To the editor:
After the hotly divided United States presidential election of 2012, where a majority of respondents said Republican candidate Mitt Romney would be better for the economy yet the people re-elected Barack Obama, there are people and pundits wondering if America has reached the Tytler Novema.
The Tytler Novema is based on a quote attributed to Alexander Tytler who was a professor at University of Edinburgh in the late 18th century.
A partial quote of the Novema is:
“A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal
While America is actually a republic, more people, even politicians, refer to it as a democracy and expect it to operate as a democracy. A simplistic explanation of the difference is that a republic typically has a layer of representatives of the people that vote on and make policy, whereas a true democracy gives direct control to the people over these matters.
Politicians tend to make policies that give a majority of the people “generous gifts from the public treasury” — often called welfare or social programs. When the payout pool exceeds those paying into the pool; then the entire scheme fails.
The solution is to either avoid democracy altogether, which was the intent of the Founders of America who often wrote scathing opinions about democracy, or to stop the cycle that leads to the breakdown of a democracy.
There needs to be a stopgap that stops the dependency. I am suggesting that people on the public dole — be it welfare or some other assistance directly from tax monies — should not be allowed to vote until they are no longer on this assistance. In this way, the politician will no longer pander for the vote of those whom they are in essence paying to vote for them. Keep in mind, I’m not advocating for any kind of reduction or reform of the welfare system.
In almost any other environment, judicial or corporate, allowing an individual or group to have influence over another individual or group that directly funds the other individual or group is considered a conflict of interest. I submit that allowing people to vote for the very politicians that fund those voters is a conflict of interest. We could preserve the democracy of our republic if we considered changing the voting laws to account for this conflict of interest.
While some people may claim this plan would disenfranchise voters, I say a large segment of voters are already being disenfranchised by allowing the takers of public revenues to continue to force by vote that the makers support of this unsustainable conflict of interest system.