Insanity... Just Obey!
Know your place..
As Doug Casey summarized so eloquently, the political system in the United States has, like all systems which grow old and large, become moribund and corrupt.
The conventional wisdom holds a decline in voter turnout is a sign of apathy. But it may also be a sign of a renaissance in personal responsibility. It could be people saying, "I won't be fooled again, and I won't lend power to them."
Politics has always been a way of redistributing wealth from those who produce to those who are politically favored. As H.L. Mencken observed, every election amounts to no more than an advance auction on stolen goods, a process few would support if they saw its true nature.
Protesters in the 1960s had their flaws, but they were quite correct when they said, "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem." If politics is the problem, what is the solution? I have an answer that may appeal to you.
The first step in solving the problem is to stop actively encouraging it.
Many Americans have intuitively recognized that government is the problem and have stopped voting. There are at least five reasons many people do not vote:
1. Voting in a political election is unethical. The political process is one of institutionalized coercion and force. If you disapprove of those things, then you shouldn't participate in them, even indirectly.
2. Voting compromises your privacy. It gets your name in another government computer database.
3. Voting, as well as registering, entails hanging around government offices and dealing with petty bureaucrats. Most people can find something more enjoyable or productive to do with their time.
4. Voting encourages politicians. A vote against one candidate—a major, and quite understandable, reason why many people vote—is always interpreted as a vote for his opponent. And even though you may be voting for the lesser of two evils, the lesser of two evils is still evil. It amounts to giving the candidate a tacit mandate to impose his will on society.
5. Your vote doesn't count. Politicians like to say it counts because it is to their advantage to get everyone into a busybody mode. But, statistically, one vote in scores of millions makes no more difference than a single grain of sand on a beach. That's entirely apart from the fact that officials manifestly do what they want, not what you want, once they are in office.
Some of these thoughts may impress you as vaguely "unpatriotic"; that is certainly not my intention. But, unfortunately, America isn't the place it once was, either. The United States has evolved from the land of the free and the home of the brave to something more closely resembling the land of entitlements and the home of whining lawsuit filers.
The founding ideas of the country, which were highly libertarian, have been thoroughly distorted. What passes for tradition today is something against which the Founding Fathers would have led a second revolution.
This sorry, scary state of affairs is one reason some people emphasize the importance of joining the process, "working within the system" and "making your voice heard," to ensure that "the bad guys" don't get in. They seem to think that increasing the number of voters will improve the quality of their choices.
This argument compels many sincere people, who otherwise wouldn't dream of coercing their neighbors, to take part in the political process. But it only feeds power to people in politics and government, validating their existence and making them more powerful in the process.
Of course, everybody involved gets something out of it, psychologically if not monetarily. Politics gives people a sense of belonging to something bigger than themselves and so has special appeal for those who cannot find satisfaction within themselves.
We cluck in amazement at the enthusiasm shown at Hitler's giant rallies but figure what goes on here, today, is different. Well, it's never quite the same. But the mindless sloganeering, the cult of the personality, and a certainty of the masses that "their" candidate will kiss their personal lives and make them better are identical.
And even if the favored candidate doesn't help them, then at least he'll keep others from getting too much. Politics is the institutionalization of envy, a vice which proclaims "You've got something I want, and if I can't get one, I'll take yours. And if I can't have yours, I'll destroy it so you can't have it either." Participating in politics is an act of ethical bankruptcy.
The key to getting "rubes" (i.e., voters) to vote and "marks" (i.e., contributors) to give is to talk in generalities while sounding specific and looking sincere and thoughtful, yet decisive. Vapid, venal party hacks can be shaped, like Silly Putty, into salable candidates. People like to kid themselves that they are voting for either "the man" or "the ideas." But few "ideas" are more than slogans artfully packaged to push the right buttons. Voting for "the man" doesn't help much either since these guys are more diligently programmed, posed, and rehearsed than any actor.
This is probably more true today than it's ever been since elections are now won on television, and television is not a forum for expressing complex ideas and philosophies. It lends itself to slogans and glib people who look and talk like game show hosts. People with really "new ideas" wouldn't dream of introducing them to politics because they know ideas can't be explained in 60 seconds.
I'm not intimating, incidentally, that people disinvolve themselves from their communities, social groups, or other voluntary organizations; just the opposite since those relationships are the lifeblood of society. But the political process, or government, is not synonymous with society or even complementary to it. Government is a dead hand on society.