Which Slavemaster Do You Want?
Has Voting Ever Been a Right Worth Dying For?
by Wilton D. Alston
“People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.”
~ Søren Kierkegaard
Ah, election season! If there is any one time that guarantees a radical libertarian a barrel of laughs, it is the periodic selection of slave masters, masquerading as a key component of freedom. For the record, selecting which arrogant, well-connected megalomaniac will: kill foreigners (supposedly) on your behalf; redistribute your money to whomever he pleases ostensibly on behalf of helping those who cannot help themselves; and, maintain the cash cow that fictitious property – otherwise known as intellectual property – has provided for firms like Microsoft and Apple, all via the barrel of a gun, is not a practice endemic to freedom. It is exactly the opposite.
We have been taught to think that it is. Furthermore, the language has been perverted to support these fallacious thoughts. Entitlements? (How can one be entitled to that of another?) Running the government “like a business”? (How can you run an enterprise wherein all feedback necessary for making business-enhancing decisions, and the commensurate negative feedback from poor decisions, has been removed, like a business?) Tax cuts for the rich? (As a matter of mathematical fact, the so-called rich pay the bulk of the taxes in the United States. Nobody should have money forcibly taken from him, but the terminology “tax cut” implies that the mafia boss is doing you a favor by taking less this time. He is simply raping you more gently.) The U.S. political process – and the popular culture that feeds it – is rife with bogus meanings for words and phrases that have been hijacked. It would be illustrative, and likely educational as well, to examine some of these phrases more closely, but another subject beckons. This time of year – election season – also holds special meaning for black people.
If you’re black, and you’re radical libertarian, A.K.A. anarcho-capitalist, or market anarchist, or whatever moniker we’re using this week, you very likely don’t put a lot of stock in voting generally, and voting in presidential elections specifically. And if that is the case, you will – almost guaranteed – hear the phrase, “…someone died to give us that right” bandied about. Powerful words indeed, and I’ll admit, persuasive as well. No one cognizant of debts paid by brave people before him wants to simply forget those debts. However, let me ask a more basic – and likely more controversial – question: Was voting ever a right worth dying for?