Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Don't vote, it only encourages the bastards

Don Boudreaux explains:
A few hours ago at the Detroit airport a bubbly young woman struck up a conversation with me as we both waited in line to buy coffee. “Where’s your ‘I Voted’ sticker?!” she asked with great enthusiasm as she pointed to the one she sported. “I don’t vote,” I told her. She literally looked as though I confessed to being afflicted with necrophilia.
    “This makes me so sad. So sad. Why don’t you vote?,” she pressed, with a tone that revealed that she truly felt pity for me. I really wasn’t interested in having such a discussion then and there with this stranger, but she kept asking. So I eventually answered: “I don’t wish to legitimise politics by participating in its formal ceremonies.”
    “But elections aren’t ceremonies; they matter!!!” Her verbally expressed exclamation points grew in number.
    I replied that I agree that elections do indeed determine which individuals hold political power. But this fact for me is irrelevant, for two reasons. The first is that even if I did (which I don’t) strongly prefer one group of candidates over another group, because the prospect of my vote swinging an election one way or another is practically zero, I would waste my time if I voted. And my time is valuable. I refuse to waste it on futile activities such as voting.
    Second and more importantly, I detest politics and all but a tiny handful of politicians. And so by voting in an election I would play along with the dangerous romantic myth that insists that “leaders” who are chosen democratically thereby legitimately gain the right to order me and other peaceful individuals about. Election winners certainly do gain the power to order me and other peaceful individuals about, but I’ll be damned if I believe that they are ethically entitled to do so. I obey their commands for the same reason that I would hand my wallet and car keys to a thug who presses a knife to my throat.
    I’d gotten into the spirit of the conversation and ended by telling her that, while I do not judge her for feeling elevated and proud of herself for having voted, were I to vote I would feel compromised, unprincipled, grimy, and ashamed of myself.

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