This is the first in a series on rights, power, voting, and utility.
Part 2: The "Right" to Vote, and Utility
Part 3: Why Do We Need Democracy?

Call me old fashioned, but women voters? What planet are we on? Beam me back up to the mothership.

As Dean Esmay notes, it's been 83 years, and what have women really done for us? Prohibition -- good move. That worked well. Oh sure, it was ratified before women could vote, but it was their idea. Let's see... that's pretty much it.

Let's be serious here though and really consider. Are we as a nation better off having given women the power to vote? I agree that from a moral perspective it was the right thing to do, but I don't think the issue is that black and white; there were substantial groups of women opposed to granting women suffrage.

If you told me, Michael, the country could have a 20% higher standard of living if we were to go back in time and start again as a monarchy, I'd say "sign me up!" I think most people would be willing to trade their vote away for a substantial salary increase. Any individual would sell their vote for the right price, so it's not unreasonable to speculate on the costs and benefits of women's suffrage.

Each individual woman has more freedom than she would otherwise have had, and each individual man has less power than he would otherwise have had -- at least as far as voting goes. But women tend to vote socially and economically liberal, so it's possible that men have more freedom now than they would have had if women had not been allowed to vote, simply because women may have voted for more civil liberties than men alone would have. However, it's also possible that women's liberal voting tendencies have reduced our freedoms, considering that modern "liberals" aren't really all that concerned with maintaining liberty. Similar hypotheticals can be set up with regard to the economy.

It seems likely that if women had not been given the power to vote, more conservative/libertarian laws would have been enacted than actually have been. Women are big supporters of the War on Drugs, for example, and big social spenders. Therefore, those who hold conservative/libertarian positions would probably have a government more to their liking if women had not been given suffrage.

I'm not a historian, but I play one on TV, and if you look through history you'll realize that the position of women in America is really an aberration. Through out every culture, through out all time, women have never been as free and powerful as they are in the United States right now. In an absolute sense, giving women equal social power was an act of indulgence for men; women are physically weaker than men, and in might-makes-right societies that weakness translates directly into social subjugation. It's quite reasonably arguable that the power of women in America is against the "natural order" of the world, and it would be difficult for any materialist to disagree.

I expect that most people who are reading this believe that women's suffrage is a Good Thing. I hope that none of my female readers have taken offense to this topic. Even though I agree that women have God-given equality with men, I'm not convinced that giving them equal social power has resulted in a net gain for society -- or either men or women separately.

Please leave your opinion. Your concept of "gain" may be purely monetary (what we might normally call "standard of living"); it may include freedoms and liberties aside from the power to vote itself; it may encompass foreign policy; it may involve deep philisophical or religious issues. In any event, please define what you consider to be "gain", and then tell us if we made the right decision.

Continued in "The 'Right' to Vote, and Utility".



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