Tuesday, November 6, 2018

A libertarian case for voting

The Libertarian Case for Voting - Reason.com - Ed Krayewski:

November 30, 2014 - "Tomorrow I'll be voting in my 39th consecutive election. When I vote for candidates, they rarely win. The ones that do have without exception disappointed. Many elections don't have any candidates I want to vote for. So I spoil my ballot.

"There are a lot of [bad] reasons to vote.... Ultimately your vote matters very little. It's almost certainly never going to tip an election. Many elections (think 2012) don't really have a plausible conclusion that doesn't suck for the American people. Nevertheless voting is important, because in a democratic system the absence of a vote enforces the illusion of the consent of the governed.

"Most people don't vote. The U.S. population is about 316 million. About 235 million are adults.... About 130 million Americans voted in the 2012 presidential election, nearly 66 million for President Obama.... Almost all of the 49 percent of voting Americans who didn't vote for Obama voted for the Republican, Mitt Romney. That still leaves at least 78 million Americans eligible to vote who didn't vote for Obama or Romney, more than the vote total either major party candidate received....

"It's impossible to say how many of those 78 million Americans, pressed to vote, would vote Democrat or Republican..... Millions of Americans ... may never vote precisely because they don't like Democrats or Republicans. A lot of people don't know they're libertarians. A lot of libertarians don't believe in voting. And not every Libertarian candidate will appeal to all libertarians. Certainly not every adult eligible to vote will have a candidate that matches up even imperfectly with their own views....

"No one person's decision to purchase or not purchase an Apple phone over an Android phone will make or break Apple.... Yet, in the aggregate, market participants set prices. Even the non-participants, those who decide not to buy, help set the price.... Not purchasing a smartphone deprives no one of anything but you of a smartphone....

"In politics, on the other hand, not voting becomes part of the illusion of consent. After all, non-voters aren't starting insurgencies or calling for revolutions.... The consent required for government to exert more control over you is far less robust than, say, the consent demanded of college students in California, or, actually, in any other situation where consent is required.

"Voting is a right, not a privilege. It's also not something you have to exercise. Not voting doesn't diminish anyone's credibility in criticizing the system, because voting doesn't ensure a specific result. But the regularity of not-voting helps promote the idea that the system is acceptable, just as much as the regularity of voting for the major parties does. Breaking that cycle can help break politics' control over us."

Read more: https://reason.com/archives/2014/11/03/the-libertarian-case-for-voting
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