« Book Report: A Darkling Plain | Main | Predictions! Distractions! Ablutions! »

Proposition Null

Your Humble Blogger is big on representative democracy. Y’all know that, right? It won’t be a surprise to Gentle Readers to hear that the initiative process gets right up YHB’s nose. I mean, seriously. Not just on high-minded principle, although of course I’m right on the high-minded principle, but on the pain-in-the-ass criteria as well. Unless it’s a high-minded principle that I should be able to vote without bringing in a sample ballot fully marked out so there’s some chance of getting through it in five minutes or less.

Anyway. Here in Connecticut, the land of the elm and the home of the whatsit, we do not have initiatives, because we elect legislators to, you know, legislate. That’s their job. At least I assume that’s the whole point. Anyway, there is here as everywhere a big chunk of people who want to write laws but don’t want to get them actually passed by a deliberative legislature. So.

In Connecticut, for good and sufficient reasons, we poll every couple of decades to see if we want to hold a Convention at which all limits are off, and everything is up for grabs. It’s on the ballot this time around, and it looks like it may pass, and largely because people want to amend the state constitution to allow for initiatives.

Do y’all remember how I occasionally defend the ad hominem argument? That is, sometimes it’s a good idea to take into account not just what the argument is, but who is making it. The people pushing this Constitutional Convention are a coalition of (a) initiative fanatics, (2) social conservatives, and (iii) tax crazies. If it would be a good idea in the abstract to have a constitutional convention to deliberate amendments, it would not be a good idea to let these three groups into that convention. And they would be in that convention. I don’t think, in the end, we would amend the constitution to ban homosexual marriage and curtail abortion rights, but it would be on the agenda, and it might well pass. And the initiative probably would pass, and the tax crazies might just get us our own Prop 13.

So, if any of y’all vote in the Elm State, please vote no on 1.

The Voter Information Guide for the state of California is 144 pages. The State of Connecticut has a ballot question guide that lists every ballot question in every town in the state and it’s only six pages long. In San Francisco, there are the 12 state propositions and 22 local propositions.

And if you like, here’s my idea for a poster. Here’s the sample ballot for San Francisco: a vote for yes on 1. Here’s the sample ballot for Hartford, a vote for no on 1. I know, it’s trying to persuade on the pain-in-the-ass side, not the “bypass […] legislative scrutiny ” side (to quote from the League of Women Voters of Connecticut), but it might just point out the consequences of the vote.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,