At The Nation someone named Ari Berman is foaming at the mouth over North Carolina's sensible decision to require official identification documents to register voters and permit them to vote. This "voter suppression law," he positively shrieks, is "the worst in the nation."
Nearly everyone who is not a leftwing faddist is aware, first, that North Carolina's law is hardly different from existing laws in a majority of states, and, second, that North Carolina's constitutional rights to pass such legislation had been abridged by the infamous Voting Rights Act that stripped Southern states of the last vestiges of the rights explicitly granted by the 10th Amendment.
One cannot turn on NPR or CNN without hearing the same complaints over and over. These laws are designed to deprive major segments of the Democratic Party of their right to vote: Blacks, Hispanics, the elderly, and the young. They should have thrown in criminals and mental defectives who constitute a majority of that party's rank and file. The NAACP has gone to the length of posing as the defender of the elderly, as if anyone was going to believe this.
Conservatives are naturally reluctant to tell the truth, at least in public, on this issue. It is quite simple. If someone is too lazy or too dumb to get an ID, then we should take far more active steps to prevent him from voting. I used to know a young woman who worked at state facility housing the insane and the retarded. Every election day, the Democrats would drive up in a bus and drive the crazies and the feeble-minded to the polling places, where they escorted them into the both and showed them where to pull the lever for the straight-party vote.
If politics is ever going to matter in this country, the conservatives will have to set one initial and all-important priority: They have to take away the vote from people who are not really citizens. This would include people who cannot learn to read or understand the Constitution, people who commit major felonies, people who dodge the draft or betray their country. All of these have demonstrated their unfitness to vote on measures affecting the common good. A larger and more important group are government dependents : people on welfare, people currently employed by any level of government (including school teachers, bureaucrat, politicians in office, and members of the military on active duty). All of these take money from their neighbors and fellow citizens and should not be able to vote themselves raises and benefits by voting for the bribe-takers otherwise known as legislators.
With this one simple measure, the back of the Democratic Party would be broken permanently and Republicans would learn to grow back the spines they had removed when they joined their party. You say this is impossible? You are probably right, but in that case there is absolutely no point in taking part in any part of the political process. At least my impossible proposal has the merit of addressing the real evil that is the basis of most of our woes: the enfranchisement of non-citizens who are far worse drones than any computer-controlled aircraft.
Thomas Fleming is the former editor of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He is the author of The Politics of Human Nature, Montenegro: The Divided Land, and The Morality of Everyday Life, named Editors' Choice in philosophy by Booklist in 2005. He is the coauthor of The Conservative Movement and the editor of Immigration and the American Identity. He holds a Ph.D. in classics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Before joining the Rockford Institute, he taught classics at the University of Miami of Ohio, served as an advisor to the U.S. Department of Education, and was headmaster at the Archibald Rutledge Academy. He has been published in, among others, The Spectator (London), Independent on Sunday (London), Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Chicago Sun-Times, National Review, Classical Journal, Telos, and Modern Age. He and his wife, Gail, have four children and four grandchildren.