Your Sticker Makes a Lot of Sense


Column by Per Bylund.
Exclusive to STR
Election Day means there are a lot of people walking around proudly carrying a sticker on their collar or lapel: “I Voted.” It bothered me at first that they would take pride in such ugly, immoral, and destructive behavior and that they so urgently wanted me to see that they had cast a ballot. I do not particularly like that these ignorant people pretend to be morally superior to me through supporting government, and I especially don’t like to have this unfounded and evil view of life thrown in my face when I go about my peaceful business. But I also realize that it makes a whole lot of sense. In fact, we should expect that voters advertise their violent acts.
These people may not consciously realize this is true, but their votes are in effect claims on my and everybody else’s lives. Voting means one is indirectly supporting the outcome and therefore literally the establishment of any regime (hey, if you willingly enter the game, surely you must accept and abide by its rules!). It also means that one is making a bid for who gets to be the Ruler of everybody for the years to come, and “everybody” necessarily includes both those voting for the “losing” side and those not voting at all.
It all boils down to trying to be part of a majority of voters so that one’s personal favorite dictator gets to be in charge for the next “term” (arbitrary political timeframe). In this sense, it makes a lot of sense that voters generally smile when they tell you that they voted. Deep down inside, they realize that they might be part of the anonymous collective that will put the Decider in charge, and therefore that they have (had) a little more power than you and me.
It does not make as much sense that they so urgently want the rest of us to vote too, since our doing so would necessarily dilute the value of their votes and limit the influence of their ballots. Yet this may be explained by voters’ limited ability to think rationally and logically – and their limited knowledge and understanding of state and society – which is probably why their beliefs are often so fundamentally contradictory. On the other hand, more voters indirectly means greater support for the system as a whole, which should be good for the ruling class – and for the individual voter (in his or her own view, at least) if The Right One of the set of competing Deciders is chosen.
Many voters usually approach me in an attempt to solicit my vote and make me do my “democratic duty.” The argument for voting usually uttered is that it is a (sometimes, and perhaps more correctly from their point of view, stated as “the only”) way to “make one’s voice heard” in government. They certainly do make their voices heard in the sense that they increase the state’s statistics of the number of implicit supporters for its continued rule. I don’t want to be part of any such thing, and I do not fear telling them what I truly think of their despicable behavior. But, of course, anything I say is at best to deaf ears – the sheeple do not listen to reason, especially on the day we celebrate the irrationality of arbitrary rule.
Thinking of the act of voting in this way, it makes perfect sense that voters carry the “I Voted” sticker – and that they do so with pride in their eyes. After all, what Election Day is all about is to shove one’s own beliefs down other people’s throats and make everybody lead their lives according to my (well, more correctly, the Decider’s) set of preferences. So why wouldn’t you take the chance to do so also outside of the polling booth?

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Per Bylund's picture
Columns on STR: 63

Has a passion for justice.


Suverans2's picture

Very good, Per Byund, however, IMO, it would be more correct to say, (...if you willingly REMAIN IN THE GAME, surely you must accept and abide by its rules!) See my thoughts on this here:

Jake Roundtree's picture

Very good argument. Per does a good job of critically interpreting what otherwise seems like a mundane and insignificant expression by considering it in light of a robust anarchist political economy.