Monday, November 2, 2020

Why I Don't Vote



By Robert Wenzel

My general attitude toward society is one of live and let live. That is, my preferable society is one where I am left alone on my property where I am free to do whatever I choose and I leave others alone on their property where they can set their own rules there.

I have outlined a more detailed explanation in my book, Foundations of Private Property Society Theory: Anarchism for the Civilized Person.

I consider elections the opposite of my philosophy. It is a vote to control how all people can live on their own properties and elsewhere, where the rules are ultimately determined for all by referendum votes and by votes for leaders, with the largest vote gainers winning the rules setting game.

In short, it is about mob rule.

I am against mob rule with every fiber in my body.

I don't want to take part in elections where nothing is determined but who sets the rules of interference against live and let live. 

I will have nothing to do with electing someone who is restraining my life or your life in any way.

In fact, I adopt an active policy of "looking the other way," if your liberty is somehow obstructed by government regulations. If you are paying someone less than the minimum wage, if you are charging a rent on an apartment that is higher than rent controls allow, if you are selling a product that is prohibited by government to be sold or if you are doing a thousand other things where government regulations prevent you from acting freely, you can be sure I won't drop a dime on you. I will look the other way. Live and let live.

Indeed, to the degree possible, I attempt to signal in my everyday life that I am part of the "Look the Other Way" Party, through actions and words so that people are comfortable around me as if there were no government regulations.

Recently, I had lunch with an acquaintance who brought along a friend of his that I had never met before. My acquaintance did not know my entire philosophy on life, but apparently, our past interactions were enough that he sensed I must have some kind of live and let live philosophy.

A topic was brought up by my acquaintance that can best be described as an activity that the government frowns upon. The discussion resulted in my acquaintance bringing into the conversation his friend who had specific information on the topic. The friend looked somewhat hesitant in discussing the details in front of me. To which my acquaintance said to his friend about me, "He's cool."

This is what I consider the mark of a next-generation civilized man that I aim to be. Someone that can be counted on "to be cool," to live and let live.

It is the rejection of mob rule. But further, my not voting is an unwillingness to participate in the false claim that voting is somehow a virtuous way to have a say in society. It is the opposite. It is participating based on a feel-good emotion built on propaganda that such mob rule is a civilized activity.

I will do much more for the liberty of my fellow man by looking the other way than by voting and thus sanctioning mob rule over my fellow man. I see a democratic government as no different at its foundation than a dictatorship. It is about a select few lording over all others by using some form of government. That is, it is interfering with live and let live.

Now, some may say, "But what if there is a clear choice between a candidate who is much less authoritarian than the other?"

My answer is that all running for office are posers who will say what is necessary to win the election and then break their promises, and on top of this, they must appeal to the masses who by their nature are shallow followers of politics and the nature of society. For the most part, the masses are just headline readers. To structure a society based on the concept that a government is needed and to be chosen by shallow headline readers, highly susceptible to propaganda, is bizarre to me.

Democracy by an almost inevitable force pushes almost all government leaders in a society toward more oppression.

As The Nobel Prize laureate Friedrich Hayek wrote in his famous chapter 10, "Why the Worst Get on Top," of his book The Road to Serfdom

There are strong reasons for believing that what to us appear the worst features of the existing totalitarian system are not accidental by-products but phenomena which totalitarianism is certain sooner or later to produce. Just as the democratic statesman who sets out to plan economic life will soon be confronted with the alternative of either assuming dictatorial powers or abandoning his plans, so the totalitarian dictator would soon have to choose between disregard of ordinary morals and failure. It is for this reason that the unscrupulous and uninhibited are likely to be more successful in a society tending toward totalitarianism. Who does not see this is not yet grasped the full width of the gulf which separates totalitarianism from a liberal regime, the utter difference between the whole moral atmosphere under collectivism and the essentially individual Western civilization.

Further, it is not an accident that the more totalitarian a government the more propaganda is pumped out and the more opposing views are censored. Forget the vote, the masses must be controlled by manipulation of their minds. The mind is where the focus needs to be, even every brute dictator understands this.

Totalitarian rule can not survive regardless of its structure, democratic or dictatorship, if the people do not fall in line. A live and let live philosophy by the masses is the ultimate antidote to totalitarianism. 

In such a world, leaders would be looked at no different than a madman screaming on a street corner.

The idea that it is a civic and noble duty to vote is the ultimate propaganda point. It is framing society within the context that we must be ruled over, that the civilized freedom of live and let live can not be had.

I will not participate in such an evil concept. I will always, everywhere, to the degree possible, promote freedom and act in a way that releases freedom.

I would have not voted in Nazi Germany but I would have sheltered Jews in my basement. I probably would have worked with an underground group to damage train tracks that allowed trains to head to Auschwitz-Birkenau, Sobibor, Bergen-Belsen and Theresienstadt--I probably would have proposed the idea myself.

I would have not voted in the old Soviet Union but I would have given shelter and safe transport to the kulaks. 

Here in America, I will do what I can as the oppression intensifies.

This, of course, does not mean I don't recognize that the democratic process is the adopted process of the modern day masses in this land but, it does mean I myself will not partake in the process or stop attacking it while at the same time recognizing it as an occasional tool to put in check a greater monster.

While still trying to destroy the process that gives all political monsters their strength, support of government by the masses, I will when it makes strategic sense promote one monster over another while still decrying the entire system.

But vote, myself, I shall not. I am a member of the Look the Other Way Party.

In other words, you need not fear me, I don't vote, I look the other way. I am a civilized man.

Follow him on twitter:@wenzeleconomics and on LinkedIn. His youtube series is here: Robert Wenzel Talks Economics. More about Wenzel here.

23 comments:

  1. Would you vote against a referendum for higher taxes or other such proposed increase in state power? Not for a person who is promising anything, just the "issue" itself that are often up for a vote?

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  2. LTOW Party - love it! Well said.

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  3. Vacuous performitive defiance.

    The victims of state criminality who are locked up for non-violent behavior will only be released or retained based on voting. American forces deployed overseas on crazy missions will come home or remain deployed based on the outcome of elections. Taxes and regulations will increase or decrease depending on the outcome of elections. Should we just send our condolences to the Ross Ulbrich's and starving Yemeni children of the world? Not voting may marginally disentangle you from the state's crimes, but so long as you pay taxes, your paycheck has blood on it same as the rest of us.

    I see voting as an act of sabotage...
    For whatever reason, the lunatics who weild power over us have these wierd little rituals. If we see an opportunity jam up the works we should take it.

    Non-voters win many, maybe most, elections in America, and the state just keeps on rolling. Not voting is a non-strategy masquerading as serious-minded, unsentimental realism. Next time a cop stops you, just yell him you don't vote and go about your business.

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    Replies
    1. I disagree Donxon, as Tom Woods points out, no matter who they give us to vote for, and no matter who you vote for, we always end up with John McCain. Who in the past 50 years would have made a difference that stood a chance?

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    2. We keep getting John McCain no matter who Tom votes for because Tom only has one vote and everyone else votes for John McCain. It's not supernatural. If people voted for more freedom, we'd get more freedom than we would otherwise.

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    3. I believe his point is that we are only given John McCain to choose from.

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  4. "I will do much more for the liberty of my fellow man by looking the other way than by voting and thus sanctioning mob rule over my fellow man."

    This would be an excellent subject for a debate, either in print or person. Given that you seem to agree that this is a strategic question and not an ethical one, would this not depend on the circumstances? If I could be part of a movement to withhold consent from being governed by rulers and laws chosen by voting I would be more enthusiastic about not voting; under the current circumstances that non-voters are ignored, not so much. It depends on which advances liberty more.

    And what about secession, how about voting on that? Bob, would you vote for your political region to secede from a larger, more oppressive political entity? Or is that an endorsement of "mob rule"? If so, isn't that a position Rothbard would call "sectarian"? Shouldn't we welcome all partial moves toward liberty, including, for example, constitutional amendments that reduce state power? At this point in time shouldn't we vote for them given that our failure to vote will make the "live and let live" point to no one?

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    1. How many times do you think someone said "if we just elect the right person" over the past 230 years?
      The Night Before Voting
      'Twas the night before voting when all through the land,
      Collectivists were clamoring to take command.
      Their platforms were posted on Facebook with care,
      In hopes that Control! soon would be theirs.
      Bernistas were nestled all snug in their beds,
      While dreams of “free” college danced in their heads.

      And the socialists of the left, and the protectionists of the right,
      Had a common enemy: free trade, to fight.
      When down in the market there arose such a clatter,
      They suspended debating to see what was the matter!
      Away to their telescreens they flew like a flash.
      Horror of horrors! Prols with cash!!

      The storefront displays and the new fallen snow
      Revealed Prols toting packages! How could it be so?
      When what to their statist eyes should appear,
      But imports from China and lands far and near!
      Happy people exchanging with opportunism,
      They hissed at each other: “capitalism!”

      More rapid than rats, the bureaucrats they came.
      They pointed and shouted, “Your greed is to blame!”
      Now taxes! Now tariffs! Now more legislation!
      It must be the state that directs all creation!
      Medicare without limits, and we must build a wall.
      Now tax away, tax away, tax away all!

      As party loyalists do when dear leader extols,
      Collectivists dutifully went to the polls.
      Then to campaign rallies, the followers they flew.
      For the promise of benefits and Saint Sanders, too!
      The scene at the rallies was like deja vu.
      Blind loyalty to party, flawed candidates, too.

      As I choked back my lunch and was looking to hide,
      To their respective podiums, the candidates did stride.
      Adoring acolytes cheered wildly and they soaked it all in,
      Each one convinced they’d make America great again.
      They gave well-rehearsed speeches designed to divide
      Along race, creed, and income, and national pride.

      Their vision, it twinkled! A future so sweet!
      But their vision’s foundation was The Fatal Conceit!
      Their faces were frozen in a permanent smile.
      And no one noticed that their words dripped with bile.
      Were they confident? Oh yeah! Each one full of themselves.
      And I laughed when I saw them in spite of myself.

      But the leer in their eyes and the ideas in their heads,
      Soon made me realize I had plenty to dread!
      They finished their words as confetti came down,
      And shook all the hands while bodyguards frowned.
      Our eyes met just briefly, but that was enough.
      My face said quite clearly, "I’m calling your bluff!"

      You’re no saint to the poor, no egalitarian.
      Your method is force, tending totalitarian!
      As you seek to direct every nook of the nation
      Your ideas produce rationing, misery, starvation!
      But I heard them exclaim as they drove out of sight,
      Collectivism hasn’t failed—it’s just never been done right!
      ~ Erik P. Brown

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  5. Excellent post. Voting enables the might makes right attitude which supports totalitarianism. Don't vote it only encourages the dictators. Live and let live.

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  6. When 2016 came around, I would usually not bother to vote unless it was a local issue like taxes or bonds.

    The bigger issue with voting is the asinine stupidity of 'democracy'. I get so irritated when some nitwit post how America is a democracy. No we are not you fucking twit! The problem is at this point the FSA, or Free Shit Army comes out in droves most of the time and encouraged by their educated dimwits of white shitlibs who hate working class people anyway.

    In the bigger historical picture, there was a reason voting was limited to white male voters with some property. Women's suffrage should be repealed and voting returned to males with real skin the game especially when forced to pay taxes.

    Another issue is that the 'pubic' schools are worthless when it comes to teaching limited government concepts. If I could start m own academy, every student would walk out with a Concealed Carry Permit, a useful associates degree or a vocational certificate or two so they are ready to work, and exposure to Atlas Shrugged, Federalist Papers, and Marcus Aurelius's Meditations. And they would be more knowledge than the average university educated twit a BS, MS, or Phd.

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  7. Democracy and voting are merely ways to change who is the captain of the ship of state. It does nothing to impact the barbarism of what's going on in the engine room, and that continues almost regardless of who is the captain. So what's important is not to vote, but to try to "gum up the works," by intellectually sabotaging the engine. That's our role. Keep metaphorically stealing screws, bolts, replacement parts, etc., and throwing wrenches into the cogs. It will take time, but if we stick at it, then the engine will slow down, perhaps even grind to a halt, without the engineers being able to fix it. Or perhaps the ship will be so far gone that it will have to call into port for an overhaul, which is when we can finally disembark.

    (Did I torture that allegory to death?)

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  8. KISS. Vote against anything that breaks the NAP or diminishes freedom.

    This means almost all candidates cannot be voted for and most ballot issues are a No vote.

    As I have said in the past: It would be best for civilization come election day(s) if nobody votes. Just imagine the message that we would send if the polls are vacant and no ballets are mailed in.

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  9. You and I do see eye to eye on voting. I have approached this all my life and reviled the status state since childhood and the unpegging of the dollar to gold just before I was a teen. They didnt like it when I didnt stand for the pledge in the mid 70's and knew then the vote was worthless.

    It is the text book definition of insanity ... expecting things to change with one human.

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  10. Thanks Robert! My feelings exactly. PLUS... where do those votes go? It's all computerized nowadays, and eventually all the votes end up in a central tabulator - a computerized database where votes are stored as decimal numbers (datatype "DOUBLE" for "double precision") instead of positive integers (datatype "INTEGER", with a ">= 0" requirement). The problem with votes stored as decimal numbers is that they can be multiplied by a factor which changes them from integer values into fractions. This is, in fact, how the central tabulators are designed to work. A feature know as "weighted elections" allows this exact thing to happen. This can be seen in reports produced by the tabulator, that show "rounding errors" in report totals - i.e.: The totals are off by 1 vote compared to the sum of the column they are totaling. This also means that result percentages can be plugged in and a factor can be applied to all votes to allow those percentages to be arrived at. Yes, that's right. Someone who can remote in to the central tabulator can simply put trump 55%, biden 45% and that's how it will end up with all the supporting documentation adjusted to support that result. If anyone thinks it's worth voting to support THAT level of corruption, they should think again.

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  11. Over the years, I have run the gamut on the issue of voting, from being a dyed-in-the-wool, 3-piece-suit-wearing "patriot" on Election Day, voting for the Libertarian candidate (God Bless Harry Browne!)...to writing-in votes for my twin brother (the only person I can trust with power, maybe)...to writing-in "kiss my ass" and "Thomas Jefferson"...to just not voting at all.
    I used to say that the only value of a vote, as infinitesimal as that is, is voting your conscience and principles, so that when you lay your head down that night on your pillow, you know you voted for the best person. But now I feel that the value of the vote is simply "whatever brings you pleasure", ... whatever strikes your fancy. I mean, no one ever lost a major race, to my knowledge, by just one vote. Even Michigan in 2016 was still 10,000 votes that put Trump over the edge---still a very weak value to a single vote.
    Your vote, for all intents and purposes, doesn't matter---except how it makes you feel. If that tiny squirt of adrenaline, endorphines or dopamine or whatever comes from voting for the best candidate, then do it. Or vote for the "least bad" if that does it for you. Or vote to cancel-out your dumb, naive, progressive, family member's vote (as I might do). Or vote just to know you will piss someone off when you tell them who you voted for. Or don't vote, if it's too much trouble, and say you did (because God-forbid we betray our country, commit treason, blasphemy and apostasy in one fell-swoop by turning our back on the religious cult of voting).
    It's like celebrating Independence Day: Everyone getting spirited and festive about something they know is an empty ritual, but it's still a flash of tepid excitement, relatively speaking, in an otherwise long string of hardship and abuses.
    Do whatever. It doesn't matter, unless it does, to you...in which case knock yourselves out.

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  12. I prefer doing something useful on election days, such as making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. This actually does help my fellow man, as I-pencil shows, the bread, peanut butter and the jelly, all come from numerous fellow humans acting to make their lives better by making my life better by having the sandwich.
    Yes, I will have a cold glass of milk with that.
    So vote away if you feel you must, but know my simple act is accomplishing more for humanity than your vote.

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  13. BTW, I read this again this morning, and it really is an excellent post, Mr. Wenzel. Shades of Wendy McElroy's 1997 essay "Why I Would Not Vote Against Hitler"
    [http://voluntaryist.com/articles/085b.html#.X6FSx0eSlEY] .

    I particularly enjoyed these passages:

    “For the most part, the masses are just headline readers. To structure a society based on the concept that a government is needed and to be chosen by shallow headline readers, highly susceptible to propaganda, is bizarre to me.”

    and:

    “It is not an accident that the more totalitarian a government the more propaganda is pumped out and the more opposing views are censored. Forget the vote, the masses must be controlled by manipulation of their minds. The mind is where the focus needs to be, even every brute dictator understands this. Totalitarian rule can not survive regardless of its structure, democratic or dictatorship, if the people do not fall in line. A live and let live philosophy by the masses is the ultimate antidote to totalitarianism. In such a world, leaders would be looked at no different than a madman screaming on a street corner. The idea that it is a civic and noble duty to vote is the ultimate propaganda point. It is framing society within the context that we must be ruled over, that the civilized freedom of live and let live can not be had.”

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  14. Re: "Foundations of Private Property Society Theory: Anarchism for the Civilized Person"

    I would like to read this, but I dislike reading books that are not available for my Kindle. The Kindle has some serious advantages for the serious reader. Not only can I highlight and bookmark, but I can then review the book on my computer, see all my highlights / bookmarks listed and cut & paste quotes for a book review or summary.

    I would be happy to pay the paperback price, but I will wait for the Kindle edition, which leads to this question: Will RW publish a Kindle edition or does he have some objection to Kindle editions?

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  15. For all your ranting on being a non voter you, like the masses that have been brainwashed, you keep printing that we are a Democracy...try reciting the pledge of allegiance and see if the word Democracy fits in. We are and have always been a REPUBLIC....why do you push the lie the fake news has been printing for decades that we are a Democracy...that is a bald faced lie!

    I, like you, do not vote,have never voted and will never vote for anyone that plans on telling me what I can do or how I can live. So as you see we are of the same mindset but I refuse to help them push the lie and as often as possible correct people I am talking to or, as in this case, try and point out the error of you calling our country a democracy...Please write a correction, it will make people look up to you for setting it straight, it will not get corrected if we stay silent or keep printing the lie!

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