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(Also, I don’t believe that there should be such a thing as citizenship, but that’s another debate.)

I've never considered this before. I'm interested in your reasons.

Edited by dondigitalia

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jrs    0

The question should not be "Why abolish citizenship?". It should be "What purpose does it serve to make a distinction between citizens and non-citizens?". I cannot think of any good reason for making such a distinction; and government should not make distinctions between people without a good reason.

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I've never considered this before. I'm interested in your reasons.
My own reason is that it confuses a clear understanding of the nature of government, to the point that it can make governments dysfunctional. People entrust the government with a particular aspect of their rights, namely the proper use of force to protect them, so that they can lead a life according to reason. In an uncivilized location where there is no government (Somalia, for example), it is a person's right to use force to defend themselves against attackers. It is not just the citizens of a country which must reliquish the use of force in protection of their rights, it is everybody, including 3-hour tourists. Correspondingly, the government has an obligation to protect everyone's rights whom then have power over, not just the rights of citizens. That last point is often denied, especially by the government.

There are various distinctions made between citizens and non-citizens, none of which are valid. Border-crossing is one -- citizenship is not instant proof of fealty and non-citizenship is not instant proof of treason; citizenship is only weakly correlated with voting rights, and there is no reason why a mere resident shouldn't be allowed to vote. Who should vote in the first place is a complex topic. I should be free to go to England for a year or two if I want, and those Brits should be free to come here unimpeded. No, we don't want terrorists invading the US by the millions, and citizenship is separable from the concept of "being a threat".

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I believe the proper question is: “is there justification for class of privileges and protections that should be granted to a certain class of inhabitants of a country?” I don’t believe there is any such basis outside of a welfare state and anti-immigration policies.

The only privilege that should not be provided upon residence is the “right” to vote, but I believe that the vote should be restricted to wealthy landowners and/or a poll tax, and not residence.

There is some ambiguity as to what to do with criminals (who committed their crimes abroad, and have not paid for their crimes) who try to enter a country. I’m not sure how gross their offenses need to be, or what exceptions should be made, but the response for the worst kind of criminals should be the same for former and as well as potential new residents: kick them out, or prosecute them if there is evidence of intention to commit crime.

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but I believe that the vote should be restricted to wealthy landowners and/or a poll tax, and not residence.

I believe voting should be restricted, but can't say I understand why only the wealthy should be able to vote.

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I believe voting should be restricted, but can't say I understand why only the wealthy should be able to vote.
The decision as to who decides on the selection of lawmakers should distinguish between those value a rational society (thus will work to keep it) vs. those who don't, and may work to destroy it. The most concrete test of that value is wealth: seeing that the person lives by the trader principle, and does not seek the unearned. It is not an infallible test, but it is probably the best single test possible.

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Why do you have to be wealthy to value a rational society? Many of the most wealthy people in this country have very socialist tendencies (i.e. Ted Turner, Michael Moore, any Hollywood celebrity).

How about, instead of wealthy landowners, anyone who is self-sufficient? This gets rid of all the welfare monkeys living in subsidized housing. In a capitalist society, it would get rid of people living off of private charity.

I hope to go into some line of work in the federal government whose purpose is to fight terrorism. I will never attain the status of "wealthy landowner" by working for the government. But I will be doing my part to protect this country from terrorist attacks. Should I be denied the right to vote?

I propose that voting be restricted to self-sufficient people who can pass a literacy test on American government/history and can name their representatives in the House and Senate.

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Why do you have to be wealthy to value a rational society? Many of the most wealthy people in this country have very socialist tendencies (i.e. Ted Turner, Michael Moore, any Hollywood celebrity).
As I said, there is no perfect test, so this is simply the best test. Even though many rich people have evil tendencies, most do not.
How about, instead of wealthy landowners, anyone who is self-sufficient? This gets rid of all the welfare monkeys living in subsidized housing. In a capitalist society, it would get rid of people living off of private charity.
That's perhaps a way of defining the concept "wealthy". As a matter of basic law, I don't know how you could define self-sufficient, whereas if you have a minimum-income requirement of say $50,000 per annum, then you have an objective criterion that would eliminate the welfare monkeys, drug addicts and useless slackers who just don't care. (I would also agree to literacy and a certain minimum level of awareness of politics as being additional necessary criteria). Maybe you have a way to define "self-sufficient" that doesn't give only subsistence farmers the right to vote?

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Why shouldn't they be allowed to vote? They don't leech off of anyone.
Subsistence farmers? The question isn't whether a person leeches off of others, it is whether they have an interest in maintaining a rational society and thus should be allowed to control the nature of that government. Leeches obviously don't; I don't see the case that subsistence farmers do either. (I should clarify, w.r.t. my proposal, that the monetary rule isn't to be interpreted as applying only to cash, so $30,000 worth of potatoes, wheat, cows and apples plus $20,000 in cash is an income of $50,000).

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Why not a points program similar to the prizes or cash rewards that credit card companies give their customers? For example, one vote for every $10,000 in contract insurance you purchase from the government. Naturally, those who buy millions of dollars of insurance would receive proportionately more votes. Similarly, those who make outright donations to the government would be rewarded with additional ballots.

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I know the thread has taken a turn in the direction of voting rights, but I thought of something pertaining to citizenship:

Does a just government provide its just services of legal and military protection to citizens abroad? Should Americans visiting China enjoy any of the protections which would be afforded them if they were on US soil? Like protection from arbitrary or unjust laws of other countries? How far does a government's power to protect the rights of its citizens extend?

If it extends beyond the borders of the country, how do you distinguish between citizens and non-citizens?

-Q

[This topic is discussed here: http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.php?showtopic=5962 - GC]

Edited by GreedyCapitalist

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Does a just government provide its just services of legal and military protection to citizens abroad?
This is why there should be no "abroad". Government should have a monopoly on the use of force to protect rights, and it is wrong to have competing governments in the same territory. When a US citizen person violates a law in Japan which is not a law in the US, you would end up with competing governments and contradictory legality in the same location if the citizen were to be subject to the law of Japan and thus punishable by the Japanese government, but as a US citizen not subject to the law of Japan and deserving protection by the Japanese government.

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Why not a points program similar to the prizes or cash rewards that credit card companies give their customers? ... Similarly, those who make outright donations to the government would be rewarded with additional ballots.

I think this would be highly corruptive. I mean, why not simply auction away political office to the highest bidder(s)? (In effect, this is how U.S. elections work, albeit indirectly.)

By the way, some of you might hold the erroneous premise that there is some sort of “right” to choose one’s form of government. There can be no such right, since everyone “choosing” their preferred form of government would be anarchy. A democracy certainly does not do this – voting in a democracy is a statistically pointless action. It in no way legitimizes or gives you any meaningful voice in the government.

It fact, it does the opposite, by taking away choices from the market and centralizing them through legislation. The more democratic a society, the less freedom you have in governing your own life.

The best we can hope for is to nominate a natural aristocracy that we consider capable of protecting the integrity of the constitution.

I hope to go into some line of work in the federal government whose purpose is to fight terrorism. .. Should I be denied the right to vote?

No offense, but I think that anyone employed by the government should be the very first to be disqualified from voting for it, for reasons which I hope are obvious.

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I think this would be highly corruptive. I mean, why not simply auction away political office to the highest bidder(s)? (In effect, this is how U.S. elections work, albeit indirectly.)

Presumably "highest bidders" would be those with great reserves of wealth. How is this any more corrupt than the suggestion made earlier that "the vote should be restricted to wealthy landowners"?

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No offense, but I think that anyone employed by the government should be the very first to be disqualified from voting for it, for reasons which I hope are obvious.

I'm pretty sure I know why you think so, but I disagree. I also think it's naive to think that giving voting privileges to only the wealthy is going to make our elected officials any better than they already are.

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I also think it's naive to think that giving voting privileges to only the wealthy is going to make our elected officials any better than they already are.
What it will do is remove an improper incentive for eleced officials to support socialist legislation in order to get the votes of the welfare monkeys. I don't think the unproductive elements of society or contributing something at the polls which is valuable, which would be the price of restricting the vote. If it turned out that most of the productive people were Michael Moores and the inproductive people were Objectivists, I would change my tune, but they aren't so I don't.

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I'm pretty sure I know why you think so, but I disagree. I also think it's naive to think that giving voting privileges to only the wealthy is going to make our elected officials any better than they already are.

It will not. You are reversing cause and effect. The right philosophy will lead to a free society. Legislation cannot create a capitalist society, but bad laws will corrupt one.

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Hal    0
The decision as to who decides on the selection of lawmakers should distinguish between those value a rational society (thus will work to keep it) vs. those who don't, and may work to destroy it. The most concrete test of that value is wealth: seeing that the person lives by the trader principle, and does not seek the unearned. It is not an infallible test, but it is probably the best single test possible.

I think this is absurd. Theres a good chance that someone who pursues his values will end up being fairly poor - the average scientist (and other academics) isnt particularly wealthy, nor are most writers, artists, and so on. On the other hand, I would think that most people who just want to get money for the sake of getting money, rather than pursuing their values, can generally succeed assuming they are reasonably intelligent - someone who is fairly bright will probably make a good living in the business world, and will likely earn more than a talented research physicist or musician.

There's a good fictional example which shows how this works in an extreme case - Howard Roark vs Peter Keating in the Fountainhead. One of the characters pursues his values without particualrly caring about money, and as such he remains poor throughout the novel. The other one wants money for its own sake, and succeeds in becoming wealthy.

I doubt that theres any correlation whatsover between {rationality, integrity, morality} and wealth.

Edited by Hal

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On another thread ( http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.p...wtopic=4102&hl= ), softwareNerd makes the point that "in today's context, Congressmen should not own stocks directly." The obvious reason being that Congressmen would have an incentive to approve legislation that would increase the value of their portfolios. Now if a future Congress were to be elected by wealthy voters only, would not the same tendency toward "the Aristocracy of Pull" be at work?

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I just don't like the idea of giving the vote only to a certain class of people. People in all classes are corrupt and most of the ones who aren't are at least corruptible. Any class that has sole control of the vote is going to end up voting privileges to themselves at the expense of everyone else. That's why I think self-sufficiency is a better standard. With that standard, all classes are represented, from the plumber who scrapes by with $25,000/year to Bill Gates.

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