Tea Party Guy Illustrates The Danger of Leaderless Movements

Someone named Judson Phillips, who is President of something called Tea Party Nation, recently hosted a radio program where he said something stupid:

The Founding Fathers originally said, they put certain restrictions on who got the right to vote. It wasn’t you were just a citizen and you automatically got to vote. Some of their restrictions, you know, you obviously would not think about today. But one of them was you had to be a property owner. And that makes a lot of sense, because if you’re a property owner you actually have a vested stake in the community. And if you’re not a property owner, you know, I’m sorry but they, property owners have a little bit more of a vested stake in the community than non-property owners do.

Dude, the media is just dying to find stupid soundbites they can use to paint the whole movement as bunch of right wing racist nutjobs.  By this evening, “non-property owners” will be called code for “black and/or Hispanic” on MSNBC and the other usual suspects.  It is such an unforced error.

On the merits, limiting voting to property owners is also just stupid.  Everyone who lives there — renter or homeowner — has a vested stake in their community, state, and the U.S.   Therefore, every citizen (who has not been disenfranchised, such as for felony convictions), should have the right to vote. 

However, everyone should also pay for government.    We can’t have a situation where 51% of the population doesn’t pay taxes but can vote in politicians who promise to give them stuff paid for by the other 49% of the population.  It would be a disaster. 

We are way too close to that point already, with nearly half of all households not paying any federal income taxes.  Tea partiers should focus on ensuring that everyone participates in the pain of paying taxes, which acts as a natural limiter on taxing and spending, not restricting the right to vote.

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Published in: on December 1, 2010 at 2:46 pm  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. “On the merits, limiting voting to property owners is also just stupid. Everyone who lives there — renter or homeowner — has a vested stake in their community, state, and the U.S. ”

    I tend to agree with you overall, but I will say that renters look at a dwelling as a shelter, but property owners look at it as a home. They tend to care more about the neighbors, and goings on. Town/city meetings are populated far less percentage-wise by renters than by property owners. Personally, it’s harsh, but I’m more comfortable with those who have skin in the game to make decisions than those that don’t.

  2. I als tend to agree with you overall. But the slope is too slippery. Property owners care more than renters. Long-time residents care more than newcomers. Old people care more than young ones.

    That is why my preference is to put skin in the game through requiring everyone to pay some level of taxes, while allowing everyone (who qualifies under the standard requirements) to vote.

  3. Absolutely a slippery slope. But I guess we have a voting age because we don’t feel a 12-year-old is ready/mature enough to vote. So they have to wait. I wonder if that’s much different than waiting to vote based on property ownership, or as you use — positive net tax payment.


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