7.3.08

On the Value of Not Voting

From the Contrarians'Review, by John Triolo, If this fellow isn't a Monarchist he has missed his calling.

On the Value of Not Voting-- By John F. Triolo

Every election year in America, several things happen. Candidates, all the while insisting that the people are tired of cynicism and negative campaigning, begin cynical attacks on the reputations of their opponents. Politicians make grand promises which they have no intention of keeping and, indeed, couldn’t even if they did. Finally, and most importantly for the purposes of this article, the people of this fine nation are subjected to endless, sanctimonious and sophistical calls to “be responsible,” “participate in democracy,” and “make a difference” by voting.

I do not intend to here to lay out the case against casting a vote in the upcoming elections. In truth, while there are objections that might be made to blindly voting in every election, there is nothing wrong with exercising one’s right to vote. It is a legitimate exercise of the political liberty which citizens of the United States are afforded under the Constitution. It is not against voting per se which I am arguing, but rather the irrational prejudice held by the partisans of liberal democracy against the choice to refuse to vote in a given election.

We all know the trite, standard-issue truisms that usually hold the place of objections to non-participation: “if you don’t vote, then don’t complain,” “its your civic duty,” “not voting for the candidate who shares more of your political views is like casting a vote for the candidate who doesn’t” and my personal favorite, “Don’t marginalize yourself, vote and change the system from within.” These objections all sound, on the surface, to be fairly reasonable. It is when one looks beyond the surface that he sees that it is not reason but platitudinous sentiment at their core.

“If you don’t vote, then don’t complain.” This means, I believe, that when one does not participate in an election by casting his vote he therefore has no right to complain about the subsequent policies of government officials selected in that race. I freely confess that I do not understand this argument in the least. Of course the people have a right to complain about the errant policies of those in authority, legitimate or otherwise, over them. The fact that a candidate won an election in which a given person did not vote does not absolve that candidate of any legal or moral responsibility to that person. If that conception of the duty of those in authority held water then so would the logical extension that a government official has no responsibility to those who voted for his opponent. After all, they declined to participate in his election by voting for him, what right do they have to complain about his policies? Certainly there is no place left by this argument for felons, children, resident aliens or, in the past, women. They don’t vote and so have no right however justly or intelligently, to complain about the actions of the officials who none-the-less govern in their name. More

Thanks and a Tip of the Beret to John at Contrarians' Review.

de Brantigny

2 comments:

John said...

Thanks for the kind words. You might be interested to know that Issue 2 is now live with an article by a different writer on why voting is a waste of time and an article by my father on why it isn't. Love the blog by the way.

de Brantigny said...

Thanks John. I have added you to my sites visited area. I will also direct the article you mentioned. \
Sincerly Richard