Creep: DC Kidd

In a conversation over at WRIM (get yer own link) over repealing the 17th Amendment – a debate I don’t want to get into here, but suffice to say I’m against it for many of the same reasons I support the end to our Electoral College – commenter DC Kidd dropped this little bomb:

So little faith in democracy! So little faith in the people!

Maybe campaign contributions aren’t the problem at all. Maybe you’ve given the wrong people the right to vote.

*****

Rich:

Every constitutional amendment since the Civil War is bogus and ought to be repealed.

We’ve given the wrong people the right to vote? Remember this is a paleo-conservative speaking. We can only wonder who he means.

First, let’s look at those amendments passed since the Civil War, shall we?

Thirteenth Amendment: Abolishes slavery. (1865)
Fourteenth Amendment: Made all people born in the US citizens; government can’t take away citizenship; extends protection of law to all citizens. (1868)
Fifteenth Amendment: Gives all citizens the right to vote, regardless of race. (1870)
Sixteenth Amendment: Allows income tax. (1913)
Seventeenth Amendment: Direct election of Senators. (1913)
Eighteenth Amendment: Prohibition of alcohol. (1919)
Nineteenth Amendment: Extends the right to vote to women. (1920)
Twentieth Amendment: Speeds ascension into office of elected President; clarifies succession of President; sets new dates for beginning of Congress. (1933)
Twenty-First Amendment: Repeals prohibition (the 18th Amendment). (1933)
Twenty-Second Amendment: Limits President to two terms. (1951)
Twenty-Third Amendment: Allows Washington DC to select Electors to vote for President. (1961)
Twenty-Fourth Amendment: Prohibits poll taxes (a fee paid for the chance to vote). (1964)
Twenty-Fifth Amendment: Sets up succession for Presidency after the V-P. (1967)
Twenty-Sixth Amendment: Guarantees suffrage at age 18. (1971)
Twenty-Seventh Amendment: Limits Congressional pay raises. (1992)

So, which of these would you give away? The one prohibiting slavery? The one extending the vote to women? I think it’s safe to say the 18th Amendment – Prohibition – was a throw-away. But the others?

Some of you might be tempted to dump the income tax amendment. But would you prefer raising taxes through other means, like a sales tax, or further property taxes? An income tax is probably the fairest kind: we each pay according to our means.

Others might be curious about the 17th – direct election of Senators. Me, I prefer to do things myself rather than hand my (feeble) power to some other body. Although if this were repealed, you bet your sweet *ss Burns would be out and Tester in. It might also make the state legislature races more interesting… Hm…On the fence. Could be a great topic for debate…moving on…

The succession Amendments, Presidential term limits (aren’t you glad about this one now?), pay raises, etc, seem unglamorous, but necessary administrative corrections.

The others protect the individual from arbitrary voting restrictions.

And DC Kidd would like to see them all go away? Why? Kidd:

Shane M. wrote: “The only solution I see is a more informed public.”

That is not a solution at all because the majority of people in this country are incapable of being informed. They can only be propagandized and programmed by mass media. Forget any dreams you may have of an enlightened proletariat.

The solution to the problem of low-quality, pandering political leadership is controlling the franchise, i.e., the laws that govern who is legally qualified to vote. Presently, the franchise is extended to just about anyone, with little or no regard to his personal attributes. Our liberal, and therefore misguided, interpretation of “equality” has enfranchised a very large number incompetent and unproductive people, who in turn tend to elect incompetent and unproductive politicians. By restricting the franchise to only citizens who have met certain age, education, and property ownership requirements, the quality of elected officials would naturally rise.

Of course, the qualifications for voting could be further specified to further improve the quality of the political leadership, such a language requirement or several years of military service, for example. But age, education, and property ownership would be start.

Let’s pause for a moment while we ponder the irony of a conservative decrying a political system that panders to its electorate…

The problem with this view, is how do we decide who should vote? If we go by DC Kidd’s guidelines – property ownership and education (age limits already exist) – does that mean if you rent, you can’t vote? So much for the majority of New York City. Or college students. Does that mean if you don’t have a college degree you don’t vote? Or a high school degree?

What makes a property owner a better voter? What makes a college-educated person better informed about civic issues than a high-school dropout? Would the education requirement disqualify military veterans who haven’t finished school?

You could argue that owning property makes a person more interested in local issues, but is that always the case? Might you be disenfranchising a number of people who actually have more knowledge about local issues? And who’s there to protect the rights of renters against landlords if renters can’t vote? Don’t renters have a say over how and where roads, schools, and bus lines are built?

And how do you guarantee that voter limitations wouldn’t be abused to, say, disenfranchise African Americans in Southern states or Native Americans in Montana or women or any minority group who would receive voting rights only as a privilege from the powerful majorities?

The assumption here, of course, is that DC Kidd himself is the model of an “informed” voter. He would like only those like himself voting. That’s why he mentions these qualifications – education, property, military service. These are the things he holds dear.

I, on the other hand, would require an essay test, thorough knowledge of literature and baseball statistics, and maybe a maximum income level. Definitely an amount of service to nonprofit or charitable organizations. Art is more important to me than property, in my opinion, in deciding who’s a better citizen.

But that’s me.

DC Kidd’s view is not uncommon among conservatives. It’s part of this “eliminationist” push you see from the right – this desire, not to debate or best liberal opposition, but to remove all non-conforming ideology from the public sphere. DC Kidd wants to tailor voter qualifications to ensure that his party of preference and his ideology never meets opposition or encounters debate.

In essence, he disdains democracy. If you don’t agree with his point of view, he doesn’t want you to vote.

There’s an irony here, of course. Be careful what you ask for.

David Crisp:

dc kidd,

But if standards for competence and productivity were imposed, wouldn’t you miss voting?

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  1. Jay,

    Great analysis of the viewpoitn DC gave. I have often wondered about this guy. Does he really believe the things that he says, or are they jabs to rile us up? My question is: do you think he is for real? Do people in 2006 really hold those kinds of beliefs?

  2. Steven Lohrenz

    Yes, yes they do. It’s what true conservatives believe.

    Conservatives disdain democracy.

    What is conservatism and what is wrong with it?

  3. Mark T

    Steve T made an interesting post over there – he suggested that Mellon is a chamelon of sorts, appearing in different disguises to inflame different people by pushing different buttons. I’ve suspected that DC Kidd is Mellon for some time. He’s pushing your liberal buttons, in the same way that “The CPA” over there pushes mine. His arguments are thrown at you for effect, your reaction is the reason for his action. I think you can safely ignore him, but he did get to you, didn’t he.

  4. Steven Lohrenz

    If I were to impose restrictions (and I’m not saying I’m a big fan of the idea), I would do it ala Starship Troopers style. 4 years of public service earns you the right to vote. Of course, the government would then have to be greatly expanded, more taxes would have to be raised. Military service would be one route to go, but then there would be a greatly expanded Peace Corps, and teaching in inner city neighborhoods, etc…

    Some kind of service would need to be offered for anyone who wants to to become a citizen, regardless of education, wealth, color of skin or age – the only requirement really would be the willingness to sacrifice some amount of time for the good of the country.

    DC’s route or mine would also defy one of the reasons for the Revolutionary War our founding fathers fought: No taxation without representation. Is DC willing to shoulder the entire tax burden for the country on himself and the people like him? I doubt it. And if the voting group doesn’t undertake that burden completely, then they are just asking for another uprising – and we’ll end up back in the place where everyone has a right to vote – just after a lot of bloodshed.

    What DC really wants is an aristocracy. Didn’t we get rid of one of those some 230 years ago? Isn’t that why we’re (supposedly) in Iraq (An endeavor I can only imagine that he supports.) – to rid the country of a dictator and establish a democracy – where everyone has a chance to vote?

    Conservatism is the domination of a society by an aristocracy. And time and time again, through their own words, they prove it.

    BTW: Did you notice how he equated liberal with misguided?

  5. Mark T

    I don’t think there is any question that conservatives want aristocracy, whether they are capable of putting the concept into words or not. What is interesting is their individual presumption, each alone, that they would be part of the ruling class. Mill’s observation that most stupid people are conservatives aside, each presumes unto his or herself that they have the personal excellence with which they can provide us all with the answers.

    Your observation that disenfranched people ought to be exempted from taxes is excellent.

  6. Mark T: You may be right. It could be a troll pushing buttons. Still, the post does reflect a trend among right-wing extremists. Remember my conversation with Sasha Abramsky, the guy who wrote a book about felon disenfranchisement? He interviewed an anti-disenfranchise activist, and his views were similar to Kidd’s. (Go read the post!)

    Steven: I think conservatives want something different — they’d call it a “meritocracy,” but basically it’d look like a theocratic form of weak authoritarianism. You know, relegate Congress to an advisory board, and give more power to the President, who’s selected by a small group of people.

    BTW: DC Kidd’s (mis)characterization of “liberalism” was one of the kinder, gentler ways of putting it…

  7. Steven Lohrenz

    I often think that one of the greatest problems with conservatives is their inability (or unwillingness) to empathize or place themselves in other’s shoes.

    Take Iraq. They think that the Iraqi’s should welcome the occupation of their country by foreign forces and meekly submit to US forces. They don’t understand how good people who weren’t free before could fight them – thus all the insurgents become terrorists. But what would THEY do if someone invaded this country? The exact same thing that the insurgents in Iraq are doing!

    What would they do if they were on the outside of the ruling class, paying taxes, but not having any say in the affairs of the country? They would revolt!

    Here’s a question (I don’t expect an answer – I’m just writing out loud here) is: why do they delude themselves into thinking that if people are disenfranchised (but still taxed) that they will meekly submit to their rule, but they wouldn’t accept it if the roles were reversed?

    That leads to what may be one of the greatest failings of the modern liberal movement – not understanding who we are up against. Not people who believe in democracy as we do, but people who would rule us with an iron fist if given the chance.

  8. Mark T

    I read the Abramsky interview. Very interesting. I was not aware the felon list was so large. The DeForrest interview lends credence to the impression that right wing thought at its base is a carried forward racism and often based on utter stupidity.

    Evidence that DC Kidd is a troll named Mellon: So far as I can tell, he only posts at WRIM. He is intelligent, but oddly provocative at the same time in a non-intelligent fashion, as if he were pushing buttons. It’s not in any way conclusive evidence. I suggest you invite him over for a cup of coffee – see if he accepts.

  9. Ed Kemmick

    Mark T: You are right. I have the dubious honor of saying that I have had more experience sniffing out Don Mellon than anyone in the Montana blogosphere. Sometimes it’s easy. The stench rising from the posts of DC Kidd is so obviously that of Don Mellon that I don’t think Mellon was even trying to hide. He just has a weird fixation with using a variety of names, sort of like a lonely, disturbed child inventing dozens of make-believe friends.

    I dropped my links to WIRM and stopped going there nearly two weeks ago because it has been taken over by Mellon. Poor Eric, still measuring traffic by the number of comments, thinks a few hundred Don Mellons translates to popularity.

    And Touchstone, all I can say is that you’ve fallen into one of Mellon’s traps. He puts out so many varieties of bait, now posing as a thoughtful libertarian, now as a raving klannish lunatic, now as a Christian crusader, that he’s bound to provoke people to respond. Don’t. He will never engage in actual discussion or an exchange of ideas. He’ll just slip on another mask and throw out some more bait. Good luck.

  10. And Touchstone, all I can say is that you’ve fallen into one of Mellon’s traps.

    I dunno…I got a pretty good post out of it. There are folks with these views living in Montana. Again, follow the Abramsky link…




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