Yes, all of that, but also - how much suspension of disbelief is required to swallow the notion that those who choose "a cushy fast-track through Harvard and family wealth" would sit still for a system that disenfranchises them. A Constitution has not safeguarded our government from self-dealers; could a simple restriction of the vote do any better? I think the rich and powerful would find a way to take over the government.
Oh yes, and thank you for recognizing me as half of a Heinlein scholar. I'll add it to my resume!
The fantastically wide-ranging discussion of the other night was one of the best of my life! I will write something coherent about the meeting later this week.
I don't see limiting the franchise as "hypothetical" though. In fact, it was limited for much of the history of the (our) Republic by various tests. In his collection Expanded Universe RAH presents some alternative tests to Service; some tongue firmly in cheek, some more serious. You might want to have a look. The one about letting only women vote for the next hundred years is stimulating. Or something.
We had a great time as well. Thanks.
I fear brother jg may be correct that self-rule will always implicitly tend to devolve toward direct democracy. Do you restrict the franchise -- which is questionably moral -- or do you concentrate on limiting the purview of government, which is unquestionably moral?
By hypothetical, I meant that the existing system has been tested by 112 Congresses, 17 Supreme Courts, Civil War, LBJ, TR, FDR and Woodrow Wilson. I suspect a lot of damage could have been done to any system in 224 years.
If you can keep their hands off the pie, there is less pressure to control government and fewer opportunities for graft or rent-seeking. Make the ruling class small enough and it doesn't matter which loser the populace elects. That's why I think strict attention to enumerated powers has a better chance at success.
Last night I heard a serious sounding discussion of a Constitutional amendment for spending limits under "article 5" or something like that. The forces of liberty have already lost the masses, but the US map is still, geographically, mostly red. Could be some hope there.