If there is one area of science fiction I would like to explore it is the world of alternate history. I say science fiction because what I am looking at is not simply an alternate timeline but books that explore what would have happened to technology had different things happened historically. More than that how would society have been different? One idea, and maybe someone has written on this, is the issue of voting rights on history. In particular, I was looking at the issue of what if one of the ideas the founding fathers threw on the table was earning the right to vote in some way.
One of the ideas the founding fathers of the United States put forth was that one must own property to vote. Sorry, the idea that everyone was equally capable of voting was not present in all members of that First Congress. In fact, being products of the Enlightenment, I wager they were thinking of an educated and reasonable voting population that would elect the best and brightest among them to public office. I know the idea was hotly debated and for good or ill, men were given the right to vote simply because they could breathe. I wonder what would have happened if the other side had won out. What if you did have to own property in order to vote? What would that have done to American society? What would qualify as property? What effect would this have had on technological development, particularly if the idea of property was extended to include intellectual property?
Robert Heinlein did something similar in Starship Troopers where the right to vote was given through government service. Oddly enough, even though I am a libertarian there are times I think that some other criteria for voting should be there other than just breathing. There are times I do see some people in our society and think to myself: “How does someone who is that stupid, ignorant, lazy, unpatriotic, etc. get to vote?” I mean if liberty is earned by a country why not individuals? Should liberty not be earned individually? *sigh* Or maybe it is just me looking at this election coming up and thinking “Oh My God!!!”.
I am looking for reading suggestions on this or something similar. I would like to read someone who has thought of this idea or something similar. It should also have a science fiction aspect in that the results change technology in some way significant. Help would be greatly appreciated. Given my gaps in reading modern authors, somebody who has only written in the last twenty years would be great too.
In the meantime, I ponder the simple question of universal verses earned voting rights. I am not sure if libertarians actually take a stand here. I know what we have and I work within it, but there are times when I ponder what it would be like if things were different.