[ExI] To vote or not to vote
rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com
Fri Aug 19 08:20:39 UTC 2016
Spurred on by an off-list exchange I thought again about the moral
obligations of sensible citizens to participate in the political
My interlocutor made many points for and against participation in
democratic voting but perhaps the most salient was the Edmund Burke
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to
I am a sucker for Burke, you can't go wrong with a quote or two. But
this lead me to the full version:
"Whilst men are linked together, they easily and speedily communicate
the alarm of any evil design. They are enabled to fathom it with
common counsel, and to oppose it with united strength. Whereas, when
they lie dispersed, without concert, order, or discipline,
communication is uncertain, counsel difficult, and resistance
impracticable. Where men are not acquainted with each other’s
principles, nor experienced in each other’s talents, nor at all
practised in their mutual habitudes and dispositions by joint efforts
in business; no personal confidence, no friendship, no common
interest, subsisting among them; it is evidently impossible that they
can act a public part with uniformity, perseverance, or efficacy. In a
connection, the most inconsiderable man, by adding to the weight of
the whole, has his value, and his use; out of it, the greatest talents
are wholly unserviceable to the public. No man, who is not inflamed by
vain-glory into enthusiasm, can flatter himself that his single,
unsupported, desultory, unsystematic endeavours, are of power to
defeat the subtle designs and united cabals of ambitious citizens.
When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall,
one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle"
Note that Burke does not mention suffrage. Good men must associate in
response to the combination of evil but there is no simple recipe as
to the most appropriate form of participation.
There is a hint here.
Leftist propaganda stridently demands participation in elections. For
example, Enver Hoxha boasted a 100% voter turnout in 1982:
Amazingly, only 9 out of 1,627,968 votes were void or blank! And
1,627,968 voters supported Mr Hoxha's party! This eagerness to vote
was replaced by ennui, no doubt as citizens were saddened by his
with only a 53% voter turnout by 2013.
There is a hint here, too.
Ms Clinton, who shares many attitudes with Mr Hoxha, also insists that
we all should vote for her. By hook or by crook, legal or illegal,
dead or alive, we need to get out the vote! The deceased, felons,
illegal aliens, all must lend their voice to the task of governance in
the land of Mr Franklin, who famously stated that we must, indeed,
hang together, or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.
Another hint then.
Our list's Spike recently provided more grist to the mill, when he
mentioned his rising fear that we might be working for the bad guys.
The US seem to have traveled far in the political system configuration
space, from the ideas of Burke and Franklin, to the ideas of Clinton,
and soon, perhaps, Hoxha.
With all these hints I think I am getting a clue (No, not that kind of
clue, SouthParkers). Elections are in various parts a form of
political struggle and a propaganda exercise meant to provide
legitimacy to the political class. The two aspects of participatory
democracy seem to be in a converse relationship. The unified political
class does not want you to participate in the struggle for power but,
in proportion to their ineptitude, they need you to legitimize their
It is a perverse triumph of leftoid indoctrination that so many people
accept elections as their rightful form of participation in the
struggle for power. Instead of combining, or hanging together, as Mr
Burke and Mr Franklin would want us to, we all are separately supposed
to cast our votes, rubber-stamping the ruling class' grip on our
I pride myself on being resistant to propaganda. I am ornery, I
bristle, I don't let them get into my mind. I am meek when directly
confronted with real power but I sneak out and away when they are not
looking. Why should I lend legitimacy to a system that gave us a
choice between Clinton and Trump?
My interlocutor implied that I am responsible (i.e. could be blamed)
for the Bad Things that would happen if I do not vote. To not-vote is
still to vote, negatively. My answer is that bad things happen when
good people do not hang together, not when they fail to vote.
Contrary to what was implied, if everybody was like me, a
conscientious objector to electoral participation, Hitler or Clinton
would have no chance of rising to power. Suppose they gave an election
and nobody came? There would be alternative methods of regulating the
What methods specifically? - If a lof of people were like me,
anarcho-capitalism would be a viable strategy. If there were enough of
me, civil disobedience would curb the most egregious abuses.
But anarcho-capitalism is not viable, people being who they are! -
Well, this is not my fault.
Be more like me, don't let the jerks drag you in their schemes. If
there are few of us, it does not matter if we vote but if there were
enough of us, we could hang together and make small steps to a better
Be good, don't vote for bad.
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