Tag Archives: Voting

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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Democracy Is the Ideal Distraction, by Jeff Thomas

Mark Twain may have said, “If voting made any difference, they wouldn’t let us do it.” Whether he said it or not, it’s certainly true. From Jeff Thomas at internationalman.com:

In the days of yore, there were kings. Everybody could agree to hate the king because he was rich and well-fed, when most of his minions were not.

Then, a more effective system was invented: democracy. Its originators had in mind a system whereby the populace could choose their leader from amongst themselves – thereby gaining a leader who understood them and represented them.

In short order, those amongst the populace who wished to rule found a way to game the new system in a way that would allow them to, in effect, be kings, but to do so from behind the scenes, whilst retaining the illusion of democracy.

The formula is to create two opposing political parties. Each is led by someone who’s presented as being a “representative of the people.”

You then present the two parties as having opposing views on governance. It matters little what the differences are. In fact, you can have the differences be as obscure and arbitrary as, say, gay rights or abortion, and they will work as well as any other differences. What matters is that your two parties object to each other strenuously on the declared issues, working the electorate into a lather.

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Voting

h/t The Burning Platform

Ten Reasons Why Governments Fail, by Anthony P. Mueller

Why governments don’t work. From Anthony P. Mueller at mises.org:

When politicians and bureaucrats fail to deliver what they promise — which happens a lot — we’re often told that the problem can be solved if only we get the right people to run the government instead. We’re told that the old crop of government agents were trying hard enough. Or that they didn’t have the right intentions. While it’s true that there are plenty of incompetent and ill-intentioned people in government, we can’t always blame the people involved. Often, the likelihood of failure is simply built in to the institution of government itself. In other words, politicians and bureaucrats don’t succeed because they can’tsucceed. The very nature of government administration is weighted against success.

Here are ten reasons why:

I. Knowledge

Government policies suffer from the pretense of knowledge . In order to perform a successful market intervention, politicians need to know more than they can. Market knowledge is not centralized, systematic, organized and general, but dispersed, heterogeneous, specific, and individual. Different from a market economy where there are many operators and a constant process of trial and error, the correction of government errors is limited because the government is a monopoly. For the politician, to admit an error is often worse than sticking with a wrong decision – even against own insight.

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Top Five Reasons Not to Vote, by Doug Casey

Democracy is mob rule, and voting simply ratifies it. From Doug Casey at lewrockwell.com:

Democracy is vastly overrated.

It’s not like the consensus of a bunch of friends agreeing to see the same movie. Most often, it boils down to a kinder and gentler variety of mob rule, dressed in a coat and tie. The essence of positive values like personal liberty, wealth, opportunity, fraternity, and equality lies not in democracy, but in free minds and free markets where government becomes trivial. Democracy focuses people’s thoughts on politics, not production; on the collective, not on their own lives.

Although democracy is just one way to structure a state, the concept has reached cult status; unassailable as political dogma. It is, as economist Joseph Schumpeter observed, “a surrogate faith for intellectuals deprived of religion.” Most of the founders of America were more concerned with liberty than democracy. Tocqueville saw democracy and liberty as almost polar opposites.

Democracy can work when everyone concerned knows one another, shares the same values and goals, and abhors any form of coercion. It is the natural way of accomplishing things among small groups.

But once belief in democracy becomes a political ideology, it’s necessarily transformed into majority rule. And, at that point, the majority (or even a plurality, a minority, or an individual) can enforce their will on everyone else by claiming to represent the will of the people.

The only form of democracy that suits a free society is economic democracy in the laissez-faire form, where each person votes with his money for what he wants in the marketplace. Only then can every individual obtain what he wants without compromising the interests of any other person. That’s the polar opposite of the “economic democracy” of socialist pundits who have twisted the term to mean the political allocation of wealth.

But many terms in politics wind up with inverted meanings. “Liberal” is certainly one of them.

To continue reading: Top Five Reasons Not to Vote

Doug Casey’s Top Five Reasons Not to Vote

From Doug Casey at internationalman.com:

Democracy is vastly overrated.

It’s not like the consensus of a bunch of friends agreeing to see the same movie. Most often, it boils down to a kinder and gentler variety of mob rule, dressed in a coat and tie. The essence of positive values like personal liberty, wealth, opportunity, fraternity, and equality lies not in democracy, but in free minds and free markets where government becomes trivial. Democracy focuses people’s thoughts on politics, not production; on the collective, not on their own lives.

Although democracy is just one way to structure a state, the concept has reached cult status; unassailable as political dogma. It is, as economist Joseph Schumpeter observed, “a surrogate faith for intellectuals deprived of religion.” Most of the founders of America were more concerned with liberty than democracy. Tocqueville saw democracy and liberty as almost polar opposites.

Democracy can work when everyone concerned knows one another, shares the same values and goals, and abhors any form of coercion. It is the natural way of accomplishing things among small groups.

But once belief in democracy becomes a political ideology, it’s necessarily transformed into majority rule. And, at that point, the majority (or even a plurality, a minority, or an individual) can enforce their will on everyone else by claiming to represent the will of the people.

The only form of democracy that suits a free society is economic democracy in the laissez-faire form, where each person votes with his money for what he wants in the marketplace. Only then can every individual obtain what he wants without compromising the interests of any other person. That’s the polar opposite of the “economic democracy” of socialist pundits who have twisted the term to mean the political allocation of wealth.

But many terms in politics wind up with inverted meanings. “Liberal” is certainly one of them.

To continue reading: Doug Casey’s Top Five Reasons Not to Vote

 

He Said That? 7/30/15

From Gore Vidal, American writer, an apt summation of politics:

It makes no difference who you vote for—the two parties are really one party representing four percent of the people.

That percentage has shrunk to less than two.

The 145 Solution, by Fred Reed

From a guest post by Fred Reed at theburningplatform.com:

Sapience, not Sentience

In the modest and unassuming manner natural to this column, I advance a small proposal for the emendation of such tatters of the Constitution as can be found: For voting in federal elections, we should employ a literacy test to disenfranchise the majority of the population, to the infinite betterment of the country. This wise move should be accompanied by an increase in the voting age to twenty-five.

The necessity cannot be denied. Consider the following:

Forty-three percent of Americans think Saddam Hussein was personally involved in 9/11.

Sixty-four percent cannot name the three branches of the federal government.

Fourteen percent are illiterate.

Twenty-six percent think the sun goes around the earth.

These numbers may be understood in various ways. To a curmudgeon, who obtains a sour satisfaction from the endless repetition of human folly, they provide the satisfactions of confirmation. We all enjoy being right. In practical terms, they mean that democracy, or our mild approximation thereto, is a sham, a fraud, an impossibility, and a bad idea. No one so blankly ignorant, so mentally without furniture, so muddle-headed, limited, and barren, should be allowed within hailing range of a voting booth.

Such people cannot possibly know anything of national questions. Those who live in a featureless tundra of the mind usually do so from stupidity. It is unreasonable to blame them for a genetic condition over which they have no control, but it is equally unreasonable to allow them to vote. As for the fairly intelligent who through intellectual shiftlessness learn nothing, I have no patience with them. What possible cause is there for thinking the willfully dull, the deliberately ignorant, or the dull and ignorant, are competent to influence policy on matters that they cannot spell? Given that everyone today has access to virtually every book ever written and to the internet, there is little excuse for living in Oprah fog and Eminem darkness.

If fourteen percent are illiterate, a larger number must be nearly so. People who can barely read don´t. People so little engaged as to think Iraq attacked New York –forty-six percent!—vote almost at random, or in the direction in which they are shooed by cunning electoral mechanics and fixers.

http://www.theburningplatform.com/2015/03/01/the-145-solution/

To continue reading: The 145 Solution