As November approaches, Americans are hearing more and more loudly from political supporters that if we simply voted for them and their co-conspirators, it would put us in the best of all possible worlds.
It reminds me of Will Rogers’ joke that “if we got a tenth of what we were promised… there would be no incentive to go to heaven”.
Such claims are also supported by exit-voting efforts that even include making voting compulsory, as Miles Rapaport and Janai Nelson recently argued in the Los Angeles Times. However, despite these supercharged hyperbole and extreme propositions, there is good reason to question whether the political world as we know it would be as good as it can get if only the right party was loaded. And there is a simple thought experiment, offered by Leonard Read, founder of the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), in his 1964 book Anything That’s Peaceful, that can help us examine the issues at stake.
Read suggests considering choosing most civil servants by lot for single terms, compared to the current system, in which politicians and their supporters “compete against each other to see who can come up against the sack of seizure of government officials. most popular voters in order to stand for some people’s supposed right to the income of others.
At first, the idea seems shocking. After all, as Read noted, “voting is deeply rooted in democratic mores as a duty.” However, “anyone aware of our rapid drift into the omnipotent state can hardly escape the suspicion that there may be some flaw in our usual way of seeing things.”
In particular, what motivates this thought experiment is that “if we admit that the role of government is to guarantee” certain inalienable rights, among which the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness “, how the imagination can be realized when we vote for those who are openly committed to not guaranteeing these rights, ”focusing on how this would reduce the vigor with which political abuse now pervades our lives. Consider Read’s conclusions:
With almost everyone realizing that only “ordinary citizens” hold political positions, the question of who should rule would lose its importance. Immediately we would become keenly aware of the much more important question: How extensive will the rule be? That we are calling for severe state limitation seems almost obvious.
In other words, instead of focusing on who can most effectively package their favorite constitutional violations, people would focus on the basic constitutional question – what does the government do best for us with our own? resources that we could not do on our own – since only a small number of things that pass this test could potentially improve overall well-being. The current bipartisan momentum towards an ever larger government would be reversed.
“Political parties – now more or less meaningless – would cease to exist. In addition, “no more campaign speeches with their promises to improve us if the candidates spent our income on us.” There would be “the end of campaign fundraising” and “Mo more self-chosen“ saviors ”meeting grassroots desires in order to win the election.”
Political parties are, for the most part, coalitions of invaders of the rights of others, so a vote that shifts control from one coalition to another cannot defend the rights of all. But the selection by lot would remove any power to bundle promises about who would be Peter and who would be Paul in the “steal Peter to pay Paul” political game. It would also undermine the lies that now have to be sold and free up the massive resources now spent to sell them for more productive purposes. And as a bonus, many Americans are said to have lower blood pressure.
It would be “the end of this type of voting in Congress that has more of an eye on re-election than on what’s fair.”
While some argue that the prospect of re-election prompts politicians to further advance American society, it also prompts them to continue to extend the wrongs inflicted on those who are not part of the dominant political coalition, to keep that coalition in the limelight. power. And where the Constitution (and, perhaps even more, the vision of the Declaration of Independence) is more honored in violation than in respect, Read believes that latter incitement will clearly dominate.
The mere prospect of having to go to Congress for a lifetime … would completely reorient the attention of citizens to the principles that bear on the relationship of government to society … upon which the future of society depends. In other words, the strong tendency would be to bring out the best, not the worst, in every citizen.
Reading here comes down to the big question of what the government does well enough for all of our well-being that we want it to do. And if we agree with Locke that it boils down to more effectively enforcing all of our rights against invasion by outsiders, neighbors and the government itself, allowing the maximum expansion of mutually voluntary agreements, as did our founding documents, focusing on these principles would make us better citizens and free us from multiple layers of government barriers to create improvements where and when we can find them.
But the draw selection isn’t going to happen at any time in the foreseeable future, so why bother to think about it?
“Simply letting the mind dwell on this intriguing alternative to current political inanity gives all the ammunition one needs to refrain from voting for one of the two candidates, neither of whom is guided by the ‘integrity. Unless we can part with this unprincipled myth, we are doomed to a political competition that has only one end: the omnipotent state. At a minimum, “such a review may reveal that voting for candidates who bear false witness is not required of the right citizen.”
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