A Reason Not to Vote

Column by Stephen Nichols.

Exclusive to STR

I don't know about you, but I take a look at my financial situation pretty regularly. I like to keep tabs on my family's spending and keep things under control. I also like to reduce or eliminate any unnecessary expenses. Take a moment to review this chart of some recent family spending:

Notice anything big that sticks out there? Yeah, me too. Taxes! Our single largest monthly expense is federal income taxes. I'm self-employed, so my family has the joy of cutting a check to the federal government every month to the tune of about $2,800.

By comparison, we spend only $1,268/month on our mortgage. Our federal income tax liability is 2.2 times our housing costs!

I took some time recently to break down what that $2,800 per month is spent on by the federal government. I computed these numbers by looking at the budgeted expenditures of the federal government in 2012 and applying the categorical spending percentages to my monthly expense (source: www.usgovernmentspending.com). The results were both shocking and horrifying to me. Take a look:

$672/month for defense
$616/month for health care
$616/month for pensions
$336/month for welfare
$168/month for interest
$140/month for "other spending"
$112/month for education
$84/month for transportation
$56/month for protection

Now, some interesting facts about this breakdown in regards to my family:

1. We don't agree with the wars being prosecuted by our government.
2. We don't use government health care.
3. We don't receive a government pension.
4. We're not on government welfare or assistance.
5. We home school our kids and, as such, we don't benefit from government spending on education.
6. We didn't decide to run up absurd deficits to incur monthly interest payments.

Those elements above account for $2,520 of our monthly federal tax bill (a whopping 90%!). These are programs that we explicitly disagree with, don't want, don't use, and yet, are forced to pay for. Looking at "other spending" and "protection" in more detail would likely uncover more spending that fits this description. But, for the purposes of this essay, focusing on the top 90% is good enough.

The Problem

The problem with this situation is simple: we're being forced to pay for things that we don't want by people we don't know that have no interest in looking out for our best interests. If we don't pay, we may be jailed, fined, penalized or financially destroyed. The fact is that this money is taken from my family under threat of force, just as it's taken from you and your family under threat of force.

Any person capable of reason can see the inescapable conclusions of that fact: taxation is not voluntary. And, since taxation is not voluntary, it is clearly a form of extortion and robbery.

Chances are that you've been brainwashed into thinking that taxation is voluntary. The government makes this claim regularly when approached on the subject (sources: Forbes, YouTube). Yet, what reasoned argument can you make to defend that position? In any other case, you would see clearly that something taken from you, under threat of force, is obviously not voluntary.

Perhaps it's because you agree with the taxes that you do pay, and thus your agreement makes them voluntary. If you voluntarily agree to pay your taxes and agree with how they are spent then there's no problem. The problem arises when you disagree with taxation itself or how the money is spent once it's paid. Unless you're an unreasoning fool or are an unquestioning "patriot," you likely have some disagreement with the levels of taxation or how your taxes are spent once taken. If that's true, then this point on the voluntary nature of taxation applies directly to you.

Obvious Illegitimacy

This force-based funding behavior that the government engages in has one natural consequence in my mind: it destroys any shred of legitimacy government would claim.

To a reasonable person's mind, this is obvious. Do you see a thief as legitimate? Do you see murderer as legitimate? How about a rapist? Of course not. Yet, if you see government as legitimate then you are deluding yourself. Because, just like a thief, government takes the product of your labor through force. Because, just like a murderer, government would deprive you of your life if you choose to deny its take. Because, just like a rapist, government would beat you into submission if you refuse its advances.

Think on that. Government exists because of force, not voluntary exchange. Government feeds itself through extorted funds at your expense. And, once it takes your livelihood, it does as it pleases without any oversight or control. It is an out of control beast whose gaping maw can never be filled. It always wants more and more and more! It won't stop until we are all consumed.

If government funded itself on voluntary payments then it would at least be well on its way toward gaining legitimacy in my mind. Yet, we all know that government will never do that. And we know very well why that is. If taxpayers were given the choice to pay or not, the system would rapidly collapse. This is because most people would choose not to pay. Why is that? The reason is simple: government doesn't provide a service that people would choose to pay for. If government were a business, it would have no customers. As such, it would rapidly dissolve.

Government knows this. So, it is compelled to use force to achieve its goals. Force is the only way to fund an organization that, given the free choice, people would choose not to fund or participate in. Extortion and robbery are the required foundations of this crooked scheme.

At its very core, government is a thoroughly contemptible entity unworthy of the support of any moral human being. Any entity that lives only because of the threat of force and coercion should be flatly rejected on moral grounds. I don't mean some morality handed down by God (although nearly all religions abhor such forceful entities), but the morality of reason. If you can reject a thief on the one hand but not the government on the other, then you must be an unreasoning brute. By what machinations of non-thought can you withhold contempt from one but grant it to the other?

Refuse to think all you like, but the conclusion is inescapable to me: government is not legitimate.

Voting is Immoral

Voting isn't just the simple act of marking a ballot on Election Day. It is a statement of principle. When you vote, you grant to others power you don't have. Do you claim to have the right to take $2,800 a month from my family and spend it as you please? Would you do so yourself? If so, you're a thief. If not, you're a hypocrite. Because, when you vote, you purport to grant this power you do not have to others. When you vote, you are a thief by proxy.

By what right do you do this? Can you even articulate your reasoning for this action that is so antithetical to freedom? I dare you to try. You might surprise yourself with the answer.

When you vote, you participate in the theft and extortion of yourself and others. When you vote, you are an accessory to theft, extortion and all the crimes perpetrated by the beast of government. Your vote is what gives legitimacy to the illegitimate.

The conclusion is inescapable: voting is an immoral act. It defies reason and incriminates the voter in all manner of transgressions -- not unlike holding down a victim while your neighbor has his way with her. It's detestable and I see no reason to ever participate in it unless I choose to be a criminal too.

There are only two answers to this problem: embrace being a thief or don't vote. For me, the only answer is don't vote.

Your rating: None Average: 10 (3 votes)
Stephen Nichols's picture
Columns on STR: 4

 I'm a professional game developer with a love of philosophy and liberty!  Check out my blogs:


Jim Davies's picture

Excellent, Stephen, thank you.

The chart you referenced didn't show up, but I found it at http://www.onemanswisdom.info/

The picture you painted is more than ample to support your theme, but things are actually more than twice as bad. We have to add in the thefts by the state and local mafia, to that of the Feds.

It's quite difficult to do so, but I made a start a few years ago at http://TakeLifeBack.com/tdaw

Stephen Nichols's picture

Yeah, the theft is so much deeper than just the federal level.  Thanks for the link to your breakdown.  It warms my heart? :)

Suverans2's picture

Same old song, with virtually the same old words, but from an eloquent singer. Very well written, Stephen Nichols.

You made this statement: "Your vote is what gives legitimacy to the illegitimate."

I am of the opinion that: "Your voluntary membership is what gives legitimacy to the illegitimate."

"How does it become a man to behave towards the American government today? I answer, that he cannot without disgrace be associated* with it." ~ Henry David Thoreau (STR's mascot)

*ASSO'CIATED, pp. United in company or in interest; joined. ~ Webster's 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language [Emphasis added]

"To join, or support, one that would, in his opinion, be inefficient, would be absurd. To join or support one that, in his opinion, would itself do injustice, would be criminal." ~ Excerpted from Natural Law or the Science of Justice by Lysander Spooner

Which is why every human has The [Natural] Right to Ignore the State.

"Positive law defines the legal but can only be lawful in so far individuals have full secession rights from the institutional framework that is making said positive law." ~ Frank Van Dun, Ph.D., Dr.Jur. - Senior lecturer Philosophy of Law

And, why do I say your membership is voluntary? Because...

The United States has no specific law on secession... ~ West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Well, that and the more important fact that we each have the natural right of freedom of association, which, of course, is why any government wishing to, at least, appear legitimate must look like it has the consent of the governed.

Stephen Nichols's picture

That's an interesting idea.  Are you suggesting that individuals secede?

Suverans2's picture

G'day Stephen Nichols,

Let's just say that I am suggesting "individual secession" as an alternative over simply "not voting".

If a group of men raped someone you cared for, would it matter to you if one of them voted to do it? Would it matter to you if one of them voted not to do it? Would it matter to you if one of them abstained from voting?

I, personally, have chosen to agree with Lysander Spooner; "to join or support one that...would itself do [such an] injustice, would be criminal." So I opted out of the "gang" some dozen, or so, years ago. However, I know, first-hand, the price can be very high, so I am not suggesting anyone else do it.

Hope that answers your question.

Stephen Nichols's picture

It does. And the idea intrigues me. I'd love to learn more about this idea of individual secession. Feel free to share resources for my research time. :)

Suverans2's picture

You, sir, intrigue me. You are, as well as I can remember, the very first one here who has even hinted that they are intrigued enough to genuinely research it. If you haven't already read it, The Right to Ignore the State by Herbert Spencer, is my first recommendation. I have read it many times, and will read it again, if my resolve should ever wane.

Stephen Nichols's picture

Thanks! I'll consume that.

I'm sure of our natural right to ignore the state. The problem is that the men with guns don't agree. :) The unfortunate effect is that some level of statist friction is inevitable unless one moves somewhere out of reach. Wherever that is.

Suverans2's picture

G'day Stephen Nichols,

If one's goal is to avoid "statist friction" rather than not being an accessory[1], (before, or after, the fact), then individual secession is definitely not the answer. One will find out quickly that as an individual secessionist he will even get "statist friction" from members of the STATE, (a.k.a. citizens), who like to call themselves libertarians, Libertarians, voluntaryists, anarchists, etc., because he unavoidably brings guilt, by association[2], home to roost.

And, not that you have done it, please, don't confuse secession, "The act of withdrawing from membership in a group"[3], with expatriation, "The voluntary act of abandoning or renouncing one's country, and becoming the citizen or subject of another"[4]. They are, as most of us can plainly see, two entirely different actions.

[1] To join or support one that, in his opinion, would itself do injustice, would be criminal." It is called being an accessory.
“An accessory is a person who assists in the commission of a crime, but who does not actually participate in the commission of the crime as a joint principal.” ~ Wikipedia
[2] "How does it become a man to behave towards the American government today? I answer, that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it." ~ Henry David Thoreau (STR's mascot)“
[3] Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition (c.1990), page 1351
[4] Ibid. page 576

Stephen Nichols's picture

Thanks for the link. I particularly enjoyed "The Right to Ignore The State."

As an aside, while I find the content of that essay impeccable, I am saddened to see the syntactic structure to be so complicated. It's rare (unicorn rare) for mainstream texts to contain such difficult-to-parse phrases. I really enjoy them, but I can see how many people would be driven away from them. That's why, when I write for general consumption, I imagine I'm talking to an idiot. :)

Anyway... here are some of my thoughts on this:

Withdrawing all support from the state is possible, certainly. One need not vote or pay taxes, licensing fees, etc. We can indeed choose not to do these things. The question is the level of pain we're willing to tolerate. Right?

Not voting is easy to do. Until a criminal penalty is associated with it. Once there is real threat of loss or pain then the choice becomes much less obvious. Philosophically, I know that taxation is wrong. I feel it from balls to bones, as it were. However, I still pay my taxes. Why? Because the level of pain is unacceptably high to not do so.

I wonder if that makes me a hypocrite. I'd like to say no, but I'm not so sure. On the one hand, it seems very reasonable to avoid pain as much as possible. I can rationalize paying taxes like avoiding an obstacle on the highway. There it is, here it comes... if I don't swerve to miss it then I'll be in a ruinous crash. So, I turn the wheel. Perhaps when the number of obstacles become unavoidable will be when I'm willing to crash. :)

How might you describe functional secession? It seems to be a minimizing of contact with... as the ideal of eliminating that contact is currently out of reach.

It reminds me of the prisoner's dilemma (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prisoner's_dilemma). Since I make video games for a living, game theory is interesting to me. The fact that we would all ultimately do better to cooperate and dissolve the state is counterbalanced by the fact that many individually do better under the current coercive situation.

Samarami's picture


    "...The problem is that the men with guns don't agree. :)..."

Then ignore the "men with guns".

You couldn't ignore "The State" anyhow. "It" is an abstract -- a reification used to paper over crimes committed by those pompous bureaucrats who lay claim to having "...the men with guns..." behind their proclamations. They love to hear you talk about, "...paying 'my' taxes..." (lending legitimacy to their thievery, so it appears to be 'my tax' rather than 'their' robbery).

    "...unless one moves somewhere out of reach. Wherever that is..."

    I suggest The Land of Indifference. Governmentalists cannot cope with indifference. So they pass you by in search of fertile ground.


KenK's picture

Whatever. There are two tax increase measures on the town ballot this year and I'm voting against both and I'm actively encouraging others to do so as well. My personal agenda of having liberty by any means necessary justifies me using any and all tactics and measures that I see fit to use if they have a realistic chance to work toward that end, including voting.

Sorry for the lack of pithy quotes or scholarly citations to bolster my views, but I don't see any need to justify what I have decided by saying that Rand, Mises, Paine, Rothbard, legal books, etc. agree with me. I've thought this through the best I'm able and I'm willing to accept the consequences for what I do. That's all the justification anyone should need.

mhstahl's picture

I agree with you, KenK. The state is not going to gain or lose legitimacy by anything you or I do or don't do. I don't think I'm that important. I don't vote for politicians, frankly because I do not see the point, but I see nothing wrong with voting against ballot initiatives (or for them if they eliminate laws.) I don't think the process has much value, personally, but I do understand the impulse.

"I've thought this through the best I'm able and I'm willing to accept the consequences for what I do. That's all the justification anyone should need." It is all I've ever needed.

Paul's picture

"The state is not going to gain or lose legitimacy by anything you or I do or don't do. I don't think I'm that important."

This is actually an important point.

It is true that an individual not voting has little effect, in the same exact way that an individual voting has little effect. Either way, one person does not make much difference.

On the other hand, collections of individuals DO have an effect; again, either way. Collections of individuals are what cause one would-be tyrant to be selected over another. Collections of individuals not supporting either removes the power the would-be tyrant can exercise.

There is a political cartoon circulating on the Internet. It shows a lot of people listening to a politician who is speaking at a lectern. They are all standing on a large board. The board projects out over the edge of a cliff, and the politician with his lectern is out there. At the back of the crowd of people standing on the board holding the politician up above the void, one person turns and steps away, walking off the board.

That is what not voting is like. The politician may not fall when you step away; but he can't stay up (in power) if enough people step away.

mhstahl's picture


"That is what not voting is like. The politician may not fall when you step away; but he can't stay up (in power) if enough people step away."

I think I challenge that. Within the last several hundred years or so "voting" has been touted as legitimizing the "state"-or at least the government-but that has not always been the case, nor is it universal now.

Medieval philosophers legitimized kings, and lords below them, by claiming that "God" had anointed them (this not only played into the superstitions of the medieval mind-but also placed the Church above kings.) Voting did not happen at all (or in very limited circumstances) yet no one can doubt government existed.

Why then would a loss of superstition about voting be any different that a loss of superstition about "God" or the infallibility of the Church? Won't the powers that be simply develop a new mythos to justify their depravity?

Since governments have certainly existed without voting, how can not voting be expected to end government? Won't it simply shift the form?

I think this is already happening to a certain extent with the notion of "humanitarian" government that has been used in tandem with "democracy" as an excuse to launch invasions-even in places with elected (technically) governments.


AtlasAikido's picture

In this country the president consistently claims to have the mandate "from the people", and consistently claims the right to invade countries or change govts in countries where voters comprise less than 50% of the population---calling them 3rd world countries and illegitimate govts. In the elections in this country, non-voters (apathetic, deliberate, for what ever reason) are rapidly approaching 50%. When non-voters exceed 50% The United Nations and perhaps China can be expected to declare the US **to be**...(Well fill in the blanks yourself)


mhstahl's picture

I wonder about voting percentages in "3rd world" countries. It is my understanding that voting when it takes place is often mandatory in such places. Saddam Hussien and Castro used to garner huge majorities of votes cast in elections that were both rigged(according to the US government and media at least) and mandatory. I believe the former Soviet Union used a system of voting within each "soviet" that generally amounted to a forced vote for whoever the party bosses chose...which is really rather familiar when you get right down to it.

Seems like I posted a link some time ago about China's list of global human rights abusers-with the US at the top of the list due (fairly, frankly) to the high prison population and horrid conditions. So, I think it is already happening, Atlas. I'll look that up and post it if I can find it, it is an interesting development and I'm glad you mentioned it.

Persona non grata's picture

Nice essay Stephen.
What about government mandates like being forced to purchase healthcare insurance, auto insurance or if you run a business being forced to purchase workmen's compensation insurance, liability insurance, unemployment insurance (NYS 100% employer funded) and licensing.
Using workmens compensation as an example my business (15 years operating) has paid on average $30,000.00 per year in premiums and has never had a claim.
There was another wonderful NY only tax that was based upon a percentage of gross payroll per quarter and was used to fund the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA).  Thankfully the state repealed the MTA tax for businesses with less than 1.2 dollars million per year in gross payroll.  Unfortunately NYS/MTA  made up the lost tax revenue by adding the MTA tax levy onto peoples property taxes.  This for a transit system that charges the folks who ride only a portion of the full fare value.  For example to ride the train from Riverhead NY to Penn Station NY the fare charged by the MTA (LIRR) only covers 65% of the cost.  In the business world either I would need to raise the price of tickets to cover the ride or cut the dead fat from my business.  In the fantasy world known as government they simply force others to pick up the difference.
Born free taxed to death.

Stephen Nichols's picture

Yeah, any such mandates that are forced upon us are a problem in my reckoning. Theft is theft is theft. :)

Glock27's picture

I shall not argue against "A Reason Not to Vote". I shall say I vote. There are many here on this site who do not vote and have established in their own minds why they will not and readily explain why. The reasons they have imagined are solid, and believable, even I believe in the reasons, yet at the same time there are members whom denigrate, degrade, any dispariage who dares to put forward a premise for voting

I vote because I have no choice. You might say I am coerced to vote. I only ask that you understand why I feel the way I do and it is not from patriotism, it's not because I want to and feel or believe it is my duty to do so. I vote out of self-defense against getting something worse than what we have or to get rid of someone with very bad ideas or lack of. I vote in self-defense of my family, my children and grandchildren. I can imagine a nation far worse (if that is currently possible) than what we presently have. Many Americans vote because they have been taught that it is the right thing to do and that they have a duty to vote. We all have been taught this and have come to imagine that through voting we are keeping the country in a safe position. Some have imagined something far better by witholding their vote, imagining they are no longer a part of the whole.

The sadness of which those whom vote and those whom do not is that all of us have been manipulated. Manipulated by a few with the malicious, and intentional deciet to assure a profit continues to flow. They pay a great deal of money for a collective group on minds to devise the best of all possible manipulations to get people to go along with an idea they would in all likelyhood disagree with. Many here will disagree with my reason for voting. If I could honestly put voting asside with no ill effects I would do so. It is a pain to go and cast my vote to protect the future of my grandchildren. My voting may be worthless and in most all cases it is.

Currently this nation probably has the worst possible president this nation has ever had. Should he be re-elected few people realize the horrindous damage he will produce on this country. The content of his character has been clearly demonstrated and his actions have clearly demonstrated that he is unfit to lead the sheeple. By not voting, at least in this case, I don't believe that non-voters can really imagine what is ahead for them. In this case I do not see how the current arguments can hold.

Am I wrong in what I imagine will be, should this irresponsible, decietful, lying marxist get re-elected. I am deeply interested in the thoughts of others regarding this position I hold and regarding this person called president. If you see and understand my imagined reasons I would appreciate a personal message. There are many things I am beginning to grasp and imagin to be accurately true and I appreciate those whom have helped me get to this point.

AtlasAikido's picture

Hey Glock:

1. Voting wastes scarce time and resources. Political debate (the ultimate exercise in futility) is equally as wasteful. If you can educate your kids out of public school, do so.

The further we pull away from government institutions, the weaker they become. Ostracizing works. The strongest institutions, if ignored and neglected long enough, eventually crumble. The post office is literally crumbling before our eyes. Other seemingly impenetrable government institutions would suffer similar fates if we removed the stanchions by removing our participation in the political process.

The same crumbling effect would occur to individuals committed to maintaining government institutions and the status quo. Extracting ourselves from politics marginalizes the Barack Obamas, the Hillary Clintons, the Charles Grassleys, the Barney Franks, the Harry Reids, the Mitt Romneys, the et al. Delivering speeches in empty auditoriums and having a handshake rebuked with a turned back weakens confidence in the validity of the political mission.

But won't the socialists run roughshod? No, because the socialists are a small minority, and small minorities can only impose their will when the majority participates in a process that allows them to impose their will.

*There is a salutary effect to minding one's business: the more one withdraws from politics, the more one realizes how trifling politics actually is, while concurrently realizing how cooperation and freedom provide the best solutions to the greatest number of problems.*

People are forced (by politics) to consider the lesser of two evils, when no evil need prevail. http://mises.org/daily/5758/Depoliticize-Everything.

2. Voting IS like the universal soldier "...he thinks he'll put an end to war this way"
"...he never sees the writing on the wall.


Where Have All The Soldiers Gone?
"Gone to graveyards, every one.
When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?"


Ref: The Universal Soldier

3. 90 Million Americans Can’t Be Wrong by Joel Poindexter: http://lewrockwell.com/orig12/poindexter6.1.1.html

I.E. They did not turn up!! They refused to be counted. Stop sanctioning the system! I should mention I love Muhammad Ali: No Viet Cong ever called me a nigger....

I think Ron Paul said something along the lines of: we're almost there! In reply to some media personage's hand wringing. What a beautiful summation. So beautiful, and so simple!

Some other good tidbits: 40% of respondents said they won't vote "because my vote doesn't make any difference anyway." Sixty percent of those polled only have high school diplomas, an indicator that less time in the Academic-Indoctrination-Industrial-Complex may translate to a diminished interest in voting. Another sixty percent said they pay no attention because "nothing ever gets done." This is true to one extent, usually nothing good gets done, with a few rare exceptions.

But really, if voting achieved anything it would be made ILLEGAL. You are just playing into their hands old chum.

If you want a TOKEN govt and a 4% referendum, MOVE to Switzerland. I would actually consider voting there (if I was the voting type). But here it is a nothing but a Hologram of Liberty as James Royce penned. I'll pass thank you. Got feet? Use em! No feet? Use crutches and wheels.

Freedom vs Force
Why The Failing US and EU Should Follow the Swiss Government Model!
by Ron Holland http://www.lewrockwell.com/holland/holland14.1.html

Why You Are Not Free, Ch. 7: The Government Trap

mhstahl's picture
AtlasAikido's picture

Now you see mstahl's post on '"Voting wastes scarce time and resources" His time...' which I just posted to and now you don't.

LOL!! Some emotionalism exhibited on this thread! And of course questionable logic and some very precarious self-esteems. Noted. Poor mstahl "what the hell are you writing about?" Well lets start here kiddies....

(Interesting mstahl appears to have just retracted the contents of his post, right after or before I posted. Or it got retracted for him. Huh! Timing is as they say everything! Oh well!).

Dear reader, marrying the idea of intellectual property to the notion of being independent actually generates the opposite--extreme dependence and mandatory intellectual compliance!

What if the idea that one should be independent and creative itself actually came from someone else? One must constantly acknowledge one's debts. And, moreover, one should be cautious about remixing the ideas, lest the property right in the idea of being creative be stained and marred...

**No disrespect to Emma nor mstahl for the proper attribution. Good catch! Thanks and since I am feeling magnanimous I won't ask mstahl to attribute the remixing of his UNORIGINAL ideas lest the property right in the idea of being creative be stained and marred...**

If You Believe in IP, How Do You Teach Others?
Mises Daily: Monday, November 16, 2009 by Jeffrey A. Tucker

**1). Regarding the belief that "copying" an idea and incrementally improving it is not innovation and not "thinking" but "thievery" on my part as mstahl posits etc**

Butter gets thinner as it spreads, IDEAS GET THICKER! Ludwig von Mises's view is that ideas are a free good, not subject to economic constraints. They are infinitely reproducible.

(2) A huge breakthru in freedom and a lead in: In the comment section of an article by Chris Dates recently is his reply to a poster: who assumes [Chris] would want some kind of idea protection [such as using the coercive power of government, which perhaps is the default setting to some on this thread] just because I [he's]..a capitalist. That sort of thinking has helped to breed the ignorance that surrounds capitalism.

(3). And here is Lessons from fashion's *free culture* [already existent]: Lessons from fashion's free culture: Johanna Blakley on TED.com http://blog.ted.com/2010/05/25/lessons_from_fa/

As to the rest dear reader it is hard to see thru the vitriol and spittle that emanates from mstahl's projections, straw men and ignorance in place of logic and recent break-thrus. Poor Jim Davies. This is the cream of his crop? But again I see mstahl decided to retract his post.

PS February 11, 2011 by Stephan Kinsella. Fascinating short comments by science fiction author Neil Gaiman on how he came to realize that there was nothing wrong with people copying his books: http://archive.mises.org/15647/gaiman-on-copyright-piracy-and-the-web/ "Nobody who would have bought your book is not buying it because they can find it for free. What you're actually doing is advertising. You're reaching more people. You're raising awareness." Emphasis added on the last point...

PPS Live and let live boys!

Stephen Nichols's picture


You do realize that your comment is devoid of much meaning because the source has been deleted, right? Also, berating mstahl for their wise removal of something inflammatory is uncouth.

You did say one thing that interested me. And, I'm interested in your take on it. Intellectual property rights. I'm interested in how you define intellectual property. I'm also interested in how you reason that intellectual property is different from physical property.

I'll preface this with my obvious bias: I'm a professional software developer. This means I create intellectual property on a daily basis. My intellectual property is in the form of algorithms, solutions and source code used to generate my products. These solutions are converted into an opaque binary form before being sent off to users, so I don't really have to worry about theft of my original works.

If your definition of intellectual property ends at the mere idea then I have to agree that such ideas, freely shared, should be free to spread. Yet, at what point does the intellectual property become property that should be protected?

mhstahl's picture

Actually, I posted the comment by accident and deleted it moments later...literally less than two min, I have no idea any longer what it was even about-though I do recall mentioning Emma Goldman, so you must have actually read at least part of it. Good.

I don't recall mentioning intellectual property at all (for what it's worth, I don't care for IP myself...and I'm on the fence about some physical property-that does not mean a source should not be given attribution.)

Where and when have I "remixed unoriginal ideas"(whatever that means) without attribution?

As far as being a "guest editor"-I addressed that elsewhere. Nowhere did I agree not to comment. The position has no authority. I do volunteer a small but significant amount of time each week generating content links for the site, so I take behavior such as yours that I feel damages both the purpose and the spirit of the site personally. I do not apologize for being passionate.

Had I thought the post was up long enough for anyone to see it, I would have left it even though it was unintentional and incomplete. I would re-post it if I had a record of it, I don't.

Live and let live is good advice. Perhaps a good place for you to start would be to stop making un-founded, un-warranted, pointless, inaccurate, denigrating, and abusive accusations?

Stephen Nichols's picture

I can't argue with your self-defense claims. If you feel the best way to defend yourself and your family is to vote, then please do! You won't catch me doing it, but I'm not going to pass judgement on you for doing it. Have at it!

Glock27's picture

Thanks. I appreciate your efforts at a response. I just cannot get my head wrapped around it just yet. Maybe after 6 Nov 2012 I can one way or another the time is closing in for me. I have never had an appreciation for the gov. and sorrowfully I am beginning to see that the Constitution bears no weight. Since legislatures and Justices care nothing for it why should I. Soon I shall be following the trail you have blazed with others in the past. Again thanks.

Paul's picture

"The conclusion is inescapable: voting is an immoral act."

Well, that might be putting it a bit too strongly, at least for "defensive" voting (e.g. voting against tax measures).

I will submit my own article about voting which takes a somewhat contrarian view.