Sacred Cow

Is there any cow more sacred to Americans than voting? Few things spark such rage and distrust as questioning the ballot box. It doesn’t matter how reasoned your argument is you will be met with fury and scorn. Voting is something you don’t question. We are told that it is both a duty and effective, with no evidence to back that up.

“People died for your right to vote!”

So what? People died to keep slavery going. People died to create theocracies. People died to get a good selfie shot of themselves on a cliff.

The willingness to die for something tells us nothing about the quality of that thing. Whether something is universally good, or why a previously good thing is still relevant, is not defined by the amount of blood shed.
It is a distraction and an appeal to emotion. Show me how my single vote can reasonably effect change and I will vote, but don’t tell me to waste my time because of something outside of my control.

“If you don’t vote you have no right to complain?”

Why? Because I was given the opportunity to vote? So what? I am given the opportunity to do a lot of things that I abstain from, but if someone else does those things and it negatively effects me I have every right to complain. If I’m in Las Vegas watching two people play poker I have every right to complain if they take my money from me to bet. My opportunity to join in the gambling has no relevance. Really, the only people who can’t complain are those that voluntarily participated in the system.

“But if you don’t vote then Trump/Obama/Clinton/Bush/Supreme will win!”

Nope. They will win (or lose) regardless of my vote. There is no place in this country where my vote matters on a national election. It is simple math.

“But it’s your duty!”

To who? To my country? Nah, if I had any duty to my country (which I don’t) that was paid in full by four years in the military. Besides, voting is the least effective way to implement long term change in the world. If all you do is vote then you clearly don’t care about improving this country. Regardless, my only duty is to uphold my explicit commitments. I didn’t sign your fucking social contract.

“People all over the world wish they could vote!”

Irrelevant. People all over the world wish they could force religion with violence. People all over the world wish they had a sex robot that looks like Seven of Nine. The desires of anyone else is not an argument for the morality or efficacy of an action.

So, go vote (or don’t). But leave me out of it. Voting, like all sacred cows, should be ridiculed for what it is… a illogical practice that exists mostly as a way to justify tyranny and allow the public to participate in a congratulatory circle jerk. Go ahead and wear your “I voted” sticker with the blood stained American flag on it. You, like millions of Americans before you, pretty much just wasted your time.

 

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Rand Paul

I was sent a Facebook message a couple of days ago by a Facebook friend (someone who I am pretty sure I have never met in real life). He apparently had a problem with me posting an article critical of Rand Paul and wanted to know why I wasn’t voting for him. He also mentioned that I am the only libertarian he knows who doesn’t support Rand Paul. I responded to him quickly from my phone but I figured this might be worth a blog post.

First, I am hardly the only libertarian who doesn’t support Paul for President. I’m sure there are many. Second, it is possible to be critical of a person on particular issues, even publicly so, and still support them during an election. Humans are not perfect beings and we do ourselves (and our leaders) a disservice when we turn a blind eye to their faults, even if it is in the name of some sort of solidarity. Deifying a person is a cult mentality and it is dangerous.

Now to the meat of things…

As a pragmatic anarchist I find voting in national elections an utter waste of time, unless I live in a swing state and the viable candidates are so different that one is clearly a better option. If I lived in a swing state and the two candidates for President were Gary Johnson and Rick Santorum I would find my way to the polls and make a defensive vote against the crazy theocrat. But, that isn’t the case for me. I am registered to vote in Missouri and will likely be somewhere in New York when the election happens in 2016. It is a waste of my time to go to a poll and cast a vote that will make no impact on anything. If someone held a gun to my head and told me to vote I would make a protest vote against the two-party system and vote Libertarian. My view on local and state elections are a little more sympathetic because the people can vote to change specific laws. I think everyone should vote in their state or communities to legalize marijuana, lower taxes, etc, voting on local issues (especially if you avoid voting for specific politicians) is a form of direct action that can bring about real change. Politicians are little more than delayed signals to social norms, they aren’t leaders and rarely make any changes that couldn’t have been made faster if we just got rid of them.

Anarchism and elections aside, I don’t trust Rand Paul. His religious boot-licking that he has been doing recently disgusts me and his views on non-heterosexual relationships are a worry for me. I know people say he is just being pragmatic by appealing to the religious right in order to get elected, but why should I believe he is lying to them but not to liberty lovers. I don’t have any reason to believe he is somehow being covert and won’t just turn his back on his liberty-based promises when it becomes politically expedient. Also, I do think it is a serious problem that he “wrote” a book that used fake Founding Father’s quotes in order to continue spreading the mythology that the Founding Father’s wanted a Christian country or that they were Christians. Some of them might have been but it is much more complicated than that and his lack of integrity in this matter is concerning. I know he has done some good things with prison reform and has decent views on the drug war, but so do other political candidates who don’t get in bed with theocrats. His real strength could be changing the national dialogue by continuing to filibuster and working across the aisle in the Senate to expand freedom, he can shift the Overton Window that future politicians can work in. Even if he did get elected (which he probably won’t) he would be facing a hostile House and Senate, and it is possible that every problem that happens in the country would be blamed on libertarianism. Every military death will be blamed on his dove foreign policy and every economic problem will be blamed on the free market. Getting a libertarian-leaning person into the White House without some support from Congress could be a huge step back for libertarian politics.

So no, I won’t be voting for Rand Paul. I don’t really care if other people do, they can have fun. I don’t think he has a rat’s chance in hell of winning, but if people want to spend their time and money on his campaign go for it. I did the same thing for Ron Paul in 2008 and 2012, which was a little bit of a waste of time but I had some good times with like-minded individuals and I was able to get politicking out of my system early. But, this election cycle (which seems to already be too long) I will not really be paying attention or caring about what is going on with the GOP psychopaths. I’ve got too much else to do with my time.