"It [government] covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting: such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to be nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd." ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
I Don't and Won't Vote: Here's Why
Exclusive to STR
It was really Larken Rose’s idea, not mine. In case you don’t know who Larken is, he is a fellow anarchist, but is more infamous still for his assertion that there is in fact no government law that makes anyone liable for the U.S. income tax. While I agree with his overall assessment, I profoundly disagree with the specific intellectual path by which he arrives at the same conclusion. No matter. We’re both a lot more on the same page when it comes to viewing government in general as possessing not a shred of legitimacy in a sane, rational, and hence, real world. Thus, I tried repeating a little social experiment I heard him describe once on Marc Stevens’ The No-State Project.
I recently attended a college class wherein I was giving a presentation on Anarchism in America, and I started it off something like this:
“All right, here it is: I hereby unilaterally declare forever and hereafter that I will never use physical violence, fraud, or deception in order to control the life or property of anyone in this room. Is that clear?”
There were eight other people in the room, one of whom was the professor. Everyone nodded assent. So far so good.
“Okay. Now, is there anyone here who does not agree to extend the same treatment and philosophy towards myself?”
The professor asked for some clarification, and made clear his belief that he felt hurting someone’s feelings, even by proxy, might constitute aggression. I tried assuring him that this wasn’t so, but that started eating up a lot of time. In the end, he abstained from answering either Yes or No. No one else objected in any way to what I’d said.
“Well, all right. Now, let me see a show of hands – how many of you are voters?”
To my shock, everyone raised a hand – except me, of course.
“Wow,” I said, genuinely stunned. “Well, my next question to all of you then is, when are you going to stop voting?”
Blank stares, and mostly grim ones at that. One fellow said, in a harsh, defiant tone, “Never!” I asked if everyone understood my position, and what I was getting at; to wit, that voting isn’t theft and murder in and of itself, but that it’s precisely like hiring a hit man to do the same things for you. Someone then said, “Yes, but not intentionally.” I tried responding, but things started to erupt from there, and I never got the chance.
Nothing, however, is erupting now except these words as I sit here typing on a warm, sunny morning at my writing desk, and so I will now form an answer.
I have a very hard time believing that grown adults, quite able to grasp the concepts I laid before them, do not understand what they are intentionally doing by being so foolish, shortsighted, self-degrading, and destructive as to continue voting in political elections. I also find it sad and utterly loathsome that those who vote, whether they recognize it or not, are nothing short of beggars with little or no self-respect. Voting is buying into a con-game. It is seeking permission to be given freedom – something voting and government will never and cannot by its very intrinsic nature give you even if those running it wanted to, which I assure you they don’t and never will. Voting is a tacit endorsement of inflicting theft and violence not only upon one’s self, but upon the rest of society and humanity in general. It is a callous disregard of life, liberty, and property. It is one of the most destructive activities imaginable, tantamount to robbery and murder.
I do not and resolutely refuse to vote because I hold myself to a higher moral and spiritual character. I have a stronger and healthier ego; a greater sense of pride and self-worth. I don’t get on my knees and beg anyone. I denounce thievery and violence; I consider myself more advanced than that. I possess greater intellect than to believe anything so preposterous as the notion that anyone else has the right to run my life or manage my property without my explicit consent – consent I refuse to give by voting.
I don’t need to be “one of the gang.” I don’t care about being “accepted” because I just do what everyone else does to avoid being considered too radical, or far-out, or just plain weird. I’m not caught up in those kinds of weak, ridiculous social threats that only prove the fear and ignorance of those who are timid victims of the lies and propaganda of the status quo hoi polloi. You know, the bullshit that says if you’ll only just be like everyone else, you’ll end up with all the girls, all the admiration, all the success. Try taking a look at where the people who believe that actually are and I need nothing more to prove my point. Being a challenger, a defier, a revolutionary, an outcast – these are things that take innovation. They take strength. They take integrity. They require principles and character. They take balls, dammit.
These are some of the reasons I don’t and won’t vote. For anyone. Ever. I invite you –the brave, the strong, the intelligent, and the wise to join me.
Oh, and in case this whole extrapolation sounded condescending and pedantic to you, go ahead and keep voting. See if it puts you on the high road.