"...and all nations have been ashamed of them"

Some friends are visiting from Evanston to help weed the strawberry fields today. In the field, women's struggle for voting rights came up, and I was reminded of G.K. Chesterton's commentary on that subject (in What's Wrong With the World). He argued that government, and therefore voting, was an ugly business. I'm not sure it's as good an argument against women's voting as an argument against anyone voting:

Seemingly from the dawn of man all nations have had governments; and all nations have been ashamed of them. Nothing is more openly fallacious than to fancy that in ruder or simpler ages ruling, judging and punishing appeared perfectly innocent and dignified. These things were always regarded as the penalties of the Fall; as part of the humiliation of mankind, as bad in themselves.

...This is the first essential element in government, coercion; a necessary but not a noble element. I may remark in passing that when people say that government rests on force they give an admirable instance of the foggy and muddled cynicism of modernity. Government does not rest on force. Government is force...

All government then is coercive; we happen to have created a government [democracy] which is not only coercive; but collective.

...In self-governing countries [the] coercion of criminals is a collective coercion. The abnormal person is theoretically thumped by a million fists and kicked by a million feet. If a man is flogged we all flogged him; if a man is hanged, we all hanged him. That is the only possible meaning of democracy, which can give any meaning to the first two syllables and also to the last two. In this sense each citizen has the high responsibility of a rioter. Every statute is a declaration of war, to be backed by arms. Every tribunal is a revolutionary tribunal. In a republic all punishment is as sacred and solemn as lynching.

Our next discussion with the teen group is going to be on voting and the political process. Should be interesting.