Voluntary Restricted Democracy - Dilbert Blog

Voluntary Restricted Democracy

Today I defend my view that men should voluntarily abstain from the political conversation about abortion. Then I’ll extend the same thinking to an unrelated topic – immigration.

My argument for taking men out of the abortion debate is that we add nothing in terms of extra intelligence while our participation creates gender animosity.

Anticipating your objections to this idea, let me spell out the obvious.

1. But of course men should have the LEGAL right to vote on all topics.

2. But of course some fetuses are male in potential.

3. But of course the question of child support should be a separate discussion, and one that men vote on.

4. But of course men could jump back into the abortion debate if for some inexplicable reason it someday mattered.

If your first reaction to my plan is that women, collectively, would reach the “wrong” decision about abortion rights, you are officially sexist. Women have this topic covered. I have full confidence. 

Under my proposal, men retain all legal rights for voting, gender animosity is reduced, and women reach well-informed decisions on the topic, for the benefit of all.

Let’s call this system – in which certain citizens abstain from certain topics – a voluntary restricted democracy. I can imagine extending this concept to other areas. For example, if a pollster calls to ask your opinion on economic policy, and you happen to know nothing about economics, perhaps you should abstain. That should be a choice on all political poll questions. It is very different from having no opinion.

Now consider United States immigration policy and the question of illegals already in the country. I find myself wondering what legal immigrants think we should do about illegals? I have a feeling I would defer to their judgment.

One of the magical powers of the United States is that once we absorb a person, we really, really absorb them. And my observation of recently naturalized citizens is that they are as American as you can get – in the purest possible sense – and I would trust their judgment on this topic. I also trust that when a person goes through the trouble of becoming a legal citizen they want it to mean something.

Immigration policy always has hanging over it a suspicion of racism. That can be removed by following the lead of our most recent citizens whom I assume would prefer living in a nation of laws. And my guess is that newly-minted citizens don’t want to live in a country in which their accents ignite automatic suspicions about their legal status. So I say let the newer citizens decide what we should do with illegals and I will follow their lead. That takes the suspicion of racism out of it.

Has there been a survey of new citizens on the topic of how to handle illegal immigration?

In summary, citizen participation is important to the political system. But in certain situations, abstaining is the better contribution to society.

If you think this idea is bad, you should see my books.