"The champions of socialism call themselves progressives, but they recommend a system which is characterized by rigid observance of routine and by a resistance to every kind of improvement. They call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty. They call themselves democrats, but they yearn for dictatorship. They call themselves revolutionaries, but they want to make the government omnipotent. They promise the blessings of the Garden of Eden, but they plan to transform the world into a gigantic post office. Every man but one a subordinate clerk in a bureau. What an alluring utopia! What a noble cause to fight!" ~ Ludwig von Mises
Don't Vote, Not Even for Martha
There would be something satisfying seeing a President Stewart making life hell for her tormentors, but it doesn't justify voting for her. Nothing justifies voting for her -- or for anyone. Government should be abolished and its liberty-defending functions provided by a free market.
Sound crazy? How could it be any worse than what we have?
Is it necessary, really, to point out that government has no restraints, that it uses every vice imaginable to keep itself afloat? It long ago ceased to represent the American spirit of private enterprise and peace. Where did our downfall begin? Take your pick: You can go back to Roosevelt and his mangling of the economy and individual rights, or you can push further back to Wilson and the great slaughter, or a little earlier to 1913, when the funding for omnipotent government was established. Or you can re-visit the Big Lies of the nightmare of Lincoln's War. Even Shays' Rebellion did its part in setting the stage for tyranny when nationalists misrepresented the situation to prompt a reluctant George Washington to preside at the first coup in American history, the Constitutional Convention of 1787.
We're too busy with our private lives to keep watch over politicians. If Sears lets us down, they lose our business. If politicians do us in, we're still forced to deal with them.
Today's big party politicians know how to control us. They distract us, lie to us, bribe certain subclasses of us--and always menace us with the power they wield. Even if you vote a person of high character into office, either he'll cave to the lure of power or his successor will.
None of this is cause for hand-wringing; in fact, we should be celebrating. We have overwhelming evidence of government futility and destructiveness. We thought we could control government with a document and human vigilance. We were wrong. A correction is long overdue, and we have the power to initiate it.
No, as much as I sympathize with Martha Stewart, I wouldn't want her for president. So what's a conscientious voter to do?
Stay home during the primaries. Study monetary theory and American history instead of watching the political conventions. Avoid the polls in November. Don't give your next masters legitimacy. Vent your anger at the process itself. Vote by not voting. Maybe the thugs will get the message.
But perhaps you still insist: we need some government. We have to work within the system.
In establishing a government, you're conceding power to others to use force against you if you violate their laws. But how will you protect yourself if government uses force through laws that violate your liberty, such as income tax or conscription statutes? Hire a lawyer and hope for a technicality?
You might argue we can vote abusers of power out of office and cite the California recall as an example. At best, that's a spike not a trend. In politics, the trend is always less freedom, less of our money we keep, less our dollars are worth, and more state meddling in our lives.
Consider the case of Massachusetts in the 2002 elections. Carla Howell ran as the Libertarian Party's candidate for governor. Through an enthusiastic grass-roots initiative she also put a question on the ballot to end the state income tax. Howell had virtually no support in government or the media for the ballot question. If we end the income tax, her critics charged, old people would be neglected and school kids would have no schools.
When the election results were tallied, Howell the candidate received one percent of the vote. Her proposal to end the income tax received nearly forty-seven percent approval. If her ballot question had had decent pre-election coverage, that forty-seven percent would have been sixty percent or better. The people wanted government out of their pockets. But it was not to be. The political fortress was too well protected by a corrupt media to be reformed.
"Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil," Paine wrote in Common Sense. But evil is never necessary, it is just evil. A vote for a candidate today is almost certainly a vote to further abridge your liberty, endanger your life, and make you poorer. The election winner won't return your surrendered rights -- if you voted for him, you must not want them back. Jefferson thought a rebellion every twenty years was healthy for liberty. If we have a revolution to kill the state instead, we can put his recommendation to rest.
Will it be Bush or Kerry in November? The best choice is neither and no one. Ask instead: Will we send the political class a real message or not? Will it be more of the same or a bright new beginning?
Don't vote, not even for Martha.