Election 2020: Choking On The Political Red And Blue Pills, by Wendy McElroy

Participating in American politics is like diving into a cesspool. From Wendy McElroy at mises.org:

Presidential election 2020 is the same as every other, except in the ways it isn’t. Allow me to expand on this.

What is the same? The purpose of all elections is to allow a band of people called the state to legitimize their claim of control over everyone and everything within a given jurisdiction. In his book The Rise and Fall of Society, the Old Right libertarian Frank Chodorov defines the state as “a number of people who, having somehow got hold of it,” use “the machinery of coercion to the end that they might pursue their version of happiness without respect to the discipline of the market place” (italics added).

The two somehows of getting and holding political power are to use institutionalized violence or to convince people to respect state authority. Statists usually pursue some combination of both. Violence is rarely preferred, however, because it can backlash into a resistance that threatens state power. It is far better for the state if people oppress themselves through willing obedience. It is even better if they express enthusiasm for their own oppression. Thus politicians and the media applaud the rah-rah attitude of cheering crowds who characterize elections. Thus voting is deified as the voice of “the people,” a fundamental right, and the best way to change society.

The situation is the opposite of what the state claims. The anarchist author Albert Jay Nock divided power into two categories: social and state. Social power is the freedom individuals exercise over their lives; when people gather for mutual benefit and when a society forms, this is also social power. State power is the control government exercises over individuals and society; it preys upon them—through taxation, for example—to enrich itself. An inverse and antagonistic relationship exists between the two types of power, with the state expanding only at the expense of society and vice versa. Freedom does not and cannot come from elections that strengthen the state’s perceived legitimacy; freedom depends on weakening this authority, preferably down to zero.

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