Archive for the ‘Non-voting’ Category

School Bullying And Voting

October 26, 2016

This is what it has come down to for vote-shaming political tribalists: endorsing schoolyard bullying to coerce voting.

End This Election

October 6, 2016

It’s getting apoplectic out there in political tribal land. On the left, Keith Olbermann proclaims Trump will “end this democracy.” On the right, Sean Hannity is apoplectic at conservative “saboteurs” who will own Clinton, refugees, the Supreme Court, and radical Islam.

Sorry, tribalists, this election does not matter.

Andrew Napolitano echoes sentiments I’ve expressed on this blog, but goes further:

What if they are both statists? What if they both believe that the government’s first duty is to take care of itself? What if they both believe in the primacy of the state over the individual?

What if, in clashes between the state and individuals, they both would use the power of the state to trample the rights of individuals?

What if the first priority of both is not to decrease the size and scope of government but to expand it? What if they both believe that the federal government may lawfully and constitutionally right any wrong, tax any behavior and regulate any event? What if they both want to add a few thousand new employees to the federal payroll, give them badges and guns and black shirts, and engage them as federal police to insulate the federal government further from the people and the states?

The whole thing is here.

Non-Voting: The Civic Thing To Do

June 19, 2016

Michael Brendan Dougherty has penned the best article on non-voting in this election I’ve had the privilege to read:

You may in fact believe one side is worse than the other. Even significantly. That’s fine. In the sacred sanctum of my heart, I’d rather die at the hand of a knife-wielding relative over a game of cribbage than by drowning in an inflated kiddie pool filled with ammonia. I’ve gamed both of these scenarios out at length, and one of them is certainly preferable to the other. But I’m not going to interrupt a pleasant November day to endorse either of them.

And please don’t tell me that I owe it to those who died on Utah Beach on D-Day, or at the Battle of Yorktown in the Revolutionary War, to choose between Trump and Clinton. If we really believed that electing a president was somehow connected to honoring our war dead, we would not have chosen a bilious moron and a greedy black hole of ambition as our candidates in the first place.

Non-Voting = A Vote For Trump AND Clinton Simultaneously?

June 17, 2016

According to conservatives, anyone who doesn’t vote in this election is actually voting for Hillary Clinton.

According to liberals, a non-vote in this election is actually an additional tally for Donald Trump. Some liberals direct this argument only at disgruntled Bernie Sanders supporters, but others direct this jab at all non-voters.

By this logic, by staying home, a non-voter isn’t casting zero votes for president, but two.

Political tribalism apparently renders math skills obsolete. So let me try to help out a little, as I’m a pretty consistent non-voter.

I refuse to support Trump’s economic nationalism and ethnic isolationism (I believe there’s a word for this collection of beliefs). I refuse to support Clinton, champion of the regulatory state and a foreign policy neocon. I will not condone both candidates’ embrace of cronyism and the surveillance state. I won’t be voting. And my non-vote will add nothing statistically to Trump’s vote count. It will add nothing to Clinton’s vote count. Zero equals zero. Not one. Not two. Zero.

I guess this means I’m throwing a “temper tantrum” and disrespecting all those freedoms the Founding Fathers risked their lives for (which probably didn’t include the right to vote). I’d argue that liberty has no value if you do not have the freedom to follow your conscience. I cannot in good conscience legitimize these candidates, and I cannot legitimize what the Executive Branch has become. If people disagree with my analysis and feel compelled to vote, then they should act accordingly.

Just spare me the lame guilt trips and fuzzy math.

**UPDATE 7/26/16: I’ll add to this list as warranted, but here’s a rundown of political tribalists who are bad at math:

Trevor Noah
Chuck Norris
Barack Obama: “There’s one message I want to deliver to everybody: If you don’t vote, that’s a vote for Trump.”
Michelle Obama
Chris Christie

The Ted Cruz Vote-Shaming Campaign

January 30, 2016

This post of mine from a couple years ago is getting some hits today thanks to a mailer from the Ted Cruz campaign.

The mailers purported to be an “official public record” grading the recipients A through F on their voting frequency, with an encouragement to caucus Monday in order to improve their score. The mailer accuse recipients of a “voting violation” in all capital letters, warning, “A follow-up notice may be issued following Monday’s caucuses.”

The notices come from Cruz’s campaign in order to encourage people to turn out. They are not official documents from the state, which is why they have been publicly denounced by the secretary of state.

Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, a Republican, released a statement saying the mailer “misrepresents the role of my office and, worse, misrepresents Iowa election law.”

More here.

I will proudly accept an ‘F’ from the Cruz campaign. I strongly oppose Democrats on economics, regulatory policy, fiscal policy, and monetary policy (and don’t particularly trust them on foreign policy and safeguarding civil liberties). I strongly oppose Republicans on their hawkish foreign policy and lack of regard for civil liberties, and don’t particularly trust their economic policies.

The Cruz campaign specifically reinforces that opposition. I don’t believe in government officials using the levers of power to coerce private citizens into following laws (and paying taxes to enforce the laws) that have nothing to do with the protection of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I don’t believe in funding meddlesome foreign adventurism that does little for our safety, but does a lot to destabilize societies at the brunt end of our bombs and create blowback for our troops and civilians. More often than not, Ted Cruz positions himself to the contrary.

The reason the political class and its enablers push so hard for your vote is simple: it legitimizes government’s operations. Sometimes those operations are benevolent. Often they’re well-intended but produce bad results. Often they’re plain malicious. If my fellow Iowans want to head to the caucuses and legitimize the failed policies of the political class, that is their right. I prefer to not reinforce the Republican vision, which brought us the PATRIOT Act, the war in Iraq, the 2008 bailouts, and punitive drug war legislation (among other things). And I sure the hell won’t vote for the Democratic party, whose vision for the proper role of government is antithetical to mine.

I feel no shame in following my conscience by not voting.

Expressive Non-Voting And The Freedom Of Conscience

March 19, 2015

President Obama endorses mandatory voting:

“Other countries have mandatory voting,” Obama said Wednesday in Cleveland, where he spoke about the importance of middle class economics, and was asked about the issue during a town hall.

“It would be transformative if everybody voted — that would counteract money more than anything,” he said, adding it was the first time he had shared the idea publicly.

The idea that government invasion into every nook and cranny of American society lights the fuse for more lobbying and outside spending, sadly, doesn’t appear on the president’s radar.

President Obama seems to automatically assume anyone who abstains from voting is doing so because “some folks try to keep [non-voters] away from the polls.” I’m not conceited enough to speak on behalf of all non-voters, nor do I assume “some folks” have nothing but the best of intentions with their various voter ID proposals. But for this non-voter, I can assure you nobody tries to keep me away from the polls. As I’ve posted, I get inundated with mailers trying to SHAME ME to the polls.

On top of all the reasons I’ve posted in the past, another reason for my non-voting is self-expression. That idea turns the conventional narrative on its head because one of the justifications vote-shamers provide for your “duty” to vote is its expressive component: there’s no better way to stand up for what you believe in than to vote.

For a libertarian like me, that makes no sense.

Every day of the year, I have to follow the laws, no matter how ineffective, counter-productive, and/or immoral they are. By force of law, I have to supply the funds to enforce the laws I find ineffective, counter-productive, and/or immoral. By force of law, I have to pay for programs I find wasteful, the enforcement of regulations and a tax code that harms Americans financially, wars that kill innocents, a justice system purposefully stacked against civilians, and the salaries and benefits of politicians and bureaucrats who leech off the hard work of others.

Election Day is the one day of the year where I can register a ‘no’ to the ineffective, counter-productive and immoral laws. This is the one day of the year I can register a ‘no’ to the wasteful programs, the harmful regulations, the pernicious tax code, the disgraceful wars, the punitive nature of the justice system, and the privileges of the political class. Am I really saying ‘no’ if I do what the political class and vote-shamers endlessly harp on? If I vote, these folks get what they’re looking for: sanction for what they’ve created and enabled. A vote, no matter what party I vote for, says ‘yes’ to everything stated above. That’s not “transformative.”

Non-voting is my way to say ‘no.’ It’s not a particularly effective ‘no.’ The laws I oppose will still be enforced. The programs will still waste money. The regulations and taxes will continue to harm the economy. Wars will continue to produce collateral damage. The justice system will still railroad countless innocent victims. The political class will still receive the perks and privileges of their “respected” positions.

But the alternative is even less effective. Voting establishes legitimacy. Voting pays homage to the political class and provides it a seal of approval to continue their dreadful policies.

I choose to express my discontent with what the political class has created by saying ‘no.’ On Election Day, I follow my conscience, and don’t vote.

The Republican Party Strategy: Shaming Non-Voters

October 23, 2014

I have received a few mailers this month from the Iowa Republican Party, voicing their disapproval on my non-voting record. Here is a mailer I received last night:

Republican Mailer

If the Republican Party wants my vote, they could start by abandoning their crony capitalism and xenophobia. Instead of, you know, fielding candidates in Iowa who embrace crony capitalism and xenophobia despite the facts against their crony capitalism and xenophobia.

Also, am I to gather, based off this mailer, that the Iowa Republican Party endorses a community of busybody neighbors not minding their own business? That’s a little too creepy for my tastes, sorry.

**UPDATE 1/31/16:  I’d like to thank the Ted Cruz campaign’s vote-shaming mailer for driving traffic to this post.  My thoughts on Cruz’s vote-shaming here.

Why I Don’t Vote

June 21, 2014

In a previous post, I mentioned liberty requires we exercise our rights. Specific examples I had mind when writing that include speaking out against injustice, not granting law enforcement permission to search your property if they request to do so without a warrant, and exercising your right to remain silent when the cops tell you anything you say “can and will be used against you.” My list does have one glaring, yet deliberate, omission: voting.

I’ve explained why I don’t vote in the past, but since we’re upon the latest edition of “The Most Important Election Of Your Lifetime,” I thought now would be an opportune time to expound on the topic.

Personally, I believe in checks and balances, free markets and private property, free speech, freedom of religion, a presumption of innocence, probable cause for searches and seizures, due process, peace, and the freedom of people to live their life as they see fit as long as that person “neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”

You be the judge if the following stories show a government reflecting these values:

-Depending on the source, anywhere from 60% to 80% of government spending is not subject to congressional approval.

-Do either the Democrats or Republicans see a problem with a government, over $17 trillion in debt as of this writing, operating where a majority of its spending is on autopilot? The Democratic leadership says there are no more cuts to make. Sound familiar? It should: Republican leaders say the same thing.

-The Executive Branch claims the power to indefinitely detain citizens, engages in dragnet surveillance, argues in favor of renditions, secretly operates its drone war in the Middle East, and in general routinely violates federal law. The courts are not providing a meaningful check to the Executive Branch. Neither is Congress.

-The Internal Revenue Service violates basic constitutional protections via its everyday activities.

-Opposition to religious freedom comes from both the left and the right.

-Conservative opposition to eminent domain use for private interests proves to be more cosmetic than substantive.

-Bipartisan support for criminal justice pork has further militarized domestic law enforcement.

Police misconduct is enabled by the “blue code of silence” and apathy from those who should provide oversight. If anything, current policies actually ENCOURAGE misconduct. Qualified immunity and “good faith exceptions” further protect bad actors.

-Qualified immunity also explains how prosecutorial misconduct is allowed to run rampant. As the link explains, instead of providing a check on misconduct, courts often pass the buck, claiming bad prosecutors will face sanctions and disbarment when, in fact, this rarely occurs.

Does voting for elected office have any discernible impact in reining these problems in? Or do the men and women seeking higher office, more often than not, SUPPORT the very policies and actions cited above (particularly when their side is in power)?

For me, a vote isn’t just an endorsement for a particular candidate. My vote gives the entire war-making, binge-spending, overregulating, Bill-of-Rights-be-damned, crony-capitalist, rent-seeking, consolidation-of-power form of government my seal of approval. A vote for federal office reinforces the status quo.

Everyone needs to follow their conscience. If you think your vote legitimately changes the status quo (or if you support the status quo), then go out to the polls, cast your ballot, and wear that taxpayer-subsidized “I Voted” sticker with pride. For the sake of my conscience, I will once again stay away from the voting booth on Election Day, as I can’t give sanction to the results that are guaranteed to follow.

**UPDATE 10/22/14: Another issue not covered during any election cycle: being punished for crimes you aren’t convicted of.

How Promoting Voting Wastes Tax Dollars

December 30, 2012

An interesting article on those “I Voted” stickers that are given away at your local polling place on Election Day. Do we really need to waste $34 million dollars so voters can pat themselves on the back? Not to mention spending additional resources to prevent businesses from using the stickers for some marketing campaign??

Obama’s Correlations With Nixon

November 15, 2012

Consider the header another reason I did not vote on Election Day.

*From the Obama Administration: escalation of drones strikes and the war in Afghanistan, attacks on whistle blowers, condemnation of media reporting on US atrocities, and increased use of warrantless surveillance.

*From the Nixon Administration: escalation of the Vietnam War via carpet-bombing Cambodia, the attempted silencing of whistle blowers and the media, and warrantless spying.

These are the primary grievances the left has with the Nixon legacy, justifiable ones at that. So where’s the left’s outrage against Obama?

For the sake of fairness, Romney wouldn’t have been any better.

**UPDATE 5/15/13: Per Jonathan Turley, “Barack Obama is the president that Nixon always wanted to be.”