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Universal Suffrage is a fundamental flaw within Democracy
in Politics

By Marcus_AntoniusMarcus_Antonius 43 Pts edited April 5


We must first distinguish between a citizen and a civilian. What differentiated the two, is that a citizen, in my eyes, respects and holds certain privileges not designated to civilians. These privileges include the right to vote, which will become the heart of this topic. 

I for one believe that Limited Suffrage by process of attaining ones citizenship and right to vote by means of civil service is a far superior system to the current process of Universal Suffrage and birth-right citizenship that we have today. This system of government introduced within this debate shall be predicated upon the fictitious system of government introduced within Robert Heinlein's 'Starship Trooper'. What does Heinlein's system of government entail (Or rather, my own variations of it): 

Citizenship is only attainable by means of enrolling within differing forms of civil service jobs upon turning 18. These forms of civil services are selectable by the individual and include enrollment within the military or any federally advised public sector jobs. These jobs are to be demanding and constraining in an attempt to disincentivize those unaffiliated and apathetic toward the nation from gaining citizenship and the right to vote. I envision a nation where suffrage, the right to vote and participating in the process of deciding the fate of ones Nation to be a privilege for those who strive to succeed over the obstacles bestowed upon them during their participation within Civil Service. Those who fulfill the demands of the year long civil service role (Arbitrary length of time, comment below any alternative time lengths) shall be met with citizenship and the right to vote. Those who fail will be denied citizenship, and therefore denied the right to vote. Within Heinlein's system of government, those who fail would be unable to participate in the voting process so long as they live, however within my system, those who fail and wish to redeem themselves worthy of their nation shall be granted a second chance 10 years from the point at which they failed initially (At the age of 28)

Clarification: One may call to question the morals behind limiting the voting population, citing that it is better for a majority of peoples to vote than a minority. I shall respond by saying that the act of limiting the general populations right to vote is not immoral in of itself, so long as the means by which you limit said population is moral. There is a difference between Heinlein's system of government, where the process of limiting the voting population is done so by means of a consistent standard put forth on all individuals, unequal in wealth, physique, education, and limiting a voting population by means of promulgating a certain constituency by means of an immoral standard (Such as standardized testing for only blacks [United States - 19/20th century] Which I am utmost against)

There will be no favoritism amongst the population to promulgate a certain constituency within this system seeing as the standard is equal to all, regardless of belief, orientation, or political affiliation. 

I've pondered upon this system for some time now and am convinced that it is the greatest form of democracy. Please feel free to agree or disagree with my argument. 
MayCaesarPlaffelvohfen



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Arguments

  • Question, in your envisioned system, would civilians be exempt from taxation since they would have no representation? 
    piloteer
    " Adversus absurdum, contumaciter ac ridens! "
  • TKDBTKDB 158 Pts
    @Marcus_Antonius

    You're basing this rhetoric from you, off of a movie? "Starship Trooper?"

    "We must first distinguish between a citizen and a civilian. What differentiated the two, is that a citizen, in my eyes, respects and holds certain privileges not designated to civilians. These privileges include the right to vote, which will become the heart of this topic. 

    I for one believe that Limited Suffrage by process of attaining ones citizenship and right to vote by means of civil service is a far superior system to the current process of Universal Suffrage and birth-right citizenship that we have today."


    Zombieguy1987
  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 1653 Pts
    edited April 5
    First of all, I have a problem with denying people born on a given land the citizenship that land's authority grants, under any considerations. A person born on some land must have the right to stay on that land and gain all the privileges other people who can stay on that land have. People must be the owners of land, and the government must merely be their representative - and one's representative cannot suddenly decide to cut ties with them without withdrawing from the office.

    Next, the concept of "civil service" is something I have always vehemently opposed. Nobody should owe their society anything, and everyone must be a free individual. The government, again, represents people, not governs them, hence it cannot require any amount of service from them in exchange for voting rights. Otherwise we gain an oligarchic system, where those who appease the government can vote for that government, and those who do not cannot - which is a clear violation of people's voting rights, legalised corruption and many other unpleasant things.

    I do agree with you that it is not necessarily the case that the majority of people voting is better than the minority of people voting. This is what our Electoral College was instituted for: to grant the final vote to those who understand all the intricacies of the candidates' political positions, and to allow people to vote only for those electors, based on what elector they trust the most (the system no longer works that way, but that is a different matter).
    However, defining who votes based on their service record for the country does not seem sound to me.

    Finally, I should note that I myself am an immigrant, and I would love for the citizen rights to be awarded somehow more fairly, based on something more than where one was born. I have lived in the US for almost 5 years, and will live, at least, for 6-7 years more, if my current plans do not change - I am hardly different from most Americans in everything but the legal status, at this point.
    However, there are problems with any such award model I have ever thought about. The best I could come up with is to obliterate the concept of citizenship completely and just make everyone who currently inhabits a given model practically a citizen and a voter. This system still has a lot of issues, and it obviously gives a lot of power to foreign agents who might not have the best interest of the nation in mind - but it does seem to me that the old system of splitting people into citizens and non-citizens is becoming less and less relevant, and more and more harmful, in the modern globalising world.
    Marcus_Antonius
  • @Plaffelvohfen
    Within this system, civilians are not exempt from paying taxes. Although they are unable to partake in determining the fate of the nation by means of a democratic process, they still hold a wide variety of other pleasures, including welfare, medicare, and other federally instituted programs (I should not expand on this seeing as it is a digression and will delve deeply into a sector of government which this debate does not concern itself with) 
    In other words, the Government still upholds an obligation to ensure the well being of both its citizens and civilians. 

    @TKDB
    This idea became relevant following my reading of Robert Heinlein's novel: "Starship Troopers". I should like to differentiate the novel from the film, seeing as the novel is a more delicate study of this system, while the film grossly misinterprets Heinlein's political system, and concerns itself with criticizing authoritarianism, or more specifically, fascism. 
  • TKDBTKDB 158 Pts
    @Marcus_Antonius

    Another individual platform seeker.
    Zombieguy1987
  • piloteerpiloteer 344 Pts
    @Marcus_Antonius

    This is an interesting proposal, but could you let us know what it is you're hoping to achieve with this method? What are the flaws of the current method that you're trying to avoid? Who should be barred from voting, and why?
  • @Plaffelvohfen
    Within this system, civilians are not exempt from paying taxes. Although they are unable to partake in determining the fate of the nation by means of a democratic process, they still hold a wide variety of other pleasures, including welfare, medicare, and other federally instituted programs (I should not expand on this seeing as it is a digression and will delve deeply into a sector of government which this debate does not concern itself with) 
    In other words, the Government still upholds an obligation to ensure the well being of both its citizens and civilians. 

    @TKDB
    This idea became relevant following my reading of Robert Heinlein's novel: "Starship Troopers". I should like to differentiate the novel from the film, seeing as the novel is a more delicate study of this system, while the film grossly misinterprets Heinlein's political system, and concerns itself with criticizing authoritarianism, or more specifically, fascism. 
    Thanks for the clarification. I still think that taxation without representation crosses a line into authoritarianism and based on that I'd reject your idea that this is the best form of democracy because it wouldn't be democratic in that sense... But anyway, let's say it's fine...

    So, basically we first have to accept that suffrage is a privilege rather than a right or a duty, there's plenty to debate here but let's work with that nonetheless.

    The question then become how to determine who gets this privilege and who doesn't, right? You know, I can see good arguments for limited suffrage but I see it as a matter of "quality" of voters, in the sense that people should actually be correctly informed before voting. In “The Ethics of Voting,” the philosopher Jason Brennan has argued that such poorly informed voters have a duty not to vote.... In your system, it seems that it's not the level of "knowledge" that matters but the level of "dedication"... Civil service doesn't imply being more informed, neither does being dedicated... To me it sounds like it could lead to forms of fanaticism... 

    A more interesting idea, in my opinion, might be the “enfranchisement lottery.” system, which can be thought of as a matter of modeling our voting system on our jury system. We would never accept deciding important and highly publicized trials by a vote of the general public. We think only people fully informed of the facts and relevant arguments put forward in a trial should make such important judgments. Shouldn’t we be at least as careful in deciding who should be elected in higher offices?

    Notice that answering yes does not imply the elitist view that only a small minority of citizens are capable of making informed votes. The idea is not that voters are too stupid or biased to access the needed information; it’s just that they don’t have the time and resources to do so. Ideally, we would provide everyone with the relevant knowledge, but that would be impractical, time-consuming and expensive.

    Why not, then, randomly choose, from the list of registered voters, a national jury that would meet for a few weeks before the election? The jurors would be sequestered and listen to presentations from and debates among the candidates and their policy teams. The jury might also hear from and question experts on major policy issues. The result would be voters informed to a level most us can only hope to achieve. We would need a fairly large jury — perhaps several thousand — to properly represent the nation’s diverse views and interests. Televising the proceedings would help ensure transparency. Since the jury was randomly chosen, its vote would very likely represent the outcome of an election in which we were all well-informed voters... 
    " Adversus absurdum, contumaciter ac ridens! "
  • TKDBTKDB 158 Pts
    @Plaffelvohfen

    Another individual platform seeker.
  • @MayCaesar

    The initial section of your response deals with birth right citizenship and your reservations in regards to denying one who is born on the land the right of all privileges. I ask you simple, is it more attractive to grant those who feel passionately about the country the right to vote by means of having them take part in a rigorous program to ensure that this commitment is ever-present? Or is it more beneficial to grant those who are merely born on a segment of land, who had no say in the matter, and who by no means can prove their allegiance to one nation by their place of birth, to be able to dictate the fate of one nation. The right to vote, and such privileges is a reward, earned by those willing to demonstrate their dedication to a country. Merely 'giving' one the privilege of participating in the fate of the nation ultimately negates the entire purpose of value itself. What is simply given, has no value. Those who run the country should ultimately be ones who earned that right, not ones who were by chance "born within a certain nation" without say of that circumstance, without choice, and without certainty of allegiance to that Nation. You use the term 'Owners', and to that extent I agree. However, I believe such owners of lands are those who pledge allegiance to the very land they stand on to the highest degree, and not mere individuals who were by chance, and of luck, born on this land. 

    I shall respond to the second section of your response. The government, by all means, is an extension of the people. Of course. I do not deny that. However, just as I would disagree with you in saying that the Government does indeed 'Govern' the people of said country (It's by the very definition of 'Govern'ment), one must understand that the relationship between the body of society and the state must be cooperative. Within Heinlein's system, there is no arbitrary denial of peoples voting rights, merely a choice given to each individual. The failure of one to vote is not dependent upon the government, merely that individual himself, thereby ensuring a system free from coercion and suppression. 

    I shall boil it down to a simple sentence: The Government represents only those who pledge ultimate allegiance to their nation, however holds a moral obligation to ensure the safety of every individual within its borders, civilian and citizen, and must in all its power prevent any deprivation of ones rights. 

    There is no single constituency that can be appeased by said government. The standards of the civil service is consistent from a diverse population. Regardless of attribute or affiliation, all have more or less the same chance to pass such services. 
  • @Plaffelvohfen

     In your system, it seems that it's not the level of "knowledge" that matters but the level of "dedication"... Civil service doesn't imply being more informed, neither does being dedicated... To me it sounds like it could lead to forms of fanaticism... 
    This is perhaps the most consistent argument against Heinlein's system of government. There are two elitist paths by which one can follow when discussing limited suffrage. One is limiting the population by means of civil service, to ensure a sense of duty and filter those who pledge ultimate allegiance to ones Nation. The other is to limit the voting population by means of conducting consistent exams among the population to filter those who are educated. You are left with a country run by veterans who pledge ultimate allegiance to ones nation or a country led by social scientists and intellectuals. I prefer to choose the former, as my trust for such 'Social Scientists and Intellectuals' has depleted as I have reached a certain age. 

    Unfortunately I would have to disagree with the 'Enfranchisement Lottery' System that you have proposed. In essence, it is a process in which the fate of ones nation is determined by those who were chosen by chance. It is by its very nature the opposite of democracy. You are going to promulgate a political party that will ultimately change the course of the nation and everyone within it without giving those who will be affected a say in the matter. Although not everyone in Heinlein's system will be granted a citizenship and therefor a right to vote, at least their fates are dependent on themselves, and whether they get to vote is not determined by the government randomly picking a few individuals (In your case) but rather on whether they themselves deem it necessary to complete the Civil Service duties. Whatever failures they experience is set by them, not the government. A sense of individual responsibility will be learned by citizens, a virtue missing in todays life it seems. 

    In regards to 'Taxation without representation'. My only response to that is to that those who do not wish to pay their taxes as mere civilians have two options: Fulfill their duties and obtain the privileges of a citizen, or leave the country. 
  • @TKDB

    If we go by Heinlein's saying: "What is merely given for free has no true value", then the designation of suffrage to those who were merely 'born into a country' without fulfilling any requirement to achieve such privilege will ultimately me of no worth. Governments should be made up of people who pledge ultimate allegiance to a Nation, not to those who are automatically privileged. 

    As of today in the United States for example, you witness the failure of democracy in the lack of the voting populous (despite an increase in eligible voters) I see no other reason for this than the fact that the right to vote is but something that can be discarded by the average voter, as opposed to something that should be kept with ultimate pride and protection. 

    Furthermore, wouldn't you agree that the fate of the country by which you live in should be determined by those citizens who wish for nothing but the best of it. Citizens who bled and produced sweat in order to obtain the right to vote? As opposed to merely being 'given' it?
  • piloteerpiloteer 344 Pts
    @Marcus_Antonius

    What evidence do you have to show that a certain faction or any faction of voters are purposefully voting to undermine our democracy, or our country? For your proposal to even be able to get off the ground, you'll need to show us who this disruptive voting faction is, and what it is that they're doing that will cause adverse effects. Furthermore, I am thoroughly unmoved by your assertion that we must suffer first to be able to have a say in the fate of our country. When people vote, they obviously have enough value in the fate of our country to actually vote. This proposal is derailing.
  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 1653 Pts
    edited April 7
    @Marcus_Antonius

    There are many ways to express one's passion about the country that do not constitute any governmental service. And further, one does not even have to be passionate about the country to strongly want it to become better, since they, after all, live in that country.
    Who does more for America: some soldier patrolling the streets in Afghanistan out of his patriotism or sense of duty, or some economist quietly developing complex economical theories in a private university in Tennessee out of personal interest and not caring about the country itself? At the very least, I would say that both are doing an important job, and saying that the former should be a voter and the latter should not simply because the former works on the government and the latter does not - is not rational.
    I also do not see being able to vote as a privilege. I see it as a natural right, and that is an inherent part of the unspoken contract between the people and the state. I do not see it as people being given voting rights, I see it as people not having their voting rights taking away. The connotation is very different, would you not agree?

    It is not really a choice when not making the right one punishes one. That is, it is always a choice, but it is an extortionist choice in this case, where the government is supposed to serve the individual. 
    To illustrate the point, imagine if tomorrow the government issues an order: everyone who has a car is either to immediately give their car to the government, or to enlist in the army. Just like that. I would ask, "Why are you taking away my car?" And they would say, "You made a choice to not go to the army. We did not coerce you".
    Again, this is based on my view of voting rights as rights, not privileges. If they are to be considered privileges, then your argument stands.

    My dad served in his homeland's army which, at the time (and still does, I believe), had conscription-based army, where every male had to serve for 2 years. And so he did. He could not stand the country, however, and he no longer even lives in it and is not planning to come back.
    What did his civil service prove? Merely that he could not find a way out and had to go for it to avoid worse consequences.
    Similarly, in your system, as I see it, a lot of people would choose civil service either because they do not know what else to do and want someone to pay for them, or solely in order to gain those privileges that other people lack. And that is pretty much what happens even with the modern, contractual, army in the US a lot: people enlisting not because they care about the country, but because they want the benefits coming along with it.
    As such, going through civil service really does not ensure that the individual cares about the country in any way, and, as all other similar governmental endeavors, is likely to become an outlet to a very particular category of people, as opposed to something people are genuinely excited to do.

    How many people become truckers because they genuinely want to be truckers, and how many do simply because they cannot do anything else and want the benefits and wages? Not many for the former category, as far as I know. And that is the case with pretty much any labor area, and civil service is no different.
    Plaffelvohfen
  • TKDBTKDB 158 Pts
    @Marcus_Antonius

    Another individual platform seeker.
  • piloteerpiloteer 344 Pts
    @TKDB

    Just keep posting the same irrelevant comment. I'm sure somebody will notice it eventually?!?!
  • @Marcus_Antonius
    In regards to 'Taxation without representation'. My only response to that is to that those who do not wish to pay their taxes as mere civilians have two options: Fulfill their duties and obtain the privileges of a citizen, or leave the country. 
    And that's why it cannot be called the greatest "democracy"... As soon as suffrage is limited, democracy is diminished, it is true of the lottery system too so I personally wouldn't go with it but in terms of limited suffrage, it is the fairer of the two or at least, would be the one I'd least object to...
    " Adversus absurdum, contumaciter ac ridens! "
  • AmpersandAmpersand 624 Pts
    I think a fundamental question is does the state exist to serve the people or do people exist to serve the state?

    I would say the former, so there is no moral need for people to provide be themselves worthy or exercising their democratic rights.

    Not only that but we've seen countless times that the more restrictions you put on suffrage, the more they'll be abused. Look at the USA where over the years various attempts at stripping the voting rights of citizens have been put forward that specifically target black Americans, or Israel which has a citizen serviceship requirement but bans people from working with charities and NGOs that don't conform to the state's ideology.
    Plaffelvohfen
  • on the contrary without it there is dictatorship
    The passion for destruction is also a creative passion. Mikhail Bakunin

  • you dont understand without universal sufferage you don't have a democracy by definition 
    Plaffelvohfen
    The passion for destruction is also a creative passion. Mikhail Bakunin

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