"The individual is not accountable to society for his actions, insofar as these concern the interests of no person but himself." ~ John Stuart Mill
I do not know when I first became convinced that the franchise was a 'right' I had little use for. All that I can say for certain is that, even when I believed in the mechanism of State, I never exercised it. To date I have been asked three times at Department of Restricting My Right to Move Freely (also known by its more pedestrian but less accurate name of the Department of Motor Vehicles) whether I wish to register to vote. I am happy to be able to say I have declined this gracious offer to become the sludge grinding the lens of government to ever sharper fidelity and clarity on each occasion.
I am sometimes upbraided for my refusal to participate in the democratic process, and taken to task for my 'apathy.' 'You always complain about the way things are,' is a frequent refrain, 'so why don't you do something about it. The vote is how the citizen exercises his power!' Happily, this query contains its answer, namely, the primary reason for my aversion to the vote. It is simple, clear, and direct: I do not want power, save only over myself. This is the fundamental difference between the statist and the anarchist, that one seeks control, and the other seeks liberty. No voter believes that men may govern themselves if allowed. Every true anarchist does so believe.
In any relationship, be it between individuals or collectives, either one party exercises influence over the other, or it does not. I refuse to exercise power over others, in any capacity, save when my rights are being violated by that other party. I have had romantic relationships dissolve due, in part, to this attitude. Some people want to be led, and for those, I can only express my pity. Insidiously, however, pity turns to contempt, and then to anger at these self-appointed sheep, whose inability to control themselves and fear that others cannot be trusted, either, leads them to clamor for the revocation of my rights. The means by which this rape is to be accomplished is the vote.
Statists frequently bemoan voter apathy, and disillusionment with government in all its wondrous forms. They scratch their heads and try, try, try to figure out what the difficulty is in getting people to do something so easy, so quick, and so needless of thought (since the voters' 'choice' has been made for them by the good offices of the news media and the corrupt, exclusionary electoral process). They speak of 'transparency,' and 'confidence-building' as the solution to the problem of low turnout. When was the last time you attempted to get a look at the books of your local law-enforcement establishment? I read an account of a county board meeting at which the local sheriff asked for (and got) an additional $15 million for his department. When one board member asked what it was for, the chair interrupted him and said angrily and loudly that it was 'none of our business.' At this evidence of the true 'transparency' of government, my 'confidence,' never very high, ebbed with a rapidity that astonished even me.
One of the primary organizations currently spreading the dogma of democracy is that paragon of virtue and high-minded idealism, the United Nations. This worthy body politic insists on 'free and fair elections,' along with the 'transparency' and 'confidence-building' previously mentioned. They desire to foster an attitude of willingness on the part of the populace to involve themselves in the workings of the State. In itself, this is pernicious. These people are actually implying that one would be better off cooperating with the very institution that extorts one's wealth, restricts one's movements, and takes away one's right to defend one's own life! They promulgate the Precautionary Principle as gospel, and loudly trumpet their desire to implement their 'Universal Declaration of Human Rights,' a shady instrument in itself, since none of the items on its list are actual 'rights,' but privileges granted by the State, and revocable at any time, or when the State feels that these 'rights' are being used against the '. . . Purposes and Principles of the United Nations,' whichever comes first. In other words, as long as you say and do as we like, you can say and do what you like. Step out of line, however, and . . . .
I actually know few people who vote, most of those I speak to about it being of the 'dilution' school of thought, though they themselves may not realize it. Non-voters who do not really understand or haven't given thought to the reasoning behind their stand generally seem to say that their primary reason is the (perfectly sound) premise that their vote 'doesn't really count, anyway,' i.e., the sheer number of votes cast relegates theirs to meaninglessness. Those who carry logic a bit further realize that they cannot compete with special interests, and that the people who will be listened to have already bought the votes that count, namely the ones cast in the legislature. Few seem to have carried their examinations very much further, to the logical conclusion, which is that democracy does not work. Democracy is a bad thing.
Heresy? Not really. Many have said so, many who are respected and even revered, so why do people seem still to believe in it?[i] Aside from the obvious reasons, such as the political indoctrination centers to which children, through no fault of their own, are damned for 13 or so years (more, if the brainwashing really takes hold), what is it that makes the idea of democracy so appealing? The answer is, in a democracy, anyone can do anything he can convince enough people is a good idea, unlike a republic, wherein the power of government is severely restricted. How could a privileged class of perpetual incumbents arise in a republic? Power is not attached to any office, for 'favors' cannot be handed out to supporters, such as subsidies for farmers in one's home state that a grateful legislator might push through as 'pork' on an entirely unrelated bill. In a true republic, there could be no Federal Bureau of Investigation, nor a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, nor a Drug Enforcement Agency, nor very many others of the interminable 'alphabet soup' a weary taxpayer must prop up. Indeed, one of the most venerated of the founders, indeed, the most venerated, George himself, unleashed this avalanche of blithering idiocy on us almost as soon as the Constitution took effect in 1787, namely, the Cabinet. As soon as bureaus were established, bureaucracy snapped close on their heels.
The crimes of bureaucracy are great, but the crimes of democracy are greater by far. Democracy has given us Social Security, welfare, civil disarmament, Medicare, the military-industrial complex, the Internal Revenue Service, and, since the turn of the Twentieth Century, war after ill-advised war in its defense. How can this be a good thing?
In the final analysis, the defense of democracy is indefensible, as is the institution, except by Churchill's assertion that it is still better than all those other forms of government tried before. Even this, however, may be challenged as lesser-of-two-evil-ism. In truth, the biggest proponents of democracy and suffrage are their biggest beneficiaries: politicians. And how can any institution extolled and enshrined by such worthy, honest folks be wrong?
Somehow, it manages.
[i] 'Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule--and both commonly succeed, and are right.' ~ H.L. Mencken
'On account of being a democracy and run by the people, we are the only nation in the world that has to keep a government four years, no matter what it does.' ~ Will Rogers