Voting — Again
by Robert Klassen
by Robert Klassen
Last night a friend asked me when was the last time I voted. I laughed, "I just voted for Panasonic and Wal Mart. As von Mises said, I vote with my buck."
That didn't answer the question, of course, I knew that. I had to stop and think. The last time I participated in a political election was 1968, and the issue I was incensed about was a local initiative. A brand new State college was under construction in the county, and the left-wing had moved in. They wanted tax-supported public housing. They wanted the county to issue bonds backed by property taxes to build this housing in the middle of the taxpayers' new subdivision, right next to the new college. They got it on the ballot.
I was living in a two-room converted chicken coop with my wife and baby at the time, working two jobs, and wishing I could afford something better, but the idea of tax-supported housing rankled, and I opposed it in letters to the editor of the local newspaper. The fight in print was vicious, the issue was hotly contested. I voted against it.
After the election, the sponsors of this ballot initiative went to court, and got an injunction to prevent the counting of votes on the issue. I do not recall my reaction to the news, though I can imagine, but without any other principled objection than "Cheat me once, shame on me," I quit voting. The public housing project, by the way, went forward as if nothing had happened, and the vote was never counted.
Ten years later I had a better informed and more principled objection to voting: denying the state the "sanction of the victim." As far as I know, that phrase was coined by Ayn Rand, although she was herself a political activist, and a supporter of voting. By 1978 I viewed the political class as self-serving criminals who fleeced the working people on any pretext that was expedient at the moment; enter Congress as a pauper, if you can, and exit as a millionaire. I refused to sanction this crime by voting.
Twenty-six years later, the stakes in the political game are much higher. Today we face the prospect of a totalitarian fascist state like no other in history. And we get to pick the gang leader? As a 2000 bumper sticker said, "Elect Bush Our Last President."
No thanks. I say turn your back on the whole criminal racket of political government.
Okay, critics say if you don't like it, leave it. To which I reply, this is my country too, I paid for it too, and I expect security and justice from the institutions that claim to be in that business — with my money. If they don't deliver, they're a fraud, and I want my money back.
If you don't vote, you can't criticize. Hot air. I'll be more than happy to sign a contract with political government that specifies: 1) I decline all political government services; 2) I pay NO further taxes; 3) I am refunded all Social Security and Medicare taxes I have paid to date; 4) I promise to never vote again, and I'll even shut up about it. Okay, offer everybody that choice, no play—no pay, and see what happens.
If we don't vote, they'll just do what they want to us. Uh, right. And if we do vote, they do what they want to us anyway, with our sanction. There is a difference.
Well, what do I tell my friends? Tell ‘em you joined a new party.
September 2, 2004
Robert Klassen [send him mail] retired from a forty-year career in critical-care respiratory therapy. He is the author of five books, including Atlantis: A Novel about Economic Government, and Economic Government, which describe a solution to the problem of political government. Here's his web site.
Copyright © 2004 Robert Klassen