Two questions come up quite often in e-mails I receive. One is why I do not vote. Another is what a person can do to change the system toward greater liberty, or what I expect to be the manner in which the system gets changed toward greater liberty. Another thing is that letters quite often express resignation, despair, hopelessness, pessimism, cynicism, and frustration.
I don’t vote for several reasons.
I don’t wish to endorse the system that I think is no good. If I vote I am saying that I believe in voting and that I believe in majority rule. I don’t believe in majority rule as applied to the political situations in which it is used.
I don’t believe in representative government under our Constitution. The Constitution has no legitimate authority over me. I have never signed off on it.
I do not wish to endorse a system that has produced and continues to produce what I think are pragmatically bad results.
I do not wish to endorse a system that has produced and continues to produce what I think are evil results. My religious beliefs are totally inconsistent with what the State does.
I don’t vote because I believe that everyone should be able to exercise the right of political choice. By that, I mean the right to choose the kind of system he or she wants to live with. It does not mean selecting a candidate who then works within a system not of your choice. I want to choose my dessert. I want ice cream. I do not want to be told that I can choose raspberry or lemon jello, or write in orange jello if I feel like it.
I don’t vote because I do not want to confuse myself. I believe in dissolving the national government and the Constitution. If I vote, I am more likely to start thinking that my aim is reform of the system. It isn’t. My aim is that each of us has the liberty to choose his own system of government. If I voted, I’d soon become confused. A good example of such confusion is the Libertarian Party.
I do not vote because I have no intention of imposing my system on you. If my candidate won, I would not want him to impose a system on the minority that it did not want. I don’t want the majority to impose its system on me now, so I cannot be in favor of my imposing my system on them if I win an election.
Even if I believed in the system as it is, I would not vote. The main reason for that is that my vote is totally meaningless. The representatives will vote on many items that they should not be voting on when they get in office. My vote has no impact on how they vote on these many affairs. I would be fooling myself if I thought it did. A secondary reason is that I get no psychological satisfaction from identifying myself with a party or candidate. They invariably do things I dislike, and I have no way of registering any control over them.
The next question has to do with changing the system toward greater liberty. I have no idea how to change the system. I have no roadmap for the system. I have a roadmap for myself. The system will change, for better or worse, but I have no idea in which direction it will move next, or how much, or when, or how change will occur. There are too many variables involved for me to understand the system well enough to make such a prediction. I simply do not know.
If some change occurs next week that I could not have predicted, that change will change the way that millions of people think. That in turn will change their actions in unpredictable ways. I have no idea what sequence of things is going to happen.
Nevertheless, we all have a personal roadmap and some sort of action plans. My roadmap is a simple one. It begins with religious belief and moves from there. That belief gives me every faith and optimism that Good shall triumph over Evil in this world, although none of us knows how this will happen or when. I hold that as a foundational conviction. God’s way for mankind to traverse has been made clear to all of us, and at some level every one of us knows this. I believe that. I reject agnosticism and atheism. I have no room for pessimism, despair, and hopelessness. I have no room for cynicism and nihilism. I reject entirely all those modern negative philosophies that lead to dead-ends and view life as meaningless. Life and history have meaning. Mankind is moving toward things greater. I say that knowing full well that mankind is capable of enormous evil. I have found no words or ideas that can fully explain the meaning of evil in our world. God exists and evil exists, and that is that. This is a matter that is in both our hands and God’s hands. Adam and Eve is as good as it gets, as far as I can tell. We simply must go on despite the evil and we must fight it. Political reconstruction that removes the evil doings of States and replaces them with more moral forms of governance lies ahead of us. It may take many generations. My roadmap is a very long-term and patient one. My life is but a link in a long chain. I am part of something unimaginably greater than I or any other person.
I do nothing more than seek and express understanding. That was my role as researcher and teacher, and it remains my role. Truth partakes of the divine, making it an attractive but elusive goal.
My roadmap is not your roadmap. My belief system is not your belief system. My skills are not your skills. You necessarily must choose your own roadmap. That is why you are who you are. Asking what to do is a healthy question. Those who seek shall find. Asking is an important and positive step. Once you start to scan your environment, you will find an overwhelming number of choices. You only need to have the faith that one or more of them is a meaningful choice, so that you will go forward in hope and assurance and persistence.
Michael S. Rozeff [send him mail] is a retired Professor of Finance living in East Amherst, New York.