Your Obligation to Not Vote

The recent death of Ted Kennedy and assorted other reasons have resulted in an upcoming crop of U.S. Senate “special elections” and related blather. It’s amazing to me, even after all this time as an anarchist, how people speak of the “right” to vote – said “right” being nothing more or less than a legal claim on something. Of course, government laws are nothing more than the opinions of bureaucrats backed up by the lethal violence of guns in the first place, but in the case of voting it gets even worse.

No one has any “right,” under ordinary everyday circumstances, to use violence or the threat thereof to control another’s life or property. In fact, each of us has a very serious moral obligation to not engage our fellow human beings in such a manner. Yet, cloak a cop or a tax collector or a politician in the magical, quantum-physics defying aura of government, and suddenly this becomes not only acceptable, but even commendable and necessary. Such is the intrinsic nature of the State.

Thus, by voting in political elections, a voter implicitly endorses this kind of immoral and intellectually indefensible behavior by proxy. No, Mr. or Ms. Voter, it’s not you specifically who holds the gun to the taxpayer’s head, throws the marijuana smoker into the jail cell, imprisons the peaceful owner of a certain type of weapon for life – and it may not even be the series of politicians you voted for – but in essence, by voting, by casting that ballot for the continuation of government, you are hiring hit men (and women) to do those things for you. You are endorsing the inherent violence and thievery of government.

The good news is that the majority of people don’t vote – either because they don’t want to, or because they don’t satisfy governmental criteria for being able to do so. As a result, there are a minority of individuals to whom this message must be carried. It would also not do any harm to bring these points to the attention of non-voters, who although they are already doing good by politically abstaining, consistently show in survey after survey that they fundamentally share the same political views as those of voters. One does well by working to change that. Yet, even then, think of the typical reasons most non-voters give for not showing up at the polls: “There’s no one running who I like.” “I don’t watch the news or pay attention to politics.” “The system is rigged.” “I’m too busy, I have bills to pay.” In each and every instance, what is implied is a.) a mistrust of and disdain for government, and; b.) that the life, career, family, and recreational time of the non-voter is more important than what bureaucrats and politicians are doing and are all about. That alone is still healthy.

Saying you have a “right” to vote only empowers government, not you or anyone else. Again, it’s like saying you have a right to hire assasins and thieves to give you what you want at someone else’s expense. This is never justifiable. Each of us has an obligation to not kill, to not steal, to deal with each other as co-equals in a open, honest, and peaceful manner. Even getting your name put on a voter registration list contravenes these essential principles of a free and prosperous society. If that’s you, consider not only ceasing and desisting from voting, but getting your name removed from the registration rolls. It’s not difficult; I know people who’ve done it with very little effort. Even that’s not the point, though.

You have an obligation to not vote. Own up to it.

Translations for this article:

Anarchy and Democracy
Fighting Fascism
Markets Not Capitalism
The Anatomy of Escape
Organization Theory