Elections and the Lesson of Frodo

Nine people who wish to become the Democratic Party nominee for President of the United States recently 'debated' in South Carolina . The election, of course, is not for another year and a half, but the political drumbeat has already started ' a quiet, faint rumble in the background that will only grow in intensity over the next 18 months. Those in the employ of the Great American indoctrination systems ' the 'schools,' the newspapers, the television and radio stations, most web and book publishers ' will continue to insist and imply that such elections are perhaps the most important events in which each of us can participate. They tell us breathlessly of the great democracy we live in, how here the People rule, how we are the government and how even one vote can make a difference and that it's our civic duty to participate.

But democracy is a sham, and elections are lies, illusions, intended to allow the State to work its will and to convince the People that its will is really theirs, and that Wrong is Right.

The underlying premise of an election is, of course, governmental politics (hereinafter referred to simply as 'politics'), and the underlying premise of politics is, of course, power. Politics is power. It's force. As George Washington so clearly and aptly said over 200 years ago, 'Government is not reason, it is not eloquence. It is force, and like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.'

There are two ways to obtain something: You can use reason and obtain it consensually or you can use power and obtain it non-consensually (yes, someone can give it to you, but gifts are consensual ' the giver gives freely just as the recipient receives freely). You can either make a consensual agreement with another to willingly exchange something you have for something he has, or you can take it against his will. Another example, put more bluntly: a man wants a sexual relationship with a woman. Again, he can do this either consensually or non-consensually. We all recognize in both of these brief examples that the first choice is decent, respectful, and moral. The first is right. And we all recognize that the second is indecent, disrespectful, and immoral. The second is wrong.

When an individual acts non-consensually, we call him 'evil,' but when a government ' when 'our' government ' does, we call it 'good.' Yet what are governments but individuals with certain badges, uniforms, titles? And what then justifies their immoral actions?

The answer: nothing.

Politics, then ' which is force, which is power, which is non-consensual ' is the moral equivalent of rape, the moral equivalent of theft and of murder. And this, of course, is exactly what governments do: They rape, they steal, and they kill. They take what they want. Politics is immoral.

To talk of politics, then, is to talk of immorality. Talking about it and thinking about it in terms of politics makes it seem polite and intelligent, makes it agreeable. It makes it acceptable. After all, it's the smart people, the involved people, the concerned and caring people, who pay attention to politics! Consider, for example, two people discussing a tax cut. One might say it's too much while the other claims it's not enough. Each of them is intelligent and well-meaning. They each have reasons and facts a-plenty to bolster their opposite points of view. But just in talking about it and discussing it in those terms, they accept the basic premise of taxation, and in so doing they accept, as any of us do when we talk and think in those terms, the essential immoral premise upon which the State bases its Power: that Wrong is Right and that Satan is God; that War is Peace, that Freedom is Slavery, and that Ignorance is Strength.

Accepting politics and political solutions is to accept immorality. And by putting on their grand federal show every few years, as well as the countless lesser state and local shows every autumn, the State co-opts its more intelligent, its more concerned and caring, people by getting them to talk politics. It gets them to search for and accept political solutions to every conceivable problem. And accepting political solutions ' accepting politics, accepting immorality ' allows the immoral State to work its will and even have these intelligent, concerned and caring people believe it moral and good.

Elections also help the State to convince the People that its will and the People's will are one and the same. After all, the People are the State! Elections allow the People to choose their leaders and thus their laws. Therefore, if the State chooses to increase taxes, it so chooses because it is the will of the People and is therefore moral, therefore good. If the State decides to go to war, it so chooses because it is the will of the People and is therefore moral, therefore good. If the State decides to implement the Final Solution, it so chooses because it is the will of the People and is therefore moral, therefore good. As Hans-Hermann Hoppe writes in his brilliant book Democracy: The God That Failed, in a democracy:

'The distinction between the rulers and the ruled as well as the class consciousness of the ruled become blurred. The illusion even arises that the distinction no longer exists . . . . Accordingly, public resistance against government power is systematically weakened. While exploitation and expropriation before might have appeared plainly oppressive and evil to the public, they seem much less so, mankind being what it is, once anyone may freely enter the ranks of those who are on the receiving end' (p. 48).

But the People are not the State as surely as the Jews were not the Nazis. The captives were, and are, not the captors. It is, as Hoppe says, an illusion, one fostered by the ideas of 'democracy' and 'elections,' that gives the State the ability to steal your money, your rights, your very life, and then tell you straight to your face that it was all your idea, that you approved of it, because the People are the State, and the State is the People.

Because War is Peace. Because Freedom is Slavery. Because Ignorance is Strength.

Because Wrong is Right, and Satan is God.

As Americans, we rarely if ever question Power, just as rich children rarely if ever question money. We were born to it. We worship it. We crave it. We fight over it constantly, like the spoiled, rich, immature children we are. We're addicted to it in so many ways, large and small ' from the power to light our bedrooms in the morning to the power to brutally invade weak nations on the other side of the world. We vainly believe that we can do good with power, with force. If bad things happen, it's not Power that's at fault; it's the person in charge of it. We believe that Power, like technology, is neutral, and can be used for good or for evil, and that if the right people, people with their hearts in the right place ' people like you and me ' had that power, we could set the world right. We believe that Power is only evil if it's in someone else's hands.

But Power is evil in anyone's hands. In fact, it's perhaps most dangerous in our own hands, so convinced are we that we wield it for 'good.' I have little doubt that, in their own minds, Hitler and Stalin and Mao all thought they were doing 'good' even as they murdered millions and millions of their countrymen.

In the Lord of the Rings, only little Frodo the hobbit could be trusted to carry the Ring of Power because anyone else would have used it, thinking he was doing 'good.' And even Frodo was tempted as he made the long, difficult, dangerous journey to destroy it. He very nearly died. But in the end (and with unexpected help), he did succeed.

We have to make the same long, difficult, dangerous journey. We must destroy the Ring of Power. There is no guarantee that we, like Frodo, will succeed. But we must try. And the first step is to stop dignifying governmental electoral politics by giving it any credence whatsoever. We have to recognize its inherent immorality and realize that any participation in electoral politics, any belief in political solutions, is participation in our own degradation, our own slavery. As 'tienne de la Bo'tie wrote in his essay The Politics of Obedience: The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude almost 500 years ago: 'You can deliver yourselves if you try, not by taking action, but merely by willing to be free. Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed. I do not ask that you place hands upon the tyrant to topple him over, but simply that you support him no longer; then you will behold him, like a great Colossus whose pedestal has been pulled away, fall of his own weight and break into pieces.'

Free your mind, as they say, and the rest will follow.

But, like Frodo standing at last before the Crack of Doom, you may find it harder to do than you think.

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Craig Russell's picture
Columns on STR: 35

Craig Russell is a writer and musician in upstate New York.