Mailvox: it depends on your principles

AS writes: Your argument so far seems to be a pragmatic one: Women gaining the right to vote has lead to illegitimacy, divorce, abortion, etc. This from the king of ideals. I can’t find it right now, but I remember you made a post saying that people should stop their pragmatic view of the world and start standing up for their ideals. Isn’t your argument against women’s suffrage a perfect example of pragmatism? I would say that every adult who has proved a minimal interest in being a good citizen–namely, not being convicted of a felony and registering to vote–has the right to vote. It is immoral to deny citizens the right to vote for their representatives at all levels of government.

If I had ever stated that I believed voting was a fundamental human right, I would certainly be guilty of sacrificing principle for pragmatism. But I never have, nor do I believe it to be a fundamental human right. Most people should not be permitted a voice in government; they should, on the other hand, be permitted to live their lives in peace without the constant threat of government intervention. History suggests that universal democracy is strongly susceptible to collectivization and thus directly at odds with human liberty and freedom.

I have long been leery of democracy, in part because so many great thinkers that I admired despised it so. The fact that its self-professed champions don’t actually trust it either but feel the need to hedge it about with judicial and structural limitations proves that the common equation of freedom and democracy is incorrect. I find it very easy to choose between the two, without any sacrifice of principle required.

I wonder, what morality is it, precisely, that is offended by denying citizens the vote? And if it is a basic human right, why should residents who are not citizens be denied? If the will of the people is the foundation of all authority of government, does this same hypothetical morality not demand that anything that dilutes the will of the people – judicial review, constitutional restrictions or representative bodies – must be considered immoral as well?