by Neville Kennard, preaching and practising capitalist

Voting, in western democracies, is a Right that all citizens, over a certain age, gain typically when they turn eighteen. It was once at age twenty-one.

The evolution of Democracy and the Right-to-Vote has evolved over the last hundred and more years. Once it was just Property Owners, and Men. Then the franchise was extended and extended. The thing about voting is that if the government does do much, doesn’t tax much, doesn’t interfere much, then voting is not considered very important. The Swiss, with one of the world’s most stable democracies, only granted women the right to vote in 1971. It was not then considered very important, unjust and “sexist” to the Swiss, thought it may now seem that way to us.

In nearly all democracies, voting is Voluntary. Only Australia, Belgium and Argentina make voting Compulsory. Why it is compulsory is a very good question. I would say that Compulsory Voting is Undemocratic! Isn’t part of a “Democratic Society” to do with Freedom? Doesn’t making voting Compulsory make us a bit less free? Of course with Secret Ballots, voting is not really Compulsory — showing up at the polling place and having your name crossed off the list is what is compulsory. Not casting a ballot, or casting a blank ballot paper, or writing some obscenity on the paper is OK. Just go to the inconvenience of making the trip to the polling place so you save yourself the threat of a fine. Dumb???

And recently there was an idea to reduce the voting age to sixteen! Allowing children to vote! The politicians may like it as there would be a whole new constituency to promise goodies to. But I think the tax-payers — the “producers” — would baulk at this one.

Perhaps the politicians, who trust us to elect them, trust us to support them with our taxes, don’t really trust us to vote for them so they make it compulsory to do so. A bit like the coercion to pay taxes.

But who should get a vote ? Should it be a Right, or should it be a privilege with the right to vote being something that is Earned?

I have a very controversial, very Politically-Incorrect, very “discriminating” view on this. This view is bound to be unpopular, and it has little chance of ever gaining political or electoral support. My proposal is that to gain the privilege to vote, you must be a Net Tax Producer.

Tax Consumers, those who don’t produce goods or services for the market, should not get a vote. Welfare recipients, bureaucrats, politicians and all who Consume taxes have not earned the right to vote so they don’t get a vote.

It would be like a Corporation where the shareholders vote on company matters. With a corporation, the employees don’t vote, the suppliers don’t vote, the customers don’t vote – unless they are also shareholders – only shareholders vote on Board of Directors appointments and constitutional matters.

If only Tax Producers got to vote the politicians would be anxious to look after the productive members of the electorate, and so there would be lots of incentive to keep taxes low and government expenditure low. Pressure for government hand-outs, grants, benefits would be minimal. Welfare would revert to the private sector and the monitoring of such expenditure would be scrutinised by the benefactors and the administrating charities.

If voting was a privilege, to be earned and valued, people would be proud to be among the Voting Class, the Productive Class, and would be keen to join the privileged Net Tax Producer Class. Public Servants may even be keen to privatise their ‘service’ so they can become members of the Voting Class.

Does this idea have any chance of being adopted? Not a snowflake’s chance in hell! But is fun to think about, if you are a Tax Producer that is. If you are Tax Consumer then you will hate it with every bone in your body. You will label the idea with every pejorative and invective you can come up with. So whatever side of the Tax Producer — Tax Consumer divide you are on, enjoy the love or hate of the idea. It ain’t gonna happen so don’t worry.

(in order of appearance on Economics.org.au)
  1. Welcome from Neville Kennard
  2. Think Tanks Don't Work
  3. "Market Failure": Just what the government ordered!
  4. The Tragedy of the Tax Pool Commons
  5. Corporate Welfare
  6. Citizenship for Sale?
  7. I Don't Vote
  8. Voting: Right or Privilege?
  9. Stockholm Syndrome and our Love-Hate Relationship with Government
  10. Civil Disobedience: The Rules of Engagement
  11. Should Respect for Law Extend to Bad Laws?
  12. Jaywalking as a Demonstration of Individuality
  13. Government Likes War
  14. Collusion is Our Right
  15. Why Not the Drug Olympics?
  16. Unconventional Wisdom
  17. Tiger Farming: An Alternative to Extinction
  18. Looking Backwards: Mont Pelerin Society Conference, Sydney, 2010
  19. Tax Avoidance is a Patriotic Duty
  20. Kennard Writes to IPA Review Editor
  21. Genocide by Welfare: A Tragedy from the Aboriginal Welfare Industry
  22. Separating Sport and State
  23. Your Home is Not an Investment
  24. Dick Smith, Celebrity Philanthropist
  25. A Libertarian's New Year's Resolution
  26. Extend Politicians' Holidays to Create Prosperity
  27. Entrepreneurs are Disruptive, and Bureaucrats Hate It
  28. What is a good Australian?
  29. Governments Like Employment But Hate Employers
  30. The Market Failure Industry
  31. Neville Kennard: The Tax Avoidance Imperative
  32. Wot if ...?
  33. The Tribal Chief and the Witch Doctor
  34. The Tannehills
  35. Democracy versus Property Rights and Prosperity
  36. Government Doesn't Work, and That's the Way They Like It
  37. Minarchy vs Anarchy
  38. Euthanasia and Self-Ownership
  39. The Right Policies to Fix a Depression
  40. Is Howard Our Best PM?
  41. Tax Producers vs Tax Consumers
  42. Where There's a Queue, There's a Business Opportunity
  43. Authoritarian Freedom
  44. Why Classical Liberals Should Debate Anarchocapitalists
  45. The Tyranny of the Majority
  46. If you could choose to whom you paid your tax
  47. Business Should Exploit Boat People
  48. The Immorality of Trade Unions
  49. "America" vs "The United States"
  50. Sweet Anarchy
  51. The Illusion of "Job Creation"
  52. Gold Is Money
  53. Guilty Capitalists
  54. Bureauphobia
  55. Prosperity vs Growth
  56. Capitalism vs Democracy
  57. More people = More fun
  58. Self-Ownership - the very idea!
  59. Government will murder Neville Kennard if he doesn't back away
  60. The Australian Dollar Has Been Cowardly and Criminally Devalued, Harming the Poor Particularly
  61. Is Taxation Theft and Government a Tax Cheat?
  62. My Journey to Anarchy:
    From political and economic agnostic to anarchocapitalist
  63. Government Needs Bad Guys –
    that's why they like wars
  64. What Is Obscene?
  65. Traffic Economics
  66. Wayne Swan stands on the shoulders of other intellectual pygmies
  67. Neville Kennard Obituary
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