Sunday, November 4, 2012

Why Voting is for the Dumb

Are you going to vote on Tuesday? If you are, please forgive me for stating that you are dumb as far as politics and government. There are MANY reasons why it makes no sense to vote, each one stands on its own as a sufficient reason not to vote. But if you can't find one out of the many sound reasons not to vote, then you are just dumb about voting.

Consider the public choice theorist Gordon Tullock and his argument for not voting.

This is a very sound logical reason not to vote, you aren't going to make a difference. If you ignore this argument and vote, you aren't acting logically.

But there are other reasons not to vote. Politicians lie to us about what they will do when they are elected. I am currently reading FDR Goes To War. It is a fascinating chronicle of how FDR ran on a peace platform, while desperately, behind the scenes, working to get the United States involved in the war against Germany and Japan.

George H.W. Bush while campaigning famously said, "Read my lips, no new taxes." He raised taxes.

George W. Bush said he would institute a humble foreign policy if he became president. He became president and attacked Iraq and Afghanistan.

Barack Obama pledged, when he first ran for president, that he would close Guantanamo. Four years later, Guantanamo remains open.

Thus, for those who can somehow, in their minds, get past the Tullock argument for not voting, they then have to get past the fact that a vote for any president does not provide any clue as to what that person will do in office. Presidential candidates consistently say one thing to get elected even though they believe the opposite and will do the opposite.

Mitt Romney, for example, is a serial flip flopper. Who knows what he will do in office?

And who the hell knows what Obama is planning if he gets re-elected?

Bottom line, even if you vote and your vote matters, it isn't clear at all what the person you vote for will do once in office. Thus, another very good reason that stands on its own to stay at home and not vote.

Then, of course, there is what the Nobel Prize laureate economist Friedrich Hayek wrote in his brilliant chapter in The Road to Serfdom, tiltled, "Why the Worst Get on Top":
..if we wish to find a high degree of uniformity and similarity of outlook, we have to descend to the regions of lower moral and intellectual standards where the more primitive and "common" instincts and tastes prevail. This does not mean that the majority of people have low moral standards. It is, as it were, the lowest common denominator which unites the largest number of people. If a numerous group is needed, strong enough to impose their views on the values of life of all the rest, it will never be those with highly differentiated and developed tastes--it will be those who form the "mass" in the derogatory sense of the term, the least original and independent, who will be able to put weight of their numbers behind their particular ideals... 
[A] potential dictator...will be able to obtain the support of all the docile and gullible, who have no strong convictions of their own but are prepared to accept a ready-made system of values if it is only drummed into their ears sufficiently loudly and frequently. It is those whose vague and imperfectly formed ideas are easily swayed and whose passions and emotions are readily aroused who will thus swell the ranks of the totalitarian party.
Indeed, if we understand what Hayek is saying, we can see that a democracy is as bad as other forms of government, perhaps worse, in that it gives the opportunity for regular change in government, where the masses can be directed more and more toward totalitarian views, nibble by nibble.

That is, voting implies constant change toward more and more laws that will benefit only the few. For voters are voting in congressmen to be "lawmakers". This implies change in laws. And voting for a president means electing someone who will read and execute laws anyway he sees fit, to meet his agenda. The founding fathers made a great mistake creating a base of governing people who can change laws and a president who can run rampant supposedly executing these laws.

If the founding fathers truly understood the importance of the rule of law, the non-aggression principle and a private property society, it is difficult to understand why they would have constructed a system that at its core has a massive body of elected meddlers. What are all these laws the meddlers are making? It creates nothing but confusion, complexity and an edge for those who can get to the lawmakers and influence them.

Wouldn't it have been much better to adopt the non-aggression principle and a declaration recognizing the sanctity of private property and leave it at that?

The constant changing of laws results in major power groups organizing in ways to attempt to sway laws in their favor. None of these laws have anything to do with the non-aggression principle and recognition of the sanctity of private property.  Indeed, all the laws tend to do is violate the non-aggression principle and the sanctity of private property. It causes the Koch brother types, the Sheldon Adelson types and the George Soros types to attempt to edge the lawmaking for their benefit. And, of course, the congressman will also create rules, and presidents will execute laws, that, for the most part, are in line with totalitarian actions that will help them maintain the greatest control and influence while they are in power. But, remember, it is the lawmaking itself that is at the core causing the confusion, complexity and a less free world.

Thus, voting is a contradiction for the advocate of freedom. A freedom advocate shouldn't be in favor of electing "lawmakers" that create new laws and presidents that willy nilly interpret laws far from the principles of the non-aggression principle . A freedom advocate should instead be in favor of  a society that at a gut level has a respect for private property and respect for the non-aggression principle. No voting required and no lawmakers required.

Voting is a charade that fools the masses into thinking they have a say and a chance of coming out on top, when the game is indeed played at a very sophisticated level by power players for their benefit, where polls are taken so that politicians know exactly what to say to gain votes, despite what they will do when they are in power. Millions upon millions of votes, in other words, will be  cast that on an individual basis will have zero impact, but will make all those voting "feel good". It's dumb.

The founding fathers messed up. They should have written the Constitution without any reference to elections, and started and ended the Constitution this way:
We hold that people should be allowed to live and let live.
That they didn't has resulted in packs of competing power players seeking to change laws in their favor, mostly in an attempt to put more controls on the rest of us. It makes no sense for any of the rest of us to play this game.

When a private property society comes, there will be no voting and no lawmakers. You can start the world on that path. Don't vote. Live and let live. The more and more people that abide by live and let live, the freer the world gets. No voting required.


  1. So-called modern "democracy" isn't democratic at all. This is the great Democracy Delusion.

    In a democracy, public office holders are selected by lot from all the citizens (called sortition) and not by election. How do I know this?

    Because that's what democracy was in ancient Athens - the birthplace (and the last place) of actual democracy.

    "Democracy" as we have been brainwashed to believe is what Aristotle described as oligarchy. Elective government is oligarchy because only the wealthiest people actually are represented - they have the resources to either run for office (like Bloomberg) or buy their politicians (like Adelson).

    Unless *all* high office holders are selected via sortition from *all* the citizens... IT IS NOT DEMOCRACY! The word "democracy" literally means that "the people rule"... not the "elected rule." Or as Aristotle described democracy as "rule and be ruled in turn."

    So your next question should be, "Why do we call oligarchy democracy?" Hmm...

    And I don't vote because I refuse to give my consent to be ruled by a system that is based entirely on deception, corruption, and cowardice. I refuse to give voluntary aid and comfort to a system that is an enemy of Humanity.

  2. Obviously, if no one's vote counted, no one would win the election. But people do win the election, so how do they do it? Please explain this.

    The logic of voting would probably require some form of game theory to understand – something similar but not quite the same as the prisoner's dilemma is taking place when a person votes – or even if a person doesn't vote.

    That is, if all you seek to do is gain something from *not* voting, then your protest against the system only works if enough people do the same. Otherwise, your *not* voting has no impact against the system. So the logic is the same on both sides.

    You can't have your cake and eat it too.

    It's better to look at moral arguments.

    If you vote, you endorse the system. It doesn't matter who wins, you've endorsed the system. You've given legitimacy to whoever does win. If that person goes out and does *evil* you added your legitimacy to this person's evil – even by just voting against them!

    A person who doesn't vote can argue they had nothing to do with any of this nonsense.

    Note the prisoner's dilemma evaporates if the issue is treated as one of ethics and not of potential gain. For example, if there's an ethical rule that says you shouldn't rat on buddies, then you should follow that rule – regardless of whatever the payoffs are. In this case, where's the dilemma?

    1. A president would still be elected even if there were 0 popular votes because of the electoral college.

    2. It's good that you brought up the electoral college and reminded us that voters are not actually voting directly for the president. This is an important point.

      Even if the voting machines were all honest, the election could, theoretically, still be manipulated by virtue of the "proper" electors being in place. However, because of the way that the electoral college is set up, the popular votes are actually votes for electors, not the presidential candidates themselves. I suspect that most Americans are not even aware of this.

      It means that if nobody participated in the popular vote, no electors would be elected and there could be no electoral college. I guess the Congress would then vote for the president, but what if nobody showed up at the polls to elect a new House of Representatives and one third of the Senate? Would the public that had stayed away from the polls agree to be ruled by a president and the sixty-six or so men and women who chose him? I doubt it. But then, I also doubt that everyone would ever stay away from the polls. The Stockholm Syndrome has taken too strong a hold.

      It really is like an abusive relationship. People think, "Maybe this time things will change. Maybe this time the government won't hurt me." Right...

      Don't vote for your abuser! Don't endorse the initiation of force at all.

  3. I'm probably going to vote anyway. We have a couple liberty candidates on the ballot.

  4. While I agree it is not rational to view from the point of view of affecting the outcome, this is not why most people vote. Most people vote for the psychic satisfaction that voting gives them. As Austrians we should know that most human action is motivated by a desire for some kind of psychic satisfaction, not based on some rational calculation. So, most people vote because it gives them a feeling of affirmation for what they believe in and acts as a ritual of membership in their tribe (Democrat or Republican). In terms of Maslow's hierarchy, voting satisfies the need to belong.

  5. Not voting may be the most stupid thing coming out of generally smart people. At least send a message. If not to the political class then to other voters who may take a look at candidate C and why people are voting for him/her. Your non vote does absolutely nothing.

    1. Well, it got a rise out of you. A lot more than my voting would do.

    2. How does wasting one's time voting for "Candidate C" send a message anywhere? I could easily go cast a vote for Mitt or Barack and TELL people I voted for Johnson and NOBODY would be able to tell the difference. You could also do the opposite with the same result.

      What kind of message is that, where people can't even see it?

    3. It's the "political class" counting the votes and expecting them to report accurately, much less favorably, on "Candidate C" that is the problem.

      They'll claim whatever vote totals they like and insist that all candidates not approved by our oligarchs are violent racists who want to kill everyone.

    4. Except that even when I chose to vote third party the "institutionalized" propaganda ministries, AKA Media, doesn't even deign to display the results! Only the two crime syndicates are mentioned. This only reinforces the lie.

    5. Well I have NOT voted several times and my reasoning has always been that neither candidate deserved my vote. In order for my voice to truly be heard there should be a way to vote for "None off the above" or "void" your vote, so that those voided votes could be counted. If there are enough voided votes they would have to start over again with candidate selection. Hmmm that would keep them on there toes!
      This year I am voting Libertarian. I actually LIKE Gary Johnson. I. In reality I know that even if he got in he would have to face a very partisan Senate and Congress, but it is the closest thing to having my voice heard this year.

  6. I'm going to the poll on Tuesday. I'm going to take my pen and draw two bent over naked stick figures spreading their butt cheeks with the name Mitt over one and Bama over the other. I know, real mature.

    Also, draw happy faces.

    Oh, and write in Ron Paul.

  7. I'm going to the polls on Tuesday, too. I'm going to vote for third party candidates, any third party candidate in every race where there's one on the ballot. It doesn't really matter who. But if third party vote counts go up every election, eventually more and more people might vote third party and there might finally be an end to the "two-party" monopoly-- really, it's just a single, double-headed War Party-- that has nearly ruined this country.

    I have no illusion that any of my votes matter in the near or even medium term, but anything that can help get the ball rolling on a trend to destabilize the status quo is worthwhile.

    Plus, my polling place is at the local elementary school and the neighborhood moms always run a darn good bake sale on Election Day.

    1. Good choice, Mike.

      I did consider not voting at all, however nothing gets recorded when we don't vote. But numbers have an effect on the psyche of people and voting is like raising your hand in response to the question, "Who among you reject the status quo?" If you don’t raise your hand (i.e., "vote") you are complicit by default.

      The fascist media parade only two cyprians in front of the country; one whore from the red brothel and one harlot from the blue cathouse. "Don't pay attention to anyone else, these are the only ones from which you can choose," they extol. But there are other, less innocuous selections available on the ballot: third party candidates.

      I am going to cast my vote for a third party candidate; it doesn't matter which one. In my thinking the issue is not whether they will win, of course they won't. However what does matter is that of the counting. My vote will be counted against the status quo, against the marionettes whose meaningless, verbal flotsam spew forth on command from their masters. My hand will raise and be counted in opposition to the vile corruption that swims in the sewer of beltway politics. I can point to the tabulation for third parties and know that I spoke up. Will it change anything? No, it won’t. But it will give the federals pause to think and know that not all the people can be duped.

      Your voice remains silent if you don't raise your hand.

    2. "If you don’t raise your hand (i.e., "vote") you are complicit by default."

      You have that backwards. By voting, you consent to the rules of the game they set up. You are agreeing to a system where the winner gets to rule. I'm not playing their game. I don't consent to be ruled by anyone. What if they started a war and nobody showed up? What if they held an election and nobody showed up? They only have the power we give them. I'm not going to be one of the people giving them their power. Are you?

    3. I understand and share your frustration concerning the rampant political fraud in Washington, D.C. I only voted for a balloted position when there was a third party candidate running. I would have acted like you and ignored the election completely if there had been no third parties on the ballot at all.

      For example our congressional district had a republican and democrat running, no third party. I did not cast a vote. As I wrote before, I want my vote to appear in the tally for third parties. I want people to see that third parties are being recognized by a percentage of the population.

      It's true what you wrote about, "they only have the power we give them". But short of armed revolution (which I abhor), the only other way is to choose candidates outside the main stream political duopoly and dilute the concentration of puissance.

      The objective is to weaken the federal government's control over our lives by increasing the potential for gridlock. Yes, I do want gridlock. I want the federals so tied up they can't agree on anything because of the diversity of candidates with different views holding office. Gridlock means they won't be spending our money if legislation isn't passed. It will show the country the fallacy of a large central government that ultimately brings tyranny down upon the heads of the people as it tries to usurp the natural rights of the people more and more.

      The country has evolved into a fascist, police state because of the concentration of power held by the two parties (really one party behind closed doors). Why do you think the media (shills for the government) play down third parties? Because they want the people to continue supporting the status quo, to give credibility to the jobbery in Washington.

      We as a people have to be heard but we won't be if we don't protest through the non-violent act of voting. It is the only sensible way to accomplish that goal.

    4. I agree with you wholeheartedly.

  8. One of the more interesting arguments for voting is that many have fought and died to ensure your right to vote. Since voting is worthless in any election involving over 10 people. no one can honestly deny this, shouldn't the argument read: why are so many people dying in pointless wars for a worthless "right"?

    1. That bunk (many have fought and died for your right to vote) is most easily dispensed with the following retort (without addressing, of course, the fact that this is not what our soldiers have ever fought or died for):

      "A right to vote inherently implies also the right to abstain from voting. So as much as anyone who votes, I too exercise the right that you say they've fought and died for. Thus, you should celebrate the fact that this right is being exercised in full, in the various ways they fought and died to ensure it could be."

    2. That's funny. Because even while I was in the military I never heard an argument about voting rights. It was always about Communism or some other ism but never about the "right" to pick my overlord.

    3. Can anyone name for me the foreigners that have expressed the desire to take away American's innate right to pick who their next masters will be?

      Go ahead, I'll wait....

  9. Voting is violence. It is the act of directing the force of government in the direction you, the voter, wish it to go. It is pointing the gun-state and pulling the trigger.

    In the same way that using a gun to defend yourself is moral and valid, so is voting a defensive act of violence. You may choose to NOT commit that act in the face of unwarranted aggression; that is your choice. You may, even though you must reach past the gun on your hip to reach it, timidly hand over your wallet to the mugger.

    And make no mistake, the muggers vote. They have learned that they can vote themselves an ever-larger portion of your paycheck. The state will steal from you and give to them, and they need only work one day a year: the first Tuesday in November.

    Now, I'm not saying "vote Republican" or "vote Democrat", no. but vote your conscience, and know that you are responsible for every bullet fired from your gun-ballot.

  10. One element that has been left out of the argument here is that voting -- for anyone at all, including minor party and independent candidates -- lends a veil of legitimacy to an inherently corrupt and immoral system. Voting lends a false veil of legitimacy to whomever wins the dubious election. (When you pressed "Johnson" on that electronic voting machine did it cast a vote for Obama? How do you know?)

    When you vote for alternative candidates, hoping to send a message, the only message that matters to the power elites is: there are still lots of people willing to participate in the charade of voting.

    That's what all of those "You must vote, regardless of which candidate you choose" ads and appeals are all about. It's turnout that matters to the power elites, not results. The fix is in there. Romney and Obama are no different in any meaningful way and one of them will win. There is no doubt of that. Someone like Ron Paul will never be allowed to win the nomination of either the Republican or Democrat parties. Members of Congress from both parties will be bought. Despite their lofty rhetoric, most people run for the very opportunity to benefit from being bought. Power tends to attract the worst in society. The rare few, like Ron Paul, who cannot be bought will be ignored or maligned.

    Even if a Ron Paul managed to become elected and stay uncorrupted, it would only be for a limited time. Your vote for him would have helped maintain the corrupt system that would soon serve the agenda of the next batch of power seekers who don't have your best interests at heart.

    Voting makes it appear as if the Emperor is wearing clothes. He isn't. Government is not there to serve you. The State regards you as the one whose job is to serve it. Why else would they point guns at all of their "customers" and demand payment and allegiance? The State serves those in power. The market serves you. The incentives that affect government are perverse. People operating within the market have every incentive to serve you. They want your business.

    What if they gave an election and nobody came? For one thing, nobody would have that veil of legitimacy, let alone the mythical "mandate." "Me and my relatives voted for me to rule over you, so that's how it's gonna be" just wouldn't go over very well with most people. It's the turnout that enables them to rule. (Foolishly and immorally, in my opinion.)

    Voting -- in any way at all -- implies that you are willing to go along with the system that you willingly participated in and that you will abide by the results, even if it always goes against your wishes and is in contradiction to your personal beliefs and values.

    If the voters are so supremely competent to choose the very best, wisest and most qualified "representatives," why are those same competent voters not allowed to run their own lives, however they choose to do so, without being threatened with violence from the very people they elected? There is a logical disconnect there. You can choose your master, but you must obey whichever master you choose.

    People think that they are exercising their right of "self-government" when they vote, but self-government doesn't require voting. It merely requires being left alone. When you vote, even for a libertarian candidate, you are endorsing your own subjugation. Why would you do that?

  11. This worth a hoot. CNN lists 47 reasons to vote.

  12. I'll give it a shot...

  13. Am I right in guessing that you were homeschooled?

  14. At least when you vote third party you're hitting the politicians in the 2 party system where it hurts them the most, votes they arrogantly believe they are entitled to. What gets the partisan hacks more pissed off, "wasted" third party votes or non-voters?