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Home » Power to the People » Why vote?

Why vote?

by Alexander S. Peak

While I have come to doubt that freedom will ever be acquired through the ballot box, and while I defend the rights of nonvoters, I have not personally kicked the voting habit. With shame, I have continued to vote.

Recently, I’ve began asking myself why that is. Why do I continue to vote, even though I doubt it will bring about a freer world? The only answer I have come upon is that I hate war so much, I have not been able to bring myself to cease voting for antiwar candidates.

War is the single most disgusting activity ever engaged in by man. It is worse than theft (and, it is often funded through theft); it is worse than racism (and, it is often fueled by racism); it is worse than rape (and, it has historically incorporated systemic mass rape); it is worse than the murder of a single man, for it is nothing less than the act of murder on a grand scale. War degrades entire societies, devolving them into mobs of unthinking zombies. War debases every virtue.

Everything Murray Newton Rothbard and Harry Browne ever wrote about war is true.

When I think of innocent people burning in the fires of war, suffering, dying–well, that’s why I still vote.

With that said, none of this is to imply that people should vote. If you wish to continue not voting, more power to you! But, if you are going to vote, be sure you are voting for peace.


Find out more about Alex Peak here.

9 Responses to Why vote?

  1. Charles Reeder

    June 8, 2012 at 1:19 am

    I agree with this message it is the way I feel too.

  2. Fred Mangels

    June 8, 2012 at 10:56 am

    Good thinking.

  3. peteropolis

    June 9, 2012 at 10:54 am

    I do not believe in political parties, so please dont think I am against what most believe to be the “left”. Obama was an “anti war champion” to start, but he did nothing of the sort, so why vote when you know that each political party will get you to vote for them by whatever means neccessary, even… lies… ha ha ha, so again… Why vote?

  4. Tom

    June 9, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    To disagree with this I believe would take a lack of cognition. I vote because I believe I have no choice. Not voting is a choice. In my own deluded simple way I hold out for hope, hope the sorry SOB is actually telling the truth yet knowing he or she is lying for the power. I live in terror that if I do not vote that I will be responnsible for the coming atrocities. Too many times my vote has been defeated, even by the very person I vote for.
    There is no surity to voting, but there is by not voting, the asssurity of tyranny among other nasty things.

  5. Paul Bonneau

    June 9, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    This is equivalent to saying you will only vote for Ron Paul, since all other politicians lie about the matter. And we can’t even be sure of him.

    However I agree with you at least in theory. The one other possibly justifiable vote is “defensive voting”, not for a lying sack of shit politician, but against such ballot measures as tax hikes. Of course with vote fraud that is probably a waste of time too.

  6. Pingback: » War is the single most disgusting activity ever engaged in by man Neo Abolition

  7. Brian Drake

    June 9, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    I sympathize with you, and agree that ending war should be the top priority of every liberty lover. One quick correction: to my knowledge war is ALWAYS funded by theft. Not just “often”.

    The reality, unfortunately, is that your vote doesn’t count, and will NEVER count. First, there’s the simple mathematical reality that you are only 1 vote out of millions. The probability that your single vote will ever decide an election is virtually 0.

    Even if your vote miraculously did decide an election, you have to realize that election would be one of the closest in history. A candidate or referendum that won by a single vote would certainly not have an overwhelming public mandate and thus the political power to stop a war/march to war. That’s in the case of a singularly powerful person like the president. If you’re voting for a congressman/senator, even their individual opposition to war will do nothing to stop it. Take Ron Paul as a perfect example. How many wars has he stopped? Be honest: The answer is 0.

    And finally, let’s realize that voting is a meaningless distraction. Emma Goldman had it right: “If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.” Do you really think the war party (the parasitical special interests that profit from war/militarism) would let their gravy train really be impeded by something as meaningless as an election? Politicians come and go, the war party keeps on going. Don’t be naive enough to think your 5-minutes in a voting booth is an effective counter-measure to their evil machinations.

    Unless you have actual arguments to the contrary, I think it’s very clear that voting is impotent against war. So if it doesn’t actually serve that purpose, what purpose could it serve?

    That also seems clear: it’s simply to make you feel good.

    Initially it seems like there’s nothing wrong with that. Voting for an anti-war candidate (a real one) will make you feel good, even though it accomplished nothing. Seems innocent enough.

    But it’s not. Because by voting, you are participating, and by participating, you are contributing to the myth that the state is legitimate. And it is that myth that enables war to even happen (among the other evils the state commits).

    Though I love Lysander Spooner’s “No Treason”, I don’t fully agree with his particular argument about voting. When you vote, you are doing it with the expectation that if your candidate/referendum gets the winning number of votes, the “losers” will accept the legitimacy of the winner and abide by the election results. If this is not your expectation, why would you vote? For example: If you vote for Ron Paul, and he wins, you expect the losers to still accept him as president. You expect military leaders to obey him as CIC. You expect his signature on bills to make them law, and his veto of bills to require an override in order to become law. You expect his executive orders to be followed by executive branch departments. You aren’t voting for Ron Paul so that if he wins, everyone says “yeah, but we don’t agree with him, so we’re going to treat the other guy as president instead.” So since you vote with this expectation, are you not implicitly agreeing to the same expectation of your “opponents” as well? If THEIR guy wins, are you not agreeing to treat him as winner, just as you would expect them to if yours won? When you enter a casino, you do so agreeing that if you win, you get the winnings, but if you lose, the casino keeps your money. If you’re planning to take your winnings, you’re not in a moral position to whine and complain and deny legitimacy if [when] you lose.

    “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain” – Like most statist bromides, the truth is the exact opposite. If you vote, you have NO RIGHT to complain. As described above, if the vote had gone in your favor, you wouldn’t have denied the results. So what moral standing do you have to protest when you lose? Only if you don’t vote can you complain, since you didn’t agree to the rotten (and rigged) game to begin with!

    So by participating in the election, you ARE declaring it to be legitimate. Of course, that doesn’t make it legitimate. The state’s legitimacy is a lie. By participating, you are contributing to that lie.

    There is only one vote you can cast that will actually do anything; that is to not vote at all. Refuse to voluntarily participate. We are threatened by violence from the state in a myriad of ways and thus most of us comply, under duress. Voting is not compulsory, so it is one of the few areas where you can refuse and not suffer violence.

    No, your abstaining from participating will not have an immediate effect, so it may seem as useless as voting. The myth of the state’s legitimacy doesn’t hinge on one person saying “the emperor has no clothes”. It will take a critical mass (some estimate 5-10% of the population – I don’t think the actual number can be predicted) laughing at the naked emperor/empire before the myth evaporates. But every person who “opts out” is +1 in the right direction, and unlike most things regarding the state, this is a decision you have 100% control over.

    And there’s the added bonus that it does feel really good too, in a genuine way. When an election comes up and I proudly declare “I did NOT vote today”, it’s a great statement, and one I make with a completely clear conscience.

  8. evan

    June 9, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    While I recognize your desire to improve the human condition by voting for antiwar candidates I believe your sentiment is misguided. The problem is that every vote cast lends legitimacy to the electoral process and ultimately the government that assumes power, which sadly are reliably pro-war. Its like gambling; you pay your money, take your chance, and abide with the outcome.

    Better, I say, to boycott elections and not participate in the process.

  9. Glock27

    June 10, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    There are too many accurate and inaccurate statements here regarding the voting issue. I say that a “Mountain Man” is the freest of all. He does not have to dork around with voting, he dosen’t pay taxes because the fed gov cann’t find him and has no idea that he exist; they’er just missing a John Doe of whom they will presume is dead and of no consequence to them (which is true, just as we are of no consequence to the fed gov. Liberty is not easy in either case because of the “Human Condition”.
    I have not discovered how to live with all this federal crap. I don’t see a solution except having the temerity to liquidate yourself from the meley.
    Last year I read an article about an Army officer working on his Masters in Business. He surveyed a collective group of grunts. One of the questions he asked was “Your commanding officer tells you the President has given an order to confiscate all civilian firearms. You are faced with a civilian who refuses to give up his arms. Do you shoot him and take the weapons, or do you refuse to obey a direct order given by the Commander In Chief?
    I was sickened to know that many would shoot me for my refusal to give up my arms, and you know the Police will have no problem with shooting you given the number of innocent people who have been murdered by them and they get away free.
    Not voting is a choice which will lead to tragic consequences. Voting is a coersion–leading to a tragic consequence.