The Five To Ten Percent Solution

Lysander Spooner estimated that no more than 5-10% of the American population was even eligible to vote at the time the Constitution was framed and ratified. In his own time less than 20% of the population could vote.

In the very nature of things, the act of voting could bind nobody but the actual voters. But owing to the property qualifications required, it is probable that, during the first twenty or thirty years under the Constitution, not more than one-tenth, fifteenth, or perhaps twentieth of the whole population (black and white, men, women, and minors) were permitted to vote. Consequently, so far as voting was concerned, not more than one-tenth, fifteenth, or twentieth of those then existing, could have incurred any obligation to support the Constitution.

At the present time [1869], it is probable that not more than one-sixth of the whole population are permitted to vote. Consequently, so far as voting is concerned, the other five-sixths can have given no pledge that they will support the Constitution.

2. Of the one-sixth that are permitted to vote, probably not more than two-thirds (about one-ninth of the whole population) have usually voted. Many never vote at all. Many vote only once in two, three, five, or ten years, in periods of great excitement.

Even if there had been unanimous support for ratification of the Constitution among voters that would have been roughly the same percentage of the population that voted for Ross Perot in 1992. And Perot finished a distant third.

Yet constitutionalists pretend that this small minority was somehow entitled to bind all Americans in an eternal social contract.

Spooner’s critique doesn’t end here of course, he’s just getting warmed up. In No Treason he systematically demolishes any hope for the idea of legitimate Constitutional authority.

11 thoughts on “The Five To Ten Percent Solution”

  1. Reading Bit’s comments, it seems clear to me that he can have no possible objection to the prosecution of Abdul Rahman for converting to Christianity, despite his protestations further up.

    Defense of Islam, is, after all a Constitutional Function. And We The People of Afghanistan unanimously approved this Social Contract.

  2. Jay,

    I’d never bothered to read the Afghan constitution until now because I knew how bad it would be. What an abomination, eh? But it’s just the U.S. Constitution taken toward a logical conclusion.

  3. How about the “temporary” Constitution devised by the Coalition Provisional Authority for pre-elections Iraq? It’s very low mileage and was professionally typed-any takers among the many emerging Middle Eastern democracies who don’t want to go through the hard slog of drafting their own?

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