Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Who Should Be Allowed to Vote

Should we really care who votes?

Target Liberty reader David K. emails:

If you recall Robert A. Heinlein’s book, Starship Troopers discussed suffrage only being extended to military veterans, I think the starting point for who gets to vote is obvious: Transfer payments. If you receive any sort of transfer payment from government (Nat’l, state, local) you are ineligible to vote. Only true tax payers are allowed to vote. Granted, this can get very sticky about what constitutes a transfer payment, and I’m sure some marginal cases could present conundrums, however in broad terms:

  • Government employees can’t vote;
  • Government contractors can’t vote;
  • Social Security recipients can’t vote;
  • Government retirees can’t vote;
  • Medicare/Medicaid recipients  can’t vote;
  • Welfare recipients can’t vote;
  • Any kind of subsidy (e.g., farm, export, student loan) recipients and their employees can’t vote.
The flower shop owner, the baker, the plumber…any one who doesn’t receive a payment from government gets to vote.

Extend this to the state level, and also local (e.g., the public school teacher paid by property taxes).

It should eliminate any issues of race or sex. I say should, because I’m sure some prog would raise an issue with the disproportionate number of minorities on the dole. 

Still, as a thought experiment it may be a place to start. Recipients of tax revenue should not be able to vote themselves more money through the threat of violence via candidates for office.


David (retired federal employee and current govt contractor, a non-voter since 1996)
RW response: 

I understand the sentiment here but I don't really want anyone to vote.

If we start getting technical about who should be able to vote, we are at the same time, in our own way, sanctioning the rule of some people over others by the voters we "approve of." I am for the PPS, which would require no voting.

I really don't want Paul Krugman, the Boston University economics faculty, Sheldon Adelson, Arthur Laffer, George Clooney, Lady GaGa, Beyonce or many others having a say (a vote) in how I live. 

In fact, I don't want anyone to tell me how to live.

I would rather spend my time promoting liberty than a technical trick that might reduce some spending.

That said, in my post, Countering the Socialists: The Five Freedoms Proposal, I did suggest that foreigners be allowed in on a Freedom Visa where they would never be allowed to vote as part of the condition of being allowed into the United States. But that was more of a realpolitik sop to the anti-immigrant right who hold the view that immigrants will always vote lefty.

I personally, don't care if immigrants are allowed to vote or not--I would never waste time battling the issue one way or the other. For me, the battle is for liberty and I don't want to get sidetracked battling technicalities of how the state should be structured

Further,  I believe the real battle is fought way above the masses who vote. They are simply reflecting the prevailing paradigm set by, as Keynes would put it, scribblers of the past.

Which is to say, if I am going to be scribbling, as I do, it is not going to be about the structure of voting but the structure of society. To the degree freedom's value becomes appreciated in society, the voting will follow. And if total, wonderful, full freedom becomes the desire of the masses, then voting will simply disappear.


  1. Regarding his proposal, let's also extend the voting prohibition to:
    1. People who avail themselves of the government schools;
    2. People who buy bonds or loan money to the government (and thereby prevail upon the government to extort taxes from other people later down the road).

    1. On number 1) Children do not get to decide where they go to school until college. I chose a private university when I got the choice. But before then it was government school. In one particular way of reading this line item I wouldn't get to vote. As very much a net taxpayer that wouldn't mean more liberty for me, but less. (I don't vote for most offices but I do show up to vote down new taxes)

    2. Children also don't vote anyway. And I meant the parents, not the children.

      When I do vote, I usually only vote for myself, or family and friends (write-in votes), or protest votes ("Donald Duck" or "Thomas Jefferson" etc.). And I do always vote on the issue of taxes, and other referendums.

  2. To regain liberty we must first examine how it was lost. I think we can reduce it to a few key items and one of those is universal suffrage. Now if other key items were undone could voting be made largely irrelevant? Yes. But if voting is fixed a lot of the other key items can be undone. Without fixing voting it will be very difficult to get the people who benefit from the status quo or think they benefit from the status quo or like to virtue signal through the status quo to give it up for liberty. They won't.

  3. I'm with RW: the issue is not who votes, but the coercive power held by the people for whom votes are cast which is apparently legitimated by elections.

  4. Unless you deal with Voter Fraud and the huge amount of non-citizens (or dead) voting - this is a moot point. Any other country you know of that doesn't require voter ID or authentication? No excuse for this.

  5. Let’s get rid of the supposed need to vote for the State.