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Meanwhile over at TZP

Vladka Peltel has those I wish I didn’t care about politics blues. She’s talking about this season’s billionaire disarm-the-peasants dream, Washington state Initiative 594 (which I agree inspires even my anti-v*ting soul to want to get out and you-know-what).

If you don’t live in Washington and think I-594 doesn’t affect you, take another look. Win or lose, it affects us all.

(And yes, this is politics and nooz and if it weren’t from TZP, I wouldn’t be linking it. Never fear, I’m also working on a post about hermitting, knitting, candlelight, and the veil between worlds. Coming soon.)


  1. jed
    jed November 2, 2014 2:50 pm

    I still vote. Too many idiotic initiatives on the ballot. So I cast my NO vote on the tax increases.

    If that stupid measure passes in WA, I would hope GOA, et. al. get their lawsuit machines fired up. (Because SAF will sit on Alan’s thumb for this one.)

  2. rkshanny
    rkshanny November 3, 2014 6:16 am

    You do know the numerical/statistical non-importance of your single little vote . . . don’t you?

  3. jc2k
    jc2k November 3, 2014 8:21 am

    With pot legalization, gmo labeling, and open primaries on the ballot in Oregon, I was tempted to vote, but decided against it – I’m not going to compromise my principles knowing that my single vote doesn’t really mean anything anyhow.

  4. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty November 3, 2014 8:27 am

    Excellent article on the voting thing here.
    Was I Wrong About Voting?
    By Wilton Alston

    rkshanny, the single vote thing is of no real consequence. The actual problem is that only the power seekers benefit, no matter the outcome of the vote. “What “they” obtain via the ballot box is authorization to use that power.”

    Those who “vote” are basically affirming that they accept the “authority” of others to control their lives and take their property.

  5. Laird
    Laird November 3, 2014 9:59 am

    I understand the “not voting” arguments; I have lots of libertarian/anarchist friends who accept them. The problem I have with them all is that, at the end of the day, if voting doesn’t change anything, not voting certainly doesn’t change anything either. And it’s the very people who are thoughtful enough to consider (and be swayed by) those arguments who should be voting, to counteract (if only partially) the drones who mostly populate the polling places and who mindlessly vote for their “team” (we have a “straight party” lever in my state). Only if thinking people vote do we have any chance of changing the system. And there are enough races each year decided by only a handful of votes that in some cases even one vote does matter.

    Staying home on Tuesday may give you the satisfaction of thinking that you’re refraining from “enabling” the power-seeking politicians; that you’re somehow “dis-affirming” the authority of the State. That’s a delusion. The state will exercise all the power over you that it chooses to do, whether you vote or not. You can’t opt out of the system; ultimately, you have to accept the state’s authority or it will imprison/impoverish/kill you. It’s the only game in town.

    Your individual vote may indeed have only a negligible effect. But collectively the votes of people who think as you do could be significant, even if it merely tips the balance from one major party candidate to the other. Worst case it forces those major parties to adopt more freedom-oriented policies. Just yesterday I heard one Republican official pleading with libertarians to vote Republican in order to keep out the dreaded Democrat. We are definitely beginning to have an effect, but only if we vote in sufficient numbers that our “bloc” is meaningful. Voting tomorrow may mean nothing now. But the signals it sends can be very meaningful in the future. Don’t waste the opportunity.

  6. jed
    jed November 3, 2014 10:58 am

    You do know the numerical/statistical non-importance of your single little vote . . . don’t you?

    I do know that if everyone else in the state who is opposed to those tax increase measures thought that way, and decided to blow off their ballot, my taxes would go up for sure.

    When it comes to on politician over another, well it makes little difference, as the damage is already done, and the bureaucracy goes on. The same cannot be said for specific ballot measures. My vote is self-defense.

  7. Fred
    Fred November 3, 2014 11:49 am

    I fully understand voting is a choice between 2 of the same people,it wont change a thing but I can vote against the incumbent,but even that matters little.They just job hop.

    I have a pet politician I need to vote out,one who tried to take my job by blocking sale of our hospital,long story but a union hack Attny General finally shut down by a bankruptcy Judge who told her to stuff it,hospital sale went thru and Im still working.SHE must go.Kamala Harris,vote her OUT,owned by the Unions.

    If not for her,I would stay home,I cant beat the liberal slave voters in Calif who just dont get it,a fine majority unfortunately.

    The ballot issues,the liberal big daddy gov morons out here in Cali vote for every tax and spend stupid thing they can,I still oppose them,have to at least try.As for GMO,pot,etc,those are important issues and your vote will determine the outcome.

    Can we possibly let Hilliary win,or do we instead vote for the repug war mongerer,thats a toughie! I may just skip that,I already know the repugs lied about repealing Obama care.

  8. R.L. Wurdack
    R.L. Wurdack November 3, 2014 4:07 pm

    I suggest voting.

    Amazing mailers have landed in my mailbox concerning this issue. Backed by Microsoft, Hanauer, and Bloomberg. Another from the PTA and MOMs. Lots of lies, misapplied statistical drivel and inuendo.

    This is bad law locally, nationally, and globally.

    If it passes it will hasten the demise of our society.


  9. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty November 4, 2014 5:43 am

    We must each do what we believe is right, by whatever rationale we accept as valid. As for me… I am not part of any ‘collective.’ I have no interest in forcing my neighbors to do or not do anything. I don’t want to “change the system.” I want to eliminate the system, to be left alone.

    Yes, I’ve even “voted” NO on a tax proposal a few times, but the important things are not on the ballot, and never will be. If an “opt out” were offered, I’d be there with bells on. The fact that this will never be subject to a vote is the most compelling reason not to encourage the bastards in any way.

    It is so interesting that many people who insist on the value of voting, understand that the result of most violent revolutions, overthrowing the government by whatever means, essentially guarantees that another government, possibly more tyrannical than the last, will be established as the smoke clears. Seems to me that there is an obvious correlation here.

    What if “they” gave a war and nobody came?

  10. Paul Bonneau
    Paul Bonneau November 4, 2014 6:49 am

    Maybe Washingtonians should thank Bloomy for (possibly) giving them the opportunity to flout the law. They could use more practice at it.

    Neither voting nor not voting works. I have settled on defensive voting, defined as voting only on ballot measures (while admitting that doesn’t work either). I sent an article to Strike-the-Root about it, but Rob didn’t want to publish it, so I will just post it here:
    I Voted
    by Paul Bonneau, zzpaulbx1dfghnet

    Well, the last time I was down at Oregon DMV getting my latest badge of slavery, the DMV bureaucrat asked me if I wanted to register to vote. At first I said “No,” – almost “Ugh, no,” – but then I reconsidered and thought that I might as well vote against tax hikes. So at that point I became the proud owner of not just one, but two badges of slavery.

    Sure enough when election “day” rolled around (meaning, receiving our ballots in the mail, the system Oregon uses) I sat down at the kitchen table and voted. But I didn’t forget I was still an anarchist.

    For one thing, I didn’t vote for any human being. While I don’t quite buy the argument that voting per se is aggression, it’s hard to dispute that notion where humans are concerned. While it may be possible to see in the future a rare case where a Hitler clone runs against a Ron Paul clone (even conceding Ron Paul could also be corrupted by the Ring of Power), the everyday reality is that human political contests are Tweedledee vs. Tweedledum, with both of them being power-mad bribe-grubbing busybodies. At the old saying goes, those who run for office are precisely the ones you don’t want in office.

    That left the ballot measures, the central part of my defensive voting “strategy”. I didn’t vote in all of them either, but there were a few fairly clear cases where I did vote. To lay it all out in a sentence, I voted against the establishment of a new county tax, for legalization/regulation of “recreational” marijuana, for adding “equality before the law” of both sexes to the Oregon Constitution, against a new state fund for post-secondary education, and for people to be able to get driver’s licenses despite having no proof of permission to be in Oregon or the US. Statewide measures can be seen online here.

    Before defending those particular choices, let’s consider the more philosophical (ugh!) issues. I’ll start with this one: If there were a ballot measure allowing people to opt out of being controlled by government, would anarchists vote for it?

    If not, then we would have the strange situation of anarchists getting their liberty by depending only on statists to vote it for them!

    After thinking about this for a while, I decided that, just as the case with NAP, not voting is not an iron-clad principle, but a general rule of thumb with exceptions. One of the exceptions, I contend, is that anarchists can vote against new taxes; another might be that anarchists can vote themselves out of government control if ever presented the opportunity.

    Whether it is effective action is another question. I myself have argued it is pointless, and I think that argument is still correct – as far as it goes. The people who count votes are people who believe in government and who probably also like things such as tax hikes, so we can be pretty sure if the count is just a few votes more against a tax hike, those ballots will be lost and we still will get the tax hike. But there is more to it than that. The larger the margin against a tax hike, the more difficult it becomes to throw the election in favor of a tax hike. The bottom line (absent electronic voting machines) is that we are back with the “votes do count” scenario – but that, instead of the decision on who wins being based on which side gets 50% of the vote, it is more like on which side gets 51% – enough extra to make vote fraud difficult. My vote against a tax hike still gets thrown on the pile against it, and still may help overcome the weight for it.

    The probability my vote will be the deciding one is still low (there is really no one deciding vote in any case); but let’s face it, the cost of voting is low also, in Oregon at least. Sitting at my kitchen table and making a few marks on paper and putting a stamp on an envelope is not difficult. Voting then becomes a mostly-ineffectual exercise that costs me almost nothing. But guess what? Our lives are full of ineffectual actions. Anarchy does not mean ineffectual actions don’t happen, but that we get to choose our actions without government interference, even if some of them may be ineffectual.

    I’m not unaware of the problem with the act of voting being a support for the state (even my votes against tax hikes). That is a problem with my position. If the voting participation among the public were dropping below something like 1%, I would certainly have to reconsider and would probably then come down on the side of not voting at all, to help de-legitimize government (note how the strategy of not voting is itself a way of expressing a preference – it is a vote!). But right now, just as my one vote does not do much to help liberty, it also does little to hurt it, on the legitimacy question. At any rate, anarchy means “no rulers,” and I did not vote for any.

    We can discuss some more philosophical aspects in the comments. Maybe I will change my voting ways if I get talked out of it.

    As to my votes, I assume nobody is going to wonder about the votes against government taxes and new funding.

    The one for sexual equality before the law could well have been left blank, since constitutions are pretty meaningless documents. But I didn’t see how it could hurt much. If thugs want to get quota systems out of equality before the law, they can pretty much do the same thing without it.

    The marijuana one, I actually had some problem with. Let’s face it, smoking a joint is often the first real experience many people have had with first, understanding how rotten government and lawmaking is, and then with breaking those laws. It’s a shame to lose that. But the War on Some Drugs has ruined so many lives I just had to vote for that thing. I should add that the measure allows the personal cultivation of 4 plants without government interference, so it’s not all about regulation and bureaucracy and new tax dollars. Pot being what it is, most people will grow rather than buy at a regulated store, or will (illegally) buy from a neighbor who grew some. And we can still break the law in other ways and grow 10 plants anyway.

    The one about driver’s licenses appears to be backlash against the ever-encroaching national ID schemes. Yes it too has drawbacks, but maybe some day we will get our driver’s license off the back of a cereal box. One can only hope.

  11. Matt, another
    Matt, another November 4, 2014 9:43 am

    I voted in local elections, the primary for the last time this cycle. Local elections are considered important and our city council knows this and deliberately rigged the system to keep preffered incumbents in office. They use an odd spoiles system that guarentees the slots go to those pre-determined. At best they were elected by less than 15% of the voters that participated.

    Democracy is dead. Measures and issues are decided by less than 50% of the citizens. Less than 50% normally of registered voters in a given area and then often decided by less than 50% of the actual votes cast. Locally candidates will “win” with about 30% of the votes cast, nothing close to a mandate.

  12. Laird
    Laird November 4, 2014 2:04 pm

    It’s always instructive to return to first principles (or, at least, to the Old Masters), in this case the inestimable Lysander Spooner, who argues that voting is merely an exercise in self-defense:

    “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-defense, 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-defense offered, he, as a matter of necessity, used the only one that was left to him.”

    “The Constitution of No Authority”

  13. jed
    jed November 4, 2014 3:48 pm

    Well, here it is, election day in sunny Colorado, where we still have flowers in the bloom out in front of apt. sweet apt, and the weather can’t decide what season it is. I’m fighting the urge to turn on the TV. Nonetheless, it’s calling to me to witness the train wreck.

    Voting for Vandals: The Tyrant and the Ballot – by Bill Buppert — check that out, if for no other reason than the opening “meme” pic.

  14. Paul Bonneau
    Paul Bonneau November 5, 2014 7:57 am

    Laird, thanks for that Spooner quote. It makes a good point. So much for “mandates”…

  15. Paul Bonneau
    Paul Bonneau November 6, 2014 6:28 am

    Ah, one other point (you guys can’t shut me up!)

    It’s always been a habit of mine to check the validity of the things I advocate, by imagining what the world would be like if everybody did those things. Would it be a free world?

    If everybody stopped voting, there would no longer be governments nor government tyranny. Arguably there would still be full tyranny, imposed with no consent of the “imposees”, but it would be difficult to maintain that, given what Boetie said about it.

    If everybody voted defensively, it would have the same outcome! Think about it…

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