Should John C Wright be allowed to vote?

Today’s politico-ethical question is easily answered. Yes, science fiction author John C Wright should be allowed to vote in whatever nation he chooses to live in, because people who are held accountable to laws should have a say in those laws AND also the legitimacy of government should derive from the broad consent of the governed.

Well, that was a short post because I couldn’t think of any counter arguments. Sorry, if you were expecting something longer or more argumentative.

OK, maybe I could find some straw-arguments from somewhere that offer a different position? As per Galileo, I’ll put the arguments in the name of Simplicio and show why they are inappropriate. Yet who could come up with a bunch of silly arguments for restricting the franchise? Aha! How about noted science fiction author and part-time reactionary John C Wright! Of course:

Simplicio: the author is prone to bouts of emotionalism and so it is less worthwhile to consult with him over the conduct and control of public business.

Camestros: lots of people are emotional and politics in general is often a matter of great emotion. I cannot see what the supposed connection is here? Is it that decisions motivated by emotion are less sound? I see no clear evidence for that. Emotion motivates decision making. People will be emotional about issues that matter to them. If there is a sound argument here against giving this author a vote, you have not yet stated it Simplicio.

Simplicio: The author does not show any particular manly or masculine virtues which would entitle them to a say in the public business, if stoicism, reason, and virtue were preconditions for the franchise.

Camestros: Again you introduce unexplained premises but at least here you clarify them a little. Are stoicism, reason and virtue masculine values? Let us put that aside as I think it is a red-herring in your argument. Is the author lacking in these virtues? Judging by his columns, yes I can see a lack of stoicism, I can see poor reasoning and I can see a lack of strong virtues such as charitable thoughts to others who differ from him. Yet even un-stotical, un-virtuous, poor thinkers are subject to the demands of government and as such they too should have some say in the laws they are subject to.

Simplicio: Your argument for voting is as a peaceful substitute for revolution, wherein the less numerous party, seeing himself outnumbered, agreed without bloodshed to abide by the vote of the more numerous. The author, being largely less ready, willing, or able to take up arms than most, has no place in these military questions.

Camestros: You badly misunderstand the nature of revolutions. To resist a government that does not have the consent of those it seeks to govern, is to take up a struggle but that struggle is not just the force of arms. It lies also with each and every person willing to withdraw cooperation from the government and those in power. It can be in the form of strikes, civil disobedience or even small (perhaps covert) acts of disruption. Look to the protest in Hong Kong or the USA in which the government throws the quasi-military force of the police at its own citizens. You will see people of kinds of physical capabilities resisting not just the old-fashioned stereotype of the able-bodied man.

Simplicio: A corollary argument is that the author, being immune from the draft because of age and physical health, should have no say over such questions as whether to enact a draft or when and how to conduct a war.

Camestros: A war that would result in a draft impacts far more people in the nation than just those drafted. A war of such magnitude would impact everybody in the nation and of every age. Further, since the Twentieth century at least (and in fact far earlier) the nature of war has been that the civilian population is also likely to face attack. War is a poor argument against limiting the suffrage as war is as profound an example of an event that affects everybody as you can find.

Simplicio: Another argument against him having the vote is that experience over the last few years shows that author’s suffrage erodes the willingness and ability of the author to engage in productive writing, instead leading him to write poorly reasoned arguments about contemporary politics.

Camestros: The author in question should be free to do with his time what he chooses within the limits of his general responsibilities to others and the law of the land (assuming they are just laws where he lives).

Simplicio: Moreover, women becoming less feminine as a whole become less happy, which makes men, as a whole both less masculine and less happy.

Camestros: I’m sorry but what did you say? I’m not sure of the relevance of your point. Are you saying that the author is unhappy because he falls far short of some masculine ideal? If so, that is his business and if he chooses to make himself unhappy that is also his business. None of this seems pertinent to the question of whether he should vote. Try and stay focused!

Simplicio: What I am trying to say is that authors like this one, when they intrude into positions of political power make self-centered and highly emotional decisions.

Camestros: “Intrude” is begging the question. You have yet to show that the presence of an author like this in politics IS an intrusion. Now I will grant that his political writings are self-centered and often highly emotional (histrionics over two characters holding hands at the end of a kid’s cartoon for example). He certainly wouldn’t be my choice for somebody to hold political office! Yet these are questions about the suitability of candidates and it is a cheap-shot to say about any politician that they are ‘self-centered’ or ‘highly emotional’ (and when a politician is so unemotional that such a charge would fall flat, their detractors will say that they are ‘cold’ or lack passion). So I won’t credit this as an argument. It is too close to the kind of absurdities people throw at women politicians for example — indeed women politicians often get accused of being both cold and over emotional at the same time! Look at some of the absurd arguments thrown at Hillary Clinton!

Simplicio: My argument is that chivalry, good sportsmanship, and grace toward an opponent are personality traits not shown by this author, but are needed in any vocation both more ruthless and requiring greater diplomacy and willingness to compromise than everyday public life.

Camestros: Yet your arguments (which you have not substantiated and simply assume) are arguments against voting for the author as a particular candidate. They are not arguments for restricting him from the franchise. If your argument was sound as a general principle then you would only allow people who show chivalry, good sportsmanship and grace towards an opponent. How would you go about evaluating people en-masse by such standards! Even if you could then why would the disenfranchise be under any moral obligation to follow the law that they are excluded from? Your position makes so little sense that I fear I must have misunderstood it.

Simplicio: So your argument in favour of universal suffrage is that since anyone, male or female, living within the nation and paying taxes both affects and is affected by the public business, therefore she should have a say in the matter, by simple justice?

Camestros: “Paying taxes” is a little assumption you sneaked in there that is not mine. However, the general point is correct and one I believe the author in question may have reached himself (or is close to) despite setting some strawmen in his own path. Indeed, the argument is so clear then I question what is served by disputing it, other than for you, Simplicio, to throw out character attacks against this author.

Simplicio: Ah, you have seen through my gambit. Yes, I was following his lead where he uses strawmen arguments to outline his dislike of women in general and then conclude that despite their unworthiness (in his view) that they should still be permitted to vote.

Camestros: Ah, I see. A demonstration of a lack of chivalry, good sportsmanship and grace? That seems cruel to say that about a given person. Surely that is a an attack on the author’s character?

Simplicio: Perhaps but then how is it worse to attack the character of one man than to attack the character of billions of women?

Camestros: It seems you have bested me in argument after all Simplicio!

64 thoughts on “Should John C Wright be allowed to vote?

  1. I was curious and read the original article and the comments. The people there commenting that the only competent Presidents since the 50s were Reagan and Trump with no dispute, and then all the commenters explaining why women shouldn’t be allowed to vote in apparent seriousness, and the ones listing their preferred requirements to vote with others responding that that would cut them out too and that would be bad… it is dizzying.
    Also Wright’s proposition to eliminate the income tax and replace it with a hugely expanded military (50 million is the number given)… where does he think money comes from?
    Also lots and lots and lots of mansplaining how women are happier without any power.
    They appear to do a lot of dancing around only letting people they agree with vote, while noting that exlicitly doing that would be bad.
    I think I need brain bleach now. The echo chambers are real.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Yes, you pretty much covered all the points I would have made. Good job.
    I’m glad I found out Wright was such a misogynist twit before I tried reading any of his works. It saved me several hours I can put to more productive uses.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Wright: And, again, women who intrude into positions of political power make self-centered and highly emotional decisions, see, for example, Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi.

    Me: Donald Trump is a woman?!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Literally the guy screaming at you that you should stop being so goddamn emotional.

      (Clinton and Pelosi are perceived as calculating, conniving and unscrupulous by their detractors at least according to polls)

      Liked by 3 people

    2. It’s kind of hard to take seriously the accusations of self-centeredness and excess emotionality from someone who threw a temper tantrum because a children’s cartoon ended with a lesbian pairing and it made his boner really really sad.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Hold on, did you end this post by conceding the other side had a point? What are you trying to do, break the internet?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. My hypothesis is that he actually IS from the 11th century, but even then he was so obnoxious that people had a sage from Constantinople build a time machine to send him into the future and be rid of him.

      That vision of God and Mary talking to him he had? Probably just side-effects of time displacement.

      Anyways, people in the past had enough to worry about. It would be thoroughly unfair to send him back.

      Liked by 4 people

  5. Since I refuse to go to Wright’s web-page, I’m a little unsure and thus need request clarification: Does he cite his spouse, quasi-well-known SFF writer L. Jagi Lamplighter as a pro or con in his arguments?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I laughed so hard I think I may have actually died and just haven’t realized it yet at

    “…female suffrage erodes the willingness and ability of maidens to become wives and mothers, to shape the character of the next generation, which is a task more needed for the preservation of the republic.”

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It’s odd how so many of the women I know are married and have children — many of whom are grown up to become productive citizens — and still manage to take a little bit of time out of their busy schedule every 2 years to figure out which buttons to push/circles to fill in. And of course they do most of the research on the down-ticket items.

      Does he live in a world where voting is so difficult, or does he just want to?

      Liked by 7 people

      1. “Does he live in a world where voting is so difficult, or does he just want to?”

        While for him it’s probably sufficiently comfortable compared to many others in the US it’s also probably less difficult for me. I’ve been automatically registered since I’m 18, have regularly received a notification before every election (only once there was a minor local fuckup where I lived) and could always vote per mail or early in person at the townhall. I never had to walk more than 10 minutes or wait more than five. I’m also a voluntary pollworker since 2009 and never witnessed people waiting more than 15 minutes in a queue (some people come really late). When I voted in Lower Saxony and North Rhine Westfalia the notification I received was sufficient for identification. Now that I’m living I have to show ID and frankly I’m pissed about that (then again ID is mandatory in Germany and driving licenses are of course ubiquitous).


      2. @Chris M:
        Canadian here, and pretty much the same for me. Elections Canada normally gets a full list of eligible voters from the Canada Revenue Agency (you have to check a box on your tax forms to allow this because the law normally prevents government agencies from sharing too much information with each other for privacy reasons), they send out cards ahead of time with locations and dates for both early voting and day-of voting, and I have never had to wait more than a couple of minutes at a location that’s about three blocks away from where I live. The most complicated elections are the municipal ones where you’re voting for mayor, local councillor, and school trustee at the same time; federal and provincial elections are literally ‘get a piece of paper with a circle for each candidate, use a pencil to mark an ‘X’ in the circle you want, fold the paper once, and put it in the box’.

        The only time I’ve ever had trouble voting was when I was living in the U.S. (on a J-1 visa) and trying to vote in the Canadian elections that year.

        This seems to be another of those situations where ‘American exceptionalism’ blinds a lot of Americans to the fact that these problems have been solved elsewhere and that, no, things absolutely don’t have to be the way they are. Much like health care.

        Liked by 3 people

      3. As far as I know, presenting your ID along with the voting notification has been mandatory in Germany for a while, though I have rarely had to show it, because one of the poll workers at my polling station is a retired kindergarten teacher who knows always everybody, because she taught them.

        And yes, it’s not difficult. I have never had to wait for more than five minutes, when voting in person, and I can easily order an absentee ballot online.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. My first impulse was to point out that my 77-year-old mother has voted her entire adult life and still found the time to get married, raise a couple of kids, work full time for several decades, attend church regularly, et cetera…

        But the issue isn’t that JCW thinks that the time it takes to be informed and vote is the issue. Like most of the other folks who question women’s right to vote, it’s a stand-in for the entire idea of women have equal rights under the law. The subtext is that all of the other advances women have made in society since getting the right to vote need to be rolled back.

        I think it is particularly telling that he uses the word “maidens” –there is a log of baggage to unpack, there!

        Liked by 3 people

  7. The irony of someone as ignorant, illiterate, ill-informed, and bigoted as JCW arguing that women shouldn’t be allowed to vote is priceless. πŸ˜€

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Despite the American Right calling itself conservative, they don’t want to conserve anything that benefits women, LGBTQ people or POC. A lot of them would happily overturn women’s suffrage, the Voting Rights Act, the New Deal, Obergefell and the end of Jim Crow to get back to the Real America where outwardly straight WASP men were in charge and “everybody” accepted that was the way it should be.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Fundamentally, they aren’t conservative, they’re reactionary. They don’t want to slow things down, they want to drag things backwards.

        Liked by 4 people

  8. Simplicio: drops mic

    I can’t help but wonder what L. Jagi thinks of this. Even if JCW reluctantly deigns in the end to let women vote. The fact that he ponders this reactionary idea enough to spend time writing this up is mindboggling.

    This is the sort of thing that in normal, sane families would result in the husband exercising his franchise somewhere other than the marital domicile.

    Liked by 5 people

  9. *sigh*
    Not only is human decision making frequently motivated by emotion, but it appears to be pretty much impossible without emotion. People who have incurred damage to the emotional centres of their brain (such as those poor sods who were lobotomised as children in the 50’s and 60’s) have immense difficulty with judgement and decision making.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I found your comment about the emotional component of decision-making very interesting. I used to work in a field where people liked to say they were paid for their judgment, which claim was accompanied by greater or lesser amounts of pomposity depending on who was speaking, but our product per se was resolved tax cases, and in the more difficult ones I would have to figure out why I thought a particular offer should be advocated. In the difficult cases, it always seemed like the vaunted logical process followed the decision, so it could be justified to others, rather than directed the decision. I once read the phrase “the human decision-making process, whatever that is” and latched onto it, because there seemed much truth in its vagueness….

      Liked by 4 people

      1. I’ve heard people contending that most decision making is emotional, with logic used mostly to justify it after the fact. This explains a lot about humanity.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I have worked in STEM fields all of my life, and wouldn’t describe myself as particularly emotional – I am, in fact, the epitome of cold rationality that these kinds of arguments always claim to favour (just the wrong gender). But if I think about all the really major decisions in my life (having children, moving interstate, taking a particular job) they were all made on gut instinct and feeling, not any kind of logical considerations.

        Liked by 3 people

  10. Has he gotten to boosting the repeal of the 17th amendment yet? That’s normally the sign of deep-fried political crank. Not least of all because it requires dedicating yourself to crankhood to get into.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. Wait a minute, folks. As part of his carefully-crafted public persona, he wears a hat. So he can’t be all….

        Well, actually, I take it back. He *can* be all bad. And the hat is ugly, too.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. I literally just thought “But I know lots of bald men who never wear hats except when it’s cold”

        … and then the rest of my brain said “Yes, but none of them are insecure histrionic fanatical reactionaries.”



      3. Hat wearing as a style choice is…a thing. Hat wearing in some locales (some previously mentioned cold regions or the US desert southwest for example) is just good sense.


  11. In the comment section to that post, JCW makes a modest proposal:

    “Allow me to suggest that we eliminate the income tax altogether, and that, in order to vote, one must donate their firstborn male-child to the agoge and be raised in boot camp as a janissary or fighting slave for our overseas wars.

    “This would allow unwed mothers to sell their babies for a signing bonus, rather than aborting the young.

    “Now, this slavery might strike the modern mind as inhuman, but, on the other hand, would it be better that the child be dead, as opposed to fighting for his country?

    “Again, it seems inhuman, but on the other hand, had this been the policy since Roe v Wade, we would possess a fifty million man army.”

    Liked by 1 person

      1. The magic money tree is just like Modern Monetary Theory, except that it’s not left-wing, it’s right-wing. Everyone can play!


      2. Never mind funding an army of 50 million people. Who’s going to pay for food, clothing, housing, and healthcare for those 50 million babies for the first 18 years?

        Liked by 3 people

      3. There’s a book (I may have mentioned this in some previous post), I have on order at the library, “A Libertarian Walks Into a Bar,” about a small New Hampshire town taken over by libertarians who moved there to turn it into a showpiece of small government/libertarian/free market power in action. According to reviews, when they cut government services to the bone, the free market did not step in. And as they cut the garbage collection, they got bears visiting from the nearby woods, hence the title.
        So pretty much everything the left-wing blogosphere predicted would happen in this situation. Plus bears

        Liked by 2 people

      4. The little darlings are put in work farms, of course. Doon th’ pit. Etc.

        Notice he doesn’t mention that 50% of these children will be female and therefore ineligible for his New Model Army.

        I guess they get to be the hookers? Or maids? Or Handmaids?


    1. So, hang on – are we selling our babies for voting rights or for money?

      And what happens if you’d like to have a boy baby to sell, but you keep having girl babies (can’t blame that on the woman anymore)?

      Actually, I think I would rather not hear JCW’s answer to that one…

      Liked by 4 people

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