Book: STARSHIP TROOPERS
A great explanation of why Citizenship and the Voting Franchise shouldn't be handed out just for having a pulse and being born in your home country... After all, TANSTAFL! Of course, you need to read the short story 'Who are the Heirs of Patrick Henry?' (more specifically the Afterward) from EXPANDED UNIVERSE afterword and you'll get it.... Ah what the heck, here are the main points I love bout the Afterward (In Heinlein’s own words) :
"The criticisms are usually based on a failure to understand simple indicative English sentences, couched in simple words-especially when the critics are professors of English, as they often are."
"Their failures to understand English are usually these:
"Veteran" does not mean in English dictionaries or in this novel solely a person who has served in military forces. I concede that in the commonest usage today it means a war veteran... but no one hesitates to speak of a veteran fireman or a veteran school teacher. In STARSHIP TROOPERS it is stated flatly and more than once that nineteen out of twenty veterans are not military veterans. Instead 95% of voters are what we call today "former members of federal civil service."
He/she an resign at any time other than during combat- i.e., 100% of the time for 19 out of 20; 99% of the time for those in the military branches of Federal service.
There is no conscription.
Criticism: “The government in STARSHIP TROOPERS is militaristic.” “Militaristic” is the adjective for the noun “militarism,” a word of several definitions but not one of the them that can be correctly applied to the government described in this novel. No military or civil servant can vote or hold office until after he is discharged and is again a civilian. The military tend to be despised by most civilians and this is made explicit. A career military man is most unlikely to hold office; hes is more likely to be dead- and if he does live through it, he'll vote for the first time at 40 or older.”
He goes on to explain beautifully about how its a tribute to the PBI, the Poor Bloody Infantry.
Finally, the last point he makes is indeed perfect:
“I think I know what offends most of my critics the most about STARSHIP TROOPERS: It is the dismaying idea that a voice in governing the state should be earned instead of being handed to anyone who is 18 years old and has a body temperature near 37°C.
But there ain't no such thing as a free lunch.
Democracies usually collapse not long after the plebs discover that they can vote themselves bread and circuses... for a while. Either read history or watch the daily papers; it is happening here. Let's stipulate for discustion that some stabilizing qualification is needed (in addition to the body being warm) for a voter to vote responsibly with proper consideration for the future of his children and grandchildren- and yours. The Founding Fathers never intended to extend the franchise to everyone; their debates and early laws show it. A man had to be a stable figure in the community through woning land or employing others or engaged in a journeyman trad or something.”
Yet every time I bring this up I get accused of being Fascist or Nationalist to a fault... By the very same people trying to say that America is falling apart like Rome with bread and circuses. But then, most of the people who accuse me of this when I call in (on KFAR) never served a day in the military, much less any other public service and I suspect are more offended at the notion that their franchise would be threatened by such a system... Denying them the power they do truly for themselves seem to be seeking.
Honestly, I do indeed believe in a form of earned Citizenship as opposed to leaving it to just coming of age. Its a fact that it always leads to our present situation. STARSHIP TROOPERS was written in the 1950's and drew sharp criticism no only for presenting such a system, but also for the notion that Conscription in war or peace is a bad, and immoral idea. While Conscription has been replaced with an all volunteer military (with .45% of our population answering the call guarding 99.55% of the population...); we continue to allow people to vote just for breathing and being 18 while starting to declare the requirement to prove citizenship (in the face of having massive amounts of illegal aliens in our borders) un-Constitutional.
Personally, I like the idea of granting residency at 18 as opposed to automatic citizenship... After all, if you cannot serve the public truly, without being able to vote yourself more benefits as civil servant... An earned citizenship almost always produces more informed and involved citizens. Just ask anyone who spent 7 years EARNING their citizenship after coming here from abroad. I know that I never fully appreciated my Citizenship until I came back from Kuwait in 2002... I very nearly kissed and hugged the ICE Agent at Customs in Boston...