If the Government Pays Dead People Not to Farm, Maybe it Should Let them Vote Too:

I share co-blogger Jonathan Adler's outrage over the fact that dead people may be voting in this year's election. But if the government is willing to give the dead agricultural subsidies for not farming, perhaps it should let them vote too. After all, they clearly have a stake in government policy. And they tend to be underrepresented among those eligible to run for office, make campaign contributions, and otherwise influence the political process. We have to put an end to such bias against the dead (to say nothing of the undead, who are victims of even more deep-seated prejudice). We can't achieve real change we can believe in so long as the vast majority of all the people who have ever lived are arbitrarily excluded from the franchise.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Election Day:
  2. If the Government Pays Dead People Not to Farm, Maybe it Should Let them Vote Too:
  3. I See Dead People (Voting) in Cleveland:
Asher (mail):
Have you ever read Gogol's Dead Souls, Prof. Somin? Also, your link to what I assume was an article about farm subsidies just goes to Adler's post.
11.4.2008 12:03am
Ilya Somin:
Have you ever read Gogol's Dead Souls, Prof. Somin?

Yes, and even blogged about it. I will correct the link, thanks.
11.4.2008 12:08am
SMatthewStolte (mail):
11.4.2008 12:13am
Bill Poser (mail) (www):

[the dead] tend to be underrepresented among those eligible to run for office, make campaign contributions, and otherwise influence the political process

Are you sure? A lot of politicians give me exactly that impression.
11.4.2008 12:20am
SMatthewStolte (mail):
Someone is happy about this suggestion.
11.4.2008 12:30am
This is what happens when you throw experienced, capable zombie-hunters like me out of work in order to placate a noisy "minority." (The noise being mostly "Ungh! Ungh! Ungh!" But politicians will do anything for a vote.)
11.4.2008 12:44am
Confused One:
Seriously hilarious. But let's not forget that we're spending 1 million a year on DEAD BEAR DNA!
11.4.2008 1:35am
A. Zarkov (mail):
Perhaps we should allow only the dead to vote. Let's face it, the living have made a real mess of politics and the economy. Why not give the dead a chance to improve things without interference.
11.4.2008 2:06am
J. Aldridge:
Democrats believe in rewarding others to do nothing (other than cast votes for them, of course).
11.4.2008 2:51am
Michael Drake (mail) (www):
"the government is willing to give the dead agricultural subsidies for not farming,"

In all fairness, none are better at not farming than the dead.
11.4.2008 7:10am
Sean M:
I wonder if "alivedness" will be a suspect class. If so, would it require intermediate or strict scrutiny?
11.4.2008 7:38am
The undead deserve the reputation they have! They have no respect for the 2nd amendment and would ban shotguns and chainsaws if they ever reached office.
11.4.2008 7:41am
Bama 1L:
Chesterton said something to the effect that tradition is the democracy of the dead. Well, the dead voting is a tradition in some jurisdictions!
11.4.2008 7:58am
Scipio (mail) (www):
The repression of the Necro-American has got to end. Remember, someday we will all be Necro-Americans. The failure to remember this is merely a success in forgetting it. We are literally dying to become part of the largest minority in America; as future Necro-Americans, it is our responsibility to prepare for our unfuture.
11.4.2008 8:11am
Jay Reding (www):
That is why Congress needs to pass an amendment to Title VII recognizing Undead-Americans as a suspect class in need of federal protection. Right now, Undead-Americans are relegated to second-class status. It's not enough that Undead-Americans only get to vote in places like Chicago - they should have the same rights as the rest of us. With the passage of the No Room Left in Hell Act (HR 666), the federal government will finally be able to rectify this outrage.
11.4.2008 8:52am
Look--The ontologically-challenged can be elected to the Senate (At least in Missouri). Do you want to deprive them of the group-pride that comes with voting for one of their own?
11.4.2008 9:03am
Night of the Voting Dead
11.4.2008 9:05am
HipposGoBerserk (mail):
Not knowing the answer, I called the Office of Elections in Hawaii. Kevin Cronin, chief election officer for the state, just got back to me. Here’s what he said:

Ms. Dunham’s absentee mail ballot was received and reviewed under the Hawaii standards for processing absentee mail ballots… She was alive at that time. Her ballot will be opened tomorrow, and it will be counted in the same way that all absentee voters would be treated under our law.
11.4.2008 9:20am
HipposGoBerserk (mail):
Sorry, previous post was something I found on the Web and thought would be interesting - I DID NOT CONTACT HAWAII.

11.4.2008 9:21am
Thanks for that correction, Joe Biden HipposGoBerserk.
11.4.2008 9:43am
Tom952 (mail):
Suppose a person completes and submits an absentee ballot and then dies before election day. Are ballots for these dead people purged from the pool of counted ballots?
11.4.2008 9:54am
Elliot123 (mail):
Let's not forget that Mel Carnahan was dead when he won the election for US Senator from Missouri in 2000.
11.4.2008 10:41am
SMatthewStolte (mail):
Hoosier, I don't see any reason (save political ideology) to grant ontic privilege to living. Such an ontology is inevitably the bastard child of dead white men in the Western tradition, the product of modernity's bizarre obsession with discourse on "truth," "rights," and "presence." If we have learnt anything from Nietzsche's famous declaration (interpreted now through the terror of the 20th century), it is that the "dead" can indeed be God every bit as much as it is assured that God is dead. For "death" emerges only out of the dialectic of death-life (or life-death). Yet this dialectic, which once upon a time was governed by the revelation of the general resurrection of the dead (given authority through ecumenical councils) was then re-veiled by the Black Death. The Black Death created a shock-wave across the intellectual culture of Europe so great that the human telos by the time of Descartes had become the medical telos of the prolongation of life. Life thus unmoored from its theological telos of life everlasting, it was forced into the tragic state of always rebelling against its own fate.

Thus, while the living were doomed to death, death itself took on a new life. Far from being ontically challenged, it was the challenge of ousia against ousia. We might even say that death became the Ousia through which all ousia become by a kind of Platonic participation.

Thanatos became eternal, but the eternal dread of the living, and we cannot understand participatory democracy apart from the participatory thanatocracy which has been the machine of modernity since the industrial revolution. But this thanatocracy is the reverse image, the dark mirror of our democracy, into which we dare not gaze, lest we be overwhelmed by its power.

The denial of its force on us, then, is the very underpinning of our politics. We deny the rôle of death, even its ontic status (something, it should be pointed out, which we never do to the mere inanimate for the inanimate always is), in order to preserve our own life. But lest we think such a procedure is life-affirming, let us recall that it demands an inherent contradiction, for it calls for a Bad Faith (in a very literal sense). It is at once the denial of faith and the self-deception of the life-death/death-life dialectic.

The suggestion that the dead should vote is nothing but the logical conclusion of a modern logic that is inherently imperialistic. It absorbs all other logics and appropriates all invisibilities into visibilities. The invisible thanatocracy is now a taken on as a product of utility for the democracy. The dead become "undead" (which is a remarkable perversion of resurrection) as the inherent contradictions of the life-death/death-life dialectic tunnel their ways out of our psyches. The voting (un)dead are the last members of hyper-modernity.
11.4.2008 10:46am
Randy R. (mail):
I'd rather have the dead vote than the pre-born.
11.4.2008 11:40am
NickM (mail) (www):
Necro-Americans are the silent majority.

11.4.2008 12:15pm
Vermando (mail) (www):
This is some first class snark. Well done sir.
11.4.2008 12:58pm