Once again we find ourselves in the midst of the quadrennial American circus, when shameless power-mongers come out to blather moronic and vacuous platitudes in hopes of getting Boobus americanus to “get out and vote,” granting them the power of life and death for the next four years. Regrettably, they won’t be disappointed.
But one can hope they will be. I think back to the ’60s, when the wistful saying “Suppose they gave a war, and nobody came” was current. It was a noble sentiment. In that vein, I also like “Suppose they gave a tax, and nobody paid” around April 15. And “Suppose they gave an election, and nobody voted” now.
You’ve heard all the reasons why you should vote. Most of them are humbug at best, and some – like “It doesn’t matter how you vote. Just vote” – are simply idiotic. Voting today has nothing to do with “civic duties” you learned about in grade school. Your fellow citizens aren’t Jimmy Stewart and Gary Cooper look-alikes earnestly trying to do the right thing. Well over 50 percent of U.S. citizens are now net tax recipients, and they’ve trundled down to the polls in their tank tops and shower slippers only to help ensure they stay on the gravy train.
It’s sickening to hear thoughtful non-voters, who can sense in their gut something is terminally wrong with the process, make lame excuses because they feel guilty for not participating. I would, therefore, like to give you five reasons why you shouldn’t vote.
- Voting in a political election is unethical.
- Voting compromises your privacy.
- Voting is a degrading experience.
- Voting just encourages them.
- Your vote doesn’t count.
The political process is one of institutionalized coercion and force – if you disapprove of these things, then you shouldn’t participate in them, even indirectly. As Mao, a leading expert on the subject, famously said: “The power of government grows out of the barrel of a gun.”
Sure, if government limited itself only to defending its subjects from domestic and foreign aggression and adjudicating disputes, you could argue there was nothing unethical in voting for who plays the night watchman. But the fact is that elections have long been, as Mencken observed, nothing but advance auctions on stolen goods.
If you want something, vote with the dollars you’ve earned – in the marketplace.
It just gets your name in another government computer bank. One that can be used to call you up for jury duty, and other forms of involuntary servitude. The less the government knows about you, even in small ways, the better off you are.
Voting (as well as registering) involves spending possibly considerable time standing in line, hanging around government offices, filling out forms, and dealing with petty bureaucrats. Most people can find more enjoyable or productive things to do with their time.
I’m convinced that most people don’t actually vote for a candidate; they vote against the other candidate. But that’s not how the guy who gets the vote sees it – he thinks it’s another mandate for him to rule. It’s ridiculous to justify voting by endorsing the lesser of two evils.
Incidentally, I got as far as this point in 1980 when, as luck would have it, I did an hour alone on the “Phil Donahue Show” on the very day before the elections. The audience had been very much on my side up to the point where Phil accused me of voting for Mr. Reagan, and I had to explain why I wasn’t. Unfortunately, telling them they shouldn’t vote was just more than they could handle. The prospect of their stoning me precluded my explaining the fifth and possibly most practical point.
Politicians and political hacks like to say every vote counts because it gets everybody into busybody mode. But statistically, one vote in scores of millions makes no more difference than a single grain of sand on the beach. That’s completely apart from the fact that, as voters in Chicago in 1960 and Florida in 2000 can tell you, that when it actually is close, things can be rigged. And, anyway, officials manifestly do what they want – not what you want – once they’re in office.
The only way your vote counts is to make you complicit in the crimes that will inevitably be committed by its recipient.
My sentiments on the topic have little, incidentally, to do with the fact that both candidates in this presidential election are certifiable liars, lifelong ne’er-do-wells, and borderline sociopaths. It’s rare that someone of quality goes in for politics. My arguments are based on principle.
There are certainly romantics among you who, despite your better judgment, will go out and vote anyway. In that event, the only thing that makes sense is a protest vote for a third party, in which case the Libertarian candidates make sense – at least if you believe in both economic and social freedom. And there’s certainly no danger they’ll be elected, so it’s a good way to register a protest vote.
Of course, if you really want to treat the elections with the respect they deserve, and insist on voting, you might consider a write-in for, say, “Donald Duck.”