Statist Reasoning: Non-Freedom for Non-Voters


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Most of us have heard the expression that goes something like: If you don't vote, you have no right to be unhappy with the State, politics, or the political class. The logic is that if you don't vote, you have already given up your right to complain about the effects.

The interesting point in this is that one, according to this logic, seems to earn a right to complain from the act of voting. Or, in other words, you earn a right to be dissatisfied with the people elected to rule you only if you have taken part in the electing! It is like saying you have to take the consequences of being in a game you never entered, but if you did enter the game, you have a right to complain about how the game is played ' even though you knew the rules before entering.

The logic is of course not logical at all, it is a counterlogical statement of propaganda for the State. Why else would you so openly claim obvious contradictions as true with the clear purpose of threatening those not accepting the terms of the game, and therefore never entering it? The statement effectively dismisses all criticism and complaints: If you were never playing their game, you are automatically deprived of the right to complain about it when they come after you. But if you did enter the game and thereby have accepted its terms, you somehow earn a mystic right to complain.

Despite the faulty logic, the statement does prove something very interesting: the core of the political power game. The truth is there simply is no way you can win against the political class; they made the rules and you are subjected to them and the strange morality preached by political power.

Voting may seem like a harmless or even important thing to do; voting for the 'lesser evil' could have a chance to make things not that much worse. This is a common misperception, sometimes accepted as true even by libertarians. The voting procedure is a game with only one prize to win, and a very clearly defined such: power over the State. It is a 'winner take all' game where everybody but the winner is a sure loser.

The problem with voting is that you inevitably have to play the game, and by playing the game, you clearly must know the rules of it (why else enter?). And by any reasonable standard of thinking, voluntarily entering a game and knowing its rules must also mean accepting those rules. The obvious rule of the voting game is that whoever gets the most votes wins, and winning means power over everybody without exception. This means the losers have to accept whoever is victorious in the elections; that's democracy.

Does that give voters a right to complain? Not necessarily. They can undoubtedly be dissatisfied with the outcome of the elections, but they have voluntarily entered the game and lost. They knew what they were doing and accepted the terms; when defeated, they should take the consequences.

What about the people not entering this stupid game of 'who rules whom'? They too have to take the consequences, but not because they accepted the terms. On the contrary, to non-voters the system is very clearly oppressive ' you never accepted the terms of the system and never even took part in it, and yet whatever the victors decide is forced down your throat.

Voters have no real reason to complain, they accepted the game's rules and played it all the way ' but lost. A poker player cannot enter a game and then reclaim his bets after losing; he plays to win and runs the risk of losing his bets. That's how the game is played. The same goes for voters: it is only fair that they stick to their decision to enter this lunatics' game and face the consequences.

The problem with this game is the winner claims the right to rule everybody, including those who did not take part in the elections. Non-voters are forced just like anybody else to obey whatever rules the political class comes up with. Do these poor people not accepting the game of government have a right to complain about this? It should be pretty obvious they do. Voters do not.

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Per Bylund's picture
Columns on STR: 63

Has a passion for justice.