Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Why I'm not voting today.

It's November 4th, time for everyone to go do their civic duty and vote for who they think should be allowed to use violence to enforce their agenda for the next several years. And that is, in a nutshell, why I won't be doing so myself. Because my vote is simply: no one. No matter how good and noble your intentions are, how brilliant you are, how solid your values are, how spotless your integrity is, or how nice a person you are – you have no right to use violence to make me or anyone else do things the way you want them done. I don't care how many people vote for you.

If a gang of thugs surrounds you in an alleyway, demands your money, and threatens to shoot you if you don't give it to them, that's called robbery. If the gang first holds a vote, gives you a vote in whether or not they get to take your money, and then wins because they are majority and majority rules – news flash, that's still robbery. No matter how much you dress it up, or how many layers of civic pleasantries you hide it behind. Calling the gang government, giving them official titles or badges, expanding the voting pool to millions of people, calling the money taxes, creating an elaborate structure of laws, 'checks and balances', and other such things doesn't change the underlying reality. Initiating violence against peaceful people is wrong, no matter who does it, what their intentions, or how many people support it. Period. Violence is only justifiable when it is necessary for defense of one's own natural rights or the natural rights of another party. That is, when someone else has initiated violence against you or someone else, and you have to fight back to stop it.

That's not my opinion or political preference. It is the most basic, fundamental, and self-evident ethical statement that can be made. I defy anyone who wishes to dispute it. And without that simple principle as a foundation you have no ethics, no morality, no principle that isn't arbitrary self-righteous nonsense. (And, my fellow Christians, if anyone wishes to argue against that on a Biblical basis, that principle is clearly implied in the Greatest Commandments. Love does no harm to its neighbor, and is therefore the fulfillment of the Law. So unless you want to toss out the Greatest Commandments your argument, whatever it may be, is invalid.)

Please understand me. I'm all in favor of participatory government. I'm totally down with using voting as a method of participation (though not the sole method). And while I frequently argue that the voting system itself is broken, using the failtastic 'first-past-the-post' method, and that our government is not participatory enough but relies too much on indirect representation and centralization, neither of these are, in and of themselves, a good enough reason not to vote. Though they certainly don't lend any legitimacy to the whole system.

The reason I will not be voting, the reason I am boycotting the vote indefinitely, is because the only options on the ballot are to hand over the 'right' to initiate violence over to various candidates campaigning for that 'right'. Which is no right at all. The only meaningful vote that I can cast is not to cast one. I vote no confidence in the system itself, because that system is broken beyond repair. No amount of voting will fix it. The problem is rule-by-violence, and voting who gets to rule by violence only perpetuates that problem. You are voting for the problem to continue. It doesn't matter if it's the Democrats, the Republicans, the Libertarians, the Greens, or whoever else. The underlying paradigm doesn't change. And I will not lend legitimacy to such a paradigm by casting my vote for it, because rule-by-violence is inherently illegitimate.

If you would say, as some do, that I have no right to complain because I don't vote, I would respond with the opposite: you have no right to complain, because you voted for the situation to continue. You voted for someone to have the power to use violence to enforce their agenda on you. You might not have gotten the person you wanted, or the agenda you wanted, but you certainly got the system you voted for. I don't consent to such a system. I won't vote for it to continue. And I look forward to the day it collapses under its own dead weight. In the mean time, I will happily gripe about violence being used to force other people's agendas on me until others get it through their heads what the problem really is, and realize their own role in it.

If you choose to go vote today, I'm not judging you. If you feel it's the right thing to do, go and do it. I've voted in the past, largely because I didn't understand the problem. In hindsight, I regret casting my ballot, but hindsight is always 20-20 and I probably wouldn't have realized the truth of the matter without voting in the last major election, and the bad taste it left in my mouth afterwards. But I do strongly encourage anyone who understands what I'm saying here to consider boycotting the vote yourself. The less legitimacy this corrupt and violent government can claim for itself, the closer we are to real change. I vote No-Confidence 2014.

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