Don’t Vote   3 comments

My anarchist friends insist that the solution to our governance problem is just to stop voting. They see voting as force. If 51% of the voters (which may only be a tiny fraction of the population) votes for something or someone, it forces the 49% (and how every many didn’t vote) to accept the outcome of the election. They don’t consider that to be freedom.

To a certain extent they are right. When 63% of the Fairbanks community (in an election where almost 70% of registered voters actually showed up) voted to deny the borough (like a county) the authority to regulate home heating devices, we were forcing our opinions on the 37% of those who disagreed. A slim number of that 37% went to the State of Alaska to demand that it clean up the air quality in Fairbanks (which, by the way, is not that bad) and now we’re looking at the same SOA restrictions on home heating as the borough wanted to institute. Democracy isn’t working too well here in Fairbanks this fall. The majority won the election, but the minority controls the administrative state. I’m burning wood anyway.

Yes, I’m a rebel … a domesticated rebel.

Which is completely in keeping with anarcho-anarchist thinking. I will choose to exercise my liberty regardless of the regulations. The Borough/State may fine me, but I’ll refuse to pay the fines and this will end up in court. The hope is that enough of us will do this that it will become a class-action suit that pushes back against the Borough, the State and, ultimately, the EPA. Electoral politics failed, so now we have to do something else.

We have to get away from the idea that the only way to change our government is to vote for one of two political parties. Other ways may hold more risks, but they’re equally valid.

My coffee shop friends suggest that if all of us who care about liberty didn’t show up for the next several elections, the government would become much more dysfunctional and liable to collapse. It would no longer be able to claim authority as derived from the people.

Again, there’s wisdom there. When the Democrats were in control of the White House and both houses of Congress, they really pissed off the country and created the ‘tea party’ movement. Had they remained in power for a bit longer, they might have hammered a final nail in the coffin of the Democratic Party. But, what if wasn’t, which leaves us with what is.

The utter tyranny that flowed from both houses of Congress and the White House voting in lock-step convinced people that divided government was better, but it wasn’t enough to convince folks to vote sensibly when Obama came up for reelection or to toss out the incumbents whose entrenched interests are driving the growth of government. Maybe a substantial percentage of liberty-loving Americans not voting for several election cycles would so concentrate disgust with the results that when we finally did return to the polls we’d vote for sweeping change.

Or maybe we’d just give the statists the power to take the vote away from us permanently.

Anarchists say we should just not vote, but I think they’re naive. The government you didn’t vote for will still have a powerful influence on your lives. I do believe it would eventually collapse, but what follows it — because some form of social contract always replaces a fallen government — will affect our lives either negatively or positively. You can try to hide from it, but it’s a whole lot better to be in control of it. That’s what our Founders understood. We the people are either in control of our government or a government is in control of us. At least with the Constitution of the United States, we the people have the opportunity to be in control of the government. I don’t think China or Mexico is going to give their slave colony the same opportunity.

3 responses to “Don’t Vote

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  1. Reblogged this on Dak's Bays.


  2. I definitely agree with your closing thoughts. Silence is not a recipe for change. Democracy engages everyone, but the decisions that craft it are made by those that show up. The fight to uphold liberty needs a voice and staying quiet just lets someone else do all the talking.


    • If you listen to the Democratic Party, once the election is decided, conservatives are supposed to just go along with whatever the winner wants to do.

      Of course, when it’s a Republican in office, the Democrats change their tune, but you know … we’re not supposed to notice that.

      I want to explore some of the anarchist ideas and see where they might work for returning the federal government back to its original scope. If we leave aside voting — which I admit doesn’t work right now, but I’m not going to stop doing it — what alternatives do we have?

      My solutions do not include blowing stuff up. I think we should avoid that. There’s GOT to be ways to do this that don’t involve violence.


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