The right to vote is a key feature of the democratic order. This is so self-evident that one fears to state it. Now, a reason emerges to commit in favor of the sensible application of the principle. The reason is as stunning as it is threatening. This practice is now under attack by the multiculturalists and the Left.
The right to vote is the ability to decide a group’s future. True, this right is not limited to balloting. The concept assumes that a choice is offered. When the writer was young, the police came to herd voters to the local “Council House.” There one was to vote for Our Beloved Party. Thus, the right to vote deteriorated into an obligation to legitimize oppression. There was no right to abstain or to vote “wrong,” that is for the “Class Enemy,” and against the Soviet “Camp of Peace”.
As mentioned, an attack upon the system of voting, as defined by tradition and common sense, is emerging. Those that think their region will be immune to this threat will be disappointed.
In Western Europe an idea spreads that will not stop at the water’s edge. It is to extend to aliens the right to vote on the local level. This goes beyond voting in private associations. For instance, the writer has been a member of a Swiss village gun club and voted on matters of its governance. Newly, Green – Red projects wish to give the vote to foreigners in local government. This is not a voluntary association but a component of a system that peaks as a sovereign state.
The power conferred by this right depends on the entity’s system. Centralized France represents a pole and Switzerland illustrates the other extreme. There principled “decentralization” is the fitting term as, in official parlance, “sovereign” means “people” and not the executive. Accordingly, government is built from the bottom to the top. The central government, whose authority flows from “below”, is the executive of local organs.
In some systems, local government is significant, especially if the parameters of daily life are drawn locally. Thus, local institutions are more than a cog in an aggregate. Whoever controls local government is not in charge of a minor agency but empowered to regulate a key gear.
Those that propose that the right to vote in local matters be exercised without citizenship imply that the power conferred is insignificant. This empowerment in local politics insinuates that the integration of non-citizens is facilitated through their inclusion in decision-making. This contradicts a traditional approach, which is (a) controlled immigration, (b) residency, (c) integration. Naturalization admits to membership in a community. It is to follow integration – the internalization of the community’s values.
This aspect of citizenship sheds light on a motive of those that advocate co-determination prior to earning “membership” by accepting the community’s way of life. The case begins with a subgroup of migrants that enter advanced societies. These immigrants pretend to flee persecution and so they claim refugee status as a right. Quite often, the claim, as well as the identity of the “refugee”, is fraudulent. Those that fit the pattern do not flee persecution but wish to immigrate into the system of dole ladled out by “welfare”. Beyond that motive, the lack of skills of such entrants makes eventual integration, even if wanted, unlikely. Not infrequently, such arrivals adhere to a value system that is sharply opposed to the host’s. That commitment makes the migrant to see the indigenous as his enemy. That the gullible natives, nervously twitching to avoid to be called “racists”, excuse criminal behavior, firms the contempt.
A hidden agenda lurks behind the endeavor to give insider privileges to those that exclude themselves through their attitude. There are parties that excuse recalcitrance because they have an ambivalent appreciation of and commitment to the system of their country. It pays to smuggle into the process of decision making the “hostiles” that wish to continue to live by the rules of the system they have left. The adulteration promises safe votes from clients that will depend on the benefits paid for by their votes.
The attempt to alter the electorate’s composition begins at the seemingly unimportant local level. Ultimately, the process is to be capped at the national level. A flanking tool is the devalued, automatically extended, citizenship that even overlooks the lacking command of the official language. Such strivings deserve that we define what a citizen is and what the precondition of the privilege of participation needs to be.
Citizenship is deserved – and not a gift – in the case of those individuals that have a stake in society. That “stake in society” has two components. One, it being an attitude, is subjective. At its core is an individual’s perception that this personal fate and the welfare of his community are intertwined. In this case, without negating individuality, there is an identification with the collective personality that complements the individual member’s. This explains why risks are accepted –as in combat- that include the possibility of death. Note: This identification implies a weakened rapport with outsiders. Major Hassan had strong bonds to Islam that resulted in a corresponding hostility to his US surroundings.
Of no less importance, is an awareness that one’s’ personal material fortune is linked to that of society. Duties and rights are inseparable. Ultimately, a vote is to determine the group’s future. Those that have something to lose, be that property, jobs, or the pride conferred by belonging, will assess responsibly their stand. If they opt wrongly, they will pay for their error. Those that are, by whatever definition, transients, have nothing to lose, will not be held accountable, and so they will choose with their short-term gain in mind. This motive is the mother of bad decisions. This judgment pertains as much to a zoning plan, the building of a retirement home, as well as to the composition of parliament or the person of the president. The verdict of those that think they can have the benefits but escape the consequences exercise judgments that are not to be trusted.