The Thinking 

The Case for Not Voting

September 30, 2016

JOHN writes:

Frederick Bastiat, writing in his little book, The Law, made the profound observation that the perversion of law takes two divergent forms: simple greed, and the pretended love of humanity.  C. S. Lewis made a similar observation, as did Jesus when he singled out for special condemnation both the love of mammon and the moral hypocrisy of the religious leadership of the time.  What is profound is that these two styles of faithlessness––which on the surface seem to be opposed––both spring from the same root.  They are both forms of idolatry whereby the God of heaven is deposed in favor of the gods of self and of this world.

Sadly, Trump’s supporters believe he has the power to ensure America’s continued place as the world’s largest producer and consumer of material goods, as if this were the highest goal a nation and its people could aspire to.  Even so, he probably won’t succeed.

Clinton’s supporters look forward to the day when the government will use whatever force is necessary to make us all submit to their assumed moral authority.  Clinton, who has no problem expressing her complete contempt for half the population, would seem to be the perfect choice to carry this out.  She very well may succeed.

If nothing else, this election has removed all doubt that America is now completely ungrounded from any spiritual dimension in national life.  Trump and Clinton perfectly embody the two strains of mammon Jesus condemned.  Where does this leave those who reject both forms of idolatry and see an election as something to be decided primarily on moral grounds?

Again, Lewis made the observation that those whose motivation is greed are generally satisfied with the rewards of greed; whereas those who are motivated by their view of justice will stop at nothing in achieving their ends. Thus, they are far more dangerous.  This might help people decide whom to vote for.  Perhaps a Trump victory will delay America’s slide into despotism for a few more years.

But one should also think very seriously about what it means to participate in this farce of an election by voting at all.  To vote is to endorse, not only of the candidate and whatever policies he or she enacts, but the whole degraded and degrading system of rule that brought us to this place.

Admittedly, our dispossession is not yet total.  We still have whatever money and property they allow us to keep (it is all theirs, after all) and, until it is yanked away, we still have the putative right to defend our lives from an attacker.  We still can speak out about things that displease us––as long as it doesn’t cross the blurry line into so-called “hate speech.”

Beyond these few remnants of our former citizenship, the most valuable thing we retain is our consent.  It’s very hard for them to take that consent away directly, so they resort to various forms of deception and manipulation to get us to give it to them.

I would suggest that the most important thing we can do at the moment is to stop giving it to them.

— Comments —

Michael writes:

I suggest instead of not voting that we remove voting rights for women.  They have continually voted in a majority for Democrats, they are behind the bloated budgets which remove responsibility from peoples actions, etc. As of now they support Clinton by 10 points and will probably result in her election. Women politicians generally are the most near sighted and vicious and cannot play the long game, as they are driven by emotion and short term goals.

Laura writes:

John was referring to this election season. I don’t think it’s possible to eliminate the women’s vote by Nov. 8.

Paul C. writes:

Not voting is like giving up the right to plead not guilty. It is like pleading no contest, in which case the accused will be found guilty.  Hillary has charged half of Trump’s supporters with deplorability.  If she wins the election, she and most liberals will find the accused guilty and punishment will follow.

Not voting is like relying solely on prayer.  Works are essential to salvation.  In every election that I have witnessed, there are many who don’t vote.  And they always have reasons.  This article gives the most prominent reason but couched in philosophical terms: voting this time is like voting for the lesser of two evils.  Only 57% of eligible voters turned out in 2012.  Not voting is giving up, taking the ball home because the game seems unfair.  Freedom, like salvation, requires fighting.

Pan Dora writes:

To Michael,

Stop whining.

Stop wishing for what is never going to happen.

Concentrate on the failure of your own gender to vote at the same rate women do. You might accomplish something.

Laura writes:

I didn’t see his comment as “whining.”

It won’t happen now, but I’m sure it will happen in the future, if democracy survives. I believe someday — if democracy survives — women will gladly restore the male-only franchise.

Pan Dora writes;

If you are speaking of the United States we are not a democracy. Thank heavens. We’d have had Al Gore as President on 9/11 were we a democracy.

Michael whines about alleged female voting patterns, but skips over his own sex’s less than stellar voting performance.

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