The Power of Non-Voting

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The article forwarded by Karen Kwiatkowski hits a very sensitive nerve of the statists. Voting is essential for maintaining the illusion that “democracies” are run by “the people” (in the same way that “theocracies” are run by “God”). Those who refuse to vote are walking sandwich boards for the proposition that people can function in society without political direction and oversight. Non-voters must be stigmatized as “lazy” or “irresponsible” – and certainly not be seen as men and women who reject the entire logic of the state.

The threat that the principled non-voter has to the system was illustrated in a conversation I had, decades ago, with the writer George Boardman. He lived in a very small town in Arizona. The man who was running for re-election as the county prosecutor, had gone door-to-door soliciting the support of voters. When he got to Boardman’s house, George informed him that he did not vote and would not vote, an expression that so troubled the candidate that he returned to Boardman’s house a few more times to ask him why he refused to vote, and to try to persuade him to participate, even if he wanted to vote for his opponent. (This is the same kind of nonsense one hears from the League of Women Voters: “it doesn’t matter who you vote for, but vote!”

George asked, rhetorically, why this candidate was so concerned with his one non-vote. In a county of tens of thousands of residents, why would any politician care whether one man chose to stay home on election day as a matter of principle. He never got an answer from the candidate. George already knew the answer, of course, and it lay in the above-stated mindset offered by the League of Women Voters. It is the article of faith so proudly worn on his lapel by Boobus, as he emerges from the polling place: “I voted!”

It is the continuing decline in faith in the politicization of society that has, for well over a year, made the 2008 presidential race the preoccupation of the mainstream media. The media must continue to advertise the products and services of the establishment owners, just as it does for the sellers of prescription drugs and other nostrums. Still, the outcome of the 2008 election will confirm the truth of the proposition that it really doesn’t matter for whom you vote. Regardless of whether Obama or McCain prevails, the government will be re-elected, and will continue to increase its powers over you. Should you remain dissatisfied with the behavior of the system, the media will be right back to begin its campaign on behalf of “Election 2010,” urging you, once again, to continue supporting the process that continues to frustrate your expectations. In the words of Emma Goldman, “if voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.”

12:38 pm on June 29, 2008