It has often been pointed out that in the American two-party system that we are always being offered a choice between two evils, and people tend to vote for the candidate that represents the lesser of these two evils offered. Many have pointed out that voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for evil. Do you want to vote for evil? Of course not. But what about voting itself? What if we had a European style democracy with many small parties and there was one that did pretty much represent your political and social views? Would voting be OK then? I answer no. Full disclosure demands I mention that I did vote for the message candidacy of Ron Paul in the primary in Florida. I had to think long and hard about that, but finally decided that the message was so important that a vote for him was a blow against the state. Some say that was a mistake: I remain conflicted over that decision.
I believe that voting in general represents a participation in violence since elections are one of the methods used to validate and legitimize the violent state. There are other methods of course but voting is one that you are not yet required to do at the point of a gun as was the case in the old communist USSR. In the age of Kings and Queens there was the idea of the “divine right of Kings” that was supported by the Catholic Church and that was participation in evil by the Church as it supported the evil of the nation-state. This alliance has often been called the “Throne and Altar”. Even participation in a lotto to decide the ruler would still be helping to legitimize the outcome of the lotto and thereby supporting the state.
“Voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for evil. Next time, go all out and write in Lucifer on the ballot. ” ~Jarod Kintz
The state is at its root a compulsory political organization that has acquired and maintains a monopoly of violence that is considered legitimate inside some certain geographical area. Force and violence is the very reason for the state’s existence and anyone who leads that state is said to magically acquire some mythical, moral, and legal right to reign down death, destruction, and despotism on the people in that geographical region. Now it does not matter how that leader got his position, he is still the head of the evil state. If you help him gain and retain that position like the priests of old, then you are participating in the evil of the state. For the same reason, voting for any of the supporting cast in this morality play of evil is just as bad as selecting and supporting the chief tyrant.
Consider for a moment the maximum leader of the US Empire who is said to be the most powerful person in the world. He or she may be an idiot, mentally ill, unstable, or being blackmailed by the NSA but he or she is still looked upon as some magic man with all the answers. It is the very office of the president that legitimizes his actions. Why is this?
“As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.” ~ H.L. Mencken
We work hard to hardwire the children in our government schools to believe that the president has the legal and moral right to employ the organized violence apparatus of the human arrangement called the state. He may use the military, police, CIA, NSA, the Fed, and so on to cause suffering and death, but whatever he does is seen to be “for the best in the long run”. When President Clinton’s sanctions on the people of Iraq killed at least 500,000 children, his Secretary of State Madeleine Albright famously said on national TV that this mass murder was “worth it“. Why was this horrific crime allowed to go unpunished? It is because of the myth of legitimacy of the office of the president and his powers. It is this myth that you help to perpetuate if you vote or help the state in any way. Once someone has the office of the president in the US Empire he or she is vested in the myth, mystique and the moral validation that goes with that office, and he or she can make new laws that validate the agony and slaughter he or she is pouring down on others or just ignore old ones.
It is the supporting of the myth that what the state does is legitimate that makes voting wrong. The state or any of its minions do not magically acquire the right to do things that would be immoral if a private person did them, and yet that is exactly what we teach our children. We extend this idea from the president down to the local cop. We must stop legitimizing the state by word or deed. We must, therefore, not vote.
SITE NOTE: An edited version of this essay appeared last Wednesday July 3rd, 2013 at The Libertarian. For some period of time (until they tire of me) I will have an essay posted at The Libertarian on Wednesdays and that post will be re-posted here in the form I sent to them before any editing on the following Wednesday. Please go to my archive at The Libertarian to see my posts as they appear there.