On the Concept of Disenfranchisement

As I was taking my weekday morning walk/run yesterday morning, I started to consider the idea often expressed as “disenfranchisement.”

My consideration led me to some conclusions:

  1. You may have noticed that one of the fairly popular business models out there, is called the franchise. It is no mistake that this word is used here, and as a root of a descriptive many used to express their feeling of alienation from some entity. A large part of the point of the franchising model, is that some “umbrella entity” offers to some “candidate subordinate entity,” the right to operate under their umbrella. The benefit of doing this is simple, the child or subordinate entity “inherits” structure of some kind from the parent or umbrella entity. There are a few obvious considerations here:
    • The parent entity has the right to decide who will and who will not be accepted as a “franchisee”
    • Part of the franchiser’s decision as to who will be accepted is based on the willingness of the franchisee to follow the franchiser’s rules and standards.
    • In order to make sure the subordinate entity does as is required to be accepted as a franchisee, the franchiser can and usually does require a contract to be signed, indicating the terms of the franchisee’s acceptance.
  2. In the case of social or political disenfranchisement, the “contract” used would be termed a “social compact” or a “social contract.” The intent is to make it clear that certain behavior is intolerable, some is tolerable but not required (and some of that, not desirable), and some is required.
  3. For a large part, the above expectations of behavior (or restrictions on behavior) are codified in law. Put another way, for the most part, you are expected to follow the “laws” of the entity in question if you wish to be “enfranchised” in that entity.
  4. Societal enfranchisement—unlike most other enfranchisement—is not entirely a “take it or leave it” proposition. Where there are certainly things in which you must participate to be a member of society (as well as things you must not do), there are many things you are more allowed as possibilities without the requirement of participation.
  5. Where it would be hard for me to be exact on the number or amount of ways, I would say I am probably more disenfranchised where society is concerned than enfranchised. You may consider that a bad thing, I don’t. To begin with, there often ways in which what franchise I operate under is as accidental or incidental as not. Additional to that, there are things I am supposed to believe and accept that are unbelievable or unacceptable to me. And if it ever comes down to it, I will suffer the consequences rather than accept or believe them.
  6. In my view, enfranchisement is far from all that it is “cracked up to be.” Being a franchisee requires that others tell you how you ought and ought not behave at a minimum. The maximum being that you are told how you must behave.

In the end, you may have a problem with the idea of disenfranchisement. I’m not generally so concerned by it.

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