Mad Prophet's Sanctuary

Complaining About Voting

Every election is a sort of advance auction of stolen goods.

-- Henry L. Mencken

This fall we will be bombarded with appeals to vote in the upcoming election. You will see television news readers and newspaper editorialists urging us to vote, and they'll use such terms as "civic duty" and "honoring those who fought and died for our right to vote." It doesn't require an acute sense of smell to discern the reek of this argument. How is a right a "civic duty?" Given that the right to keep and bear arms is a right guaranteed by the Second Amendment, when was the last time you heard Dan Rather telling you that it's you have a civic duty to own a firearm? In some countries, such as Iraq, voting is compulsory -- Saddam Hussein is typically elected with at least 95% of the popular vote. One ought to wonder how much of a "right" voting is when the exact same activity is compelled by dictators in unfree countries. I would also like to believe that those who died in fighting for this country did so to foil the plans of despots, not to shore up a myth concocted by domestic despots that equates voting with freedom.

One ought to wonder why the media organs are so obsessed with a high voter turnout. My own theory is that they desire to dilute the votes of their motivated opponents (remember that reporters and editors overwhelmingly vote for Democrats) with the votes of their easily manipulated readers and viewers. The vast majority of the American population is almost completely ignorant on civic matters and basic economic principles. The snake-oil peddlers of big-government programs benefit greatly by having a large turnout of duped voters. This is the reason you see those pushing for bigger government also pushing for easier access to the polls. They can count on those too lazy to put any effort into voting also being too lazy to see the hidden costs of those programs.

You'll also probably be beseeched by well meaning folks from political parties and special interest groups to vote in a certain fashion.

Cheerleaders from the two major parties and special interest groups will beseech you to vote for their deeply flawed candidate to insure that the candidate from the other party won't get into office. The problem with this approach is that it is a losing strategy. Although the two major parties are portrayed as being polar opposites, there really isn't a great difference between them. One party wants the government to interfere in your peaceful activities. The other party wants the government to interfere even more deeply into your affairs. Instead of voting for freedom over tyranny, you have the choice of tyranny over a lesser tyranny. This voting strategy results in a slow but steady attrition of freedom.

The third parties will urge you to vote for their candidate. They'll tell you that it will send a message that the voters won't tolerate business as usual over at City Hall or the Capitol. They'll tell you that their candidate will never win if nobody votes for them. In reality, we wouldn't have this mess in the first place if the voters were independent-minded enough to send the two major party candidates packing on a regular basis. For instance, by the time any Libertarians hold high office, there probably won't be a need for them, since the voting public would understand the benefits of peaceful cooperation over the welfare-warfare state.

Our current system is broken. I view participating in it as immoral and impractical. I refuse to further participate in this sham.

Our current political system is little more than legalized theft and extortion hiding behind a veneer of respectability. And the chief ingredient of this veneer is our electoral system. Voting perpetuates the myth that "we are the government" and abusive government policies are justified because "we as a society have decided to do things that way." By choosing not to vote, I will not be participating in the system and I will be withholding my consent. The government still will interfere in my peaceful affairs, but it makes plain what the government is actually doing -- oppressing and stealing. And by not voting, I will not be participating in or condoning the oppression of others or stealing the fruits of their labor.

While an argument can be made that voting to lessen the state's aggression is a defensive measure, it often turns out that this strategy increases state aggression in the long run. In order for this defensive strategy to be effective, one needs to vote for one of the major party candidates, which inevitably involves casting a vote for "the lesser of two evils." In addition to this being a sure-fire way to errode our freedoms, it also perpetuates the status quo. They're is no incentive for the political parties to produce better candidates if we continue to vote for whatever joker they trot out every couple of years.

Voting is also a waste of one's time. If voting could change the system, it would be outlawed. Those who have a vested interested in the system will not permit it to be changed through the process of voting (Just think of the issues of term-limits, or recall of politicians elected to federal office.). Furthermore, you have a statistically better chance of being in an auto accident on the way to the polls than you have of influencing a state or national election. A major party candidate will win without your vote. Thanks to the way that elections are rigged to favor a two-party system, a third-party candidate won't win even with your vote.

A major problem with our electoral system is that it allows the majority to prey upon the minority, something which our Constitution was supposed to protect against. The top fifty percent of income earners account for ninety-six percent of the revenue generated by the federal income tax. There is a real problem in a system that allows people to vote for programs for which other people foot the bill. Until people bear some responsibility for the votes they cast, voting will be an immoral act.

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