Why you should not vote

This is not for Democrats, or Republicans, or Libertarians, or members of the Green or Reform parties. This is for people who are highly individualistic and don't identify themselves with any of the political parties in the American political system. Not due to the fact that they don't share the ideology of the party, but because they don't believe in the ideology of the current political system. This is for people who believe in a pure (100%) democracy.

I don't believe our current government is "by the people, of the people, and for the people." This is the only valid government regardless of how it is achieved. Our government, looking at it very generously, is by the people through their elected representatives, of the elected representatives, and it is for people according to what the elected representatives think the people want." "Elected representative" translates to "politician" in this day and age. At this point, I shouldn't have to say more about the American political system, i.e., it should all be self evident from the words "career politician". But I will.

The above statement of what I think the government is is an abstract one. In a perfect world, that system might well translate to "by the people, of the people, and for the people." However, in this case, elected representatives are humans. Humans are prone to ethical and character flaws. Further, politics has become motivated by self-interest rather than public interest. The word "public servant" does not apply to the Congress people (legislative), the President (executive), or the Supreme Court (judiciary). They seem to exist to serve their own self-interests, be it power, money, or getting votes to retain their positions. With these motivations, it is clear that the government really is "by the politicians, of the politicians, and for the politicians." That is what I view the current governmental system as. The President, the Congress people, and other politicians in power are far removed, physically and ideologically, from the interests of the average person. Frankly, I don't think it's that different from a monarchy and I think the average person has little or no say in the workings of the government. That seems a bit incongruous given that we live in a republic.

If you look at the record of U.S. Congress, for example, they're hardly the sort of people who should be running this country (i.e., based on the number of transgresses they've committed based on laws they themselves have passed)! The problem with a "representative democracy" (i.e., republic) is that people who are in power are generally those who seek it. And people who covet power in my mind are NOT the ones who should be having power over others. And by voting in the current system, you impose upon others who disagree with you your tyranny of the majority.

I don't believe in the concept of "rights"---these are just granted and taken away by people in power, even though the legal language says the government "secures" these "rights". The Founders of America said they believed certain rights were "inalienable". Who were they to decide that? Further, even accepting their wisdom, the first thing they did was go against the very things they had written (anti-sedition laws, discrimination against women and blacks, etc.). (And I do accept the wisdom of most of these people.) So everything is corruptible. I believe that your enumerated "rights" are slowly being eroded even before the ink began to dry by politicians, in the name of security and patriotism. Of course, with better technology, we've gained a lot more and most don't notice it.

I oppose the entire political system. I think the entire system should be turned on its head. Not by shrinking the present government or making minor changes to it, but by completely razing it to its foundations and rebuilding it with only natural (physical or technological) laws. There are hundreds of issues that can be raised here, and I don't have all the answers nor do I claim to. I'm a pacifist and I don't recommend people marching up to the White House and ousting its occupants; I don't think violence solves any problems (though it should be pointed out that governments of the world have been the biggest mass murderers of all time). I think the whole notion of countries with borders is outdated and outmoded in this Internet era, and only serves to make a populace subservient. Globalisation has already occurred in the online world. It's just a matter of everyone getting on the bandwagon. I think eventually the electronic age will eliminate all need for a government, and people will be able to realise a pure democracy (it already exists in the confines of the Internet).

For now, I simply recommend not voting. If everyone didn't vote, the message sent out to the politicians who hold power would be clear: our emperors have no clothes. People by voting today hope to buy a limited access to power that has long been sold out; the vote only determines which sell out one is closer to. Many people hold back from telling our emperors that they're naked, but if they did, the power mongers would be forced to confront themselves in front of a mirror. As long as Americans fail to make this statement, they will always be disappointed with their elected candidates.

By voting, you're subjugating yourself to the wisdom of someone who's no more wise than your mother, or even yourself. The only difference is that they have a desire to subjugate, and people who vote (for a person) have a desire to be subjugated. By placing themselves into nice categories, like "Democrat", "Republican", or "Libertarian", they objectify themselves.

Ultimately, in a gross philosophical sense, the motivation for not voting is the same as the one for voting. People say they vote to make a political statement, to have a say in things (albeit indirectly). Not voting is making an equally valid political statement, but one that is made about the whole system, not just a candidate.


A huge fraction of the populace does not vote; in fact, in the 2000 presidential election, only 36.1% of the people aged 18-24 voted. What does this tell you about our system?

We do not live in a Democracy. We live in a Republic. (Read Barry's Krusch's If Triangles Are Square, America is a Democracy for a detailed discussion on this.) James Madison wrote in Federalist 14,

"The true distinction between these forms . . . is, that in a Democracy, the people meet and exercise the government in person; in a republic, they assemble and administer it by their representatives and agents."

I do not support a system of government based on representatives and agents. It is inefficient and invariably corrupt. I believe people who are serious about government should get away from labels. If you want to be career politician or even practice politics, go for it, but the result is what we have in places like the US or even in China. If you really want something where decisions are made that really mean "consent of the governed", we need to think of new models of government outside of the US, perhaps more global in scale (since the world has always been interconnected) and uses technology (i.e., the Internet) to our advantage and to make it happen. "Voting your your feet" has to become a reality. We don't need a Congress and an executive to make laws and run the government, it can be done directly by the people, as a form of crowd sourcing. The technical details are difficult but not insurmountable. The goal *has to be* getting to a point where it is the people who are running the show instead of "elected representatives" (aka politicians).


Here are a few more choice quotes on voting:

"If voting made a difference, it would be illegal."
"Don't vote - it only encourages them."
"Voters decide nothing; people who count votes decide everything." --Joseph Stalin
Anarchism is founded on the observation that since few men are wise enough to rule themselves, even fewer are wise enough to rule others. --Edward Abbey
"Political cunning ever sings the praise of the mass: the poor majority, the outraged, the abused, the giant majority, if only it would follow us. Who has not heard this litany before? Who does not know this never-varying refrain of all politicians? That the mass bleeds, that it is being robbed and exploited, I know as well as our vote-baiters. But I insist that not a handful of parasites, but the mass itself is responsible for this horrible state of affairs. It clings to its masters, loves the whip, and is the first to cry Crucify! the moment a protesting voice is raised against the sacredness of capitalistic authority or any other decayed institution. Yet how long would authority and private property exist, if not for the willingness of the mass to become soldiers, policemen, jailers, and hangmen..." --Emma Goldman, 1917
"In truth, in the case of individuals, their actual voting is not to be taken as proof of consent, EVEN FOR THE TIME BEING. On the contrary, it is to be considered that, without his consent having even been asked a man finds himself environed by a government that he cannot resist; a government that forces him to pay money, render service, and forego the exercise of many of his natural rights, under peril of weighty punishments. He sees, too, that other men practice this tyranny over him by the use of the ballot. He sees further, that, if he will but use the ballot himself, he has some chance of relieving himself from this tyranny of others, by subjecting them to his own. In short, he finds himself, without his consent, so situated that, if he use the ballot, he may become a master; if he does not use it, he must become a slave. And he has no other alternative than these two. In self- defence, he attempts the former. His case is analogous to that of a man who has been forced into battle, where he must either kill others, or be killed himself. Because, to save his own life in battle, a man takes the lives of his opponents, it is not to be inferred that the battle is one of his own choosing. Neither in contests with the ballot -- which is a mere substitute for a bullet -- because, as his only chance of self- preservation, a man uses a ballot, is it to be inferred that the contest is one into which he voluntarily entered; that he voluntarily set up all his own natural rights, as a stake against those of others, to be lost or won by the mere power of numbers. On the contrary, it is to be considered that, in an exigency into which he had been forced by others, and in which no other means of self-defence offered, he, as a matter of necessity, used the only one that was left to him....Doubtless the most miserable of men, under the most oppressive government in the world, if allowed the ballot, would use it, if they could see any chance of thereby meliorating their condition. But it would not, therefore, be a legitimate inference that the government itself, that crushes them, was one which they had voluntarily set up, or even consented to." --Lysander Spooner
"State is the name of the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly it tells lies too; and this lie craws out of its mouth: ``I, the state, am the people.'' That is a lie! It was creators who created peoples and hung a faith and a love over them: thus they served life." --Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Pseudointellectual ramblings || Ram Samudrala || me@ram.org