I’ve often thought of what America would be like if we split the nation into two groups. One group would participate fully in the welfare state and be subject to the taxes needed to fund it. The other group wouldn’t participate in the welfare state but wouldn’t have to pay the taxes to support it either. Both groups would pay taxes to fund the military which protects both groups equally.
The more I think about this arrangement, the more and more excited I get about it. The socialist society would quickly fail as every rich person would opt out of socialism.
I’ve been having another thought. What if we did away with universal suffrage altogether? What if only an elect few had the right to vote? When our nation started, all the way up until John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson, mostly only property owners had a vote. You weren’t truly considered a full citizen until you owned property. This system gave us the awesome presidents of Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe, presidents who not only lead the nation, but carefully thought about their role and mission. From Jefferson to Monroe, the presidents decided that they shouldn’t inject themselves into the matters of congress, but serve as the final constitutional arbiter of what is and is not constitutional. Until Jackson, no president had ever vetoed a bill unless they thought it was unconstitutional. These presidents also spent their chief focus on matters of national security and foreign policy, carefully negotiating their way and positioning themselves until President Monroe could issue the famous Monroe Doctrine: “Europe stays out of the American continent altogether!”
How would we get to there from here? I think for starters, we point out how universal suffrage has failed us. When people vote selfishly, they get the expected results of corrupt politicians, but more importantly, corrupt politicians who are never held accountable. Perhaps we can start a political movement that questions that sanity of universal suffrage, wondering if we should carefully hand out citizenship or at least suffrage. Maybe it would require a great disaster, where a large enough minority feels compelled to suspend democracy. I don’t know.
Perhaps we form a dual state, one state bound to property and the other state bound to personhood. I have often wondered what a state might look like in the internet age, when location is not nearly as important as it used to be. Perhaps that’s the solution: A new state, built on the internet, where suffrage is carefully controlled and limited to people who have proven themselves responsible and trustworthy.