Sunday, October 12, 2014

Memo to John D. Atlas: How About Let's Not Suppress Anybody's Vote, or Voice

Another election is fast approaching, so the issue of “voter suppression” has predictably surfaced again. John D. Atlas, a NJ Voices contributor and self-described “writer and activist lawyer,” weighed in on the issue. Under cover of concern about low voter turnout, Atlas smuggles in a pro-statist agenda. He notes that those least likely to vote “tend to be working poor, minority and young people.” But . . .

When they do vote, they tend to vote for candidates who favor redistributionist policies, such as higher taxes on the rich, raising the minimum wage, government-supported job training, and universal health-care. And they typically don’t vote Republican.

Why do so few of this group vote? Atlas “speculates” that:

Most non-voting Americans, especially the working-poor, are alienated from mainstream politics and don’t vote because they see politicians as unresponsive to their needs or perspectives. Moreover, minority voters have long faced obstacles-literacy tests, poll taxes, intimidation, threats, and violence.

Atlas doesn’t bother to “speculate” on why past obstacles to voting—which, aside from literacy tests, a reasonable requirement, ceased decades ago—should inhibit people from voting today.

Atlas asserts that this trend “is bad for our democracy, bad for equality, and something should be done about it.” This is a strange statement, given that our “democracy” has spawned an almost total conversion from a predominantly free, capitalistic society to today’s gargantuan regulatory welfare state over the past century, including a “great leap forward” for the welfare state in the past 15 years under both party’s rule. If anything, these facts tend to support the conclusion that the statist/socialist trend was driven more by the intellectuals and wealthier voters than by poor people looking for a handout.

Atlas doesn’t explain this contradiction, but wants to do “something about” what appears, from a Leftist’s perspective, not to be broken.

Do what? After hinting darkly about some “powerful financial interests” that somehow causes young adults to believe “it makes no difference who you vote for,” blaming Republicans’ “protracted struggle over voting rights,” and calling for some technical election reforms, Atlas gets to the meaty stuff: “Campaign finance reform that eliminates corporate special interest money would help.”

It sure would help, but whom?

I left these comments:

I’m under no illusions that my lone vote will “count,” in the sense of swaying an election one way or another. It doesn’t. But I vote regularly. Notwithstanding the excuses for not voting listed here, people who choose not to vote are either uninterested, unmotivated, or just plain lazy. Whatever past practices of actual voter suppression once existed, the universal right to vote is now firmly protected. Anyone who wants to vote can vote.

This article is really all about suppressing the votes of people who favor less government intrusion into our lives—intrusions like mandatory sick pay and redistribution of earnings to those who didn’t earn it.

The tip-off is the call to ban corporate campaign spending, but not union spending. Atlas calls for silencing the free speech rights of those “financial interests” most likely to advocate for less regulation and lower taxes, thus silencing and suppressing millions upon millions of Americans who agree with the pro-liberty message. Unions are big “financial interests,” too.’s Matt Friedman recently reported that, between 1999 and 2013, unions accounted for 55% of special interest spending in NJ; some $171 million. Why not ban union spending? Because unions are more likely to advocate for statist, redistributionist policies, and thus speak for millions upon millions of people who agree with that message.

This transparent article is all about advancing an ever-more-statist government and silencing statists’ victims—a Leftist agenda. How about this: Don’t silence anybody—whether individuals or associations of individuals—and let elections be shaped on the public battleground of ideas. That’s what the First Amendment is for.

Related Reading:

"McCutcheon" Advances Free Speech and Republican Government

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