I, like many potential voters my age, am frustrated. I am frustrated with a system that disallows meaningful dissent except by way of voting for a man who is 95% identical to his “radical” “opponent.” I am frustrated with those who believe there is a large difference between the two candidates, but more than that, I am frustrated by those who believe one is very very slightly better than the other, and with their vote they believe themselves to be voting for the lesser of two evils – and that makes it good. The lesser of two evils is still evil. I am frustrated with the arguments that those voting for the “lesser of two evils” put forth, arguments that do not stand of their own weight and would not apply in any other philosophical context – at least not in any context but a nihilist one in which many of the moral believers of democracy would find themselves surrounded by all manner of evil that they now must also justify. I am frustrated by the hypocrisy of those who pick a candidate based on their values and proceed to refuse all criticism and thoughtful examination of the candidate henceforth in light of those values (this is especially frustrating when they accuse the other candidate of doing some evil or other, while their candidate does, will do, or has done the exact same evil).
From my experience (the plural of anecdote is not data!), voting is probably the issue in which I am set opposed to more people than perhaps any other. Many of the views I hold are controversial, but none seems to be as quickly dismissed as the idea that voting for a third party or abstaining from voting altogether is a better (and more moral) choice than voting for the “lesser of two evils” between such men as Mitt-Mittens-Mittmaster Romney and Barack “The One” Obama. I would like to take some time today, before November elections, to argue several things. First, I would like to explain how the utility of voting renders it meaningless altogether. Second, I would like to explain why democracy itself is a bad system. Third, I would like to elaborate on the idea that not voting is not only not immoral, it is more moral than voting. Finally, I would like to mop up any remaining objections in another post, especially those coming from the Catholic realm that many have tried to wield against me.
Voting is one of the cherished values of Americanism, and the argument in its favor is not easily halted by argument, no matter how rational or sound. Voting is, in its essence, a mandatory sacrament of the American state religion. A failure to vote is a moral offense against state and God. In fact, many Americans make a god of state and with it a moral requirement to vote, more even than make a god of God and a moral requirement to pray before bedtime. After all, we all doubt God and the moral quality of monolithic evils at time, but very few Americans (including the very religious) will ever utilize brainpower challenging something as seemingly banal as voting. Questioning voting is a secular sin that you would be deemed more insane to question that any number of religious sins, even by the religious. Aren’t we “doing our duty” when we vote? Aren’t we seeking a better world? When we choose the lesser of two evils, aren’t we doing a good thing? I would answer no to those questions, in defiance of our deeply seated religio-secular democratic preferences. Americans love to believe certain things about America and our way of life, even when these beliefs conflict with their own moral compass. I hope to disabuse some of those notions today.
Myth of the rational voter. It is natural to think that voting is productive, good, and moral. So many people do it and feel themselves better for it. As it turns out, public choice theory predicts and much research finds that the vast majority of voters are uneducated as to the issues on which they are voting – but they still feel good about themselves for doing it. There are a few reasons for this (and for examples, I would advise you to go to youtube and look for Howard Stern’s street interviews of voters and see for yourself), but the general gist of the theory is that people can believe whatever they want and pay no consequences for it – and that those who know very little of a topic gravitate toward a particular view or have their view much more easily manipulated by the media and other biased sources. This almost always ends in the voter basing their vote on their choice of disastrous policy that is wrongheaded and leads to unproductive anomaly. For example, protectionism, the best example of public ignorance. Tariffs (taxes on imported goods), a form of protectionism, raise prices for the people in the country, and eventually the effect is a lower standard of living than would have existed without the tariffs, because fewer people can spare the extra money for the higher-priced goods. It is somewhat simple for economists, but the vast majority of people do not understand this principle. If I want tariffs, because Mitt Romney tells me China is going to outcompete us if we do not tax their goods (put aside the fact of production costs being high here of our own regulatory making since that is a separate issue), my fear of such a circumstance will drive me to vote for Mitt Romney and feel that I am doing my part to help our economy. However, I won’t be helping the economy, despite that I believe I am doing so (and have received the mental satisfaction of thinking I am doing my part). I will really be driving up the cost of goods for everyone, and working to impoverish my fellow man at home. In other words, voters choose bad policy or people, which makes them feel good about themselves. The consequences of voting are so far removed from the process (how was I to connect the increased price of goods in the market with my vote for tariffs, since I – already unaware of the fact that tariffs raise prices – am faced with literally millions of factors in the marketplace that can effect prices, such as inflation, supply-chain disruption, resource exhaustion, etc., etc.?) that the connection is never made between my voting and the creation of these problems. I go on my merry way thinking that I have made a good mark on the world, even though I have put my own opinions behind the barrel of a gun and hurt my neighbor.
Think about why the average person votes. It has been shown time and time again that people vote because of catchy slogans (think “Hope and Change,” “Forward”), the candidate’s looks, the candidate’s air time, and a host of other factors that have nothing to do with the analysis of policy. Apathy rules the roost in voter ignorance. But even if you wanted to know everything about the effect of your vote, it is hard to know it all (see next argument for more on this point). You and I do not have time to see whether Maria Cantwell is voting Yea or Nay on an EPA bill in Congress today, or the other 10 bills she will vote on. Add to that the fact that we have more representatives than just the one, at the state level, the federal level, and subsequently the executive and eventual judiciary response, as well as policy analysis of the implementation of the laws for which the candidate you voted for voted, and you can see why the electorate is largely ignorant. There are literally thousands and millions of effects that may be put into play with your one vote, and it is hard to know about all of them, even with a larger media than ever. On the topic of media, that is not even to mention the bias inherent in the reporting thereof. Noam Chomsky addressed this issue well when he said that “The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.” Any views not mentioned on tv or radio are necessarily a censorship in favor of another view. There simply is not enough time for us to know it all, and keeping track of the effect of one’s vote would be far more than a full time job. Instead, you have a situation in which voters are largely ignorant of not only what choices the person they voted for makes after election, but that can be easily manipulated to garner the support of the incumbent’s opponent:
There are many books on public choice theory. My two favorites are Government Failure and The Myth of the Rational Voter. Public choice theory also explains why lobbying is so effective, and overall, why democracy is a horrible system that puts man against man, every one seeking the government’s guns for himself. Pick one up today if it is halfway interesting to you. But when it comes to voting, think Pelosi’s line: “We have to pass the bill [Obamacare] to see what’s in it!” Rational ignorance always wins in democracy.
Your vote does not matter, because 2-party voting is an all-or-nothing system. You vote for Romney along with 1,000,000 other people in your state. As it turns out, 2,000,000 people in your state voted Obama. Your vote, the 1,000,000+1th, does nothing to stop Obama from winning or Romney from losing. If you had not voted, the result would be no different. Take voting for Romney in the reverse situation (Obama 1,000,001; Romney 2,000,000). Your vote does not matter here either. If you would have stayed home in either circumstance, the effect would have been the same. Voting is individually meaningless. Either way, if there are 100 million voters, your chances of making a difference are 1 in 100 million or lower. At this rate, your chances of winning the mega-millions lotto are not actually so bad (and think about all of the awareness you could spread with that money!). You have no control on the free will of others, and your vote means nothing in nearly all circumstances. But the votes of other people DO matter. So the best thing you can do to have your policies enacted isn’t vote, it is convince others to vote in your way, because it is others that will determine if your candidate/issue wins. Good luck competing with the media in swaying votes though…
The only circumstance in which your vote could matter is if there is a tie in your state, at which point, you would be the vote that turns the issue or candidate. Nozick’s Tale of the Slave shows how the transition from slavery to en masse voting gives you absolutely no additional individual freedoms, since it is truly only a tie that matters:
Consider the following sequence of cases, which we shall call the Tale of the Slave, and imagine it is about you.
1. There is a slave completely at the mercy of his brutal master’s whims. He often is cruelly beaten, called out in the middle of the night, and so on.
2. The master is kindlier and beats the slave only for stated infractions of his rules (not fulfilling the work quota, and so on). He gives the slave some free time.
3. The master has a group of slaves, and he decides how things are to be allocated among them on nice grounds, taking into account their needs, merit, and so on.
4. The master allows his slaves four days on their own and requires them to work only three days a week on his land. The rest of the time is their own.
5. The master allows his slaves to go off and work in the city (or anywhere they wish) for wages. He requires only that they send back to him three-sevenths of their wages. He also retains the power to recall them to the plantation if some emergency threatens his land; and to raise or lower the three-sevenths amount required to be turned over to him. He further retains the right to restrict the slaves from participating in certain dangerous activities that threaten his financial return, for example, mountain climbing, cigarette smoking.
6. The master allows all of his 10,000 slaves, except you, to vote, and the joint decision is made by all of them. There is open discussion, and so forth, among them, and they have the power to determine to what uses to put whatever percentage of your (and their) earnings they decide to take; what activities legitimately may be forbidden to you, and so on.
Let us pause in this sequence of cases to take stock. If the master contracts this transfer of power so that he cannot withdraw it, you have a change of master. You now have 10,000 masters instead of just one; rather you have one 10,000-headed master. Perhaps the 10,000 even will be kindlier than the benevolent master in case 2. Still, they are your master. However, still more can be done. A kindly single master (as in case 2) might allow his slave(s) to speak up and try to persuade him to make a certain decision. The 10,000-headed monster can do this also.
7. Though still not having the vote, you are at liberty (and are given the right) to enter into the discussions of the 10,000, to try to persuade them to adopt various policies and to treat you and themselves in a certain way. They then go off to vote to decide upon policies covering the vast range of their powers.
8. In appreciation of your useful contributions to discussion, the 10,000 allow you to vote if they are deadlocked; they commit themselves to this procedure. After the discussion you mark your vote on a slip of paper, and they go off and vote. In the eventuality that they divide evenly on some issue, 5,000 for and 5,000 against, they look at your ballot and count it in. This has never yet happened; they have never yet had occasion to open your ballot. (A single master also might commit himself to letting his slave decide any issue concerning him about which he, the master, was absolutely indifferent.)
9. They throw your vote in with theirs. If they are exactly tied your vote carries the issue. Otherwise it makes no difference to the electoral outcome.
The question is: which transition from case 1 to case 9 made it no longer the tale of a slave?
Perhaps a more pressing question is: what additional freedoms did voting give you? Is voting truly a “freedom”?
But let us not stop there. Even in a circumstance in which you are the tie-breaking vote, when it comes to candidates for the presidency, your vote remains meaningless. The existence of the electoral college means that the rough tally of overall votes may determine the election. A delegate is free to vote for someone other than the candidate he said he would, as well. Though conservatives tend to hum and haw at the truth of the matter, in the Bush v. Gore election, George Bush did lose the popular vote. He still won the state, even after the recount (thanks SCOTUS, for protecting our “freedom” of voting). The electoral college makes the masses voting obsolete in many respects.
It is very difficult to know just what you are voting for. How, on earth, am I to know how Mitt Romney will rule as president? Is it because of what he says he will do? How can I trust a man who has changed positions so many times? Look at how the election between Obama and McCain turned out. Obama promised many, many things, and nearly all of the meaningful promises are yet unfulfilled. Nearly everything said on the electoral trail is for the purpose of getting as many votes as possible. Once you are in office, you need not owe any duty to anyone who voted (especially on your second term), because hey, you’re already there! H.L. Mencken described politicians as “men who, at some time or other, have compromised with their honour, either by swallowing their convictions or by whooping for what they believe to be untrue.” “Vanity remains to him,” Mencken wrote, “but not pride.” Hans Hoppe has an interesting theory concerning this particular point about democracy. Hoppe maintains that undesirable qualities such as the ability to deceive give those who possess them an advantage in electoral politics. Simply put, the best liar wins (Hoppe’s theory is much more in-depth, dealing with the ownership of public property and ability to promise things like wages of future generations, since the politicians is only elected as “caretaker” for a period of years, but I digress). Behold:
What is true, just, and beautiful is not determined by popular vote. The masses everywhere are ignorant, short-sighted, motivated by envy, and easy to fool. Democratic politicians must appeal to these masses in order to be elected. Whoever is the best demagogue will win. Almost by necessity, then, democracy will lead to the perversion of truth, justice and beauty.
If you can promise people the most “reasonable” policies, no matter how far-fetched or impossible given the nature of reality, you will win the
day four years. This is commonly shown with the post-election disappointment of many voters, who blame the new politician’s failure to enact the promised policies on anything and everything but the fact that the politician said what he said to get votes and is a liar. I have no clue what Romney stands for, given his history and some of the stupid promises I have heard him make. I can guess what Obama stands for based on his past policies (hint: it rhymes with flyranny, blurder, and feft), but even there since he is facing a second term and his scruples of re-election will have evaporated, it is dangerous betting on anything in the future. Demagoguery wins elections, and the higher the office, the more lies the politician can get away with without future accountability. How can you know what you are getting? Hope? Change? Forward? Romney-Ryan? Time to finish this point, with a quote of Mencken, longtime enemy of elections and the democracy of the U.S.:
Politicians seldom if ever get [into public office] by merit alone, at least in democratic states. Sometimes, to be sure, it happens, but only by a kind of miracle. They are chosen normally for quite different reasons, the chief of which is simply their power to impress and enchant the intellectually underprivileged….Will any of them venture to tell the plain truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about the situation of the country, foreign or domestic? Will any of them refrain from promises that he knows he can’t fulfill — that no human being could fulfill? Will any of them utter a word, however obvious, that will alarm or alienate any of the huge pack of morons who cluster at the public trough, wallowing in the pap that grows thinner and thinner, hoping against hope? Answer: may be for a few weeks at the start…. But not after the issue is fairly joined, and the struggle is on in earnest…. They will all promise every man, woman and child in the country whatever he, she or it wants. They’ll all be roving the land looking for chances to make the rich poor, to remedy the irremediable, to succor the unsuccorable, to unscramble the unscrambleable, to dephlogisticate the undephlogisticable. They will all be curing warts by saying words over them, and paying off the national debt with money no one will have to earn. When one of them demonstrates that twice two is five, another will prove that it is six, six and a half, ten, twenty, n. In brief, they will divest themselves from their character as sensible, candid and truthful men, and simply become candidates for office, bent only on collaring votes. They will all know by then, even supposing that some of them don’t know it now, that votes are collared under democracy, not by talking sense but by talking nonsense, and they will apply themselves to the job with a hearty yo-heave-ho. Most of them, before the uproar is over, will actually convince themselves. The winner will be whoever promises the most with the least probability of delivering anything.
There is no likely substantial difference between the important policies of the presidential candidates (and any perceived difference is only rhetorical in nature). I did it a week ago, and I will do it again, with a list of the policies upon which Romney and Obama are on the same page:
In truth, [the false dichotomy between left and right] is not limited to Reagan and FDR espousing somewhat similar views. Democrats and Republicans have historically aligned on all sorts of government programs and a mere suggestion of repeal to either side would be met with scorn and gnashing of teeth. Both sides refuse to question a vast majority of government policy, including:
- Free education to all
- Licensure laws
- Gun control laws
- Social Security
- The NDAA & PATRIOT Act
- Prison rape
- Financing programs via debt
- Respect for the government & offices thereof
- The income tax
- Safety standards on vehicles and consumer products
- Scarcity being the source of wealth as opposed to abundance
- Subsidies to corn farmers, sugar farmers, manufacturing, alternative energy, birth control, tech, medical organizations, scientific research
- Tariffs and import/export policy
- “Free” trade
- The war on drugs
- The EPA, CPA, CIA, FBI, NSA, DHS, HHS, DoE, DoT, DoA, TSA, DEA, NLRB, IRS
- Over 770 military bases worldwide
- Fractional reserve banking
- The Federal Reserve system
- The electoral college
- The role of government in creating jobs
Let me continue with a few more on which they are either indistinguishable or strikingly similar:
- The Middle East
- Climate change
- Extraordinary rendition
- Public health care
- Fractional reserve banking
- Gay marriage
- Separation of church and state
- Exempting members of Congress from prosecution for various crimes
- Raising corporate taxes
- Warrantless wiretapping
- Preemptive war
- Executive privilege
- Executive foreign power
- Drone use
- Line item veto
- Trickle down economics
- Cap and trade
- Harvard Law
I am often told that I am wasting my vote if I choose a third party for president. Let me tell you a little bit about wasting your vote: voting on guys that have the exact same failed policies as we have had for the past century that are now moving around to bite us in the @$$, only this time they are to the nth power. More of the same is exactly what we are getting with these two men, and you’d be a fool to think more of the same is the solution to our social ails, medical costs, drug problems, spending habits, poverty levels, or wars abroad. In fact, your vote doesn’t matter in many ways because the presidency is now a kingship, and the policies that actually matter are those which never come to vote, thanks to the expansion of the executive branch. Judge Napolitano hits the nail on the head:
What if the principal parties’ candidates for president really agree more than they disagree?
What if they both support the authority of the federal government to spy on Americans without search warrants? What if they both support confining foreigners, uncharged and untried, in Guantanamo Bay? What if they both believe the president can arrest without charge and confine without trial any American he hates or fears?
What if they both believe in secret courts – kept away from the public and the press – that can take away the rights of Americans? What if they both think the president can disregard the Constitution when it comes to the rights of those the government has confined to speedy trials, to confront witnesses and evidence against them, and to counsel of their choosing? What if they both believe the government can use evidence obtained under torture at trials in American courts? What if they both think the president can incarcerate those he once prosecuted, even after acquittal?
What if both major presidential candidates believe they can fight any war, assassinate any foe or assault any country using the military or the CIA, and they need not ask Congress for a declaration of war as the Constitution requires, nor account to Congress or the public as the law requires? What if they both want American troops to remain in Afghanistan, even though no foreign country in history has successfully done so, and even though the culture in Afghanistan is as lawless, as vicious to women and children, and as harmless to America today as it was when President Bush invaded it in 2001?
What if they both think this costly and fruitless war – the longest in American history – is somehow good for American freedom and security, even though most Americans do not? What if they both refuse to understand that the longer we are killing people in foreign lands who can cause us no real harm the more likely will people from those lands come here and bring us real harm?
What if they both believe in adding to the government’s $16 trillion debt and letting future generations deal with paying it back? What if they both want to have the feds spend more money next year than the feds are spending this year? What if they both accept FDR- and LBJ-style entitlements, even though they are nowhere authorized by the Constitution and there are not enough present-day workers to tax in order to pay for them?
What if President Obama wants to raise taxes by increasing some tax rates on the rich? What if Gov. Romney wants to raise taxes by eliminating some tax deductions available to the rich? What if raising taxes on anyone in a recession will cause higher unemployment?
What if they both believe in borrowing newly printed money from the Federal Reserve in order to fund the government? What if Obama is of the view that the federal government can tell you how to live and keep you from becoming too rich? What if Romney wants to make the same federal government more effective and efficient at what it does?
What if Obama is really a Marxist who rejects personal freedom, natural rights and private property? What if Romney is really an empty suit who doesn’t know or won’t say what he believes? What if Obama really wants all health care providers to work for the federal government? What if Romney spent the entire presidential primary season condemning Obamacare, only to say this past weekend that there are parts of it he really likes and will endeavor to retain?
What if Obama wants federal bureaucrats to ration health care and decide who lives and who dies? What if Romney spent the entire presidential primary season running against conservative and libertarian opponents and arguing that only the free market or the states should address health care, but earlier this week accepted a major federal role in its management?
What if Obama will have the feds tell you what doctor to see and tell the doctor what procedures to administer? What if Romney consistently blasted the concept that Congress can constitutionally force you to buy health care coverage you don’t want to buy, but now accepts the concept that Congress can constitutionally force insurance companies to sell you health care coverage they don’t want to sell?
What if the system is fixed? What do we do about it?
Window dressing. It all comes down to theatrics and window dressing. Who will show the other candidate to be the lesser man? Which man will lose the game of lie-based chicken?
Democracy is the worst system, not besides all the others, but since it is a variant of many of the others: communism, socialism, fascism, etc. Many of the movements we call evil today were systems by which a politician abused the passions of the majority, working his way through election (or revolution) to the highest government position, and spurring the passions of the majority to eliminate minority groups via force. Democratic force. Democratic governance. The government, by definition, is the entity that has a monopoly of violence over a given territory. It is the only institution that can initiate violence against people legally. Why on earth would it be a good idea to have the masses, largely ignorant of sound macroeconomics and government secrets, and highly self-seeking, vote? Would it be a good idea for everyone in a 15 passenger van to try and drive at the same time? “Everyone hands on the wheel, because none of us are as bad at this as all of us!” Furthermore, why would it be a good idea to force everyone to compete to garner the support of the government, the entity with a monopoly on violence, to protect them? Ah, and that is not even to mention the modern ideology of legal positivism within the democratic paradigm, which is the foundation of democracy itself! What will happen in a system in which justice is not based on seeking some eternal standard of right and wrong, but rather what is the most popular, what is backed by the deepest coffers, or what men within the government want to do during their term – after all, their term is temporary and the consequences of many of their actions appear down the road? Again, note what it does when one man makes a bad decision that affects his livelihood or his family’s safety: he pays for it, generally out of his pocket or by way of insurance. The man will be responsible for his actions and may pay dearly for them. Now think about the voter who votes for a certain bad person or law to be put in place. This bad law or person spreads the negative consequences of the voter’s bad choice to many more people. The politician or law may bankrupt the society, or physically harm the citizenry. There is no one to take responsibility for this action. Democratically-chosen bad laws spread harm over a greater number of people than if one guy does something foolish. If only the good laws spread such benefits to society as the bad spreads the harms!
It is hard to choose only one Bastiat quote on democracy, so here are a few:
When it is time to vote, apparently the voter is not to be asked for any guarantee of his wisdom. His will and capacity to choose wisely are taken for granted. Can the people be mistaken? Are we not living in an age of enlightenment? What! are the people always to be kept on leashes? Have they not won their rights by great effort and sacrifice? Have they not given ample proof of their intelligence and wisdom? Are they not adults? Are they not capable of judging for themselves? Do they not know what is best for themselves? Is there a class or a man who would be so bold as to set himself above the people, and judge and act for them? No, no, the people are and should be free. They desire to manage their own affairs, and they should do so. But when the legislator is finally elected–ah! then indeed does the tone of his speech undergo a radical change. The people are returned to passiveness, inertness, and unconsciousness; the legislator enters into omnipotence. Now it is for him to initiate, to direct, to propel, and to organize. Mankind has only to submit; the hour of despotism has struck. We now observe this fatal idea: The people who, during the election, where so wise, so moral, and so perfect, now have no tendencies whatever; or if they have any, they are tendencies that lead downward into degradation.
The claims of these organizers of humanity raise another question which I have often asked them and which, so far as I know, they have never answered: If the natural tendencies of mankind are so bad that it is not safe to permit people to be free, how is it that the tendencies of these organizers are always good? Do not the legislators and their appointed agents also belong to the human race? Or do they believe that they themselves are made of a finer clay than the rest of mankind? The organizers maintain that society, when left undirected, rushes headlong to its inevitable destruction because the instincts of the people are so perverse. The legislators claim to stop this suicidal course and to give it a saner direction. Apparently, then, the legislators and the organizers have received from Heaven an intelligence and virtue that place them beyond and above mankind; if so, let them show their titles to this superiority.
A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until a majority of voters discover that they can vote themselves largess out of the public treasury
The answer to the question “but why democracy?” is, of course, democracy and elections give the people a sense of belonging to the state apparatus and that they can control the monster. But a leviathan will not be controlled, and morality will decline as more people get involved. It can only be dismantled. Every additional person who cedes his judgment to it by voting on a law that takes that judgement away from others, every person who cedes his sovereign status to it by voting and putting a rubber stamp of approval on all of the policies listed above that involve theft, killing, or forcing people to do things that are despicable and wrong give the state reason to expand its rule over the people and spread the evil around, needs to snap out of this brainwashed and half-baked idea that the best decisions are those made by 350 million people. Things are made “okay” by the fact that the burden lies on all of our shoulders. But simply because we all consent to something does not make it right. We all know this to be true. Democracy obviates this truth.
Democracy also endangers the rights, property, and lives of all minorities. If 51% can vote away the other 49%’s rights or livelihood, no constitution will last long in the purpose of the minority’s protection. The masses will eventually overcome the barriers to seizing rights of the minority, and the constitution will be ignored. The smallest minority, the individual, will face the greatest harm. He has no rights unless he is part of a mob. Accordingly, the individual is forced to be a cooperative automaton in many ways, and dissenting opinion and thought is crushed. That is not a good system. A mob is only as smart as its dumbest member. Voting is mob rule. We are quickly approaching Idiocracy, and the failure to see the problem is a failure to see democracy as what it truly is.
I hear a common complaint from those on the left about the way things work today: there is too much money in politics. It is true, of course, but why is it true? Because that is what democracy is. Cronyism and protectionism is democracy. Look at the people Obama put into office (you’ll have to scroll down a bit in there). The president’s cabinets are made up of leaders of the industry that they are supposed to be regulating. What could possibly go wrong? And protectionism! When laws can be made that give me the exclusive right to run taxi cabs in the city of New York, the effect is not a benefit to society, it is a huge boon to my company and it impoverishes the average guy. Not does the average guy now have no ability to start a taxi cab company and make a living for himself in NYC, he also is forced to pay my monopoly prices to get around town in a taxi. That is what lobbying is for, and it is one of the major premises of democracy. I believe democracy to be the enemy of equality (and when enshrined in law, both are the enemy of freedom) as well as equity. Let me explain…
Morality is consistent. If an action is wrong for one individual, it is wrong for all individuals – no matter how numerous they are if it is a group or powerful he is if it is an individual. It is wrong if I decide that I want to take money from you, punch from you, kidnap you, kill you, or otherwise exploit you in a way that is immoral, whether I am the president, King of Iceland, the city council, the poorest guy in town, a transvestite lesbian cyborg prostitute Baptist, or one of many in a mob who agrees with my beliefs. Under democracy, where laws are created to protect the business of one man and others ignored, the man is not being treated equally or equitably. He is capturing aspects of the market to which he would not have access but for the force of the law. He has not earned his position, he has forced it upon others by buying politicians.
This moral principle also extends to elected officials. Under many circumstances today, evil done by those in high office is ignored. An easy example is George Bush’s policies, which are reported to have killed anywhere from 100,000 to 1,000,000 civilians in Iraq. Imagine what the punishment would be for a mass-murderer who was somehow able to get away with stalking and killing 100,000 people. The gallows, perhaps? Some of the immature of us might want the perp tortured and kept alive for as long as his natural life will allow to make up for all of the pain caused. But alas, this is democracy people, and Bush was a president, don’t you see?! Not a single person in the Bush Administration has been prosecuted to this day. In fact, conservatives, so-called champions of morality and justice, are often found defending these actions as “for the purpose of some greater good.” Nonsense. Any man who deliberately causes the death of that many innocent human beings is guilty of mass murder. Whether he should face the death penalty, life in prison, or banishment from civil society for such a deed is a question for the judiciary, but he is not an exception merely because he is president. You see, one of the touted great things about democracy is free elections and the ability for anyone to claim any office that he has the necessary votes to claim. The president is just an average Joe off the street. He is not only deserving of no exception to the law, but should be required to have a higher standard of moral action than those in the private sphere, since his actions necessarily affect millions. Unfortunately this is not how democrats (little ‘d’) view the world. The president is exceptional. He is off the hook. He is moral king. And if you are foolish enough to call him on the matter, you will be accused of not having enough respect for the office of the presidency. This, as if having a job gives a human being the deference of the creator-god of morality. This, as if all janitors should be exempt from the rules governing murder, merely for the fact that they are janitors. Is this a sensical thing to believe? This is the equity of democracy, that when someone is elected into office the rules no longer apply because the courts of public opinion are worth more than the reality of the moral law? It is outrageous. But it is a function of democratic rule that public opinion is more important than any other principle, no matter if a constitution says otherwise. It is shameful, plain and simple.
A bridge to the next point, Walter E. Williams:
By the democratic principles we espouse, government cannot have a right that citizens do not grant it. There are certain things that a person has no right to do. A person has no right to murder or rape another. Therefore, people cannot grant government authority to murder and rape. Similarly, no person has the right to forcibly take the property of one person in order to give it to another. Therefore, people cannot grant government authority to do the same thing. If I forcibly took property from one person, for any reason, most people would condemn it as theft, an immoral act. Theft or any other immoral act does not become moral because it is done by government acting on behalf of a consensus or majority vote just as murder or rape does not become a moral act simply because of a consensus or majority vote.
Democracy/voting as a political philosophy is completely incoherent. Here is the theory: We each have certain rights that exist naturally, for the fact that we are human. We, as individuals, give some of those rights that we have to the government so the government may exist, tax us, and so on. The government uses those rights to help us flourish as a society, and we are all happy, there are puppies and rainbows everywhere, and life goes on. Make sense? At first glance, perhaps, but on second look this theory is nonsense. My natural rights that exist in me the individual before I “give them over” to the government do not include the ability to kill others (except in self defense, which by definition must be certain and immanent grave harm that is reasonably believed to pose threat to life to be legitimate) or the ability to take property from others without their consent or permission (this is commonly known as theft when done by an individual). How then am I to understand that when I, as an individual, delegate my inherent rights to the government (a collective group of men that is no greater than its individual parts), the government gains the right to kill others, tax others, or have the ability to do anything that was never included in my individual personal rights to begin with? If I do not have the right to tax my neighbor when I am sitting in my house by myself, how can I give the right to tax my neighbor to the government? I cannot. In a coherent political theory, the government would not be able to do anything that an individual by himself would have no right to do.
Murray Rothbard spent his life combating statism of all sorts, but democratic statism above all. I will let him do some of the speaking on the incoherence of democracy as a political theory:
[S]uppose that the majority overwhelmingly wishes to establish a popular dictator or the rule of a single party. The people wish to surrender all decision-making into his or its hands. Does the system of democracy permit itself to be voted democratically out of existence? Whichever way the democrat answers, he is caught in an inescapable contradiction. If the majority can vote into power a dictator who will end further elections, then democracy is really ending its own existence. From then on, there is no longer democracy, although there is continuing majority consent to the dictatorial party or ruler. Democracy, in that case, becomes a transition to a nondemocratic form of government. On the other hand, if, as it is now fashionable to maintain, the majority of voters in a democracy are prohibited from doing one thing—ending the democratic elective process itself—then this is no longer democracy, because the majority of voters can no longer rule. The election process may be preserved, but how can it express that majority rule essential to democracy if the majority cannot end this process should it so desire? In short, democracy requires two conditions for its existence: majority rule over governors or policies, and periodic, equal voting. So if the majority wishes to end the voting process, democracy cannot be preserved regardless of which horn of the dilemma is chosen. The idea that the “majority must preserve the freedom of the minority to become the majority” is then seen, not as a preservation of democracy, but as simply an arbitrary value judgment on the part of the political scientist (or at least it remains arbitrary until justified by some cogent ethical theory).
. . .
Democracy suffers from many more inherent contradictions as well. Thus, democratic voting may have either one of these two functions: to determine governmental policy or to select rulers. According to the former, what Schumpeter termed the “classical” theory of democracy, the majority will is supposed to rule on issues. According to the latter theory, majority rule is supposed to be confined to choosing rulers, who in turn decide policy. While most political scientists support the latter version, democracy means the former version to most people, and we shall therefore discuss the classical theory first.
According to the “will of the people” theory, direct democracy—voting on each issue by all the citizens, as in New England town meetings—is the ideal political arrangement. Modern civilization and the complexities of society, however, are supposed to have outmoded direct democracy, so that we must settle for the less perfect “representative democracy” (in olden days often called a “republic”), where the people select representatives to give effect to their will on political issues. Logical problems arise almost immediately. One is that different forms of electoral arrangements, different delimitations of geographical districts, all equally arbitrary, will often greatly alter the picture of the “majority will.” If a country is divided into districts for choosing representatives, then “gerrymandering” is inherent in such a division: there is no satisfactory, rational way of demarking the divisions. The party in power at the time of division, or redivision, will inevitably alter the districts to produce a systematic bias in its favor; but no other way is inherently more rational or more truly evocative of majority will. Moreover, the very division of the earth’s surface into countries is itself arbitrary. If a government covers a certain geographical area, does “democracy” mean that a majority group in a certain district should be permitted to secede and form its own government, or to join another country? Does democracy mean majority rule over a larger, or over a smaller, area? In short, which majority should prevail? The very concept of a national democracy is, in fact, self-contradictory. For if someone contends that the majority in Country X should govern that country, then it could be argued with equal validity that the majority of a certain district within Country X should be allowed to govern itself and secede from the larger country, and this subdividing process can logically proceed down to the village block, the apartment house, and, finally, each individual, thus marking the end of all democratic government through reduction to individual self-government. But if such a right of secession is denied, then the national democrat must concede that the more numerous population of other countries should have a right to outvote his country; and so he must proceed upwards to a world government run by a world majority rule. In short, the democrat who favors national government is self-contradictory; he must favor a world government or none at all.
Aside from this problem of the geographical boundary of the government or electoral district, the democracy that tries to elect representatives to effect the majority will runs into further problems. Certainly some form of proportional representation would be mandatory, to arrive at a kind of cross section of public opinion. Best would be a proportional representation scheme for the whole country—or world—so that the cross section is not distorted by geographic considerations. But here again, different forms of proportional representation will lead to very different results. The critics of proportional representation retort that a legislature elected on this principle would be unstable and that elections should result in a stable majority government. The reply to this is that, if we wish to represent the public, a cross section is required, and the instability of representation is only a function of the instability or diversity of public opinion itself. The “efficient government” argument can be pursued, therefore, only if we abandon the classical “majority-will” theory completely and adopt the second theory—that the only function of the majority is to choose rulers.
But even proportional representation would not be as good—according to the classical view of democracy—as direct democracy, and here we come to another important and neglected consideration: modern technology does make it possible to have direct democracy. Certainly, each man could easily vote on issues several times per week by recording his choice on a device attached to his television set. This would not be difficult to achieve. And yet, why has no one seriously suggested a return to direct democracy, now that it may be feasible? The people could elect representatives through proportional representation, solely as advisers, to submit bills to the people, but without having ultimate voting power themselves. The final vote would be that of the people themselves, all voting directly. In a sense, the entire voting public would be the legislature, and the representatives could act as committees to bring bills before this vast legislature. The person who favors the classical view of democracy must, therefore, either favor virtual eradication of the legislature (and, of course, of executive veto power) or abandon his theory.
The objection to direct democracy will undoubtedly be that the people are uninformed and therefore not capable of deciding on the complex issues that face the legislature. But, in that case, the democrat must completely abandon the classical theory that the majority should decide on issues, and adopt the modern doctrine that the function of democracy is majority choice of rulers, who, in turn, will decide the policies. Let us, then, turn to this doctrine. It faces, fully as much as the classical theory, the self-contradiction on national or electoral boundaries; and the “modern democrat” (if we may call him such), as much as the “classical democrat” must advocate world government or none at all. On the question of representation, it is true that the modern democrat can successfully oppose direct television-democracy, or even proportional representation, and resort to our current system of single constituencies. But he is caught in a different dilemma: if the only function of the voting people is to choose rulers, why have a legislature at all? Why not simply vote periodically for a chief executive, or President, and then call it a day? If the criterion is efficiency, and stable rule by a single party for the term of office, then a single executive will be far more stable than a legislature, which may always splinter into warring groups and deadlock the government. The modern democrat, therefore, must also logically abandon the idea of a legislature and plump for granting all legislative powers to the elected executive. Both theories of democracy, it seems, must abandon the whole idea of a representative legislature.
Furthermore, the “modern democrat” who scoffs at direct democracy on the ground that the people are not intelligent or informed enough to decide the complex issues of government, is caught in another fatal contradiction: he assumes that the people are sufficiently intelligent and informed to vote on the people who will make these decisions. But if a voter is not competent to decide issues A, B, C, etc., how in the world could he possibly be qualified to decide whether Mr. X or Mr. Y is better able to handle A, B, or C? In order to make this decision, the voter would have to know a great deal about the issues and know enough about the persons whom he is selecting. In short, he would probably have to know more in a representative than in a direct democracy. Furthermore, the average voter is necessarily less qualified to choose persons to decide issues than he is to vote on the issues themselves. For the issues are at least intelligible to him, and he can understand some of their relevance; but the candidates are people whom he cannot possibly know personally and whom he therefore knows essentially nothing about. Hence, he can vote for them only on the basis of their external “personalities,” glamorous smiles, etc., rather than on their actual competence; as a result, however ill-informed the voter, his choice is almost bound to be less intelligent under a representative republic than in a direct democracy.
We have seen the problems that democratic theory has with the legislature. It also has difficulty with the judiciary. In the first place, the very concept of an “independent judiciary” contradicts the theory of democratic rule (whether classical or modern). If the judiciary is really independent of the popular will, then it functions, at least within its own sphere, as an oligarchic dictatorship, and we can no longer call the government a “democracy.” On the other hand, if the judiciary is elected directly by the voters, or appointed by the voters’ representatives (both systems are used in the United States), then the judiciary is hardly independent. If the election is periodic, or if the appointment is subject to renewal, then the judiciary is no more independent of political processes than any other branch of government. If the appointment is for life, then the independence is greater, although even here, if the legislature votes the funds for the judges’ salaries, or if it decides the jurisdiction of judicial powers, judicial independence may be sharply impaired.
We have not exhausted the problems and contradictions of democratic theory; and we may pursue the rest by asking: Why democracy anyway? Until now, we have been discussing various theories of how democracies should function, or what areas (e.g., issues or rulers) should be governed by the democratic process. We may now inquire about the theories that support and justify democracy itself.
One theory, again of classical vintage, is that the majority will always, or almost always, make the morally right decisions (whether about issues or men). Since this is not an ethical treatise, we cannot deal further with this doctrine, except to say that few people hold this view today. It has been demonstrated that people can democratically choose a wide variety of policies and rulers, and the experience of recent centuries has, for the most part, vitiated any faith that people may have had in the infallible wisdom and righteousness of the average voter.
I would advise anyone with illusions about what the state is and is not (hint: all of us) to take a good hard look at Rothbard’s Anatomy of the State. Some here:
The State is almost universally considered an institution of social service. Some theorists venerate the State as the apotheosis of society; others regard it as an amiable, though often inefficient, organization for achieving social ends; but almost all regard it as a necessary means for achieving the goals of mankind, a means to be ranged against the “private sector” and often winning in this competition of resources. With the rise of democracy, the identification of the State with society has been redoubled, until it is common to hear sentiments expressed which violate virtually every tenet of reason and common sense such as, “we are the government.” The useful collective term “we” has enabled an ideological camouflage to be thrown over the reality of political life. If “we are the government,” then anything a government does to an individual is not only just and untyrannical but also “voluntary” on the part of the individual concerned. If the government has incurred a huge public debt which must be paid by taxing one group for the benefit of another, this reality of burden is obscured by saying that “we owe it to ourselves”; if the government conscripts a man, or throws him into jail for dissident opinion, then he is “doing it to himself” and, therefore, nothing untoward has occurred. Under this reasoning, any Jews murdered by the Nazi government were not murdered; instead, they must have “committed suicide,” since they were the government (which was democratically chosen), and, therefore, anything the government did to them was voluntary on their part. One would not think it necessary to belabor this point, and yet the overwhelming bulk of the people hold this fallacy to a greater or lesser degree.
We must, therefore, emphasize that “we” are not the government; the government is not “us.” The government does not in any accurate sense “represent” the majority of the people. But, even if it did, even if 70 percent of the people decided to murder the remaining 30 percent, this would still be murder and would not be voluntary suicide on the part of the slaughtered minority. No organicist metaphor, no irrelevant bromide that “we are all part of one another,” must be permitted to obscure this basic fact.
If, then, the State is not “us,” if it is not “the human family” getting together to decide mutual problems, if it is not a lodge meeting or country club, what is it? Briefly, the State is that organization in society which attempts to maintain a monopoly of the use of force and violence in a given territorial area; in particular, it is the only organization in society that obtains its revenue not by voluntary contribution or payment for services rendered but by coercion. While other individuals or institutions obtain their income by production of goods and services and by the peaceful and voluntary sale of these goods and services to others, the State obtains its revenue by the use of compulsion; that is, by the use and the threat of the jailhouse and the bayonet. Having used force and violence to obtain its revenue, the State generally goes on to regulate and dictate the other actions of its individual subjects. One would think that simple observation of all States through history and over the globe would be proof enough of this assertion; but the miasma of myth has lain so long over State activity that elaboration is necessary.
After more than a century of compulsory democracy, the predictable results are before our very eyes. The tax load imposed on property owners and producers makes the economic burden of slaves and serfs seem moderate in comparison. Government debt has risen to breathtaking heights. Gold has been replaced by government manufactured paper as money, and its value has continually dwindled. Every detail of private life, property, trade, and contract is regulated by ever higher mountains of paper laws (legislation). In the name of social, public or national security, our caretakers “protect” us from global warming and cooling and the extinction of animals and plants, from husbands and wives, parents and employers, poverty, disease, disaster, ignorance, prejudice, racism, sexism, homophobia, and countless other public enemies and dangers. And with enormous stockpiles of weapons of aggression and mass destruction they “defend” us, even outside of the U.S., from ever new Hitlers and all suspected Hitlerite sympathizers.
However, the only task a government was ever supposed to assume – of protecting our life and property – our caretakers do not perform. To the contrary, the higher the expenditures on social, public, and national security have risen, the more our private property rights have been eroded, the more our property has been expropriated, confiscated, destroyed, and depreciated, and the more we have been deprived of the very foundation of all protection: of personal independence, economic strength, and private wealth. The more paper laws have been produced, the more legal uncertainty and moral hazard has been created, and lawlessness has displaced law and order. And while we have become ever more helpless, impoverished, threatened, and insecure, our rulers have become increasingly more corrupt, dangerously armed, and arrogant.
At this point, the question of the future of liberalism arises. It is appropriate to return to my beginning: to Ludwig von Mises and the idea of a liberal social order. Like Etienne de la Boétie and David Hume before him, Mises recognized that the power of every government whether of princes or caretakers, benevolent men or tyrants, rests ultimately on opinion rather than physical force. The agents of government are always only a small proportion of the total population under their control, whether under princely or democratic rule. Even smaller is the proportion of central government agents. But this implies that a government, and in particular a central government, cannot possibly impose its will upon the entire population, unless it finds widespread support and voluntary cooperation within the nongovernmental public. As La Boétie put it:
He who thus domineers over you. . . has indeed nothing more than the power that you confer upon him to destroy you. Where has he acquired enough eyes to spy upon you, if you do not provide them yourselves? How can he have so many arms to beat you with, if he does not borrow them from you? The feet that trample down your cities, where does he get them if they are not your own? How does he have any power over you except through you? How would he dare assail you if he had no cooperation from you? What would he do to you if you yourself did not connive with the thief who plunders you, if you were not accomplices of the murderer who kills you, if you were not traitors to yourselves? You sow your crops in order that he may ravage them, you install and furnish your homes to give him goods to pillage; you rear your daughters that he may gratify his lust; you bring up your children in order that he many confer upon them the greatest privilege he knows to be led into his battles, to be delivered to his butchery, to be made the servants of his greed and the instruments of his vengeance; you yield your bodies unto hard labour in order that he may indulge in his delights and wallow in his filthy pleasures; you weaker yourselves in order to make him the stronger and mightier to hold you in check.
It is time to withdraw our consent from democratic totalitarianism. I would encourage anyone who is interested in the theory that democracy is a terrible political system read Hans Hoppe’s Democracy: The God that Failed. This book was one of the ones which once I read, the scales fell from my eyes and I realized what the system truly was. Let’s continue.
Pragmatism creates evil. One of the most common arguments I hear in favor of voting is the pragmatist argument. Briefly mentioned above, it is the idea that I am “wasting my vote” if I do not vote for the lesser of the two evils that represent the evil and the dumb party, as they are so commonly called. “Be pragmatic,” they tell me. Voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for evil. I will not do it. Things are getting much, much worse in this country on terms of human rights, the economy, and for those unlucky enough to be born into a country we [willy-nilly] decide is bad. Game theory, a mathematical analysis that uses modal logic to show what the optimal results of the choices of individuals will be, concludes under all scenarios that when we consistently choose the lesser of two evils, the candidates tend to get more and more evil over time. If we consent to evil policy X, because the other candidate wants evil policies X and Y, it is likely that in the next election cycle the people will be browbeaten enough to accept evil policy X and Y in the next election (the more evil alternative in this case would then have evil policies X, Y, and Z, and so on). The masses are easily herded into intellectual pens in the furtherance of evil term by term. I mean, look at how many think voting is important! 😉
What I see in the pragmatism-is-best argument is a moral relativism that many people would never choose when given a false dichotomy except in the scenario of voting. When there is an choice between two evils in someone’s life that is nearly inevitable, the moral response is and always has been to try and seek a third way that might provide the right response to the situation. The more people that do this in a situation like voting, the more likely we all are to finally change the system to reflect our values, not just the avoidance of the least shitty option. Why not have standards? Why not have a real choice, for once?
What I also see in pragmatism is a rejection of all principle that would make the greatest leaders in history cringe. What would the result have been if Ghandi, Thomas Jefferson, Jesus the Christ, Socrates, Isaac Newton, Blaise Pascal, Oskar Schindler, Martin Luther King, Jr., Henry David Thoreau, Lysander Spooner, Malcolm X, Nelson Mandela, and Leonidas I stuck to the status quo and went with the pragmatic and practical? Have you pragmatists forgotten all of the great men of history, who struck out against notions such as tyranny, oppression, and evil when they saw it? Pragmatism is often the way of sheep, fools, and cowards. How are we to know the difference, if none will fight for what is good, true, and right?
Instead of the “pragmatic response” of voting for the lesser of two evils pushing us toward a better future (the lesser does not exist given the fact that both parties support a vast majority of the policies outlines above – even abortion), it allows those of sycophantic and sociopathic governance to believe that the masses really do love their chains and the policies that cannot be described as anything other than evil. You are urging them to continue down this one path toward state-rule of every nook and cranny. You cannot know who will do more damage to the country to begin with, since none of us can tell the future. It is impossible to know. But say it weren’t. If you had to choose the lesser between two evils, I want to play. Would you choose: Stalin or Mao? How many millions will you support the killing of to keep your mental illusion that voting for the lesser of two evils is the right thing to do? The moral response to the question is neither. There comes a time when it is no longer the right thing to do to support the lesser of two evils. We are far past that point, even if millions of lives are not at stake.
Not voting does not equate to apathy. A choice to not vote is not a choice for one or the other of the candidates. It is a vote against the evil of the system itself. We must withdraw our consent from a structure that systematically dismantles livelihoods and lives. The Kirkpatrick Doctrine-esque thought that we should support our guy in his pursuit of policy A because he has a R next to his name rather than the other guy’s pursuit of policy A (after all, he does have a D next to his name!) is hypocritical and leads more often than not to cognitive dissonance as to our chosen candidate’s moral stature. Again, this is a dissonance most people call moral relativism. Simply because we are forced to choose between two immoral men does not mean we cannot choose a third path or withdraw our consent altogether. Life is not a soccer match, and we don’t have to support either team if they are pulling out machetes in hopes that they will disable the other team enough to win. We can walk away from the match and demand a refund, and the more of us that do it, the better things will get.
Big democratic governmentalism has been tried now, for nearly the whole of the 20th and 21st century thus far, all over the world. It has utterly failed, and led almost across the board to widespread immorality and injustice. More than that, it has led to deep apathy. We would be much better off without it. I am not advocating anarchism. I am advocating the ability to secede from a system of injustice. I should not have to pay taxes that will pay for a bomb that inevitably will kill some mom and child in Yemen. I should not have to pay taxes for abortion. And no, don’t feed me the empty lines about social contracts or “that’s how the system works.” Nonsense. That type of thinking is evil-enabling, and a further secrifice of morality for pragmatism. The older generations need to stop thinking that way, or nothing will change. That is exactly the problem.
This situation is not hopeless. It is about education, it is about self-sufficiency, and it is about morality. How bad do things have to get before you start to say “That is IT! I am not going to take this any more!” Start today. What if there was a war and no one came? What if there was a tax and no one paid? What if there was an election and no one voted? I will tell you what would happen in the last circumstance. The regime would lose all credibility and the gears of force would slow significantly. How about no more force? How about we stop with that whole line of thinking?
This leads me to my last point…
Turning the tables: It is immoral to vote. Not only do I think that we have our morality on voting mistaken, I believe we have it backwards. In many circumstances in the U.S., it is immoral to vote, not to withhold from voting. There are rare circumstances in which this is not the case, such as when the vote is aimed at the passage at an initiative or referendum that will create or repeal some legislation or other on an issue. This is very rare, though, because it is generally the case that there are two options given in such a vote, and a third option that is unlisted on the ballot is the most moral of all possible options. I digress. Let me move back to why it is likely more moral to refrain from voting than it is to vote.
Understanding why this is the case requires us to analyze what the government in the U.S. has become. Though tangentially referenced above, there are several policies which I believe every modern presidential election entails that are inherently immoral, or at least should alarm us to moral ends and means of the state. Briefly, the following (of which I have elaborated many times on this blog) policies are implicated with our votes for president:
- The funding of government programs for today’s generation via debt, that is, a claim on the future labor of yet unborn generations.
- Drone warfare, in-city bomb use, economic sanctions, pre-emptive and preventative war, extraordinary rendition, and torture tactics.
- The selective suspension of habeus corpus, warrantless wiretapping, executive orders giving the president fearsome powers in emergencies.
- Redistributive taxation, including but not limited to: the income tax, Social Security, and Medicare.
Every time you vote for president today, the president will be pursuing at least some of these morally questionable policies. You can be certain that whoever wins the election this year will do evil, the above principles are now inherent in the system. Your vote is essentially “what flavor of force do I want to use on my fellow man today?” given the candidates at hand. If I vote for Romney, and he pursues a policy of drone warfare in Iran that obliterates cities and towns full of innocents, I will bear responsibility for supporting him – whether or not my vote actually matters. Can I shoulder that vicarious burden in good conscience? How many of us even think about the tax dollars that we paid that went into some missile that killed a woman and child in Pakistan?
Stay tuned for my analysis of the Catholic arguments for voting, if any remain…
In case I missed anything: