The Case Against Universal Suffrage

May 4, 2010 | Politics

In the United States, discussions over broadened rights of suffrage are usually framed in the language race or gender. This is largely because of the Fifteenth Amendment, which extended voting rights to males of all races, and the Nineteenth Amendment, which extended those same rights to women. But when “the father of Communism,” Karl Marx, pushed universal suffrage in the 19th century, his goal was neither racial or gender equality but a non-violent overthrow of Europe’s capitalistic order. And as President Obama pushes to get as many people as possible on the government dole, I can’t help but think that Marx would be quite proud of how our current administration is continuing the overthrow here in the United States.

If we are to understand the perilous risk universal suffrage portends for our Republic, we have to push race and gender out of our minds for the moment and think of things as a revolutionary would.

It was 1852 when Marx pushed for socialism in England with these words: “The [achievement] of universal suffrage…would…be a far more socialistic measure than anything which has been honored with that name on the continent.” He contended that “universal suffrage [was] the equivalent of political power for the working class” because he knew that laborers who weren’t property owners could gain control over the property of others via the voting booth.

Marx viewed the world as divided into two camps, the bourgeois and the proletarians, or the capitalists and the laborers. And in his writings, he was scathing in his treatment of the former while appearing sympathetic to the plight of the latter. He pit the two factions against one another, always predicting that the laborers would rise up in revolution and overthrow the capitalists, thus imparting power to victorious revolutionaries “in the name of the people.”

Although many who have taken Marx’s teachings to heart – Vladimir Lenin, Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, etc, – sought revolution at the end of a gun, Marx did not believe the revolution to overthrow capitalists had to be violent. And this is one reason why he pressed for universal suffrage: he understood that an expansion of the voting base would necessarily dilute what he considered to be the entrenched power of the capitalists and usher in a new order.

None of this is lost on Obama, who is using universal suffrage to his benefit by expanding the number of non-taxpayers in America in order to use their votes to bring more and more property and personal choice under government control.

For example, 47% of American households paid no federal income tax for 2009 yet received all the benefits the tax-paying public received. Obama and his fellow revolutionaries know that the party that provides the most “free” benefits to these non-taxpayers will be able to count on receiving the most votes in return. At a foundational level, this means non-taxpayers are able to use their votes to control how the money of taxpayers can or can’t be used.

Of course, revolutionaries can use more that just the federal income tax roles to their advantage. Therefore, in a least thirteen states school lunch programs are being broadened to include after school dinners and nationally, food stamps and unemployment benefits have been extended again and again to the point that some employees are finding it more rewarding to live off the government dole than to show up to work.

Who pays for the “free” dinners and the unemployment benefits if not the 53% of Americans who are paying for everything else as well?

No wonder Obama spends so much time pitting one class against another. He understands the political gain that lies behind Marx’s axiom: “Every class struggle is a political struggle.”

The power of revolutionaries like Obama could be taken away by amending suffrage to make the privilege of voting dependent upon the responsibility of paying taxes and living independently of the politician on whom one is voting. And while any politician who pursues such amendments should expect liberals to lash out with invectives like “racist” or “misogynist,” the problems at hand are neither racially-motivated or gender-based.

Rather, the problem to be addressed is the inherent immorality of allowing one group of people to use voting rights as a cover for stealing the money of others (and empowering revolutionaries in the process).