Part One: Only Veterans Deserve to Vote
I'm working out a war game scenario and I am amazed by just how many ranks there are. It got me thinking about more than just military hierarchy.
How many ranks do you need? I'm thinking there are so many mainly as a prestige thing, since many times it seems acquiring a higher rank seems automatic, just by serving for a set period of time. Well, if you haven't done anything why are you climbing to a higher rank? You haven't earned it. Okay, I can understand, you climb up one rank after your first year just to discourage desertion and reward guys for making their beds fifty thousand times and doing a million pushups and shining Sergeant's boots until he can see his own reflection, but after that, do you really need to climb rank automatically for any reason? It seems like rewarding people for nothing.
It's just like the situation with universal franchise. Anyone who knows me knows (or should know) that I hate the idea of universal franchise. Presto change-o you turn 18 and now you can vote! It doesn't matter if you can spell your own name or count to 10 or if you're an asshole or a drug addict, you get to vote just for having existed for 6,574 days. You haven't done anything to earn the privilege to vote, you haven't demonstrated the slightest competency, because that would be racialist, you have just existed, like a stone, and like a stone you can know absolutely nothing and still get to vote!
Well, why should that be? And don't think I'm waving my finger saying "I don't think those people over there I don't like shouldn't vote," no, I'm saying "I don't think I should vote, because I haven't done anything to earn it."
That's why I support the system Robert Heinlein set up in Starship Troopers where you need to serve in some federal capacity in order to vote (it wasn't just military, there were other things you could do, but it had to be equally as dangerous and important as military service). That way you have taken part in the upkeep of the society the laws of which you are deciding. You've earned it. And since you have worked for the privilege of voting you appreciate it more, and, furthermore, you understand the workings of government better. And since most of the voters are veterans they are far less likely to vote for war since they all know how horrible war is.
This solves a tremendous great big horrible problem with government as is. It solves the problem of politicians who are rich, entitled elitists who start wars for their own aggrandizement and who got into office because their parents bought them the office or so they could appease special interest groups with deep pockets. It also solves the problem of the legions of voters with below room temperature IQ's who are all living off welfare who vote for politicians who promise to give them free stuff stolen off the backs of the workers.
You see now the hyperbole of the title. Anyone who has completed their federal service can vote, not just combat veterans.
Some people might object "Oh, but that government would not be representative of everyone." To which I reply, why does it need to be? Why does the government need to represent everyone? The answer is it doesn't, and almost no one actually thinks that it does. Very few people, a few lawyers maybe, think government should represent murderers and child molesters, and that makes absolute sense. Furthermore, most people don't want the government to represent everyone, just people like them. They certainly don't want the government to represent people they disagree with. The only difference between them and me is that I'm honest and they are lying sacks of crap who hide behind phony holier-than-thou moralisms.
As I have pointed out earlier, everyone is most certainly not equal. Is Ted Bundy equal to Isaac Newton? Is a murderer equal to a steel worker or a truck driver or a Girl Scout? Is a drug addict equal to a nuclear scientist or a brain surgeon? Unequivocally no! Not everyone is equal, some people are horrible monster and some people are heroes who have saved hundreds, maybe even thousands of lives. Some people are much better than others and some people are much worse. Admittedly there is a large grey area between the murderers and the brain surgeons, but there is no need to delineate exactly where everyone fits in the hierarchy to see that a hierarchy does exist.
In a rational society competency is rewarded. This is what Chingis Khan did. It didn't matter whether you were the son of a king or a peasant farmer, if you were really good at the military you were given an army and if you were really good at administration you were made a government official of some kind. This is called meritocracy.
"Oh, but that's racialist/sexualist/discriminating against that group of people over there who I look down on and think they're not good enough to make it on their own!"
Most leftists tend to have a tremendously low view of "minority" groups (even when those "minorities" happen to be the majority). They think blacks or women or whoever are too incompetent to accomplish anything on their own so racial or sexual quotas like Title IX and affirmative action are needed to give the poor ex-slave a big boy hand out so he can feel good about himself in a job he couldn't have earned on his own. It is an extension of the "white man's burden" dressed up in a new suit to assuage the guilt of people who like to feel guilty because the idea of collective guilt is in vogue. It seems the louder someone cries "Racialist!" the bigger the racialist that person actually is.
Getting back to the point of a meritocracy, which is actually fair in that it focuses on equality of opportunity instead of equality of outcome (which privileges people you like more, be honest and admit it), there's a reason a few tens of thousands of Mongols conquered one fifth the world's land area and several hundred million people, because the person who got the job was best suited for the job. You can't argue with results like that. The person who serves a government office should be the person who is best suited for fulfilling the duties of that office, not the richest person or the person who makes the most phony promises. You wouldn't want your brain surgeon to be someone just picked up off the street for being the tallest or most charismatic liar, you would do a ton of online research and find the most qualified brain surgeon to remove the tumor from your head and damn the expense (I'm not here to make any arguments about healthcare).
Why shouldn't the same be true with government? You wouldn't be so damned interested in letting someone vote to take your money away, would you, but you would vote to take money away from people you don't like in a heartbeat (be honest), and that's a huge problem with the system we have in place now. People with absolutely no qualifications are voting for their own selfish interests based on the height of candidates or catchy slogans rather than voting for the greater good for society even if that means they get left out personally. The system we have now is grossly inefficient and powered almost exclusively by greed. The obvious solution is to restrict voting only to those people who have demonstrated that they know how the system of governance works, the ins and outs of bureaucracy, of organizational structures, of logistics, of getting things done. Voting and public office should be restricted to only those people who have served in some capacity at the bottom of the ladder in that very government hierarchy as the grunts and laborers. They more than anyone know how the chain of command works, how communications between departments work, and they more than anyone appreciate just how hard people at the bottom have it, so they better than anyone would look out for the welfare of those who have the least. Restricting voting does not make a less compassionate government, it makes a more compassionate government, because everyone in office got there only through struggling. No one was born into wealth or privilege, everyone has to work for it from the bottom up. It ensures the most efficient, compassionate, rational system possible, and stands the greatest chance at being free from corruption and gridlock.
Part Two: The Minimum Income
One thing I've never understood was brought up in one of my favourite books Generation Kill. You go all over the world and poor people are skinny, yet in America, for some unknown reason, poor people are obese. That makes no sense. Why are poor people fatter than rich people in America? How can someone living entirely off the welfare possibly purchase or otherwise acquire enough food to actually become obese? That does not make sense.
You look at these Mexicans who come over to mow lawns or put up roofs (rooves?), they are 130, 140 pounds, and it's pure muscle. They get paid one shiny penny per hour and they work themselves to death and they have zero body fat. I like that (I like their work ethic, not that they are underpaid or die early). I greatly admire the amount of work they do. More poor people should be like that. One big problem is that there aren't enough good jobs for poor people. The roads are disintegrating, inner cities look like war zones, all this construction needs to be done but there's no money to pay for it because all the money goes into the pockets of bureaucrats.
I read somewhere that at least 80% of all money spent on welfare in the US goes to pay government salaries, not to actually help poor people. If all that money were redistributed from the bloated government then every adult in the US could be given $10,000 per year. I actually recorded (I have not uploaded or even thought to edit it yet) a 50 minute video defending the idea of replacing welfare with a minimum income. 1 January everyone gets a direct deposit of $10,000 into their bank account (this makes the bankers happy because of all the new customers they get). The people who won't work wouldn't work anyway under the current system, so you're not actually losing any additional money, poor people who do work and are making slave wages are automatically lifted out of poverty, it incentivises more people to invest more because they now have more to invest, and for the people who don't need the extra money you get it back with taxes, so you don't lose anything that way either.
Yes, but how do you pay for it? Welfare spending is (one of the contributing factors in) bankrupting America. It's a sunk cost. The government is spending that money anyway. If the money is already spent it might as well be spent on something useful. But I do have some ideas on how to eliminate government spending while maintaining the minimum income.
Step One: cut the size of government by 50% over the next 10 years. As I mentioned earlier, nearly all the spending on welfare is wasted on the government itself. Get rid of everyone in the federal welfare department and have the jobs reassigned to the Treasury without hiring any additional employees. "But you've just laid off thousands of people!" Yes, but remember, with the minimum income they're still getting paid anyway.
Step Two: Stop inflating the currency. The number one reason people are poorer today is because the money is worth less. In fact, the US Dollar is almost completely worthless, having lost over 90% of its original value (The British Pound, by contrast, has lost only about 10% of its original value). People are talking about raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, but if the value of the Dollar had not been destroyed by inflation than the current $7 minimum wage would be worth about $23 an hour. Here's a real world example of inflation. 100 years ago you could take a $20 gold coin, worth exactly $20 USD, and have a finely tailored suit made. Today you can still use that same gold coin to get a finely tailored suit made, but the gold and the suit now both cost $2,000 USD. The gold coin and the suit are still worth exactly the same, the US Dollar is just worth 100 times less.
Step Three: Stop the war on drugs. Legalise and Tax. I read about 8 years ago that if weed was legalised the government could tax it and make $400 billion per year. That right there is equivalent to federal welfare spending, just with weed. You break the backs of the cartels, empty the prisons, and make a huge windfall in taxes simultaneously. That's win-win-win. That's a Charlie Sheen level of winning.
Step Four: Stop policing the world. There are 50,000 US troops in Germany and another 50,000 in Japan even though we beat them 70 years ago. Der Fuhrer is not coming back. The Reds are not going to pour through the Fulda Gap with "more tanks than God" and make it to the Rhine in a week. What the hell are we doing there?
Step Five: Stop the waste in general. SpaceX has spent about $500 million on its Dragon capsule and has already tested it and it works beautifully. The only thing holding them back is red tape. The official NASA government contract for the Orion system, which was obsolete when it was first proposed, and has not gotten off the paper yet, is $17 billion. What's wrong with this picture? The government has tried to produce a POS rocket, spent a load of time, wasted a tremendous amount of money, and hasn't made anything. The SpaceX guys see there is a huge market for commercial spaceflight design AND BUILD something that works perfectly for a fraction of the cost and they're finished already! And why is government so damn slow and why does it wast so much money? It's just like the welfare problem. People see government as a means to line their pockets because they can't do real work producing something. Government is nothing more than one giant slush fund.
I'm not saying government has no purpose. I'm not a wackjob looser utopian fanatic who brays about "the free market" solving all the world's problems. I don't want Apple to put their logo on the Moon even if they pay a trillion dollars for it. I don't want ExxonMobil to drill for oil in Yellowstone. I don't want Blackwater policing US streets (and I don't want to see the friendly-looking police I remember as a kid dressed like mercenaries with machine guns and black ski masks either). I think a world with three or four nuclear powers is a much safer world, and I see nothing wrong with bombing Iran or Saudi Arabia into submission to kill their nuclear ambitions. If a million Iranians die that's better than five billion people who would die in a nuclear war. Stopping nuclear proliferation is not policing the world, it is the calculus of survival. Nuclear weapons represent such a grave threat that they are awarded a special category. Policing the world necessarily involves nation building. Blowing up reactors and then hauling ass is not nation building, it's limited war. The government should police the streets, put out the fires, and kick ass in limited, defensive wars (keeping Iran from getting nukes is defending the US). The government should maintain protected wilderness areas and make people like BP accountable for releasing millions of tons of oil. And the government can do all this in a much more efficient way than it does now. And being efficient starts with cutting jobs and eliminating corruption. I'm not saying everyone needs to be perfectly moral, although if my only veterans get to vote scenario was adopted that would contribute greatly to the morality problem of government (not because veterans are inherently moral in themselves, but because history and moral philosophy will become a mandatory part of their training).
And I think all that can be done while implementing my minimum income system. I'd love to say more but I can no longer see the top of the page, so I'll save that for a part three.