While hobnobing with the global intelectual elite at the Aspen Ideas Festival, Mr. Carney's fancy was tickled.
His argument had two parts. The first was that some people simply are not ready for democracy. They have no functional conception of the state in their minds, much less an understanding of representative, deliberative democracy. Some are so poor that they can be bribed to vote this way or that for "five dollars," he said. The application of the principle of universal suffrage was not a recipe for successful government in these circumstances, the speaker argued.Yes, so rather than address the issues of inequality that might lead to these circumstances, much better to strip the poor of their franchise.
The second point of his argument was that the developed Western democracies did not start out with universal suffrage. Almost all allowed only a portion of their citizens to vote at first, only slowly expanding the right to participate in elections over the course of decades. Why force the developing world into instant universal suffrage?Rather than dismiss this notion out of hand, Mr. Carney suggests that
just because an answer isn't at hand doesn't mean we shouldn't ask the question. Perhaps if people started taking them seriously, we'd be at the beginning of something truly new in world politics.Yes. Or something truly horrific.