If You Need Me On Election Day…

by David E. Shellenberger on November 5, 2012

If you need me on Election Day here in the U.S. tomorrow, November 6, 2012, you won’t find me at the poll. I decline to cast a vote in the federal, state, or local elections, or to address the state referendum questions.

Over the past few years, my philosophical views have evolved, influenced by what I have read, the people I have met, and the exercise of reason. Today it is official: I am an anarchist.

If it is lonely to be a libertarian, it is even lonelier to be an anarchist. But seeing and speaking the truth is the source of philosophical happiness, and I am happy as an anarchist, unencumbered by the contradictions and rationalizations required to support the state.

Anarchy simply means “no ruler.” I do not want or need a ruler. I want liberty, liberty unconstrained by any government.

To consciously decline to vote is the moral choice some of us make. We recognize that the origin of government is conquest, not consent. We abhor the evil the state does. We see that government not only acts in a fraudulent manner, but also that it is a fraud. We reject the state’s claim of necessity.

To vote is to encourage the false idea of the legitimacy of the state, and to capitulate to the state’s efforts to include us in its evil. No thank you.

Some governments have compulsory voting. This serves the purpose of forcing participation in the state’s ritual.  Many people have a healthy distaste for the venality of politicians and the idiocy and cruelty of government. Others have a natural apathy towards politics. Calls for mandatory voting in the U.S. (see here and here) are a good sign, an anxious response to the fact that many of us reject the state.

The character “Verbal” in the film The Usual Suspects tells us (adapting a line from Charles Baudelaire’s The Generous Gambler), “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” The state’s greatest trick is to convince us of its legitimacy and necessity. When we vote, we are tricked, or we foolishly play along with the trick.

The best vote is the one uncast. I’ll keep my vote safe at home, a vote for liberty.

Previous post:

Next post: