Robert Heinlein, he who is like unto a God, once noted that if 'everyone' believes something, it almost certainly isn't true. There are a handful of exceptions to this -- everyone believes that all politicians are crooks, and that lawyers rank somewhere in between smallpox bacillae and car salesmen in the Great Chain Of Being, and these things are true. Exception proves the rule, and all that.
But there's plenty of things enthusiastically believed by the general populace which most assuredly are not true -- that God exists, that children are a valuable resource (unless one takes Swift seriously, I cannot imagine to what productive use children can be put -- and isn't the definition of 'resource' something which can be put to productive use?), and that there is a purpose in life beyond that which you choose. But lately, one particularly odious delusion has begun taking center stage again -- the belief that only those who accept the system as it is have a right to seek to alter it. (The fallacy should be obvious -- only those who do not accept the status quo will seek to alter it!) This is usually expressed with the bumper-sticker level slogan, "If you don't vote, you can't complain."
As with all common wisdom, this is uncommonly unwise. The real truth is this:If you do vote, you can't complain.
Consider:The man who does not vote (and does so out of a deliberate and well-justified revulsion at the system, rather than mere apathy), is governed without his consent. He never took any positive action indicating acceptance of the 'social contract'. If government derives its 'just powers' from the consent of the governed, then the government can have no just power over him. That it has power over him is sadly undeniable, but there is no justice in that power -- and thus, no injustice in any actions he may take to limit or evade that power, save those actions which are on their face unjust regardless of the current status of the State.
From what dementia comes the logic that if you fail to willingly cooperate in the process of your own enslavement, you have no right to be angered at the actions of your unchosen masters? You might as well claim that if you are not a 'made man', you should not protest the actions of your local mafia -- or if you are not a Communist, you have no cause to complain when your property is socialised. Clearly, it is precisely the opposite which is the case -- that those who support the system -- the willing Mafioso, the eager Communist, the enthusiastic voter -- who must accept with stoic silence any injustices forced upon them by the system they helped create. In the immortal words of Ayn Rand -- Brother, you asked for it!
But the rest of us did not.
We exist, all of us, under a system of 'government' that almost no one -- not even the most blindly patriotic lever-puller -- has any real control over. And no amount of 'campaign finance reform' or 'term limits' or 'free TV time' is going to change that, because democracy is fundementally flawed. It's a sham, a con game, a humbug, a...hold on a second....con:see trick(1)....ah...OK....fraud,deception, ruse, cheat, gyp, come-on, fast one, dodge, plant, sucker deal, sell out. I knew that thesaurus my Mother got me would come in handy one day, albeit nearly fifteen years later.
Call it what you will, the truth is that democracy is a lie. The peoples of the world who live in democratic nations have been taught that democracy is a synonym for freedom. That under democracy, government represents the people. And that in a democracy, people have a say in how they are ruled.
Before I go on, let's get one thing clarified. 'The people as a whole' does not exist. There is no collective 'people' which can be seen as anything other than a whole lot of individual persons. 'The people' do not hunger, do not hate, do not love. Only individuals can do that. There might be some truth to the concept that 'the people as a whole' have some modicum of control over some aspects of governance in the most free of the 'Democratic' nations -- but this is irrelevant. The single citizen, the only unit of society which matters, has no significant control whatsoever.
I hold that there is no one in government who represents me, and that whether I vote or not, this will not change. I am governed by leaders I did not choose, who enact policies I do not believe in, paid with in money I earned but did not consent to give to them. In every meaningful way, I am completely and utterly disenfranchised -- and so is just about everyone else.
|My Voting Choice||The Result|
|I don't vote.||No one in power represents me.|
|I vote for myself. I lose.||No one in power represents me.|
|I vote for a minor-party candidate with views close to my own. He/she loses.||No one in power represents me.|
|I vote for one of the two 'real' candidates. He/she wins or loses...||No one in power represents me.|
Get the picture, boys and girls?
If the justification for government violence against the citizenry (see What Is government? for a lengthy list) is that government is 'representative', then there is no justification at all -- since I have just shown, and I've yet to be proven wrong, that government most assuredly does not represent me. If you're clever enough to have turned on a computer and found this page, it almost certainly doesn't represent you, either. Before you leap to your word processor and tell me that it does -- think for a moment. Can you honestly, truly, without hesitation claim that there is not one decision made by your 'representatives' that you would not have made yourself? Not one law passed, in your name, using your money, that you consider unjust or unnecessary? Not one action taken by your 'representatives' that you would not consider wholly unrepresentative of what you believe?
If so -- I recommend a short but ultimately enjoyable stay at the Kevorkian Clinic. You are, to be blunt, too stupid to live. The atoms which compose you can be put to better use. Thank you for playing.
To that extent which your 'representatives' took actions in your name which do not conform to your own beliefs about what should be done, you have lived under a tyranny. That extent may be vast, as it is for me -- there is virtually nothing our government does I approve, and those few things it does do that I approve of, it can only do by means of actions which I do not approve of -- such as taxation of wealth and appropriation of land. It may be minor -- though I have trouble comprehending how a government as overwhelmingly intrusive as ours could only offend someone's sensibilities in a 'minor' way. But regardless of the extent, it is tyranny.
Is there such a thing as an acceptable amount of tyranny? Of course not.
So then. Resolved:All of us, to varying extents, spend part of our lives living under a tyrannical government that does not represent us, and cannot be reformed so that it does -- for there is no such thing as 'good government'. The very nature of government is tyrannical -- government is predicated on the thesis that some people have a right to tell other people how to live their lives. Call it 'the divine right of Kings' or call it 'the will of the people' -- it all boils down to some people telling other people how to live, and killing them if they do not obey.
And if you vote -- if you participate in the great con-game that is democracy -- you are part of the problem.
Just say no.
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