This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

NOTICE:
This Dark Age is now available in paperback on Amazon. The print version is MUCH cleaner than this online version, which is largely unedited and has fallen by the wayside as the project has grown. If you’ve appreciated my writing, please consider leaving a review on the relevant paperback volumes. The print edition also includes new sections (Military History, War Psychology, Dogmatic Theology).

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Childhood suffrage?

 “It is a melancholy but indubitable fact that in a democracy each social category can get what is due to it both in justice and in humanity only in so far as its voting power makes possible its extortion. No working-class vote, no laws protecting the worker. No women’s vote, no laws protecting women…Democracy being a battle for Power, those who are not represented necessarily go under. Children, for instance, having no vote, get little attention, and what concerns their well-being tends to be neglected. For this to be remedied under the present system they would have to receive in their cradles the ballot papers which are the sole means of self-defence.”

~ Bertrand de Jouvenel[1]

We pointed out above that it seems obvious that children should not vote, but even those who agree with this fact are unable to enunciate the reasons why it is true based on their ideological premises; and if they are able, they are yet unwilling because to do so would for upon them certain conclusions which would inevitably exclude other groups from the electoral process as well. Because this offends their sensibilities, they simply ignore the child’s exclusion as a self-evident, albeit contradictory, necessity and move on. The conversation is in this way not decided one way or another.  It is simply avoided. So let us not avoid the question any longer, and begin by asking why children should not vote.

The first possible objection to childhood suffrage might be the obvious lack of knowledge in the child-voter, whether that knowledge be acquired through experience or study. This objection is obviously valid, but it cannot be the objection that the proponents of democracy, as we hear them in the streets, have in mind. For if the problem was one of intelligence, then we’d be led down a very uncomfortable road since there are quite a few adults whose judgment and intelligence is arguably not much better than that of a boy of, say, 15-years-old—and in addition we can say that there are some young men of 15 whose judgment is quite sound, even without many years of experience to mold it. And so, if we accepted the qualification of intelligence, we’d be no better off, because we’d either have to admit that not all children ought to be disqualified but would also have to admit that many adults ought to be disqualified. Let us, then, admit the difficulty here, and set the argument temporarily aside.

The second objection is one of responsibility: we could say that the child cannot vote because the child is not responsible for himself or others. He is ‘dependent’ upon another person for his basic needs. This objection is also valid, but here again we would be quickly led down an even more uncomfortable path, because many adults are not responsible for themselves in the political or economic sense. Many live in a condition that, in any historical context, would be classified as the servant or slave class.[2]

[1] Jouvenel, On Power, p. 267.

[2] See the article “The problem of voter dependency”.

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