The not so prospectus LibertySubmitted by LibertarianHC on Wed, 09/19/2012 - 20:25
And here we go!
Like clockwork, without ever missing a beat; circus act that comes along every four years, we’re again in the eye of a hurricane called Election(s). And of course, the groupies are coming along with two circus troupes to make the experience of unassuming American electorate complete. Most of the groupies, as one would suspect, are just there for the act itself and backstage passes to the glittery (sic) performers, but in both camps there are those who take their zealotry to the level only seen in religions. These free-pollutants, these hordes of fanatics, frothing at their mouths are roaming through your cities and towns. With blind dedication and blood-shot eyes full of establishment lines they will make sure that anyone who is not attending the circus be persuaded otherwise. You all know them. You all heard them and were annoyed with them: The “wasted vote” bashers!!! In essence, you will get lectured, and most probably bashed if you proclaim that either you don’t vote in the elections, or you vote for a third party. On the other hand, you’ll have your “patriotism” questioned if you proclaim you’re voting for “the other guy”. If you are a logical, thinking person, and if you prefer to draw your own conclusions instead of reciting the pre-canned ones, you have undoubtedly run into one of the situations above. If you had some time to waste and tried to use logic to articulate your position to “the patriot”, you found that after 10-20 seconds they went from trying to comprehend what you’re saying, to simply checking the box in their brain that indicates you are _________________ (commie, terrorist sympathizer, big business shill, anarchist, hater of this country, hater of Israel, terrorist, hater of Palestinians, Zionist, hater of babies, global-warming-denier, hater of….well…ah, you get the point), and you need to be outshouted (not outsmarted) to get in line and just “be a team player” that “supports America”.
To start with, the argument of “wasted vote” is hogwash, and tons of ink, both digital and physical, has been spent to illustrate why this argument is a losing one. For the sake of keeping things clean and concise, I will not engage in rehashing the “lesser of two evils” argument. Instead, there are only few things I want to address here, and they range in progressive weight from patriotic duty, arrogance of vote ownership, to questions whether there’s any difference between the left and right boot, and finally, what does voting for them really mean. To lay all cards on the table before we begin, I must admit that I am a member of Libertarian Party and LNC, but even as such, I am not asking (or begging) from you to cast the vote for Libertarian Party in the next elect ions.
Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, proclaimed Samuel Johnson in the late 1775. The meaning of that statement then is equally important as it is now. But what does it mean, you may ask, my unwashed, uneducated reader? Let us consider the following exchange I’ve been through recently:
- Zealot: Oh wow, things are pretty bad in this country since (X) took over. We will have to get rid of him/her in the upcoming elections.
- Me: Things have been bad for a long time, my zealot friend, and nothing is going to change if you replace (X) with (Y).
- Zealot: Well, the (Y) is much better for this country because (X) did (insert party talking points here) and Y wants to (insert party talking points here).
- Me: The problems you’re referring to have started long before (X) took office, and have been made substantially worse by the policies of (Insert some predecessor of Y here).
- Zealot: It is your PATRIOTIC duty to vote and remove (X) from the office so the (Y) can take over, take the country back (sic) and make it work again (sic).
- Me: Well some founding fathers of the country believed that the highest form of patriotism was to question your government and not blindly follow in its footsteps. Now, I don’t think there’s much difference between (X) and (Y), but I like some policies of (X) and want those policies to remain, and if I end up voting in this election, I’d probably vote for (X) because (Y)’s policies would (insert thoughtful and accurate analysis of Y’s platform and its implications).
- Zealot: WHAT? I can’t believe you’d even consider that because (Y) is (insert even more talking points here)!!!!
- Me: Well, if you look at the actual policies and performance between (X) and (Y), you see that they are the same more often than not. Also (insert some annoying arithmetic here (relative debt to GDP ratio works miracles) that further supports your argument). This is why I think that change cannot and will not happen from within the system and I choose nether of them.
- Zealot: You DO NOT understand!!! This is the fork in the road. We have to choose (Y). We are at the brink as a country! By not supporting (Y), you’re only supporting (X) and you will be sorry when this country is (insert any threat to the country from previous election here).
- Me: Well, I am sure that’s not going to happen, but I have to go back to work now.
- Zealot: OK, are we still up for the Sunday game?
- Me: Sure.
Folks, there’s no patriotic duty to vote. Never was, never will be. Voting for X or Y to fill in the shoes of their predecessors is not as eventful as even picking up the remote control and changing the channel on your TV, let alone affecting any meaningful change. Our history has shown that when the country is under legitimate attack, there’s no shortage of volunteers who will come in its defense. What zealots really mean is that by voting you are complying with their version of patriotism, which, in essence, is the same as complying with the platform of the party of zealot.
I have been a member of Libertarian Party and LNC for a while now. Usually, we’d hold our conventions without anyone noticing, we’d spend all the money fighting courts to get on the ballot in all states, and we’d get our usual 1-2% of the vote, leaving us in the aftermath of elections wondering what we can do different to garner more votes next time. CATO institute would write some eulogy, and Reason magazine would do the same. The party believed it was destined for 1-2% of the vote period. In the 2008 election cycle, I had a chance to observe the election process, the circus, the debates, the primaries, and the whole shebang. Little did I expect, but I got a lot more than I ever could imagine.
It was to be another uneventful republican debate and I wasn’t prepared for anything else. From the start though, an unassuming, frail-looking old man started wiping floor with his opponents using my favorite tool: logic. I watched as his opponents started to snicker and try to rebuttal him with talking points. He was steadfast. He made sense. He knew history. He knew economic business cycle. He knew the cure to get this country on the path of healing. He was laughed at. He was booed. But even with booing, he was able to give all his opponents little “reading list” that would lead them out of their blind ignorance. I listened as authors and their works poured out of his mouth and broke against his opponents closed-shut ears. I was amazed and my eyes turned to my own bookshelf: The reason I was so amazed is because the most authors listed I already had on my shelf and was quite big fan of. This has got to be a joke, I said to myself. This old mad is way out of the element here surrounded by big mouth chicken haws that kept spewing their official sound bites. In my disbelief, I turned to my phone and called a senior member of LNC (let’s call him Bob). The conversation went something like this:
- Bob: Hello?
- Me: Hey Bob, are you watching the republican debate?
- Bob: Why would I?
- Me: There’s one old guy that’s making sense for a change and is educating the rest of them about the principles that are aligned with ours.
- Bob: Oh, that’s Ron Paul.
- Me: Ron who?
- Bob: He was the LP candidate in 1988. He gave a finger to Reagan and ran as a libertarian. Since then, he returned to the congress as a republican and has been there ever since.
- Me: What do republicans have to do with us?
- Bob: Nothing at all. Unfortunately, since we were usually on the same side against the enemy, some people in the republican party believe that libertarians and all the votes that come with them belong to GOP.
- Me: That’s BS, since we’re diametrically opposed to all GOP stands for.
- Bob: Never underestimate the power of political pressure.
- Me: Pressure or not, this man belongs to LP.
- Bob: True, but he won’t run with LP.
- Me: Why Not? After all, he’s saying all we have in our platform.
- Bob: The system is rigged.
- Me: What system?
- Bob: The courts.
- Me: What do courts have to do with elections and parties???
- Bob: They control who gets on the ballot in each state. It’s been a rigged game for a while now.
- Me: WHAT???
- (silence) …….. (disconnect)……..(busy signal).
I did not know all this because I came from far away. I didn’t know this because I wasn’t born here. I believed in the “home of the brave and land of the free” until the contrary slapped me so hard over my head I had another awakening. IT’s a rigged system, but all rigged systems require participation of all parties in order to perpetuate themselves. Who’s this Ron Paul guy, a guy with two first names? I don’t think I was the only one with such reaction. I embarked to find out that this guy is and what exactly is he doing in the GOP. I think that was the issue that bothered me the most. The rest is history. History for myself, and for thousands that woke up under the weight of his message. I’ve witnessed something remarkable: thousands of people getting registered into a party that has absolutely nothing to do with the youth, progress, or the way forward. Out of curiosity I reached out and talked to many of these newcomers to the GOP. Do they support wars? Do they support overblown budgets? Do they support PATRIOT act? Do they support Medicare Part D? The answer to all those questions from them was no. They supported Mr. Paul and they believed that all of them combined would be able to defeat the establishment machine with honest approach. It is now 2012.Once more these folks were called to cast the ballot for the nominee of the party: Once more (as in any election cycle) for the “lesser of two evils”. They were cheated. Their delegates were cheated. Their votes stripped. They were shown what happens when some unexpected and unapproved change enters the system. They were lead to believe that voting really matters. They were wrong.
Now the frothy-mouths want to tell you that it’s time to fall in line. “Your guy lost, it’s time to fall in step with the party because we have to defeat (X)”. Now you have to reflect and ask yourself this:
If it were not for Mr. Paul, would you really belong to the republican party and still be registered as a republican without having to take a hot shower every 10 minutes??? If not so, then it is time for you to punish the arrogance of the party that believes simply because you’re registered with it, your vote automatically belongs to them. Imagine their arrogance. Imagine their vein. Just because you saw one defection from the establishment, and you registered to legally cast your ballot for the defection, it means that your vote belongs to the establishment. Don’t let them simmer with this belief too long. Make them remember soon that your vote, and your consent, belongs solely to you. It is not to be traded or exchanged for party favors. Its precise arithmetic is not to be traded for party’s groupthink and small favors. If you give in their ways then you truly don’t have a room to complain. Many people warned you. Mr. Paul warned you. I warned you. If after all the warnings you fall into the trap, then everyone else will need to seek the fault anywhere else but with you.
What lies ahead, I do not know. But I am not a coward to try to prevent something just because I don’t know what the outcome of it is: I am NOT a conservative. I’m not a coward to try to prevent something because I can’t control it: I’m NOT a democrat. Neither are all of you. I’m not asking for your vote, but I’m asking from you to stay individuals and not fall for the groupthink of either parties. The future might be bleak, bright, or neither. We can’t know it. One thing I will ask from you is to keep your spirit up and as youthful as it can be. The old paradigms are falling and it will be up to us to take over soon and rebuild things as we did many times before. Are you up for that task? If so, are you sure?
You better be.