PostHeaderIcon Bastiat Knew The Answer All Along

Readers of this blog will know that I have long thought universal suffrage to be a recipe for national ruin. For a change, time and history seem to be proving my point. It turns out that such an idea (restricting the franchise) had occurred to a real thinker years ago – in 1850 to be precise.

I had read Frederic Bastiat’s masterwork, The Law some years ago but some of the finer points did not stick effectively in my mind. Yesterday, on the long drive home from The People’s Republic of Austin (TX), we listened to a reading of The Law on CD. This time said finer points hit me square in the brain. I had previously suggested some ratio of taxes paid versus government benefits received as a yardstick to determine eligibility for the voting franchise. None of my suggested schemes seemed viable (because they were not). Then, listening to Bastiat’s words again, I realized the obvious.

This Republic has never practiced universal suffrage. Originally, the franchise was restricted to “freeholders” (property owners). Later, after some initial enlightenment had broadened access to the franchise, women and children were still denied the vote. Why, one might wonder? Was the Republic anti-woman until the 1920’s and anti-child to this day? Not at all. The objection to these, and other groups, was the general lack of sufficient formal education to make an informed choice in the voting place. For sure, a few American women were well educated before the 1920’s (and, no doubt told their husbands how to vote) but it was not until women were universally given the same primary education as men that they were (finally) extended the franchise.

This actually makes sense. We don’t really want our elections to be a random game of chance do we? So, why not continue that notion today? That is, extend the “privilege” (it is not a “right”) of the franchise only to those with sufficient education (no matter whether formal or self taught) to make an informed choice? Yes, I realize that the literacy tests once used in parts of the South were declared unconstitutional but that was pandering nonsense. Our original Federal Constitution did not speak to voter qualification because, among several other good reasons, our Federal Constitution did not empower the Federal Government to conduct elections. This power, rightly, remained with the several States (as it actually still does to this day although one would hardly know it what with the constant interference with the Federal Government when the States try to take actions to curb voter fraud).

So, I hereby propose the re-institution of some manner of test to establish that each proposed voter understands the English language and has sufficient literacy and information to understand the issues and/or candidates subject to the upcoming vote. Details to be worked out by smarter people than me – and the federal courts told strictly to piss off as this is not within their jurisdiction! (The English language part of this proposal should be enacted as part of a law establishing English as the one and only official language of the United States of America.

What to do about those supposedly educated snowflakes being produced by our secondary indoctrination system I leave for others to ponder. I seriously doubt that my solution (shooting them and their professors) would be widely accepted.

On another topic, Bastiat opined that the United States of America (in 1850) was a nearly perfect Republic, stained only by slavery and tariffs, either of which might eventually destroy us. IMHO, slavery actually did. Aside from the obvious death and destruction of the Civil War, national guilt over slavery and the subsequent institutionalized bigotry (for instance, the so-called “Jim Crow” laws) opened American hearts to the notion of relaxed standards and welfare payments to Black citizens – soon expanded to any “affected” group (read – any group with enough numbers to invite political pandering). This has ultimately led (again IMHO) to a nation of “victims” and “cry babies” who are generally neither self sufficient nor dependable (or actually educated for that matter). I see no good path back to where our Republic was in its glory days.

Bastiat also opined that socialism, which The Law was written to defeat in his native France, depended on a foundation of legalized and institutionalized plunder such that the law became destructive of its own original purpose (to protect life, liberty and property). I especially admired one idea from the book – “if you want people to respect the law, then make the law respectable”. I continue to be amazed how many thinkers (such as Jefferson, Franklin, de Tocqueville, and Bastiat), way back then, could clearly see and understand the causes of our eventual demise.

Think about it.

Troy L Robinson

2 Responses to “Bastiat Knew The Answer All Along”

  • Chris says:

    Our system of governance was designed for a wise and honorable populace. The wise and honorable need little governance. When the unwise and dishonorable are allowed to choose the leaders for the wise and honorable wisdom and honor dies for lack of relevance. And here we are today.

    • Troy says:

      Yes, here we are indeed.

      Since our once honorable system has devolved into the legalized plunder of the productive, there seems to me only one rational answer. A general strike where the productive simply quit producing the fuel that powers this evil engine.

      Take a page from Gandhi’s book and simply do NOTHING. Soon the bastards will be eating each other and good riddance it will be! Of course, the once productive must have sense enough to arm and stockpile in advance.

      Troy

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