"The next time they give you all that civic bullsh*t about voting, keep in mind that Hitler was elected in a full, free democratic election."
-George Carlin

Politics: Why I Don't Vote

by Scott Hughes

I turned 18 in 2004 a few weeks before election day. Although I had the "right," I did not vote in the 2004 presidential election. I did not vote at all that year. I did not vote in 2005, and I will not vote this year, 2006. In fact, I have never voted in any governmental election, nor do I intend to ever vote in a governmental election.

This makes some people mad. Basically, they think of me as a hypocrite, because I so often promote political and socioeconomic change while still boycotting voting.

Obviously, I disagree.

Not only do I think that voting does NOT help, but I also believe voting hurts. I want to increase freedom and socioeconomic progress, namely by reducing (and hopefully eliminating) hunger, poverty, and victimization - even that committed by governments, through such mediums as taxation and police brutality. Voting in the pseudo-democracies of the world only brings us farther away from those goals.

I'm often quoted as saying that the government is NOT the solution to our problems. Rather, we have to solve our problems ourselves, namely through non-governmental organization, voluntary solidarity, and personal responsibility. In fact, theoretically, I'm an anarchist, which means I support small(er) government and theoretically eventually no government.

Regardless, of whether one accepts anarchist ideology, the ineffectiveness of voting still remain, for anyone desiring socioeconomic progress.

The voters do not run these pseudo-democracies throughout the world. Special interests control these pseudo-democracies. Indeed we do not live in actual democracies. Instead, we live in plutocratic oligarchies, because a minority of ultra-rich people - mainly via international mega-corporations - control the government through such means as lobbyists, bribes, and campaign contributions. I repeat, we do not live in actual democracies. (Thankfully so! The worst nightmare I could imagine is an actual democracy. Have you seen some of the stupid fads that become popular? It would be terrible if popular opinion offensively coerced the people of society. Could you imagine having the same people who buy Brittany Spears CD's telling you how to live your life?!)

At best, the special interests circumvent the democratic process. At worst, possibly, the special interests have embraced the pseudo-democracies, and use pseudo-democracy to create the illusion of choice, and pacify the oppressed masses.

The corporate-owned news decides what the people hear about the politicians. Mainly through mega-corporations, the minority of ultra-rich people fund the campaigns of politicians at their choosing. For example, Big Oil, the weapons industry, the prison industry, and the pharmaceutical industry fund the campaigns of politicians, and thus control the careers of the politicians. Remember, these mega-corporations contribute billions of dollars to both Democrats and Republicans. We have about as much choice as a tree would have if my dog asked it which side it wanted my dog to piss on.

The true owners of the world use this illusion of choice to keep the people busy bickering over minor and negligible differences between politicians that both work for those true owners.

The illusionary nature of choice in these pseudo-democracies explains why in the 2004 U.S. presidential election the two candidates were third-cousins who both were poor-quality students in "Skull And Bones," an elitist secret society at Yale that only "taps" 15 people a year. Remember, I and many other eligible voters did not vote in that election to see which one of those Bonesmen would get to "stay the course" for us.

Voting not only wastes the voters time, but it hurts our goals. We want to make progressive change, but by voting we play into the system that hinders that goal.

The electoral process in these plutocratic pseudo-democracies divides the people. In other words, elections are divisive. Of course, that makes sense. If a minority wants to control and oppress a majority, the minority must use a 'divide and conquer' strategy. Tyrants get away with robbing and oppressing the majority, because the electoral process keeps the majority busy and distracted bickering over negligible partisan differences.

By the way, it's a waste of time to blame these tyrants for taking advantage of this pseudo-democracy. It's our fault. It's the fault of the foolish majority. (Again, this foolishness of the majority shows why we never ever want to give the majority governmental powers. Let the majority -and anyone for that matter - use defensive force when necessary, but never give these people - or anyone for that matter - offensive or governmental power.) The oppressed majority foolishly bicker with each other and thus allow and empower their own oppression. Indeed, these people even go stand in line and vote for the politicians who then screw them.

Bickering about and voting over negligible (single-)issues and politicians, only increases the asinine partisanship and divisions that prevent significant political and socioeconomic progress. Voting isn't the best we can do. Voting isn't the least we can do. Voting is literally detrimental.

And thus comes the irony! I'm not a hypocrite because I say we need significant change and don't vote. I want significant change. I want radical change. I want bipartisan change! Voting would be hypocritical. Saying one wants bipartisan change and bipartisan progress, and then playing into divisive and partisan politics by such actions as voting, that's hypocritical.

We need change and progress. We need radical change and progress. We need bipartisan change and progress. For example, we need to reduce (and hopefully eliminate) poverty, namely childhood hunger and poverty. We need to reduce (and hopefully eliminate) non-meritocratic social inequality. We need to reduce (and hopefully eliminate) offensive violence, including rape, robbery, assault, and murder. We need to increase education, peacefulness, and meritocracy.

We need significant and bipartisan change. By definition, we cannot do this through partisanship and divisive politics. Rather, we need to do this through personal responsibility and voluntary cooperation. For example, we can create non-governmental organizations that help humanity and never use offensive or governmental coercion; to me that was the philosophy of the original Black Panther Party, as an example.

When I do not vote but demand more significant change, some will say that I want to force my desires on others, like a violent extremist. I adamantly oppose the use of offensive force, coercion or violence. In fact, I define governance as the use of such, and that's why I'm an Anarchist. So, in fact, democratic government is something voters use to inflict offensive force. For example, homophobes vote and use government to forcefully interfere in the private lives, households, and contractual marriage-agreements of innocent people. In another example, voters use government to enforce "victimless crimes" such as gun-ownership or pot-smoking. In yet another example, recipients of government grants, funding, contracts, and welfare (namely corporate welfare), use the government to steal money via taxation.

We have at our fingertips effective methods to change the government, besides violent force. (Granted, I support the use of force, coercion and such where it's solely defensive and necessary.) For example, rather then use an ineffective and detrimental vote, we can boycott taxes, we can protest, and we can spread information about bipartisan issues. Imagine if instead of all these partisan commercials - paid for by corrupting mega-corporations who love the status quo - bickering about the minor differences between pre-bought politicians, the commercials actually spread valuable information about bipartisan issues. How many so-called political ads have you heard or seen? Imagine if they told everyone that 16,000 children died everyday from hunger. Imagine if they told everyone that every two and a half minutes, somewhere in America, someone is sexually assaulted. Imagine if they told us how to fix those problems. Imagine if they just said, "read a book," or "turn off the TV." They'll never do that, though. We have to do that, instead of voting.

We have to fix our own problems and create socioeconomic progress ourselves, by using such means as self-defense, boycotting taxes, self-education, protest, non-governmental organization, and voluntary solidarity.

I end with an excerpt from Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau:

"Under a government which imprisons unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison... Cast your whole vote, not a strip of paper merely, but your whole influence. A minority is powerless while it conforms to the majority; it is not even a minority then; but it is irresistible when it clogs by its whole weight. If the alternative is to keep all just men in prison, or give up war and slavery, the State will not hesitate which to choose. If a thousand men were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay [the State], and enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood. This is, in fact, the definition of a peaceable revolution, if any such is possible. If the tax-gatherer, or any other public officer, asks me, as one has done, 'But what shall I do?' my answer is, 'If you really wish to do anything, resign your office.' When the subject has refused allegiance, and the officer has resigned from office, then the revolution is accomplished. But even suppose blood shed when the conscience is wounded? Through this wound a man's real manhood and immortality flow out, and he bleeds to an everlasting death. I see this blood flowing now."

For freedom, justice and peace - in that order,

-Scott Hughes

© Copyright 2006, Scott Hughes. All Rights Reserved.

Scott Hughes runs a Self-Defense, Safety, and Security Blog as well as a Hunger and Poverty Blog. He also owns The Online Book Club, The Hunger And Poverty Forums and SpokenWordArt.com.