A Dose of V.D.

The Dark Window informs us that Christian libertarian Vox Day has responded to the mockers and the scoffers. Albeit indirectly, he touches on my suggestion that he does not appear to understand the meaning of the world “libertarian”:

Voting is not a God-given right as delineated in either the Declaration of Independence or the Bill of Rights. Liberty, in fact, denies universal democracy, (or mobocracy as it was known), a fact that anyone who has read the Federalist Papers would know the Founding Fathers understood very well. The dichotomy of a libertarian favoring limited suffrage is only an apparent contradiction to the ideologically and historically ignorant.

Vox also challenges anyone to provide evidence that giving women the vote has proven anything other than bad for the USA, “unless you want to argue that divorce, illegitimacy, homosexuality and falling real wages are the historical signs of a healthy society.”

Well, while my perspective is probably clear to readers, the emphasis of this blog has usually been on providing background information rather than joining the thousands of others filling the blogosphere about “what I think” on this issue or that – readers can make up their own minds. However, as Vox has apparently seen my work, on this occasion I’ll make an exception, and briefly turn vicar:

1. Democracies use constitutions and independent judiciaries to guard against “mobocracy”, rather than denial of the franchise to particular groups of adults. While this may not be perfect, there is no evidence that there was less “mobocracy” in times when women or others were denied the franchise. Perhaps this is not spelt out in the Declaration of Independence or the Bill of Rights, but if Vox Day’s interpretation of those documents is correct that only means that the USA is not the very best example of democracy after all, and could learn from others (I’m British, by the way).

2. If women as a whole can be denied the franchise because a majority of them support views of government he dislikes (leading to what he considers the social ills outlined above), then why not apply this rule to other groups should they show the same preferences? Answer: because if such a rule were applied to other groups it would be manifestly unfair, and in many examples would be racist (n.b: the answer to this is not “ahh, but no other group does share these views, so that issue does not arise”. Even if that is the case in fact, it is not so by necessity, and members of other groups would still risk exclusion as a whole in the future if some of their members came to dissent from the “libertarian”).

3. His argument is that he has judged certain ideas to be bad, and because a majority of women support those ideas they therefore should not be allowed to vote. So why shouldn’t I call for religious conservatives to be disenfranchised on the grounds that they vote for what I consider bad ideas? Well, a) I would be supporting an undesirable principle of exclusion; b) I understand that without the accountability that only comes with a universal franchise even good ideas will not be implemented well; c) I have confidence that as long as democracy endures the good ideas will eventually triumph. Vox Day does not have that confidence about his own ideas, it seems, which is why he wants them imposed by banning people from voting.

4. If women were denied the vote, they would protest, as they did in many countries before they got the vote, and many men would support them. The civil strife would be overwhelming. No doubt Vox Day, who is willing to contemplate the mass murder thousands of Palestinians for a greater good, would not shy away from quelling the complainants with brutal force. But that’s not libertarianism. Or Christianity.

Of course, that still leaves the question of whether the socio-economic trends he diagnoses can be traced back to the impact of women having voted for particular ideas he dislikes. But since his case rests on the mere citation of an ABC Poll that shows that less women than men want smaller government I shan’t bother to get into that.

PS: World O’Crap has more.

UPDATE (9 June): More on Vox’s spiritual mentor Greg Boyd.

UPDATE 2 (10 June): Vox has replied.