Friday, October 3, 2008

Why I Don't Vote

I was reading and posting comments to a blog yesterday about voting. There seems to be a large number of people who were quite upset that some people choose to not vote, calling us lazy and saying that not voting means we don’t have the right to complain. I want to address some of these issues.

First, the old canard about not having the right to complain if you don’t vote. That’s straight up ridiculous, and here’s why. First, it’s not really a “right” they’re talking about, they’re talking about “moral authority.” But even then, it’s still wrong. Consider this question: If I go to the polling place and write “Winnie the Pooh” in for all candidates does that then give me the right to complain? If you say yes, then I contend there’s no difference between that and not voting. If you say, no, then it’s not really voting that gives me the right, it’s something else on top of voting. I’m not sure what that is, but it’s definitely not voting. Besides, is it necessary for Wal-Mart haters to shop there before they have the right to complain?

Here’s the bottom line on why I don’t vote: It’s not my government.

I don’t recognise the government, its leaders, or its laws. Why would I vote for it? I don’t vote for the leaders of the Masons or the Shriners or the Screen Actors Guild. That’s not to say that there isn’t a circumstance that could bring me to vote. I’m a practical man, after all. If there was something on the ballot that I felt would have a real impact on my liberty and had a chance of winning, I’d consider it. But those types of things are rarely on the ballot. Generally, the candidates are all so far removed from my values that I can’t distinguish them in any meaningful way, so I really don’t care who wins.

I’ve heard it said before, and I agree, “If voting could really change anything, it would have been outlawed a long time ago.”


stpeter said...

I liked your comments at Cafe Hayek, amplified here. I think we need to start a League of Unvoters. The League can hand out big stickers that you put on your paper ballot ("Consent Withdrawn") and little stickers that you put on your shirt afterwards ("I Unvoted").

Adam Ruth said...

Now that's a brilliant idea. That would get me to come out every year.

I think I'll get some of those printed up along with my "What Would Mises Do?" bumper stickers which I'm saving up for.