L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 188, August 26, 2002
Response To Corinne Low
Exclusive to TLE
First, let me thank Ms. Low for taking the time to write a response to my article "The Moral Outrage of Voting". Please see also "Libertarian Politics: An Oxymoron" by yours truly, in this issue. I feel that there is a fundamental difference of thought between myself and Ms. Low. This is not meant as an insult, but merely as a statement of fact. On to the response:
"But to those of you who just flicked on the TV, and thought about how much better you were than those of us who had stooped to participating in the political system, I pose a question: What did you think you were proving?"
By not stooping to committing murder and theft by proxy, I "prove" nothing. This is not about "how much better" I am. What I do by not voting is make a moral statement, that I will not volunteer to be a part of my own enslavement. If you choose to do so, that is your business. If you feel shamed or angered by my statement, you should ask yourself why.
"Indignant, self-righteous libertarians accuse voters of condoning a political system that deceives, plunders, and even kills."
And why do you want to be a part of this deceiving, plundering, and killing? As you know, this accusation is not without merit. One would be hard-pressed to find a government within the borders of the United States that does not do those three things on a regular basis.
"Yet these same self-righteous folk still live within this country's borders. If we choose to live here, choose to pay taxes rather than sit in jail, choose to read the mail that the post office delivers, well then we are all condoning the United States government. We are all supporting it. You chose it, too. Maybe not with a vote -- maybe only with a check or a smile -- but you chose it. I have already picked the United States."
There is a fundamental difference between voting, which (as of now) is completely voluntary, and paying taxes, which are extracted at gunpoint. One is cooperation, and the other coercion. 'Taxes are voluntary' -- what more of a brutal, bald-faced lie could be told? War is peace? Slavery is freedom? "Arbeit macht frei"? Would you further claim that by eating, slaves 'choose' their lot? Does a woman 'choose' to get raped at knifepoint instead of committing suicide? The 'choice' between pain and death is hardly a choice, yet that is what governments have always offered. Indeed, it is all that they can offer. "Your money, or your life".
You're right that I choose to live here. However, I do not accept that by living here, I am the chattel of some politician. As George Potter said (3rd post down), I am God Emperor of my own life. By the act of existing, do you believe that I am subject to whomever you elect? Are you claiming to rule me? By what right?
"Thomas Jefferson watched his dream of strict constitutionalism whither ... Yet he neither left nor condemned the United States. He, in fact, became its president. You see, we have a term for Jefferson's plight: it's called political dissension. And, thanks to men like Jefferson, you too have recourse. It's called a vote."
I fail to see how becoming head of a State qualifies as political dissension; instead I'd classify it as political success. At any rate, what good did it do for liberty? Moreover, what good did his "strict constitutionalism" do for liberty? What recourse will my vote get me, a sticker?
"And if you choose not to vote, and you still choose to live here, breathe here, and collect mail here, I hope you're planning a revolution. ... But you're not. ... The truth is, you like it here. So you've already voted, you've voted with your feet. And if you're too damn lazy to go to the polls and make the same decision with your hand, then don't lecture me about morality."
Ah, America: "Love it or Leave it!". Can you perhaps point me to the ballot square that says "Liberty"? Or do they all have politician's names by them?
"... Vote only for the candidates you support. "
But there is no candidate I would support. Any person who seeks power over my life, liberty, and property is not worthy of my endorsement for same. By definition, how could they be?
"... Give the world the message that we libertarians are not lazy self-righteous nutcases."
Let me be brutally honest here. I am a lazy, self-righteous nutcase. I have no "community spirit". I will not put out the slightest effort to regulate, govern, or otherwise interfere in my neighbors' lives. I have a moral code that I do my very best to live by. I feel that those who do not agree with it are wrong. Not intentionally evil, maybe, but definitely not my moral equals. I believe firmly in life, liberty, and property -- those things are not for compromise, argument, expropriation, condemnation, "greatest-need- of-the-greatest-number", "for the children", or what-have-you. They are *mine*. If those sentiments make me a "lazy self-righteous nutcase", then I am proud to bear that label. Making morality a pejorative does not make it any less moral.
"... Tell them that we are willing to get off our butts and stand in line to place even just a single vote for Matt Beauchamp."
Why not more than one? After all, electoral politics is an inherently immoral process anyway. What could be more appropriate than a little voter fraud? (Note to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies: This is a joke. I am not Conspiring To Violate A Federal Statute Through The Use Of A Telecommunications Network Or Device).
"... But a vote for the libertarians? That means rebellion. Dissension. Non-compliance."
True non-compliance is non-participation.
"... That's just us saying "Hi, I'm a libertarian, and I believe I'm more qualified to run your life than you are." And that's what all those non-voters are worried about."
You're durn right, I'm worried. When anyone starts talking like that, I want to head for the hills. Do-gooders armed with guns and tax dollars scare the holy heck out of me. Including 'Libertarian' ones.
"... I'm talking about putting accountability back in government. It can happen. But only with your vote."
This is a very good illustration of that "fundamental difference" that I mentioned at the beginning. Ms. Low wants to put "accountability back in government". I want government (not 'The Government', but government, the concept) to go away. I want to live as a "lazy self-righteous nutcase" should -- free from taxes, confiscation, drafts, eminent domain proceedings, liquor licenses, gun licenses, and car licenses. I want a world without certificates for birth, death, and everything in between. I want to be free, and that is something no 'government' will ever, ever allow me to do.
Is America becoming a police state? Friends of liberty need to know.
Some say the U.S. is already a police state. Others watch the news for signs that their country is about to cross an indefinable line. Since September 11, 2001, the question has become more urgent. When do roving wiretaps, random checkpoints, mysterious "detentions," and military tribunals cross over from being emergency measures to being the tools of a government permanently and irrevocably out of control?
The State vs. the People examines these crucial issues. But first, it answers this fundamental question: "What is a police state?"
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