Free Capitalist Network - Community Archive
Mises Community Archive
An online community for fans of Austrian economics and libertarianism, featuring forums, user blogs, and more.

People Who Don't Vote

This post has 59 Replies | 8 Followers

Top 75 Contributor
Male
Posts 1,434
Points 29,210
Brian LaSorsa Posted: Thu, Sep 30 2010 3:38 AM

I know that many of you on here don't vote come election time. Do you think more people choose not to vote because they don't see the government as legitimate or because they just neither care nor pay attention to politics?

"Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats." - H.L. Mencken.

  • | Post Points: 155
Top 75 Contributor
Posts 1,365
Points 30,945

It's a little complicated.

The India of metropolises and the India outside them are two different worlds. The people inside the metropolises are much more uniform in culture, while the rest aren't.

I am in the state of Haryana, but I don't identify myself as a Haryanvi. But the ones running for chief ministerial elections in Haryana speak in the language of those who do identify themselves as Haryanvi and reach out mainly to them. They wear turbans, long flowing robes, and talk mainly about matters like khaps, jats, or marriage dispute arbitration. Urban voter concerns might be electricity, roads, and water, but those things don't even factor in during elections. The chief ministerial candidates visit villages of the region and know many people who live there by their first name and even manage to remember them. Of course, they can't remember the names of people in much more crowded cities.

So basically, elections are an alien matter here, we barely remain aware of it, and we don't even know what to think about it. I mean, now and then there are discussions on gun control (Haryana is the Indian equivalent of a hick state), but since I live in a crime-free area, why would I even want to think about it? I remember in school that many of my classmates could not name the current chief minister or even recognise his face.

Now, my main concerns would inflation, interest rates, financial policy, and other things, but those are matters of the central government, and that is run by one large and very complicated coalition with hundreds upon hundreds of contradictory interests. So there go hopes on even thinking about national politics. The main issues on which I would criticise the government is the fact that it burnt down 640 villages in central India in order to deny safe havens to the Maoist insurrection and has allowed its police force to indiscriminately butcher any villager (often women and children) who is deemed a "Maoist". I also dislike the fact that northeastern India and Kashmir have been in a permanent state of police state and civilian execution for decades, but there are some matters on which the Army has a complete say, and the government is too afraid to say anything to the virtually autonomous army, because it doesn't want to look soft on national defense/offense. The army itself is like a parallel state and aristocracy, much the way the Federal Reserve and the CIA are entirely separate, secret Leviathans in America, divorced from the government.

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 75 Contributor
Posts 1,485
Points 22,155
Kakugo replied on Thu, Sep 30 2010 4:56 AM

I have stopped voting in 2003. Many of my acquitances have joined the non-voting crowd and I had the occasion to talk with them about it.

Our reasons are the same regardless of the side of political spectrum we came from: it's a waste of time and resources.

Voting to the Left or to the Right makes no difference and showing some particular odious/stupid politician the door at the urns is useless since he/she will pop up in an unelected position in a few months. I add to this reasons another one: I don't want to legitimize a government that has done exactly zero for me but a lot against me in all my lifetime.

As a former political activist I grew extremely disillusioned with all forms of politics. When once in a blue moon a man with some slightly different ideas pops up, everything is done to either drive him out of the political radar or shut him down for good. The murder of Pim Fortuyn by the usual "lone nut" shows exactly how far the system is ready to go to keep the status quo.

Do I want to have anything to do with a system that villifies and murders harmless Dutch professors because they speak the truth? Of course not.

Together we go unsung... together we go down with our people
  • | Post Points: 5
Top 75 Contributor
Posts 1,205
Points 20,670
JAlanKatz replied on Thu, Sep 30 2010 9:45 AM

In the general public, I'd say it's rational apathy.  Among Mises people, almost 100% legitimacy.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 75 Contributor
Male
Posts 1,289
Points 18,820
MaikU replied on Thu, Sep 30 2010 11:07 AM

because they don't see the government as legitimate

 

I think only self-aware anarchists can see government as truly illegitimate. Ordinary people, even though, they may feel, that there is something fundamentally wrong with the system they live in, they mostly just don't care about politics anymore. They see every politician as the same old liar and do not expect any change (oh funny). So they don't waste their time with a ritual called "voting". My father used to be like that. My mother is apathetic too.

It's quite interesting, that older generation has become so apathetic, when younger people either get seriously involved in politics (makes me puke) or reject it completely (become left or right anarchists). But sure, even among youth (or younger adults) there are apathetic people.

"Dude... Roderick Long is the most anarchisty anarchist that has ever anarchisted!" - Evilsceptic

(english is not my native language, sorry for grammar.)

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,491
Points 43,390
scineram replied on Thu, Sep 30 2010 11:25 AM

I don't usually vote, but I might Sunday for my father.

  • | Post Points: 20
Not Ranked
Posts 13
Points 245

Has anyone watched Stefan Molyneux's video on the practicality of voting?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-YMMd1xKIM

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 75 Contributor
Posts 1,189
Points 22,990

I would vote for Ron Paul, I mean Walter Block is his advisor, and in an interview Block talks about how Paul would put him in charge of the Fed (to tear it down). 

 

As leftists say, we'll hang them with their own rope.

Freedom has always been the only route to progress.

Post Neo-Left Libertarian Manifesto (PNL lib)
  • | Post Points: 35
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 1,899
Points 37,230

Personally, I vote.  And I feel not voting is a grave injustice.  By you not making your voice heard, I believe you give the government all the legitimacy it needs; "governments should fear their people" and all that.

It is my belief that these governments around the world do what they do because people allow them to by not taking direct action against them.  That doesn't mean they are to blame for the problems, but they do have a certain tacit responsibility for not stopping it.

The only irrational part I find myself engaging in is voting for the major parties.  I don't like that I do it, but I hate to lose as well lol

In States a fresh law is looked upon as a remedy for evil. Instead of themselves altering what is bad, people begin by demanding a law to alter it. ... In short, a law everywhere and for everything!

~Peter Kropotkin

  • | Post Points: 35
Top 75 Contributor
Posts 1,205
Points 20,670
JAlanKatz replied on Thu, Sep 30 2010 4:29 PM

It seems to me you've mixed up two very different things.  They do what they do, as you say, because people don't take direct action.  But voting is not direct action.  V certainly didn't mean "governments should fear their people voting in different stooges."  Consider also that, if you want to vote in people who aren't in basic agreement, you have to deal with the current officials being the people who administer the election.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 25 Contributor
Posts 3,739
Points 60,635
Marko replied on Thu, Sep 30 2010 4:31 PM

There are more than just two possible answers. Many people do not vote because they do not see anyone to their liking to vote for.

And many of those who do vote vote for the same reason they vote on Pop Idol competitions. It's kind of fun.

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 1,899
Points 37,230

It seems to me you've mixed up two very different things.  They do what they do, as you say, because people don't take direct action.  But voting is not direct action.  V certainly didn't mean "governments should fear their people voting in different stooges."  Consider also that, if you want to vote in people who aren't in basic agreement, you have to deal with the current officials being the people who administer the election.

Oh, no. Trust me, I am well aware of what you're saying.  To me it is an argument of "well, while we wait for americans to stand up and govern themselves, what can I do in the meantime?"  And to me, I think politicians in this country (or any country) are basically like any other citizen of said country, and will vote (in congress) much the same.  Governments are likely to shift towards a certain direction of an overwhelming majority is in favor of it.  How many republicans (other than Dr. Paul) that are for aboloshing social security?  They may be for reforming it, or privatising it, but they'll never abolish it (soon anyway) because they know it would be political suicide.

And ya, I think Stalin made a pertinent, and valid critique of democracy when he said "it's not so important who is voting, as who is counting the votes."  But I think, in general, in a "free" society, the vote tallies closely resemble the actual vote count.

In States a fresh law is looked upon as a remedy for evil. Instead of themselves altering what is bad, people begin by demanding a law to alter it. ... In short, a law everywhere and for everything!

~Peter Kropotkin

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 75 Contributor
Posts 1,205
Points 20,670
JAlanKatz replied on Thu, Sep 30 2010 4:46 PM

Note that I said administering, a more general term than just counting.  Let me tell you what I'm experiencing at the moment.  In my state, the secretary of the state announced she would run for AG.  I never received a good answer to just how we can let her administer an election in which she is a candidate - a question that would remain if she simply ran for reelection.  That's issue 1.  Here's the next issue to arise:  she announced that she would spend part of her discretionary budget encouraging people not to register as independent or in minor parties.  This is a big issue when the GOP is tottering on the verge of losing major party status in the state, which depends on party registration.  Next, the LP had 7 candidates in the state, 3 of whom the LP was able to nominate, and 4 of whom had to petition.  The petitions were turned in, and all candidates placed on the official state-approved list.  One month later, the 4 petitioning candidates were removed.  This has never been seen before, so far as any of us know.  The enforcement commission has not been that interested in finding out why, preferring to spend their time policing donations to minor party candidates.  So there's no need to mess with the votes if you control the candidates.  

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 75 Contributor
Male
Posts 1,249
Points 29,610

Epicurus Ibn Kalhoun:
Personally, I vote.  And I feel not voting is a grave injustice.  By you not making your voice heard, I believe you give the government all the legitimacy it needs; "governments should fear their people" and all that.

Your vote literally does not matter. Your vote literally doesn't make "your voice heard." And I'm not talking in some moralistic sense where "they" just won't ever listen; no, I mean mathematically, your vote is actually negligible.

"I'm not a fan of Murray Rothbard." -- David D. Friedman

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 1,899
Points 37,230

Your vote literally does not matter. Your vote literally doesn't make "your voice heard." And I'm not talking in some moralistic sense where "they" just won't ever listen; no, I mean mathematically, your vote is actually negligible.

Yes, mathematically, my vote alone is meaningless.  But did you see how few votes were the difference in the Bush/Gore election?  If 1m more people voted (not an unreasonable amount, 350m people in the country, only 30% vote [numbers based on rough guestimates]), it would have been a wildly different election.

Note that I said administering, a more general term than just counting.  Let me tell you what I'm experiencing at the moment.  In my state, the secretary of the state announced she would run for AG.  I never received a good answer to just how we can let her administer an election in which she is a candidate - a question that would remain if she simply ran for reelection.

Yes, we have had that problem here in Ohio as well.  I feel it is a travesty that should not be allowed.  Don't get me wrong, there are valid criticisms of democracy.  But we live in one (sort of), and I feel (as a subjective belief) that we should take advantage of that.

I'm just for people standing up for the right to govern themselves.  Whether that is through revolution, or reform, I'm for it.

In States a fresh law is looked upon as a remedy for evil. Instead of themselves altering what is bad, people begin by demanding a law to alter it. ... In short, a law everywhere and for everything!

~Peter Kropotkin

  • | Post Points: 50
Top 75 Contributor
Posts 1,205
Points 20,670
JAlanKatz replied on Thu, Sep 30 2010 5:17 PM

It seems to me that Bush/Gore is an argument for the other side.  After all, before that election, it made sense to calculate the probability (given party registration numbers) that everyone else would tie, and your vote would be decisive, which is a numerical expression of the importance of your vote.  With Bush/Gore, though, we saw that if it came anywhere near that close, the courts would decide anyway.  

Now, yes, things would be very different if 1m more people voted.  That's not what the discussion is about, though.  The discussion is more about - would it have been any more different if 1,000,001 more people had voted than if 1m more had voted?  You don't control 1m votes, you control one vote.

Finally, your statement "...travesty that should not be allowed..." is really my point.  Not allowed by whom?  What kind of structure are you picturing that would do away with such a thing, if not doing away with democracy?

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 25 Contributor
Posts 3,739
Points 60,635
Marko replied on Thu, Sep 30 2010 5:25 PM

And so what if Gore would have won? It would not have mattered an iota. You just made a great argument against yourself.

I'll write the menus and you pick your meals from it. We'll see if what you will be eating will be more to your liking or to mine.

  • | Post Points: 5
Not Ranked
Male
Posts 2
Points 115
RNVan replied on Thu, Sep 30 2010 5:28 PM

 I vote and I consider it to one of the most important things an American can do. Voting is not only every American's right, it is an obligation since we the people are making our voices heard in how we want our country to be run. Now having said that I would rather an ignorant and uninformed voter not vote at all, rather than vote on feel good populist ideals, that promote the very type of government that has ruined other nations. The founders wanted us to be engaged and involved in what happens in our country and we should be, but making ignorant and uninformed votes does none of us any good and can do a lot of harm. 

Advertisements contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper-Thomas Jefferson

  • | Post Points: 95
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 1,899
Points 37,230

I would rather a government "more to my liking" than one wildly opposed to my likings, yes.

What would be better system?  Anarchy silly; self-rule, power to the people.

Votes, councils, and congresses have been around since local chieftans met to decide who would marry whom.  They are still practiced by board members and executives.  Good luck getting rid of them.

In States a fresh law is looked upon as a remedy for evil. Instead of themselves altering what is bad, people begin by demanding a law to alter it. ... In short, a law everywhere and for everything!

~Peter Kropotkin

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 75 Contributor
Posts 1,205
Points 20,670
JAlanKatz replied on Thu, Sep 30 2010 5:49 PM

I didn't posit a solution, I asked a question.  I asked what are you going to do, short of something like anarchy (which I prefer), to cause those travesties not to happen?

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 75 Contributor
Posts 1,205
Points 20,670
JAlanKatz replied on Thu, Sep 30 2010 5:50 PM

Interesting.  I decide to set up a group devoted to stealing from you and making you wear silly hats and such, and allow elections to decide who runs the system, and thereby create an obligation (moral or legal?) for you to participate?

  • | Post Points: 35
Top 75 Contributor
Male
Posts 1,289
Points 18,820
MaikU replied on Thu, Sep 30 2010 5:55 PM

I even wouldn't vote against Hitler either. Worth reading: http://www.voluntaryist.com/articles/085b.php

"Dude... Roderick Long is the most anarchisty anarchist that has ever anarchisted!" - Evilsceptic

(english is not my native language, sorry for grammar.)

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 10 Contributor
Male
Posts 11,343
Points 194,945
ForumsAdministrator
Moderator
SystemAdministrator

JAlanKatz:
Interesting.  I decide to set up a group devoted to stealing from you and making you wear silly hats and such, and allow elections to decide who runs the system, and thereby create an obligation (moral or legal?) for you to participate?

Comrade, you ask some troubling questions!

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 10 Contributor
Male
Posts 5,118
Points 87,310
ForumsAdministrator
Moderator
SystemAdministrator

RNVan:
[...] our country [...]

So you are saying that your property is our property? Nice. Do we own a Ferrari?

To paraphrase Marc Faber: We're all doomed, but that doesn't mean that we can't make money in the process.
Rabbi Lapin: "Let's make bricks!"
Stephan Kinsella: "Say you and I both want to make a German chocolate cake."

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 1,899
Points 37,230

Exactly where did I say it was an obligation?  

I said it was a grave injustice that people don't vote.  Yes, if you put a gun to my head and say "i;m going to make you wear silly hats"  I would rather you allow me council to decide what silly hats than not.

Better yet, don't put guns to people's heads, I know I'm faster than a pellut gun, and I'm willing to take the chance with a real one.  Keep the gun a few feet away.

In States a fresh law is looked upon as a remedy for evil. Instead of themselves altering what is bad, people begin by demanding a law to alter it. ... In short, a law everywhere and for everything!

~Peter Kropotkin

  • | Post Points: 35
Top 10 Contributor
Male
Posts 11,343
Points 194,945
ForumsAdministrator
Moderator
SystemAdministrator

RNVan:
I vote and I consider it to one of the most important things an American can do. Voting is not only every American's right, it is an obligation since we the people are making our voices heard in how we want our country to be run.

Give this a read

The Constitution of No Authority

by Lysander Spooner

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 10 Contributor
Male
Posts 11,343
Points 194,945
ForumsAdministrator
Moderator
SystemAdministrator

Epicurus Ibn Kalhoun:
Exactly where did I say it was an obligation?

You're very casual with how you use different phrases, perhaps because you're more used to communicating through rhetoric than erudition.

Epicurus Ibn Kalhoun:
I said it was a grave injustice that people don't vote.

An injustice against whom?

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 1,899
Points 37,230

against themselves

In States a fresh law is looked upon as a remedy for evil. Instead of themselves altering what is bad, people begin by demanding a law to alter it. ... In short, a law everywhere and for everything!

~Peter Kropotkin

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 75 Contributor
Posts 1,205
Points 20,670
JAlanKatz replied on Thu, Sep 30 2010 6:17 PM

That response wasn't addressed to you, it was addressed to the guy who said "voting is an obligation."  

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 10 Contributor
Male
Posts 11,343
Points 194,945
ForumsAdministrator
Moderator
SystemAdministrator

Epicurus Ibn Kalhoun:
against themselves

By what standard?

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 1,899
Points 37,230

Jalan; my apologies

LS: I said in my original statement that it is only true by me for me.  If you choose not to believe it, that's your choice.

In States a fresh law is looked upon as a remedy for evil. Instead of themselves altering what is bad, people begin by demanding a law to alter it. ... In short, a law everywhere and for everything!

~Peter Kropotkin

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 1,899
Points 37,230

Yes, we have had that problem here in Ohio as well.  I feel it is a travesty that should not be allowed.  Don't get me wrong, there are valid criticisms of democracy.  But we live in one (sort of), and I feel (as a subjective belief) that we should take advantage of that.

I was mistaken, it wasn't my first post.  It was here. 

In States a fresh law is looked upon as a remedy for evil. Instead of themselves altering what is bad, people begin by demanding a law to alter it. ... In short, a law everywhere and for everything!

~Peter Kropotkin

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 25 Contributor
Male
Posts 2,959
Points 55,095
Spideynw replied on Thu, Sep 30 2010 6:32 PM

Brian:

I know that many of you on here don't vote come election time. Do you think more people choose not to vote because they don't see the government as legitimate or because they just neither care nor pay attention to politics?

I would add that people don't understand the issues and don't know how they should vote.  That is how I was before I discovered libertarianism.  Now I don't vote because I think it is pointless.

At most, I think only 5% of the adult population would need to stop cooperating to have real change.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,956
Points 56,800
bloomj31 replied on Thu, Sep 30 2010 6:52 PM

I think people on this site choose not to vote because they think it lends legitimacy to a system they see as being illegitimate.

I also think there are certainly people who are indifferent to elections, but I've honestly never met anyone who didn't have an opinion (no matter how half formed) about politics.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 10 Contributor
Male
Posts 5,118
Points 87,310
ForumsAdministrator
Moderator
SystemAdministrator

Personally, one of the benefits of not voting is that it leads to a better conversation when I am asked why I didn't vote than otherwise.

To paraphrase Marc Faber: We're all doomed, but that doesn't mean that we can't make money in the process.
Rabbi Lapin: "Let's make bricks!"
Stephan Kinsella: "Say you and I both want to make a German chocolate cake."

  • | Post Points: 50
Top 75 Contributor
Male
Posts 1,434
Points 29,210

I would vote for Ron Paul, I mean Walter Block is his advisor, and in an interview Block talks about how Paul would put him in charge of the Fed (to tear it down).

Do you know where this interview is? I've been searching for it on YouTube but can't seem to find it.

"Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats." - H.L. Mencken.

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 200 Contributor
Male
Posts 488
Points 8,140
LeeO replied on Thu, Sep 30 2010 8:06 PM

I would say more people don't vote because they are poorly-informed and don't care. Most people think government is legitimate, and this probably won't change anytime soon.

Here's my theory about why voting is good:

Nowadays, most laws passed by the American government have negative effects on the common citizenry. Rather than complain that the system is "broken" and encourage "reaching across the aisle," let's acknowledge that the system is working just the way a liberal democracy should, and that all the innefficiency is a good thing. Come election time, politicians must try to earn a majority of votes by promising to benefit some people at the expense of others. Then, when they get elected, there is constant pressure to deliver for all the special groups. This generates a never-ending stream of haggling whenever a law is proposed. Unless all the necessary back-room deals are made, some politicians will block the legislation in the name of their special groups. As a result, fewer laws get passed and the government grows more slowly. Also, since the government constantly has to redistribute money to please voting blocs, it has fewer resources left over for more direct increases in power.

So come November, I plan to vote in an effort to preserve my freedom. And since millions of others will join me, we'll probably have a bunch of new Republicans who will split Congress, making it nearly impossible for any major legislation to be passed in the next two years.

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 75 Contributor
Male
Posts 1,289
Points 18,820
MaikU replied on Thu, Sep 30 2010 9:01 PM

Daniel Muffinburg:

Personally, one of the benefits of not voting is that it leads to a better conversation when I am asked why I didn't vote than otherwise.

 

what you mean?

"Dude... Roderick Long is the most anarchisty anarchist that has ever anarchisted!" - Evilsceptic

(english is not my native language, sorry for grammar.)

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 75 Contributor
Male
Posts 1,289
Points 18,820
MaikU replied on Thu, Sep 30 2010 9:02 PM

liberty student:

RNVan:
I vote and I consider it to one of the most important things an American can do. Voting is not only every American's right, it is an obligation since we the people are making our voices heard in how we want our country to be run.

Give this a read

The Constitution of No Authority

by Lysander Spooner

 

 

I'll just quote this for truth. Thanks for understanding.

"Dude... Roderick Long is the most anarchisty anarchist that has ever anarchisted!" - Evilsceptic

(english is not my native language, sorry for grammar.)

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 100 Contributor
Male
Posts 871
Points 15,025
chloe732 replied on Thu, Sep 30 2010 10:48 PM

RNVAn,

I see from your Bio that you enjoy reading books about conservatism.  I was an extremely opinionated conservative until the end of the W. Bush Presidency and the collapse of the economy on Sept. 15th, 2008.  Now, non-interventionism is the only thing that makes sense to me.

As for voting, I used to feel exactly the same way you do.  But then my eyes were opened.  Sept. '08 was like a whiff of smelling salt to someone with a concussion.

Why on Earth would I willingly "select" someone who wants to intervene in the economy and foreign policy?  What difference does it make if it's an R or a D?

"The market is a process." - Ludwig von Mises, as related by Israel Kirzner.   "Capital formation is a beautiful thing" - Chloe732.

  • | Post Points: 5
Page 1 of 2 (60 items) 1 2 Next > | RSS