30 October 2012

Why Indeed?

Elusive Wapiti asks “why vote?”  Here’s his answer:

To Hale's list I add the deplorable assault on the liberty of those who adhere to a faith other than that of liberalism, and the possibility that the next president could nominate a SCOTUS justice that would shape the direction of our 2d legislative branch for the next generation.

I’m not sure how to mention this, but it’s not like Romney is going to step up and stop the assault on the free expression of religion.  At this point, the bureaucratic regime is entrenched to such an extent that the president couldn’t stop it unless he ordered the Army to kill every last non-USAF federal employee.  And Romney doesn’t have the stones for that.

The SCOTUS argument was used back in 2000 in regards to Bush.  His nomination of John Roberts was widely lauded as a conservative nominee.  Then, just a few months ago, Roberts took a giant steaming shit on the constitution.  (Does any conservative remember how Roberts voted on the constitutionality of ObamaCare?  Or has that conveniently disappeared down the rabbit hole?)  Perhaps the SCOTUS case would be more convincing is conservative nominees didn’t keep betraying their alleged principles.  Until then, conservatives would do well to quit worrying about getting their activists on the bench; it’s never, practically speaking, going to happen.

Even though hope is a poor foundation to anchor one's political strategy, liberty- and freedom-minded people need headroom to work.  They need breathing space and time to gather, organize, and implement change, to help this country crap out the Boomers' 60s-vintage radicalism out the southbound end of the American cultural alimentary canal.

Unfortunately, it’s too late to help the country out.  The Boomers’ radicalism was a symptom of America’s decline; not the cause.  There were plenty of prior events that helped to bring about the beginning of the end.  John Adams’ appointment of John Marshall to the federal bench was an early and partially successful attempt at increasing federal power.  Lincoln’s administration and subsequent Republican administrations helped to increase federal power.  Wilson’s presidency did quite a bit of damage as well.  Both Roosevelts radically strengthened the federal government. By the time Johnson arrived in office, a good portion of the damage was already done.  What we’ve seen from the 60’s to the present is just icing on the cake.

Furthermore, there has been plenty of time already to deal with the problems facing this country.  The problem is, no one wanted to tackle these problems until the negative consequences were too obvious to ignore.  Of course, once the mess is too obvious to ignore, it’s generally too late to fix it.

Not only that, a good portion of the current problems this country faces are systemic, not administrative.  By this I simply mean that the current social breakdown has occurred not because of specific men occupying the office of president but because of the federal system itself.  The existence of a central bank—over which the president has incredibly little control—and the existence of massive federal bureaucracies—over which the president has merely nominal control, practically speaking—have done more damage than any one man in the president’s office ever could.

Speaking practically, the president doesn’t have that much power.  For the most part, he can’t enact very much legislation of his own accord (he can issue executive orders and unilaterally engage in military actions); he can’t even set the budget.  He doesn’t control the money supply.  He doesn’t set taxes.  He doesn’t even determine laws.  This isn’t to say that he’s completely powerless, only that he controls remarkably less than most seem to think.

Thus, putting a lot of stock in the current election is rather foolish.  Having Romney in office instead of Obama is no guarantee that there will be more time to prepare for an economic collapse, or even avoid it.  Even if there was a lick of difference between the candidates—which there isn’t—this wouldn’t even translate into significant policy differences, for Leviathan always continues unabated.

A more interesting question, then, is:  why not stay home on Election Day?  What if everyone stopped voting?

If no one voted, this would be the clearest message that everyone disapproves of the government.  No one could appeal to consensus as proof that the government, and its byzantine rules, remained legitimate in the eyes of its citizens.  There would be no clearer message that the people reject their government than to stay home on voting day. And so, while it may be possible to rationalize voting for the white version of Obama as a stand against a perverted, socialistic government, it would more logically consistent to simply stay home and not vote in order to demonstrate one’s disapproval of the current government.


  1. Here's a progressive saying why progressives should not vote for Obama as the lesser of two evils. Generalized, it applies to either side.


    Anyone who has ever gone shopping knows that their bargaining power depends ultimately upon his/her willingness to walk away. The ability to walk away explains why the service we get from our local dry cleaner is significantly better than what most of us get from our local cable provider. When you have a choice, and demonstrate a willing to take that choice, you become empowered as consumer (I might add that the same is true of labor markets, which explains why most employers prefer a higher level of unemployment than their employees). Right now, a deeply cynical reelection campaign is betting that progressives will be too afraid of Romney to seek to empower themselves. This, let us remember, has been the strategy pursued by an increasingly right-wing Democratic National Committee for close to thirty years. Every four years we are asked to vote for the lesser evil. In a couple of weeks we will all learn if this plea will pay off again. The question is, will we learn? Will we learn to bargain with a faithless leadership of the Democratic Party? If not this election, then when?

  2. But the walk away option only works if a near unanimous number does not participate. As it is now, fewer than half of eligible voters participate. The only message they send every election is "we are satisfied with whatever you guys like". It will be exactly the same even if only 5% participate.

    Either way, they get to participate in the consequences 100%. So their walking away option is only the ability to walk away from making the choice, not from accepting the consequences of the choice. Someone will win the election and take office.