Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Voting For Liberty...Forget It!

By, Chris Rossini
Email | Twitter

Last night Bob Wenzel wrote a fantastic open letter to libertarians about not being fooled by Rand Paul. On the back of that fine writing, I'd like to add a few thoughts of my own, considering how important the topic is.

Very often I hear complaints that libertarians are just a bunch of complainers. And the worst, as a commenter pointed out to me last night, are those that don't vote and encourage others not to vote.

Sadly, I get that one a lot; and it just shows me that the whole concept of voting is still going over their heads. I explained why I don't vote here, but I'm going to elaborate some more.

Voting is tool of The State.

Voters go to a government-owned building to cast a vote for two government-approved candidates. Votes are cast on government controlled machines, and the government counts the votes.
"Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything." - Joseph Stalin
And let's not forget that the government spends BIG BUCKS on advertising campaigns to get you to vote. It can whip up a few movie stars in a heartbeat to convince you that "your voice" needs to be heard.

Voting serves The State. It's a non-violent way for them to shuffle around a few chairs, and give the illusion that "the People" are in control.

Let's say, for whatever reason, it didn't serve The State. Well, they would find a way to shut it down.
"If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal." - Emma Goldman
History has plenty of examples of Kings shutting down Parliaments. Even modern-day "elected leaders" around the world give themselves extraordinary powers when they see fit.

Yes...Ron Paul slipped through the cracks.

He's the only one to do it in over 200 years.

But the government completely shut him down (politically)...changing the voting rules whenever it was necessary, and blacking him out on the state controlled media.

Ron Paul's triumph is not in what he accomplished politically, but that he used the government platform to spread the ideas of liberty to millions. dumb as government is, when it comes to their own preservation, they're very very smart. You can be sure that they won't let another Ron Paul slip through the cracks again.

Many people want to see something tangible; a plan. For liberty to win, we have to do A, which will be followed by B & C, they say. We have to get this politician elected, or that law passed, etc.


There can be no plan to get there. If there were one, the government and elitists would surely intercept the plan and squash it.

What Hayek called "the spontaneous order" is our greatest ally.

For liberty to succeed, voting and planning is not required. What's required is your mouth and another person's ear. Take the ball that Ron Paul got rolling, and push it forward.

Unless you live in North Korea, where the outside world is completely shut out, the opportunity to spread the ideas of liberty have never been better! Every time that you use Twitter, Facebook, a blog post, or even a personal conversation to promote liberty, you do more damage to The State than voting ever will.

The ability to spread libertarian ideas is the achilles heal of The State. Ron Paul miraculously gave us the build on it!

It's time to drop the silly idea of using the government to defeat the government. It's ridiculous!


  1. Fantastic, Chris! Loved your point about the elections being a non-violent charade. "Voting serves The State. It's a non-violent way for them to shuffle around a few chairs, and give the illusion that "the People" are in control." Against the backdrop of Rothbard's "Anatomy of the State" where he outs the state as a violent gang writ large, your point crystallizes voting, and by extension democracy, as an advantage exclusive to the state.

  2. Another crap article.

    No Chris, our best ally is not "spontaneous order." It is PRIVATE PROPERTY.

    1. Arthur Krolman, CFANovember 28, 2012 at 4:08 PM

      @Geoff: I thought it was a non-crap article myself...and I think private property is key too. Can't we have two allies? Or do you believe that voting is a better way to achieve stronger private property rights vs. "spontaneous order"?

      Off topic: Gotta love Brit PM parsing his words in feign support of private property rights. "The golden thread is...the absence of conflict...and the presence of property rights..." Hey, he and Obama are doing great! Private property rights haven't been completely stamped out everywhere. They're still "present"!

  3. Guess what was one of the most effective ways to get people interested in liberty? Ron Paul asking for people to VOTE for him for president. I don't care if people do or do not vote, but acting like playing outside the "system" is the best path to a freer society ignores what you've already conceded. Two of the most influential proponents of liberty in the past century -- Barry Goldwater and Ron Paul -- were effective precisely because they were politicians. I find no compelling reason why libertarians can't both advocate for freedom through education and freedom through liberty-minded politicians. In fact, achieving the former will necessarily lead to the latter, don't you think?

    1. This is precisely the point both Wenzel and Rossini have made. The only value in running for national office is to use the platform to spread (authentic) libertarian ideas. (You can make an argument there is other value to be gained running on the local and maybe the state level.)

    2. And might point is that if Wenzel and Rossini are correct, that politics is just a platform to educate people, and that educating people is the only way to achieve liberty, won't those educated people eventually start voting for those liberty candidates? Politics ceases to become just a platform. What if we had more Justin Amashes or more Ron Pauls in Congress? Wouldn't politics be a way to achieve more liberty?

    3. @ Anon 3:16

      No, no, no. You just don't get it. If we libertarians refuse to participate in politics, then the statists will admit defeat. It's a historical fact that we didn't have states until all the libertarians decided to vote.

    4. Explain to me this: how do the statists "admit defeat"? What, exactly, does that look like? Do they just wake up one day and say "Hey Bob, you know what, let's just abandon our posts and go home"? No statist in a position of power will voluntarily give up their power. Bastiat talked about the human disposition for sloth and legal plunder almost 200 years ago. I don't expect it's changed.

      And I'm also puzzled by this "refuse to participate" nonsense. I'm guessing you paid your taxes last year? Why? Pretty hard for the statists to admit defeat if the true believers still hand them their money every April 15th. Of course, I say this tongue-in-cheek because I think you should pay your taxes. But I don't think paying your taxes makes you any more or less of a libertarian than I am.

      My point in all this to demonstrate the absurdity of the "solution" you are all proposing.

    5. "The Statists" only rule because they believe the majority have given consent. The more of us that refuse to be fooled by their bullshit and refuse to consent, the more illegitimate their rule is, and the less "the sheeple" venerate it as legitimate. Once the majority give up their belief in the validity of majority rule by the moronocracy

    6. This sounds like more of a defeat in your own mind than in reality. I know a lot more people that will openly say that the government is a bunch of assholes than I know people. That doesn't stop them from being a bunch of assholes that I've seen. It sounds a lot like writing the phrase "you're dead to me" in the memo line of a check to the IRS. Might make you feel better but do you really think they give a shit?

  4. Not voting, as opposed to voting for liberty candidates, seems a bit pessimistic.

    I mean, we all agree that we'd vote for Ron Paul for President, right? And what about the NEXT Ron Paul? Perhaps Justin Amash, or Jeff Flake? Or someone who hasn't even come out publicly yet?

    I say keep hope alive, but prepare and educate in the meantime.

    1. Uh, no. We do not all agree that we'd vote for Ron Paul.

      I love Ron Paul and what he's done to promote liberty, but I did not and will not participate in the violence and charade of the state's civil religion: voting.

      In a recent speech Ron Paul gave, he even had to admit that it takes some rationalization for him to square his libertarianism with participation in politics.

  5. Education is a noble goal, but it will always be only one piece of a larger strategy. If anything, it is simply the common thread shared amongst all strategies for achieving greater liberty. If you're not willing to do something to secure liberty for yourself then what's the point?

    History is full of noble men writing and saying amazing things in defense of liberty. I don't think the governments of the world are as tyrannical as they are today simply because these noble men didn't convince enough people. It is because there was no place for these ideas to go and thrive after opening so many eyes.

    Move to New Hampshire and join a movement of over 13,000 people, with more than a thousand people on the ground here now.

  6. Well said. But I'm sure the lightbulb will stay dark over the heads of most of the doofuses who keep coming on here and whining about how libertarians just sit in a circle jerk and debate "purity" instead of DOING SOMETHING (that something apparently being "playing directly into the hands of the state" and "self-castration").

    Wise up and learn the nature of the political system and the importance of always speaking the truth. There is and can be no "secret plan" to work within the system. It is a ridiculous fairy tale and, consequently, a disastrous strategy.

    1. Well said.

      Some part of me think a number of these people simply can't divorce themselves from the notion of wanting the be "led" by someone. The notion of politics, and politicians, to admire is ingrained so deeply that the idea of rejecting them altogether is just too alien an idea for them.

      Surely we MUST vote. Surely we MUST have faith in the system. Surely we could not possibly achieve ANYTHING without voting or playing inside the system?

      It's all in the complete lack of valid arguments against those made by Wenzel in his open letter, where they seem like kids sticking their fingers in their ear singing "na na na i can't hear you" and just keep repeating the same red herrings or non-arguments, as if they didn't even bother to read more than one sentence.
      But it's not most annoying that they still have their childish faith in the system. Most annoying is their indignation if others don't, and dare question their symbols of political "hope". And then they talk about "credibility" when someone refuses to worship their political hero. And it is worship, for they attribute qualities and motivations to him that he has never proven to have, and they get pissed when someone else refuses to buy it.

    2. Right, Tony. It is ultimately a failure of imagination, a failure to actually understand the message of liberty. Bastiat sums up that message best:

      "And now that the legislators and do-gooders have so futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: May they reject all systems, and try liberty; for liberty is an acknowledgment of faith in God and His works."

      Electoral politics is a system. Quit supporting it. You are part of the problem.

  7. Yes...Ron Paul slipped through the cracks. He's the only one to do it in over 200 years.

    This is where you lost me. I don't think even Ron Paul would characterize himself this way.

  8. Everyone who wants to change the State by voting and politics should also advocate people joining the mafia to reform that organization, as well.

    1. Mr. Conant, that is a more interesting metaphor than I think you intended. Isn't to what you compare exactly what under-cover police do in order to gather evidence for the purpose of making arrests, indictments, trials and convictions of Mafiosi? And in any event, what other means should peaceful citizens use to dismantle a mafia presence in their areas? Blog about them? Seems like a good way to get their attention so that they may intimidate, extort, or murder you. A very apt metaphor that yields excellent avenues for thought.

      To anyone yet here, I would also like to point out how disappointing it was that the comments stopped two posts after Dave at 10:16pm quoted Rothbard's own advice on this question (which is not the sole example from MR's cannon), which is in conflict with the "educate but don't participate" mantra.

      You (whoever you are, all) are engaged in a conflict with a violent aggressor. Open-air grievances about wounds inflicted does nothing to stop the next attack, and only encourages attackers to whom your pain is a measure of their success.

      The choices are open conflict; or covert and clandestine conflict. The immense success of the Internationale, its infiltration to every reach and branch of the US government, after its decades of success in Europe, was based on the latter. Ron Paul was the most successful undercover agent in the modern era, and he did not get to Congress, where significant measurable good was accomplished by his presence, by staying home.

      And please, should anyone feel the need to respond, please include in your remarks a direct address to Rothbard's excellently chosen quote below. Because if you know more or better on this question than him, we desperately need you to make yourself known.

    2. Then what is your solution? War? Sticking your head in the sand like an ostrich isn't going to accomplish anything.

  9. Voters are suckers. The key to this racket is the fact that voters only vote for people and not policies. The people they vote for are supposed to "represent" them. This of course is nonsense because of the dual agency problem.

    Most congressman don't even bother to read legislation; they just get their voting cues from their staff or powerful patrons.

    Voting may be effective in determining issues on small scale- a club, swiss canton or small town, but for the nation state as we know it, it is useless.

  10. Nice write up Chris. Not only is participation in the voting process ineffective 99% of the time, it gives implicit endorsement/sanction to violence...because that's all any gov't is distilled down to its core...compulsion via violence.

    Even not paying a parking ticket eventually distills it down to violence when not complied with.

  11. Silence is assent. That is how politicians view non-voters. The state gains far more from "voluntary" payment of taxes than from voting. That is why tax evasion is a crime but non-voting is permitted. The beneficiaries and enforcers of the state don't care if you don't vote, and are happy when their opponents detach from politics. It just makes it that much easier to control the process.

    1. "Silence is assent."

      You didn't even get one sentence in before fallacy.

    2. And your non-existent reading comprehension skills didn't allow you put that statement in context. The next sentence qualifies the statement: "That is how politicians view non-voters."

    3. Oops, thanks for pointing that out. I ignored the rest after readin the first sentence. Probably due to my filtering out stupidity when I read it...maybe he should have place it in quotes first or something.

      Anyway, thanks for making me feel stupid(deservedly).

  12. Chris is right. Trying to vote yourselves liberty is like trying to eat your way to being thin. The basic unit in society is the individual, not any group, especially a governmental one. Change the way you think. Depend on yourself, love those beside you and always turn away from evil. People will naturally follow.

  13. If republican government wants legitimacy, it needs to stop putting parties on the ballot. That should be a Constitutional rule, otherwise no Senators or representatives could be seated from any state.

  14. There should be a Constitutional provision that no Senator or representative can be seated from any state if there are any ways to designate political parties on the ballot. If a state doesn't like that, it can withdraw from the United States.

  15. I do not think we'll ever have the numbers to win elections. Too many people depend on the system. The easiest way to win elections is to lie your ass off and promise special favors to big donors.

    I treat the State like a pothole, by trying to avoid it, and educating others about its evils. I voted for Ron Paul. Big deal.

  16. I guess it boils down to this. Would you rather have Rand Paul or Mitch McConnell? Would you rather have Rand Paul or John McCain?

    I know, I know, none, but that's not practical. I think the answer is obvious!

    1. It does not boil down to that.

      It boils down to, "Do you want to act as if you want and accept someone else running your life, or do you want to act as a free and independent human being?"

      If the former, by all means vote. If the latter, then chart your own course and accept no master (you may have to pick your battles, but you are still making those conscious choices according to your own value scale).

      The people on this site who consistently fail to understand or gloss over this VERY SIMPLE point over and over and over and over and over again are probably the descendants of those who favored not abolition of slavery, but of advising slaves to make the best of their situations.

      How do you propose to end an evil by consciously burying the truth and urging people not to mention it?

    2. Voting for better politicians does not mean you approve of them. It means you think they are better than the others and you think they will hurt you less than the others. This doesn't mean you can no longer act as though you want someone else running your life. Many people on here are missing Wenzel's point. At least in this article, he is not saying that voting is bad to do or that you will change anyone's mind by not voting, just that it wont help and doesn't matter and there are better ways to effect change.

  17. "To get on to voting, yes I believe that any legislator who votes for a tax or an aggressive law is illicitly participating in a criminal enterprise, but no I don't believe that the citizen voter necessarily does so. There's votes and there's votes. One problem with your view is that, in an important sense, it is not anti-statist enough. There is no real sense that we are all of us, willy-nilly, enmeshed in State coercion. Take George's [George Smith's] phrase, "The institution (the State) taints the individuals who work within it." but dammit we're all working within the monstrous matrix that the State has placed around us. I don't mean to be frivolous or kamikaze but we do all walk or drive on State roads, fly on State-regulated airlines, shop at state-licensed stores, etc. We are not responsible for creating the State; it is there, we are within it, and our task is how to get this damn thing off our back. But I can easily carry your argument one step further: driving on government roads participates in State subsidy, it sanctions the State, etc. Using government mails does the same, etc. The state will not disappear if we ignore it (Spies, Konkin), non-violent civil disobedient is hopeless and has never worked, even unworkable laws must be repealed via political action, etc." - Murray Rothbard

  18. Excellent article. You have not fully woken up until you reject electoral politics. In my opinion, this is the hardest spell to break. People get so angry when they find out you don't believe in voting. They want the One Ring. They wouldn't throw it into the lava pit.

  19. Goods for you Chris.

    Voting is for people that are too ignorant to see that "The Elite" control the system, and only "withdrawal of consent" (which not voting is a first step) is the only way to topple their evil system.

    Voting is just perpetuating the "INEPTOCRACY" aka the election of the least competent, by the least competent, to perform incompetent acts and enact incompetent laws.