By Douglas V. Gibbs
Early American voters were required to be property owners. If a person did not own property, they could not vote. This practice by the founders of this nation is viewed in both a positive and negative light by today's observers. It is argued that such a practice is hardly one that portrays freedom to all people, nor shows that the Founding Fathers believed that all men were created equal. Since women could not own property, nor could slaves, and most newcomers and the poor could not afford to own property, the practice ensured only the rich, white slave owners were able to vote - however, that is a view of the practice by collectivists, those that view the founding of this nation in a bad light. The real reasons for limiting the voting to property owners are actually very different from the collectivist viewpoint, and in truth, was designed in the way it was in order to preserve liberty, not limit it.
Since there was no direct tax on income, the tax payers were primarily those that paid property taxes. People who owned property were also sometimes business owners, who also paid taxes. People who paid taxes, and those that owned businesses, were directly influenced by the actions of the politicians. Laws influenced their tax payments, business structure, and daily dealings in the financial industry. Therefore, when it came to politics, those people had "skin in the game," since they were directly influenced by the decisions made by the politicians. As a result, property owners were directly involved, and knowledgeable, with the policies offered by the various candidates, and politicians.
People who did not own property had no concern for a majority of the issues in the political realm, and as a result were often uninformed of the issues, and the various policies of the political leaders. Their votes, if allowed to be offered, would be based on nothing but guessing, limited knowledge, or influence by the popular media of the day. Politicians were aware of this, and in societies where the propertyless could vote, their votes were won by the politicians offering them gifts from the treasury. The practice of buying votes through entitlements was something the Founding Fathers did not desire to exist in the American System, therefore unless you were directly influenced by a majority of the policies by the politicians because of your ownership status in society, it was better for society that you did not vote.
This election policy did not mean that some people would never have the opportunity to vote in their lifetime. In fact, it provided another encouragement in regards to working hard, succeeding, and reaching the upper echelon of society. Self-reliance, personal responsibility, and the financial success that would accompany such an ethic, in other words, would also result in the benefit of being able to vote.
As time passed, the cry for adhering to the "will of the people", which apparently means "all people", turned the tide, and eventually voting rights became the norm for all persons that had reached the minimum age requirement. Voting rights for all would be fine if the electorate ensured they remained properly informed, considered all of the issues, and the politicians did not try to take advantage of those that really have no stake in the election. However, as human nature dictates, the propertyless have demanded gifts from the treasury in exchange for their vote, and the politicians have been more than happy to acquiesce. What we have as a result is a permanent voting block that cares less about the issues, and votes based on who will continue to issue them government checks, food stamps, free health care, and anything else they can get from the government, or as a woman in Detroit, Michigan put it, "Obama's stash."
The practice of providing gifts from the treasury is something that never stops growing, and eventually in society those that take from the system will outnumber the producers. Such a system is not sustainable. As Margaret Thatcher so eloquently put it, "Eventually you run out of other people's money."
I think my point is most clearly articulated by Alexander Tytler in 1787, who said, "A democracy is always temporary in nature;
it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government.
A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover
that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury.
From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates
who promise the most benefits from the public treasury,
with the result that every democracy will finally collapse
due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship."
Alexis de Tocqueville said, "The American Republic will endure, until politicians realize they can bribe the people with their own money."
“When the people find that they can vote themselves money,
that will herald the end of the republic.”
- Benjamin Franklin
"There are two ways to conquer
and enslave a country.
One is by the sword.
The other is by debt."
- John Adams
"Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority.
It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made
to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions.
There are men in all ages who mean to govern well,
but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters
. . . . . but they mean to be masters."
- Noah Webster (1758–1843)
"Give me control over
a nation's currency, and
I care not who makes its laws."
- Baron Rothschild
"What good fortune for governments that the people do not think."
- Adolf Hitler
"The people who cast the votes don't decide an election,
the people who count the votes do."
- Joseph Stalin
"Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it."
- George Bernard Shaw
"I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent
the government from wasting the labors of the people
under the pretense of taking care of them."
- Thomas Jefferson
"Collecting more taxes than is absolutely necessary is legalized robbery."
- Calvin Coolidge
"Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.
As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters."
- Benjamin Franklin
"We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself
into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and
trying to lift himself up by the handle."
- Winston Churchill
"An economy hampered by restrictive tax rates
will never produce enough revenue to balance the budget,
just as it will never produce enough jobs or enough profits."
- John F. Kennedy
"You need only reflect that one of the best ways
to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days
is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding
fathers used in the great struggle for independence."
- Charles Austin Beard (1874-1948)
"The best argument against democracy
is a five minute conversation with the average voter."
- Winston Churchill
"A government that is big enough to give you all you want
is big enough to take it all away."
- Barry Goldwater
“It is freedom itself that still hangs in the balance,
and freedom is never more than one generation from extinction.”
- Ronald Reagan
"The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But,
under the name of 'liberalism,' they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program,
until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened."
- Norman Thomas (US Socialist Presidential Candidate)
-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary