Glenn Reynolds Asks If Voters Should Pass A Patriotism Test

Glenn Reynolds Asks If Voters Should Pass A Patriotism Test

Rudy Giuliani caused a massive commotion last week when he questioned if President Obama loved America. What followed was pretty typical these days. Some conservatives defended Obama from this callous view, while others backed up Rudy's claims. It was then taken up on the Sunday Talk Shows until Monday came along and Giuliani tried to walk back his comments.

You would think that would be that and the circle would be closed for the time being, but Professor Glenn Reynolds has found a new angle to approach this with and this time he's targeting the voters. Most of his USA Today article is about anything but testing the electorate to see how patriotic they are. It veered off into a discussion of passions mixing with reason and the virtues of rational emotions and irrational virtues or something like that. Reynolds really went off into a weird tangent until he finally made his point.

Perhaps we need to pay closer attention to these questions where presidents are concerned, but perhaps we should go a step farther: In a country like ours, where voters reign supreme, it seems as if concern about the patriotism of rulers ought to also apply to voters.

Science fiction writer Robert Heinlein, in his famous novel Starship Troopers, envisioned a society where voters, too, had to demonstrate their patriotism before being allowed to vote. In his fictional society, the right to vote came only after some kind of dangerous public service — in the military, as a volunteer in dangerous medical experiments, or in other ways that demonstrated a willingness to sacrifice personally for the common good. The thought was that such voters would be more careful, and less selfish, in their voting.

So when the five-day wonder of questioning Barack Obama’s patriotism is over, perhaps we should address another question: How patriotic is the electorate? And how long can we survive as a nation if the answer is “not very”? And we should proceed from there.


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Wow, that was a load full. First off how and who would determine if a voter is patriotic? Doesn't that sounds an awful lot like something a totalitarian government would impose? We've seen this over the decades with the end result being torture and gulags waiting for those who don't comply to whoever is giving the patriotism test. Also it violates the Constitution and whatnot since being an American citizen entitles you to vote, with no strings attached.

Balloon Juice also has some thoughts

Actually bringing up Starship Troopers as an example of a voting society and implying in the next paragraph that maybe having voting and citizenship be earned somehow by “patriots” is so ridiculously and completely peg-the-needle fascist that I honestly believe Reynolds is pulling our leg here, but there’s not anything in the rest of the column that makes me think this is satire or parody.

I think he might actually be serious.

I mean isn’t this the next logical step for the party that’s trying to limit the number of people who are allowed to vote, those trying to depress the electorate to the point of apathy leaving only the true believers to cast ballots, who believes the Voting Rights Act is an outdated relic, and is actively blocking any attempt to try to update it for the 21st century? Why not open fascism where only the right people are allowed to vote? That would certainly prevent that whole “demography as destiny” problem the GOP is facing, yes?

I dunno, nothing really surprises me anymore about these guys.

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