(Don’t) Vote?

Since about two weeks before the election my Facebook news feed has been blowing up with commentary about voting. On the one hand several posts and articles have been going on and on about how voting is this sacred act that so many people have fought and died for; that it is our number one patriotic duty. On the other side are the people so fed up with this ridiculous system that they are abstaining in protest. I am a little frustrated with both of these extreme and almost self-righteous positions and since I know everyone on the internet pretty much bases everything they believe on my blog posts I will go ahead and tell you why.

In the case of the patriotic voters what annoys me is how they think that somehow their vote is going to be the deciding factor in any given election. As if democracy would shut down if they decided to stay home. It wouldn’t. Also, they are literally doing the very least a person can possibly do to participate in our government. Very few of these people have participated in their local party meetings, elected delegates, gone to primaries, tried to become electors, run for office, sign-waved, gone neighborhood walking, made phone calls, or even donated money to a campaign. They literally just push a button, check a box, or touch a screen and somehow they believe that they are the most important cogs in this machine. In their self-righteousness they look down their noses at the “apathetic and anti-American” populous who don’t turn out to make their voices heard. They say things like “You are the reason that the system doesn’t work!” or “If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain!” Don’t have a right to complain? If anything the voters are the ones who shouldn’t complain. After all, aren’t they the ones who believe that the majority should be able to dictate for everyone else? That somehow the majority knows what is best for the individual? Isn’t that why they believe that voting is so important? By participating in the system the way it is we are saying that we will abide by the rules that the majority makes for us. I know I know, we are a Republic and not a Democracy. But Democracy still operates in a Republic. Especially at the local level, which by the way – hardly any of these voters seem to be able to name their local representatives. They just check the R or D and move on. This does not make you a patriot. It does not make you a great American Hero. It just makes you a person who had the time to go to a polling place and wait around for a while and add your drop to the bucket.

(note* I’m not trying to say that these people have no right to complain. I, for one, think everyone has the right to complain.)

At the other end of the spectrum we have the pious non-voter; the person who believes that for whatever reason voting somehow makes them an accessory to evil or implies their consent. I have news for you guys – You are already and accessory to evil and no one gives a crap about your consent. Force does not necessitate consent. That’s why it is called force. You know that car you drive around in to get to the Anarchist book fair? That runs on gas. When you buy gas you pay taxes. When you pay taxes you sponsor evil. You know that computer that you so religiously post Murray Rothbard quotes on? They charge you taxes. Cell phone? Yup. Rent/Mortgage? Yup. Taco Bell? Yup. Literally everything you do is sponsoring some kind of evil. I wish there were some way around it but there is not. Do you really think that not casting a vote makes your hands clean? It doesn’t. All our hands are full of blood and there is nothing that you can do about it accept buy an island (in which case you would have to use money that came from evil and will most likely continue to fund evil) and live completely off the grid. I mean completely. I don’t mean that you hijack someone else’s internet for your Rothbard quotes and cut up your social security card. I mean you have to do everything yourself. Raise your own food. Build your own shelter. All that stuff. You can’t participate in commerce or use any of the things that the government has provided. Not even the roads (I had to say something about roads – after all I am one of those stupid anarchists too). If you are somehow able to manage that I really respect you. From the bottom of my heart I do. But most of us aren’t prepared to do that. Nor should we have to. But you can’t go around acting like you have moral superiority over everyone else because you chose to stay at home and play Anarchy Online. It doesn’t work that way. You are a part of this system whether you like it or not. You can either work to change it or you can resign yourself to the fact that whatever happens you did nothing about it. When your kids grow up they will have the same problems that we have now and maybe worse. If that is ok with you then by all means don’t participate but please don’t act as if you are somehow better than the people who do.

Don’t get me wrong I am not saying that people should or shouldn’t vote one way or the other.  It is your personal choice and I support you either way. I vote. I do it hesitatingly and without passion. I research my candidates and I do the best I can. I just wish people weren’t trying to make it a bigger deal than it is. If you choose to vote just let it be what it is: the easiest thing you can do to say you participated. No one will judge you (Ok, someone will probably judge you but it’s probably more about that fanny pack and bald eagle t-shirt you are wearing than your decision to do the bare minimum). And for those of you who don’t believe in voting: just don’t vote. Don’t act like you’re some great martyr because you abstained from participating in the least meaningful gesture in the political process. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some Anarchy Online to play.

8 thoughts on “(Don’t) Vote?

  1. Kendra says:

    I had a really awesome fanny pack once. It had little compartments for pencils and spare change. I wish I would have remembered to wear it on Tuesday when I went to vote. Maybe it would have made the experience less anticlimactic.

  2. America’s dead. What’s the point!

  3. Abandon TV says:

    “…. You know that car you drive around in to get to the Anarchist book fair? That runs on gas. When you buy gas you pay taxes. When you pay taxes you sponsor evil……”

    We pay ‘taxes’ because we are coerced, threatened, cajoled and ultimately forced to do so. The fact that you can’t get out of paying ‘taxes’ is kind of the whole point!

    If you consistently refuse to pay ‘taxes’ then eventually men dressed in matching blue costumes and armed with clubs, tasers and guns will be sent round to your house to kidnap you and lock you up inside a cage. If you attempt to defend your property or person you will be tasered, or more likely shot.

    This is not an interpretation of how the system of taxation works, nor is it even a moral judgement ……. it is just the FACTS.

    When it comes to the ‘services’ which taxation pays for there’s no choice, no contract, no consumer rights, no ability to sue for poor services or breach of contract (there is no contract, remember) and many of the services are run as monopolies which means there’s no competition either – so no incentive to keep costs down and quality and innovation up (think government ‘education’). And if you don’t pay …. you end up in a cage. This is the basic deal.

    The public (not even anarchists) have no choice about paying taxes (unless you regard gun battles on your front lawn or being made to sit inside a cage for a couple of years as a choice). If people have no choice about paying taxes then you can’t really judge them for paying.

    Berating an anarchist for paying taxes is rather like berating a woman for being raped. It’s a completely nonsensical accusation.

    “But Julie, you always said you were *against* rapists ….but I heard you got violently raped last week – god Julie, you’re such a hypocrite!”

    Whenever the initiation of force (including the threat of force) is part of the equation – by a rapist, a mugger a government, a mafia or anyone else – then there can be no real debate, no choice, no way to express our own lifestyle preferences. The WHOLE POINT of initiating force against someone (as per ‘taxation’ or rape or mugging) is to override that other person’s own personal freedoms and desires.

    ‘Anarchy’ in this sense is not a political or philosophical stance which tax-paying anarchists fail to live up to, making them hypocrites. Anarchy is just the desire to NOT be terrorised, coerced, clubbed, shot at, kidnapped, imprisoned etc etc by a bunch of bullies…….. and only when this coercion, intimidation and violence STOPS can anarchists even begin to live out their true political or philosophical stances.

    The same was true of African slaves, or women in the past. There was no way for a slave or a woman to be free in society by themselves. They had to first promote their moral case to the rest of society which was persecuting and oppressing them by force. Only when the rest of society changed its attitudes and behaviour (stopped enslaving, beating up, denying freedoms etc) were they able to even begin expressing their true political or philosophical ideas such as: “I am a human being in my own right and not a slave!”

    In short, if you have (or are funding or voting for) a boot to be placed on the neck of a slave, a woman or an anarchist then you can’t then call them hypocrites for not being true to their own political or philosophical positions!

    “…. Literally everything you do is sponsoring some kind of evil. I wish there were some way around it but there is not. Do you really think that not casting a vote makes your hands clean?…..”

    It certainly makes them a lot cleaner, that’s for sure.

    If enough people stopped voting for the state to commit evil acts then the state would have a much harder time justifying those evil acts. This is the true power of voting ie the freedom to NOT vote for things you don’t agree with or don’t want.

    Voting is always a ‘yes’ decision. But to be free and have a choice we must be able to say ‘no’ as well as ‘yes’. Even a dog should be able to work that out – yet many humans still struggle with the concept.

    For example:

    “Do you want blue cheese or parmesan, sir?”
    “I don’t like cheese so I will not have either thank you very much”

    Is saying ‘no’ a valid choice in this scenario? Or must we ‘vote’ for one of the cheeses because ‘choice’ means we have to say ‘yes’ to one of the options presented to us. Are you starting to see just how idiotic voting is? …… or from the point of view of our overlords not idiotic at all but ‘extremely clever’.

    Anyway, back to ‘evil’. There’s actually nothing wrong with having evil companies in the world. What’s wrong is being forced to prop them up with laws and taxes….. or else face being put inside a cage.

    In a free society (one not based on the initiation of force) evil banks could still gamble everyone’s money away or exploit third world countries (or whatever) and be as evil and reckless and stupid as they liked. And guess what? They would soon go out of business either by making insane investment choices and loosing everyone’s money, or just by the public deciding to switch to less risky and less immoral banks. Either way in a free market reckless and immoral behaviour would lead to disaster for evil companies AND anyone stupid or immoral enough to invest in them.

    In this way a free market punishes stupid and immoral behaviour – yet no force is needed and no agency of violence is needed either (such as a government)…… the punishment comes naturally in the same way that it already does in areas of society that already do operate freely. A free society also rewards sensible and moral behaviour, again without any need for force to be initiated against anyone.

    This is the opposite of how a society based on coercion and violence (AKA ‘government’) works where evil and stupidity is propped up and defended by government laws, regulations, bailouts etc. A government can only initiate force. That’s all a government can do. If society is a big shared block of flats full of people then a government is like giving everyone on the top floor a gun and then having them organise the affairs of everyone in the block of flats. Would you ever consider such an arrangement?

    What if the top floor was split into two halves and you got to ‘vote’ for which half controlled the guns for the next four years? Would that make it any more sensible or morally acceptible?

    In daily life it is the natural negative consequences for stupid or immoral behaviour which keeps society civilised and ‘fair’. We all understand this is how it works in our own personal and business lives – at least in those areas where government has the least influence. (Obviously this does not really apply if we are working on Wall Street or in state education or in the military etc…)

    A free society is just a society where this ‘natural law’ (AKA the law of consequences) is consistent. A free society is where universally accepted moral principals are (gasp) applied *universally*… to everyone!!!

    In a free (ie anarchic, non coercive) society if someone steals half your wages then we call it theft regardless of whether the person stealing your money is:

    – a mugger
    – a nun
    – a man dressed in a police costume
    – a politician
    – a jazz pianist
    – a president
    – a terrorist
    – etc

    Makes sense, right?

    “….And for those of you who don’t believe in voting: just don’t vote. Don’t act like you’re some great martyr because you abstained from participating in the least meaningful gesture in the political process….”

    It is not a meaningless gesture. I agree that it won’t affect what policies your political overlords impose onto society – only money has any real affect in that area and so it’s the lobbyists and campaign funders (big agra, big pharma, the military industrial complex etc) which actually cast the real ‘votes’. So sure, voting makes no odds in this respect.

    BUT voting DOES make a real difference in one massively important respect: by ‘voting’ you are giving your consent for this whole barbaric, immoral and completely ridiculous system to continue ……………. and you’re not even getting anything back in return – so why do it?!

    Voting is *willing participation* in your own enslavement and the enslavement of others. And willing participation is all your overlords want from you. It gives them the green light to behave in any way they like. They know that if you participate then you will never be able to bring them to account.

    If enough people vote to elect one of two gangs of rapists then we can’t really complain when we get raped by one of the gangs – do you see? But if no one votes for them then they become just a gang of rapists who we can identify as violent and immoral criminals once again.

    If no one voted for political people, then when they threatened us with violence to make us hand over half our wages so they could spend the money on weapons and then go and invade a nation and commit genocide we would be able to rightly identify them as terrorists, mafia and so on and treat them accordingly. But instead we vote for them and they end up getting away with it. Do you see now, how powerful ‘voting’ really is in this respect?

    Voting is you consenting to have the government initiate force against you, such as ‘taxation’.

    But voting is ALSO you advocating for government to initiate force against OTHER PEOPLE too.

    If you ‘vote’ then you are also advocating for a third party to FORCE other people to pay for the policies and programs which your favourite party wants to implement and enforce.

    The question all ‘voters’ need to ask themselves is this: “Do I even have the moral right to threaten, coerce, intimidate, kidnap, imprison my neighbour – albeit via a third party agency of force (ie the state)?”

    The way to answer this question is to imagine YOURSELF behaving in the way that you are advocating your ‘elected representatives’ (and their minions) behave. You need to imagine yourself personally going round to your neighbour (or to some random stranger) and threatening them with kidnapping and imprisonment if they don’t fund the policies of the party you are voting for.

    Then imagine this person refusing to go along with your plan. What are you going to do now? Would you be morally OK about pulling out the billy clubs, tasers and guns and kidnapping them and locking them up inside a cage? ……. what if they resist you? ….. What if they have young children?

    This is the reality of voting. Sure it’s buried under layers of ritual and political euphemisms and 15,000 hours of government ‘education’ based on the Prussian Schooling indoctrination system…. but the reality of voting is that you are advocating for coercion and violence to be inflicted on other people (as well as yourself).

    If you wouldn’t feel comfortable (in a moral sense) coercing other people in this way how then can you justify voting for a third party to do the exact same thing? Either coercion is immoral and wrong or it is not!

    Let’s say I object to funding government program X. I won’t use force to stop you from funding such a thing if you want to. Will you respect my wishes in return, or will you use force against me to make me pay? If so HOW MUCH force are you willing to inflict on me? If you vote then the answer is: guns, cages, armies of thugs, an entire court system etc.

    The only way for us, as a society, to get rid of this last remaining bit of coercion and violence (the legacy of a bygone age where violence was how most of society operated) is to stop advocating for it – to stop VOTING for it!

    If you don’t run your own family, your business, your social life, your shopping trips, your holidays through coercion and violence against others then (for the of love of god!) stop voting to behave that way when it comes to the rest of society!

    Not voting just means being *consistent* – morally, intellectually, philosophically and practically. (Unless of course you are a thug and a bully in everyday life, in which case voting is the consistent way to behave).

    I agree 100% that ‘anarchists’ should not feel smug about no voting – just as they should not feel smug about not raping anyone or not mugging someone in the street.

    But for all you voters out there (be you passionate or indifferent) it might be an interesting exercise to look in the mirror and say out loud exactly what it is – ‘scientifically speaking’ – that you are advocating when you vote.

    “By ‘voting’ I advocate for this group of people to initiate whatever force is necessary, up to and including lethal force, against 300 million of my fellow citizens in order to force them all to fund certain activities which I am in favour of, and obey certain rules. If my fellow citizens strongly object to these policies on moral and/ or practical grounds I support (and am willing to fund) this force being initiated against them in the form of threatening letters, armed police, kidnapping, imprisonment in cages and force confiscation of property etc”

    In my book (ie a dictionary) voting makes you a terrorist by definition. Crazy, I know but that’s what it says…

    ‘terrorism: the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims’

    Here’s an idea…..

    Let’s all forget about ‘politics’ and let’s just say what we really mean when we vote. Let’s all say it out loud – just once. Just say it once.

    Go on, I dare you, just say it.

    • You really put a lot of thought into that rebuttal. I must have hit a nerve.

    • I didn’t mean that comment to sound arrogant. I would love to continue a back and forth but as you can see I only blog about once every 6 weeks or so. I wish I had more time to discuss but I am at work. Thanks for your comment.

      • Abandon TV says:

        Hey, thanks for approving my (ridiculously long) comment. Yes you hit a nerve – as all the blogs on voting have done over the past few weeks :)

        Likewise, I hope MY comment doesn’t come across as too arrogant too – you know, calling all voters terrorists etc ;)

        But I believe my moral / philosophical arguments are solid.

        I believe voting is immoral, and I believe it’s only happening because society as a whole hasn’t quite figured out yet that it is immoral. Plus ‘voting’ and ‘democracy’ are just too familiar and there’s just too much momentum – we’ve all been taught to just accept that it’s ‘just the way things are’ …… just as African slavery and the subjugation of women also used to be ‘just the way things are’.

        Anyway, let’s all hold hands and hope Obama will be able to use the guns of state coercion and violence to really deliver real change this time and move the world forward over the bridge of destiny into a brighter future for our children etc etc ;)

      • I agree with you that voting and this system are immoral. My point wasn’t that voting was moral. My point was that we are all “immoral” from time to time and there is not really a great way around it. I guess I was really just trying to level the amount of moral superiority going on in both houses. We make our choices. We do the best we can with what we’ve got. That’s all we can do. And no, your comment did not sound arrogant. Trust me, I have mulled it over and over for years and years as I am sure you have too. After I had kids I just decided that I would sacrifice my morality for the sake of trying to make it easier for them to continue to fight in the future. This is a long battle and as much as I hate pragmatism, it’s the best I can do. I don’t judge anyone for taking a different approach. :)

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