An article in The New Criterion by Kenneth Minogue raises the humorous issue to taking the vote away from people who don’t have useful experience for a democratic society. Minogue offers his argument with tongue in cheek. But it makes sense. Why shouldn’t the future of democracy be based on taking voting rights away from people who don’t accept responsibility for democracy in their society? Isn't that why we originally restricted the vote to property owners and why we still don't let teen-agers vote?
In Lebanon and Palestine people who were armed militants should not have been allowed to vote, they didn’t accept the democratic process or the commitments of past democratic governments. The same is true anywhere that democracy has been replaced by voting coups as in 1932 Germany and 1978 Iran. Members of the Communist Party should never have been allowed to vote in the U.S.
The people who should lose their vote in contemporary America are people who are tenured. My blog readers already know that I think academic tenure creates a hostile and counter-productive atmosphere. There are other forms of tenure including eight million government and postal employees who can’t be fired. Many unions have lifetime employment for their members.
People who accept tenure in their work are de facto placing their lives outside the mainstream of a democratic society. They should have nothing to say about the governance of the tens of millions of their fellow citizens who have real lives with workplace and revenue uncertainty. The tenured elites can’t understand and identify with their fellow citizens.
It is more than rhetorical to ask why your neighbor, who is exempt from the vicissitudes of the work-a-day world, should vote on your taxation and your welfare. I don’t think they should.
It would be an interesting precedent if America were the first country to start taking voting rights away from people who chose tenure in their life and exempt themselves from the market that the rest of us live in.