Column by Alex R. Knight III.
Exclusive to STR
There resides here in southern Vermont a radio personality and newspaper columnist who prefers to simply go by the handle of “Fish” (no, it’s not Abe Vigoda living out a retirement fantasy in the Green Mountains), who in the October 26th edition of the Brattleboro Reformer began his column titled “To Vote or Not to Vote?” thusly:
“In my entire adult life, I have beaten the drum to vote. If you don’t vote you don’t have a say -- I honestly believe that. Casting your vote is one of the single most important things you can do as a United States citizen. The fact that someone wouldn’t exercise that right seems mind boggling. Yet, I find myself really weighing whether I want to be a party anymore to the political discourse this country seems to be grinding out.”
Let’s set aside for the moment that the author of that paragraph seems not to understand that there exists no such entity as “the United States” -- except in the imagination -- and that there are no such beings that can be called “citizen” (for an indefatigable expose on that, I warmly refer you to Marc Stevens’s book, Adventures in Legal Land). If you’ll pardon the rather crass pun, I have bigger fish to fry.
In a sense, what Fish -- as a member of the philosophically uninitiated to Voluntarism – is giving voice to is a well-founded and burgeoning sense of skepticism expressed by Americans and people the world over right now. Polls here in America suggest that as many as 89% of the overall population believe that government does not have the consent of the governed. This government, at any rate. The monolithic hurdle that Voluntaryists face, even in such an atmosphere of discontent and rebellion, is demonstrating how the underlying problems can never be solved simply by replacing one government with another, no matter how radical the change might seem to some. The paradigm must be shifted to include all political government itself in order to cure the ongoing and worsening ills we all face. We don’t need to change the government. In fact, we can’t. Its fundamental nature prevents any such change before we even get started. We can only eliminate it altogether in favor of non-violent, non-compulsory, free-market solutions.
To that end, I sent the following e-mail to Fish the same day as his column appeared:
Regarding today's editorial column in the Reformer, I have numerous reasons why I don't even register to vote:
1.) Voting endorses the idea that it is legitimate for someone else to control your life, liberty, and property -- along with everyone else's. Since no one I know wishes to be governed, how is it even rational to vote?
2.) Not registering to vote means you can never be compelled to sit on a jury in a government court. (Although I understand in some regions of America so few people are registering to vote that the government uses driver's license numbers to form jury pools -- so I guess the next step is boycotting those and refusing to renew them.)
3.) Not registering to vote means your name, address, and date of birth are on one less government list and in one less government database -- which is quite all right with me.
In case you're wondering where I stand philosophically with regard to all of this, it's best to refer to the Statement of Principles here: www.voluntaryist.com
As well, I just launched a Facebook page here.
And, during that loathsome time every couple of years when elections are held, I put this sign in front of my house:
Of course, the photo I was referring to is the one accompanying this column (and which has appeared here at Strike The Root before, just prior to the 2010 version of the bi-annual November Charade). As of the time of this writing, I have not received a response. I will not be at all surprised if I never do, though I plan on casting another line in these cyberwaters and see if I can reel Fish into a discussion by sending him the link to this write-up. And no, I’m not going to seek a license from Fish & Game or any other bureaucratic entity in order to do it.
We are, in spite of a quite understandable sense of pessimism, at a fertile crossroads in history. Amidst all the tumult, even self-admitted life-long participants in the political process are beginning to have serious second thoughts about that participation. As Voluntaryists, now armed with modern communications technology, we have perhaps never had a better opportunity to reach out to such nascent doubting-Thomases and demonstrate that there is a realistic path to a peaceful and non-chaotic society that is truly and fully free – and which does not, and inherently cannot – involve political governance. We just need to keep fishing, heart by heart, mind by mind. The biggest catch – the one called Freedom – may be a lot closer than we think.