Thanks to all of you who tuned in yesterday when I hosted the Katherine Albrecht Show (here’s the archive). And thanks as well to those who requested a copy of my opening remarks about refusing to vote. Your Intrepid Reporter aims to please, so here’s an amplification of the rough notes from which I spoke. (This is not a transcript: expect variations in wording and details from the actual recording.)
Why I Don’t Vote
Today’s a big day for the State, one of its holiest: Election Day. So let me ask whether you celebrated: did you vote?
Politicians, bureaucrats, and the corporate media all insist that voting is one of our fundamental “civil rights.” It’s our “civic duty” to participate in this collective ritual. And folks who love the State have long pushed to expand the franchise. For example, after Lincoln’s War of Northern Aggression, politicians gave ex-slaves the right to vote. Then, in the 1920’s, it was women, and more recently, 18-year-olds. Some quarters are now urging that we give the vote to immigrants who haven’t yet secured a bureaucrat’s permission to live here; others want to amend the Constitution to include a right to vote, incredibly enough.
But is all that voting good for liberty? Are “civil rights” in general compatible with freedom?
I say they aren’t.
Let me be clear: I’m speaking of the political philosophy of civil rights. And it is an actual philosophy, not just a slogan hippies and Marxists spouted during the 1960s. As such, “civil rights” is diametrically opposed to liberty.
“Civil rights” teaches what its name implies: that our rights descend from the State. (“Civil” comes from the Latin civis, meaning “citizen” and therefore under the government’s control.)
But that poses several problems. First and foremost, if the State grant us our rights, it decides which rights to bestow. In our earlier example, it “gave” women the right to vote even as it denied it to girls of 19. Obviously, then, those rights government hands out will vary from time to time and place to place. For instance, China’s citizens enjoy some “civil rights” that we don’t, and vice versa. You can see this distinction very clearly at the ACLU. It vehemently defends the right to vote, but it’s absolutely hostile to subjects’ arming themselves: the ACLU never fights for the Second Amendment.
The second problem is that what the State grants, it can – and does – revoke. All Americans are intimately familiar with this process as politicians and bureaucrats continue destroying our freedom. We used to buy incandescent light-bulbs; now we buy only what the EPA allows. We used to photograph in public with impunity; governments at all levels increasingly strip us of that liberty.
But if you subscribe to the philosophy of “civil rights,” you lack any logical basis for opposing our increasingly heavy shackles. The State giveth, and the State taketh away.
Contrast “civil rights” with liberty. The latter says our rights are infinite rather than limited to voting and a couple of others; that the Creator, not the State, endows every one of us with them by virtue of our humanity; and that they are inalienable. That’s not to say governments won’t abrogate our rights; they obviously can and do. But they have no moral authority to do so. They clearly brand themselves tyrannical as soon as they impinge on even one of our freedoms. And our only proper response when they do is to rebel, to reclaim the liberty they’ve stolen from us.
Now you see why American governments, whether local, state or federal, as well as rank-and-file Progressives, prattle endlessly about civil rights but never mention liberty: “civil rights” hands more power to their god, the State, while liberty empowers the serfs.
No wonder Our Rulers urge us to vote. Voting legitimizes them. Voters imply that they agree with the State’s right to reign when they cast a ballot. Voting changes the debate from whether the State should exercise power over us to which of its rulers will do so.
I don’t want any ruler other than the Lord. So I don’t vote.
Another reason I don’t vote is because I detest shams. And picking your ruler is a sham since it lacks real choice: 90% of incumbents win, over and over, until they decide to retire; we seldom ever drive them from office. Plus, how many politicians nationwide are from parties other than the Democrats and Republicans?
Meanwhile, those two parties are fake competitors—as fake as margarine. By the way, did you know that the same corporation manufactures both Blue Bonnet and Parkay? Yep, ConAgra markets both products because it knows consumers crave a choice. Ergo, it offers us a false one, thereby capturing more of the margarine market. Same margarine, different packages and labels. So it is with the Democrats and Republicans. They offer the same strong, centralized government controlling every aspect of our lives, just with different packages and labels.
I don’t vote because of practical considerations, too. You may recall a study earlier this year proved that ordinary citizens have absolutely no impact on government. A couple of professors analyzed charts and graphs and statistics and proved factually what we’ve long suspected instinctively: that special interests, the political, bureaucratic, and corporate elite, run the country without regard or concern for our opinions or welfare. You can vote, protest and demonstrate, sign petitions—none of it does a whit of good. You’re wasting your time because Our Rulers set domestic and international policies to further their power and interests, not ours.
Nonetheless, you still hear serfs say, “Oh, wow, I’ve got to vote today because the Republicans have to win to repeal Obummercare,” or “I’m voting for Democrats because Republicans will only embroil us in another war if they win.” Voting should never be this important. Indeed, we can measure how far down the road to serfdom we’ve hurtled by the fact that so many folks vote out of self-defense: they genuinely and rightly fear what will happen to them, their families and livelihood if one or the other party gains more power. But if we were living in the Constitutional republic the Founding Fathers designed, voting would never be this vital. We would care very little who held office because the country’s highest law would strictly limit his power and that of the entire government. None of the political class could harm us much. Tragically, with government intertwined so heavily with our lives, desperate villeins see voting as essential.
I don’t vote because I refuse to legitimize the Feds’ worldwide murder and theft. That’s one of my tactics to bring down government and usher in anarchy: I will not legitimize the State. But it’s only a tactic, and we can disagree about it. In fact, many fine folks who love liberty continue to vote – though they usually go with a third party rather than the Demopublicans. One of them is here today to chat with us about voting and about how the Establishment works very, very hard to keep third parties out of American politics…
If you want to hear jaw-dropping stories of yet more chicanery from the State, and of the dirty, even violent, tricks its thugs employ to restrict voters’ choices at the polls, please listen to my interview with the New York State Libertarian Party’s chairman. Many of those who heard us yesterday tell me they were shocked at the stranglehold Demopublicans exercise over supposedly “free” elections.11:25 am on November 5, 2014 Email Becky Akers