believe anyone has suggested restricting the franchise for people whose employment we don’t like. We are speaking of agenda-laden employees in the public sector, paid for by the taxpayer, working against the public good. Rock stars and other irritating people produce wealth. They are contributors.

  14. Shannon,

    Good point about the limited franchise back at the Founding. They were, indeed, afraid of the mob, looking back at Athens and the Roman Republic. Thanks.

    Totally agree re public employee unions, a point I made in the fcomments on the first post on this subject.

    Still, given the uses of poll taxes and intelligence or civics tests in the Jim Crow era, it’s hard to see how limiting the franchise could ever get a hearing. Limitations on public employee collective bargaining rights would be radical and difficult enough.

  15. Bigger and more immediate issue is dealing with the move to give convicted felons including those now incarcerated the vote by federal action rather than leaving it to the individual states. For now, we’re playing defense.

  16. There are 2 ways to reach your goal – restrict the vote or bring back states’ rights.

    1. Originally the vote was limited to people who owned property. Property ownership should again be the test. People with property are responsible because they have something to lose. Renters may eventually buy property or they may join Acorn.

    2. We should have Senators elected by state legislatures. Senators should represent the states, not the proletariat. This change will restore state’s right. This will make it much harder for hairbrained ideas to become the law from coast to coast. To be sure California and Massechusets will continue to have crazy laws but the rest of us can stay sane and sensible.

    Eventually there will be 50 different democracies and 50 different levels of freedom/oppression. And each American can be free to choose what level of totalitarian dictatorship he/she likes best. But we will all be united to defend our right to have a state government tailored to our desires.

    Different strokes for different folks and whatever floats your boat. E pluribus unum.

  17. Verity,

    Who defines agenda-laden employees etc etc? That is what we are talking about. You arrogate to yourself powers that you have no rights to. How different is that from those agenda-laden employees?

  18. Helen, I am not funded by the taxpayer.

    My point is, why should the taxpayer pay people to destroy his country with one anti-business, anti-wealth creation NGO/quango after another? Global warming, which is anti-capitalist and anti-progress is well embedded now, for example. It is my earnest belief that these people burrowing away into the underpinnings of government and freedom should not have the opportunity to vote to perpetuate themselves. The European Union, as you are well aware, is staffed by legions of such people. In the case of the EU, the project is the New World Order.

    Working for such an agency should earn an automatic suspension of the franchise until such time as they leave that job.

    I am not arrogating anythikng unto myself, Helen. I am suggesting that people who work for destructive leftist organisations which are now well-burrowed into the infrastructure of the governments of Britain, the US, Canada – to cite the worst cases – should not be able to vote for their own perpetuation. It is suicidal to allow it.

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