Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Why you shouldn’t vote for politicians

(Neil's Note I thought I'd put this extract from "Honest Common Sense" up today, in view of US mid-term elections.)

There are at least three very good reasons why you shouldn’t vote for any politician. First and most obviously, there is all but zero chance that one individual’s vote can ever make a difference, even in which politician gets elected. And a far smaller chance that one individual’s vote can ever influence any policy, even in the slightest.

Second, there’s not much difference between the main parties anyway. In the UK, choosing between the Hoary Gories, the Slaver Party and the Slob Dims is like choosing between being hung, being shot, or being beheaded with an axe. In the USA, the choice between Repressive Reptiles and Depressive Demons doesn’t look much more appealing.

And third, there’s a very strong moral reason why you should never vote for any mainstream political party. For to vote for a political party is to underwrite both that party, and the system within which it exists. It will be taken as an expression of satisfaction with the party’s previous policies, however evil. It enables the next political government, whether or not you voted for it and however badly it behaves, to claim that you gave it an endorsement of legitimacy. It also violates the Law of No Aiding or Abetting, by showing support for the party’s agenda – which, for all the mainstream parties today, is to harm innocent people, to violate rights and to restrict or destroy freedom.

If the candidate or candidates you vote for are not elected, your vote is shown to be utterly worthless. If, on the other hand, they do get elected, you may have a more serious problem. For a vote for a politician or a political party, that acquires government power, violates the Law of No Harm. It’s an assault against all the innocent people who are, or will be, harmed by the agenda of that politician or party.

Now, many people find that, in the politics of the country they live in, they hate one particular party above all the others. They are tempted to vote for a different party, thinking they’re voting for “the lesser of two evils.” For example, those who hate Labour or Democrats are tempted to vote Tory or Republican, and vice versa. But the lesser of two (or more) evils is still evil. And to vote for an evil is itself an evil.

Let me make this even clearer. Say you voted for a political party, and once in power they make policies that harm an innocent person. If, later on, you fall on hard times and need help that he can provide, what do you think his attitude is likely to be? Will he say, “Of course, I’ll happily sacrifice my needs and desires for your sake.” Or will he say, “You voted Labour (or Republican), you bastard. You assaulted me. I won’t give you a f***ing penny?”

Or will he say something like the following, perhaps?

Only pricks play politics,
And only thickheads vote for dickheads.

As to touted proposals to make voting compulsory, this is an assault on a basic freedom, the right to say “no.” And to argue that forcing people to vote would make the resulting governments more legitimate is simply crazy.

For a government is only legitimate if it upholds the public good. That is, in John Locke’s words: “the good of every particular member of that society, as far as by common rules it can be provided for.” So, if a government makes legislation that damages the life of any non-criminal individual (for example, by fining them for not voting), that makes it illegitimate. And how many people voted for it is irrelevant.

I suppose it can, in principle, be OK to vote for someone who is a genuine human being, and who isn’t in any way part of the political system. But the only individuals it can ever be OK to vote for are those who are both scrupulously honest, and uncompromisingly committed to common sense justice and to human rights, freedom and prosperity. And in today’s conditions, such people keep as far away from (sniff) politics as they possibly can.

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