Should Voting Be an Earned Privilege?

This is probably not going to be a popular viewpoint. As a person who stands for maximum freedom, it contradicts some of the things I stand for. However, sometimes in life you have to stand firm on a viewpoint in some parts of your life while going in the opposite direction in others. This is not hypocrisy, it is pragmatism. An ideal only works if it is applied correctly, and sometimes you have to place limits even on your own ideology to ensure it has a chance to flourish in the real world.

Our nation is set up on the notion that all citizens are created equal, and this is true to some extent. We don’t want to be a nation where the elites run everything and we want to maintain the idea that the average citizen has a voice in how the country gets run. The problem with this is that the average person just doesn’t know anything, and a significant portion of our modern citizenry has a vested interest in promoting policies that are not healthy for our economy, social structure, or just the future in general.

I was watching a podcast by Timcast IRL where they were talking about Democrats wanting to adjust the voting age to 16, and then started throwing out ideas about when it would be appropriate for citizens to be allowed to vote. The idea that resonated with me was when you start paying taxes. It seems fair to me that when you are contributing to the system, you have earned the right to have a say in how that system is run. Our nation was founded on the fight against “taxation without representation”, and I have to agree that this should be the case.

What this means, however, is that we really need to radically adjust who is allowed to vote based on this, and that means that a huge portion of our population will lose a right they have today. If you are benefitting from our tax structure in such a way that you are not taxed at all, or are receiving refunds that you didn’t pay for, you should not have a voice in how the country chooses to spend money. This is akin to members of Congress voting for pay raises for themselves; it’s a conflict of interest.

As I said, this is a direct contradiction to my general stance that we should allow maximum freedom for every individual, but it is not a hypocritical position for a libertarian minded person to have. It is completely fair to limit the rights of others who are unable to meaningfully contribute to society or the economy because our rights are predicated on the idea that we are all working together toward a common goal. We pay taxes on the things that we all use, and if you are not paying and are still benefitting then you are a drain and not an asset.

Many of the problems we have in our country today are a direct result of this policy of allowing beneficiaries to continue voting for candidates that add to their list of benefits. Why would anyone vote for rational laws that make logical sense when those people don’t stand to benefit at all? As more people join this financial class, it only gets worse. People at the low end continue to increase the burden on the high, and the people actually making the country work lose more and more say in the matter. This simply isn’t fair.

I personally believe that we need to develop a stringent list of criteria that qualifies a citizen to vote. It doesn’t need to be a cumulative list, but at least one item should be checked before you are allowed to vote for anything. Paying more in taxes than you receive in benefits, military service and participation in public services like police and fire protection could be easy things we put on that list, because those are things that positively contribute to our society and economy.

Should we help those less fortunate than we? Absolutely. Should we allow those same people to decide how we spend our money? Absolutely not. While freedom is critically important to a good society, at some point a line needs to be drawn that says that only certain people may participate. It is unfortunate that this is the reality, but in the end we have to make sure that only the people who have to pay for these things get a say in what we decide to do. Anything else is simply wrong.

How do you feel about voting? Do you agree with the idea that all voices are equal, or should there be a standard to be met before you are allowed to vote? Many will disagree with this post, and I can totally understand why, but we need to seriously consider what we’re doing with our politics. Some people simply shouldn’t have a say in what happens in our country, and we must be very careful about who we allow into the fold.

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