Mailvox: Apple peels

This was rather amusing, especially since in one aside, Eris mentioned that I was explaining how casual correlations are useless for the benefit of my “slower readers”. Now, read some of his objections to my response and see if Eris shouldn’t perhaps consider in which group he belongs.

He writes: [on selection bias] I see a similar problem with Vox’s argument. Even if I assume that people in the 1920’s predicted that illegitimacy, divorce, and homosexuality went up, I don’t know if they predicted other things that didn’t happen. And did they predict falling wages? If so, Vox didn’t mention it.

They did not predict falling wages, but then, I haven’t read a single anti-suffragist document focused on the economic aspects, as opposed to the social, so that’s hardly surprising. Indeed, I don’t know that I’ve ever read anything specifically linking the entry of women into the work force with falling real wages even after the fact; I’m under no illusion that I’m the first to make such a link, but let’s face it, real wages and century-old political debates are common subjects for popular reading these days. As for other predictions, those happend to be the ones that I recall. I’m sure there were others, but not so many that their success rate is not astounding eighty plus years on.

Let me see if I’m following Vox’s logic: Women are more likely to vote Democratic than Republican. Per Vox, Democrats support the various issues that cause those social ills. Ergo, we should curtail women’s voting rights because they vote Democratic. Going a step further, we should also deny the vote to any group that is predominately Democratic – and if you read Vox’s posts, you’ll know that he does not rule out disenfranchising other groups. The conclusion that I draw from all this is that Vox thinks voting should be restricted to a specific elite consisting of people who agree with him. And he calls himself a libertarian.

No, Vox thinks that voting should be restricted to an elite capable of thinking beyond their immediate personal interest and willing to avoid the temptation to vote themselves largesse taken by force from others. There is plenty of room for disagreement within those bounds. If voting is not restricted to this relatively broad elite, demagogues will purchase the favor of the short-sighted mob using the powerful mechanisms of government and a very much smaller oligarchical elite will impose its rule. Choose your poison.

I call myself a libertarian I support the concept of my rights ending where yours begin. This is antithetically opposed to democracy, which can be rightly equated to two wolves and one sheep deciding what to have for lunch. I’d much rather be free to live my life free of government control of my behavior, speech and property than be permitted to vote while being forced to endure countless violations of individual liberty. In case this is hard to follow, I will spell it out. Voting is not freedom. Voting is an act, freedom is the ability to act as one wills. Voting was mandatory in the Soviet Union, was the Soviet Union therefore free?

Note how he stops talking about homosexuality and illegitimacy at this point. I think the points about welfare are supposed to be about illegitimacy, but since out-of-wedlock births are not the only circumstances under which one would have cause to go on welfare, that point is a bit – dare I say it? – disingenuous.

It is disingenuous to posit a strong link between welfare and illegitimacy? That’s an interesting point of view that would amuse many a social scientist. As I stated explicitly in my response to him, I was not writing a complete causal chain but merely demonstrating that it was more than mere post hoc propter hoc. The homosexuality aspect opens the door to a lengthy debate of its own, which was why I left it for the nonce, but those who understand that I subscribe to a Paglian view of homosexuality, (on the secular side), will grasp the essence of the link with divorce and illegitimacy.

I must be misreading this. He seems to be arguing that the mere fact that women are allowed to vote is contributing to divorce, but more than that, to these eyes, he’s saying that women shouldn’t be able to work either.

First, the combination of my train of logic with the Seneca Falls Declaration of Sentiment suffices to make the suffrage-divorce link beyond a reasonable doubt. I am not saying that women shouldn’t be able to work, only that barring the burden of government spending partially created by women’s suffrage, more women would be able to choose to stay home with their children should they so desire. I am quite confident that most would.

At this point, I’m starting to question Vox’s libertarian cred. In my opinion, women should be allowed to vote and work, even if it does increase divorce, because people in a free society should be free to make mistakes. Vox, on the other hand, seems to be saying that the government should curtail freedoms to prevent people from making bad decisions. Now honestly, which of us sounds like the starry-eyed libertarian and which sounds like the big government, para-socialistic left-liberal?

This is only because Eris is still operating under the misconception that the universal vote is conducive to human freedom. He equates voting with freedom, which I have already demonstrated is obviously fallacious. A connection between universal suffrage and freedom has never been proved anywhere, indeed, everyone from the Founding Fathers to the Algerian Army to the present administrators of the Iraqi Occupation believes precisely the opposite. Vox is saying that the voting franchise should be curtailed in order to prevent people from exerting control over other people, which in the long run will also be to their benefit, but more importantly will benefit those who only want to live their lives as they see fit, in freedom.

Which of us sounds as if he knows whereof he speaks? That question, dear reader, I leave to you.