Non-voting

In his On The Duty of Civil Disobedience (1849), Henry David Thoreau asked:

How does it become a man to behave toward this American government to-day? I answer that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it . . . . What I have to do is to see, at any rate, that I do not lend myself to the wrong which I condemn.

Readers of Strike The Root recognize that there are two principal demands that their governments make upon them: pay your taxes and vote. (Of course, there are many other "demands," such as military service, send your children to school, have a drivers license, etc., but many of these are ancillary to the primary means of government survival, which is the collection of taxes.)

Now, of these two principal demands,  taxation carries criminal sanctions: Pay your money or we imprison your body and/or confiscate your property. However, as yet in most nations of the world, failure to vote in government elections carries no penalty.

Governments, like all other hierarchical institutions, depend upon the cooperation and, at least, the tacit consent of those over whom they exercise power. In other words, government soldiers and police can force people to do things they don't want to do, but in the long run--in the face of adamant opposition--such coercion is either too expensive or too futile to accomplish its goals of subjugating entire populations. It is far simpler to motivate people to do what you want them to do, rather than forcing them to do it by pointing guns at them all the time. As Boris Yeltsin supposedly said, "You can build a throne with bayonets, but you can't sit on it long."

Educating generations of parents and children in government schools and teaching them to be patriotic and support their government in political elections is one of the fundamental ways governments garner public support. Citizens are taught that it is both their right and duty to vote. But all this is done with an ulterior motive in mind. As Theodore Lowi, in his book INCOMPLETE CONQUEST: GOVERNING AMERICA pointed out:

Participation is an instrument of [government] conquest because it encourages people to give their consent to being governed . . . . Deeply embedded in people's sense of fair play is the principle that those who play the game must accept the outcome. Those who participate in politics are similarly committed, even if they are consistently on the losing side. Why do politicians plead with everyone to get out and vote? Because voting is the simplest and easiest form of participation [of supporting the state] by masses of people. Even though it is minimal participation, it is sufficient to commit all voters to being governed, regardless of who wins.

Not voting in government elections is one way of refusing to participate; of refusing to consent to government rule over your life. Non-voting may be seen as an act of personal secession, of exposing the myth behind "government by consent." There are many reasons, both moral and practical, for choosing "not to vote," and they have been discussed in my anthology, DISSENTING ELECTORATE. To briefly summarize:

Truth does not depend upon a majority vote. Two plus two equals four regardless of how many people vote that it equals five.

 

Individuals have rights which do not depend on the outcome of elections. Majorities of voters cannot vote away the rights of a single individual or groups of individuals.

 

Voting is implicitly a coercive act because it lends support to a compulsory government.

 

Voting reinforces the legitimacy of the state because the participation of the voters makes it appear that they approve of their government.

 

There are ways of opposing the state, other than by voting "against" the incumbents. (And remember, even if the opposition politicians are the lesser of two evils, they are still evil.) Such non-political methods as civil disobedience, non-violent resistance, home schooling, bettering one's self, and improving one's own understanding of voluntaryism all go far in robbing the government of its much sought after legitimacy.

As Thoreau pointed out, "All voting is a sort of gaming, like chequers or backgammon . . . . Even voting for the right is doing nothing for it." So whatever you do, don't play the government's game. Don't vote. Do something for the right.  

                                                                        ~ Carl Watner (December 2009)

Original article "Our galaxy probably contains at least two billion planets that, like Earth, have liquid water on their surfaces and orbit around their parent stars in the "habitable zone" for life. The nearest, according to astronomers, could be a mere 12 light years away."
Original article "Everyone crows about horsepower, but torque is what you feel when you nail the gas pedal or twist the throttle. It’s a better measure of acceleration, and for 2014, Zero has cracked the infamous 100 pound-foot mark with its new SR electric motorcycle."
Original article From The Onion: "Gatorade officials unveiled Tuesday the newest product in its G Series line of drinks and supplements, G Push, a performance-enhancing suppository engineered in the company’s sports laboratory to hydrate and energize athletes for a full digestive cycle."
Original article "Here is a story of a slave man / Who saved his people from the white man / So I say that he showed me the way / To be brave and don't be afraid / Zumbi's his name, Quilombo's his place / Our roots you can never erase!"
Original article "Well now we have the United States Government Terrorist Identification Chart. This should further aid you in identifying if there are enemies in your midst. Pay close attention serfs."
Original article "The moderators of the politics section of Reddit have banned users from posting articles from the Drudge Report and other prominent political news sites and blogs. In a recent post regarding a change to the politics section of Reddit, /r/Politics, the section’s moderators explained last week that they banned the listed sites ‘to reduce the number of blogspam submissions and sensationalist titles” and “low quality posts.”
Original article Why peruse just one photographer's amazing photos when you can peruse a whole slew of them?
Original article "A prison administrator acknowledged that she tried to find workarounds, and the prison's ob-gyn defended the expenditure, saying: 'Over a 10-year period, that isn't a huge amount of money compared to what you save in welfare paying for these unwanted children – as they procreated more.'"
Original article "Overall, the number of working age Americans that do not have a job has increased by about 27 million since the year 2000.  But aren't things getting better?  After all, the mainstream media is full of headlines about how "good" the jobs numbers for October were."
Original article "Fortunately – while little-known in the medical community – other harmless minerals can help “saturate” our bodies so as to minimize the uptake of other harmful types of radiation."
Original article "The government ministers moved to evict residents from the Bedouin village Umm al-Hiran in accordance with the terms of the so-called “Prawer plan," which calls for the resettlement of large numbers of Bedouin villages. The Bedouins have been offered alternative sites to which to relocate, but they plan to hold protests against what they claim is “discriminatory treatment by the state,” as quoted by Haaretz, the Israeli daily."
Original article "Twelve victims claim they were filmed by security cameras as they stripped and, in some cases, used the toilet a at Payallup police station after being arrested for DUI. A Seattle defense attorney, who highlighted their plight, has likened the filming of the young women to 'a peep show'."
Original article "Brooksby said he was wiped out in the real estate collapse, and has not been able to pay anything toward the judgment. “But it wasn’t enough for them to sue us,” he said. “They had to go after the money my kids earned working during the summer.”
Original article "Much of the gold in the United States is owned by big institutions: the Treasury, the Federal Reserve, and bullion banks. So, if a currency crisis hits, their 8,900-ton hoard won't do us a bit of good. But there is one country whose "democratic" approach to gold ownership will allow its people to survive a currency crisis, literally, in fine style. Not only that, but this country's people are giving their government a whopping black eye for its heavy-handed ways in the...
Original article "As if Spaniards had not already been dissuaded by the potential €60 million fines they face for illegally generating their own solar power, they now have to look forward to a knock on the door from the 'solar police'."