How Is an Austrian Anarcho-Capitalist to Vote This November?
by Robert Eschauzier
Soon the mid-term federal elections will be upon us once again. As this event nears, the debate around the water fountains, in the media and on social networks will once again center on whom or which party to vote for. Strangely, the question rarely if ever heard is if one should vote at all. I will hazard to guess that even among those who proclaim themselves to be anti-state, Austrian, libertarian, anarchist etc., an overwhelming majority will unquestioningly head to the polls on election day and cast their vote. With this brief essay I intend to convince you that casting your vote in the upcoming federal or any other election, staged by people who are running one of the many monopolist governments so that you may “decide” who among them is to be your master, is wrong.
The core argument against voting is deceptively simple. If one is anti-state, then it stands to reason that one will shun any avoidable action which supports statist organizations. Ask yourself what (short of actually running for election) can be more statist than voting? By engaging for weeks in debates about the relative merits of the political parties, then stepping out the door on voting day, driving to the nearest polling place, accepting a ballot and casting your vote, you are voluntarily and pro-actively initiating a string of actions which are clearly in direct conflict with your avowed anti-state principles.
Almost every time, when stating that in my entire life I have never cast a political vote and that I never will, I receive variations of one of the following responses:
The first, “you must exercise your franchise,” is an obvious canard. If I have a right to vote, I have an inclusive right to vote “none of the above” by not casting a ballot. On top of that, there is the little detail that it’s a complete waste of time anyway unless the margin happens to be one single vote. Any more than that and your vote will do nothing to influence the matter. Then there is of course the generally overlooked fact that governments are run by people, millions of them. Even if we assume for a moment that your vote influences the outcome (it doesn’t), we’re talking about only a few hundred politicians. The millions of bureaucrats who actually run the outfit are totally unaffected. That’s not to suggest that politicians are harmless. Far from it, but that’s a topic for another day.
Now let’s look at the second response, “if you don’t vote, you can’t complain.” I love this one. My reply is always the same. “No my friend, if you vote you can’t complain, because you obviously support the statist system. You’re voting for it, aren’t you? I on the other hand resist any temptation to vote in support of statism or the politicians who use it so skillfully to camouflage the extortion racket it is with pious ‘do good’ slogans.” It is therefore only the man or woman who is principled enough to withhold his or her vote who has earned the right to complain about the actions of the people who run the state apparatus and the impact of those actions on his or her freedom.
Last but not least, there is the tired old argument, so frequently offered, that one can/must at least choose “the lesser of two evils.” It is astounding how many self-professed Christians put this one out for consumption. Choosing between two evils is still choosing evil. Do they really not get this? Let me put it a different way. How, pray tell, does choosing the lesser of two devils help bring me closer to godliness?
So this coming November, if you want to stand up and be counted as the true lover of liberty you are, refuse to support the morally and ethically fraudulent statist system you despise.
This time stand proud and loudly vote “NO.”
September 13, 2010