In defense of quitting

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So the big day is finally here, as are the exhortations ad nauseum to Get Out And Vote. I see this message everywhere I look today, from the vacuous media bobbleheads to many of the bloggers that I respect and read regularly. Again I find myself separated from the herd and its safety. The opinion that it is my duty to vote is in my view a fallacy. But if the requirement of participating in civil society is to register my opinion, then I choose to do it here. So to Make My Voice Heard, I emphatically say:

I Refuse

Aside from my previously mentioned opinion that voting is essentially a meaningless signaling act, it also signals many things with which I disagree. I disagree in principle with the "one man, one vote" structure of our democracy. I disagree that many of the subjects up for the vote are properly handled by mob opinion. I disagree that the party system fosters in any way a competent structure of governance. I disagree that being one of 120 million voters means I have stood up and been counted. I disagree that voting is the same thing as patriotism. I disagree that voting is the same thing as freedom. I disagree that my forebears fought for the vote rather than liberty.

My view of democracy is essentially a utilitarian one, not a moral one. Democracy is good insofar as it provides a check on corruption and abuse of power. It is a tool that can be used to protect liberty, but it is not liberty in itself. When it ceases to do its job, then it's time to put the tool away and use a different one that actually works.

I don't think there's anything to do about it; I certainly don't think there's a need for another revolution (at least yet). The system is just beginning to enter the final stage wherein it destroys itself. What comes out of its destruction is an interesting question, and one that occupies a large part of my political thought. I hope for a short tyranny followed by a radical decentralization that fosters a rebirth of liberty, but that is an outcome that is almost certainly beyond my lifetime. Voting certainly isn't going to do anything to bring it about, and so I decline to participate. Instead, I'll be at the range. Enjoy yourselves watching the show -- I know I will, even though I have no dog in the fight.

UPDATE: Peter Suderman makes a more eloquent defense of the case on Culture11.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Brother, If you don't vote it is my opinion that you don't have the right to bitch and complain about what is happenin in the usa

CounterClckWise said...

Well thank the gods you don't get to decide what my rights are and aren't! Because I will still bitch and complain. If you think that because I didn't vote you needn't listen, that is your right. But you still didn't address what I wrote.

mathle said...

Oh, you little sniveling bitch. Stop your crying about how the system doesn't meet you ideal, go borrow a set of nads and go play with the other raindeer.

CounterClckWise said...

Too bad your insults are as weak as your spell check.

mathle said...

...reindeer...

The point remains.

mathle said...

...your...

tiping to fast

CounterClckWise said...

LOL! Dude, FAIL. Have a shot for me. :)

JR said...

We're not a democracy. We're a democratic Republic. If you can't be bothered to elect responsible representatives, then shame on you. Moreover, you've no right to complain, because you did...nothing. And that's what you deserve. Damn you and your ilk for presuming to accept the liberty granted you by those before you, and God help those who follow.

CounterClckWise said...

JR, we're not supposed to be a democracy, but we are now. The republic part is just a legacy, which is one reason why I'm not participating in this farce.

If you think you did more than nothing just by voting, then you're fooling yourself. You're just participating in a system that gives you the illusion of control. To repeat myself, liberty is not voting. Try reading my post again more carefully and you might get my point.

JR said...

We are not now, nor have we ever been, a democracy. That's utter nonsense. There's no "part" of a democratic Republic. That merely demonstrates that you know little
of what it means. Of course you're free to exercise your God-given liberty to not participate, but you're just squandering that privilege, and fooling nobody but yourself.

I've not restorted to believing I have any more control over my government than what I've chosen to exercise. If I didn't participate at all, I'd probably feel just like you. However, I've participated in much more than just voting. I've actively been involved in campaigning for my local, state, and federal representatives, and thus far, it's proven successful. I'm not a fan of the either Presidential candidate, so I must content myself with working from the lower levels to achieve what's best for me and what I believe.

Doing nothing is lazy, and attempting to rationalize it is merely contemptuous.

CounterClckWise said...

FWIW, I'll concede that we have the structure of a republic, if not an actual republic. That structure is a legacy, though, that has very little to do with the actual governance of the nation which is run by mobocracy.

And I didn't say I do nothing, I just said I don't vote. I went to the range, in fact.

And good for you working on the local, state, and federal campaigns. And voting. Yet, we're looking at the largest Democratic victory since Nixon. Thanks for all your participation! All you achieved was some socializing and status signaling. If you think I'm being lazy, I think you're being pointless. And rationalizing.

Check my backlinks in the post to read more about voting.

il Tucc said...

Holy Crap! You have a lot of comments. You know where I stand on this. BTW, I voted yesterday -- but did not vote for the GOP nominee for the first time.

Tam said...

You thought the T.R. quote was my exhortation to vote?

Huh.

Anyway, vote or don't, whichever. It's still (mostly) a free country.

CounterClckWise said...

Fair enough, Tam...I should know better than to read words into your blog based on dubious context.

CounterClckWise said...

Jeff, I'm surprised! I thought you decided to vote for Palin...