"It [government] covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting: such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to be nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd." ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
Let's Win Another Election!
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There's a wonderful resource on Strike The Root, called the Non-Voting Archive--well worth a visit, if you haven't been there recently. And if you have, the title above may trigger a double-take; has Jim entirely lost his marbles?
Not quite, I hope, though of course since I don't believe in government, there are those who think I lost them long ago, or that I never had any to begin with. Perhaps you know the sort. Here, anyway, is how I think we anarchists may be able to win the upcoming mid-term elections--without, of course, ever plunging into a moral cesspool by actually casting a vote.
See, we'll hit the ground running, for we easily won the last two. Voting can be committed by anyone aged 18 or more, except felons; and yes, the government is busy creating more of those with its endless list of laws and countless number of inmates. But at a rough take, with a population of 300 million and a life expectancy of 78, there must be around (300 x (78-18)/78 =) 230 million people in this country entitled to vote for Dum or Dee, even if a fair fraction of them could not quite spell Tweedle. Even though subject to the government's laws and taxes, non-citizens aren't allowed to vote even if so foolish as to wish it, so that 230 should be reduced to around 215 million, which coincides with this handy table of voting statistics for 2002.
But at those mid-terms four years ago, the turnout was of only 79,830,119 (give or take a chad or two) and eight years ago it was 73,117,022--respectively, 37% and 36.4% of those then eligible. So in the last two mid-terms, a substantial majority did not vote for government; we anarchists already enjoy a commanding victory of almost 2:1! If government junkies actually believed their own propaganda (that majorities should prevail), we'd already have a zero-government society. The fact that we don't proves conclusively what hypocrites they are.
Okay, I'll allow that a few factors do modify those raw figures.
First, our thumping 63% win last time around doesn't mean that those (215-80=) 135 million stay-homers are all market anarchists--no, alas, a fair bit of re-education is needed yet for that to be so. Most may have simply reckoned, correctly, that voting would be a waste of time--or that the chance of their affecting the election's outcome was less than that of getting killed on the way to vote. But never fear, it's a good start; we re-educators have something to build on.
Then second, it's also true that in any case, the fact of non-participation does not prove that the non-voters reject the idea of government at any intellectual level, any more than the fact of participation (by the 80 million who did) proves that those people approve of the idea of government at some level of intellect, if any; they may, for example, just have been voting defensively, in the hope of minimizing the damage that they would suffer from government during the next two or four years having calculated that Dee would do them less hurt than Dum. A mistaken strategy, since the very act of voting does imply endorsement of the system in some degree--but understandable.
How Everyone Can Help
. . . help preserve or increase that 63% win rate, I mean. The main task is of course that of in-depth, universal re-education over the next couple of decades; I refer here just to the quick fix of winning the next election in early November.
I suggest we can use the Internet, with just a touch of humor. Probably everyone reading this has an email address list of a couple of hundred acquaintances, so why not construct a short e-note for each of them and send it off--preferably with an arresting visual aid so that the message can be taken in at a glance.
Here are a few suggestions:
Before sending, make sure the image chosen appears in the body of the email, if your email software can be tweaked to allow that. Otherwise its effectiveness will depend on the recipient clicking on an attachment, which rate is bound to be less than 100%. So send it to yourself first, as a test.
Then the email should suggest that each recipient forward it to the 200 or so on his list of acquaintances, just as one might pass along a good joke just encountered. It's not hard to do the math and see the possibilities here; if 3,000 see this present article on STR, the first round of emails would reach 600,000 people and the second (assuming full participation) would reach 200 times more, or 120 million. The entire set of 215 million people eligible to vote (less the handful who aren't yet wired--and the message could suggest it be shown to any of those, known to the recipient) would get the message in about three days flat.
That does depend on full participation, and the chance of achieving it will depend on how good a job of writing we each do, along with how attractive and arresting we make the chosen visual aid. But since it will take only a few minutes, why not give it a whirl?
No conventional medium can be trusted to report our triumph, so we'll have to wait until the Election Assistance Commission gets around to posting results for 2006 as above. The victory will be just as sweet, even so.