Contractions In The Universe


I think people should have to pass intelligence tests in order to have children or vote, or at the very least…maybe pay 5 dollars to vote.

Robert Heinlein laid out a modest proposal in “Expanded Universe” which was so logical and intuitive that there is no possibility it could ever be implemented in today’s PC universe:

A state that required a bare minimum of intelligence and education – e.g., step into the polling booth and find that the computer has generated a new quadratic equation just for you. Solve it, the computer unlocks the voting machine, you vote. But get a wrong answer and the voting machine fails to unlock, a loud bell sounds, a red light goes on over the booth – and you slink out, face red, you having just proved yourself too stupid and/or ignorant to take part in the decisions of grownups. Better luck next election! No lower age limit in this system – smart 12-yr-old girls vote every election while some of their mothers – and fathers – decline to be humiliated twice.

There are endless variations on this one. Here are two: Improving the Breed — No red light, no bell…but the booth opens automatically – empty. Revenue — You don’t risk your life, just some gelt. It costs you 1/4 oz. troy of gold in local currency to enter the booth. Solve your quadratic and vote, and you get your money back. Flunk – and the state keeps it. With this one I guarantee that no one would vote who was not interested and would be most unlikely to vote if unsure of his ability to get that hundred bucks back.

No, I don’t think they need to solve quadratic equations or have mastered the finer points of organic chemistry. Would it be too much to ask though for people to successfully answer basic questions like “if I have a basket of 8 apples and someone takes 2 of them, how many apples do I have left?” or “is it safe to leave your baby in a car on a hot day?” I would say they should be able to use the correct forms of words like “their” and “there,””too and to,” as well as “loose and lose,” but that may weed out too many adult Americans.

Brandon Adamson is the author of “Beatnik Fascism

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