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Friday, 27 February 2015

Games and Distractions

Mark Twain once wrote: "If voting made any difference they wouldn't let us do it," and I think, by and large, this is true, but not always. There is no doubt that in western societies the demographic is skewed towards the old, and since it is the old that vote the argument is they exert undue weight on government policy. Funny, I thought that was how democracy worked. 

It is in this context that some argue there should be a maximum age, beyond which you should not vote. In short, disenfranchise the old. One argument goes that just as you have a minimum voting age on the basis that children do not have the mental capacity to understand complex political arguments and might vote for the candidate offering free icecream, so to might the elderly, entering the second childhood, fail to understand the consequences of their vote. Mark Twain might have had something to say about that, too.

Others argue that this demographic enjoys considerable wealth, and are a drain in terms of pensions and welfare provision; this is at the expense of the young who face student debt, pressure to save for their own pensions, and the unliklihood of ever getting onto the housing market. 

This is a compelling argument --- as all arguments whose ultimate aim is to divide and rule---must be. Capitalist societies, and I suspect pre capitalist societies, have always employed this weapon. Redirect anger from ruling elites to another section of society. 

It may be the ground is being prepared for redistributing the wealth of the old to the young. I have only one problem with that.

I want to redistribute my little wealth to my children not society's children. The problem with the latter is that other people and paid bureaucracies decide how the money is best spent. And by 'other people' I mean the exclusive elites, who 'know' what is good for us, and demand iniquitous salaries as a God-given right.

Their other God-given right is tax avoidance. Lesser families might have their 'wealth' redistributed, but not them.

There are parents who scrimp and save, and strive to avoid the exorbitantly priced nursing home, for they know this may be the only way their children will inherit enough to buy a moderately priced flat. And then there are the extremely rich who will strive to avoid taxes to perpetuate dynasties. The unfairness there is transparent. The Establishment's more opaque.

It will be interesting to see whether a maximum voting age ever gains traction. Personally I think it is a divide and rule distraction rather than - for the moment - anything more serious. It would be a bit like Turkeys voting for Christmas.


DRC said...

Turkeys voting for Christmas. This made me chuckle. It would be interesting to see whether this is introduced. If I were a pensioner, I'd probably be the one voting for the side offering Tea brewed in a proper tea pot and biscuits. And not just any biscuit. Custard creams. They're the ultimate dunking biscuit.

...oops...I think I've just made an example of that point :)

Mike Keyton said...

The Custard Cream Party. It has to be some kind of improvement. They'd have to work up their policy on Dunking, though. Would those under the age of eighteen be allowed to dunk in public?

Maria Zannini said...

I find it interesting that any governing party feels that they are entitled to redistribute wealth that doesn't belong to them in the first place.

I've heard enough horror stories from people in 2nd world nations to fear for my own. Greed knows no borders.

Mike Keyton said...

Redistribution has a place, Maria, providing you can trust those doing the redistributing. Tough call.

LD Masterson said...

When my mum-in-law - who had lived through Germany's invasion of Polish and multiple refugee camps after the war - was dying, she told my husband to dig into all the cushions and other areas in her home after she was gone. We found much of her life saving stashed in the furniture. She hadn't trusted banks or the government to take care of her or her money.

Mike Keyton said...

History has a way of repeating itself, Linda. You just don't know when or where