Voting

No, You Don't Have an Obligation to Vote

Once you start dissecting the please-vote platitudes, it quickly becomes evident that you should feel no guilt about skipping the polls.

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Given the current campaign trajectory, voters will almost certainly face a November choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Many already wonder how they can possibly cast a vote in good conscience for either of those two. If you count yourself among that unhappy lot, here's good news: You don't have to. There's absolutely nothing wrong with sitting out the election if you feel like it. (You can vote for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, too, but a previous column covered that option.)

Americans are force-fed the opposite message every election season—usually by self-interested partisans trying to run up the score for their own teams, but sometimes by mind-numbingly conformist editorial writers of the sort who also write earnest reminders about wearing your seat belt. (From time to time there are even proposals to make voting mandatory.)

But once you start dissecting the please-vote platitudes, it quickly becomes evident that you should feel no guilt about skipping the polls. Those platitudes are:

(1) It's your civic duty. Really? Why? As Jason Brennan wrote on the Bleeding Heart Libertarians blog a couple of years ago, it's untenable to argue that people have a fundamental moral duty to vote. Rather, such a duty must derive from some other more basic obligation, such as the duty to be a good citizen.

Even that duty is worth scrutinizing: Where does it come from? What does it mean to be a good citizen in, say, North Korea or Saudi Arabia? But never mind: Let's assume there is such a duty here in the United States. Even so, you can discharge your obligation to be a good citizen in many different ways that don't entail voting, such as volunteering at the local rescue squad or helping out at a homeless shelter. There is no valid reason to argue that someone cannot be a good citizen unless he or she votes. In fact, Boy Scouts can earn a Citizenship merit badge—an emblem of good citizenship—even though most can't vote, and the merit badge requirements don't include casting a ballot.

In certain instances you might even have an obligation not to vote. If you sincerely believe the system is rigged, as Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump claim, then maybe you should abstain—lest you grant legitimacy to a system that doesn't deserve it.

(2) Not voting insults our veterans who fought for that right. But veterans fought for much more than just the right to vote. They fought for the right to attend a Jewish synagogue or a Lutheran church; the right to chant pro-Trump slogans at political rallies; the right to keep and bear arms; the right to sing the blues or in a barbershop quartet; and so on.

Every one of those rights also entails a corresponding right: the right not to do those things. You have a right to go to synagogue, and a right not to; you have a right to chant pro-Trump slogans at a Trump rally, and a right not to. It's no insult to veterans if you choose not to go to synagogue, not to attend Trump rallies, not to own a gun—or not to vote. Veterans fought (and troops now are fighting) to keep Americans free, not to keep them tied down with endless obligations.

(3) If you don't vote, you can't complain. Sure you can. Suppose you're kidnapped by ISIS radicals who give you the choice between being burned to death or hacked to death. If you refuse to pick either option, and the ISIS radicals decide to hack you to death, and you then object, would it be reasonable for the radicals to say you have no right to complain, since you didn't vote?

Voting is somewhat like that (especially this year!). Because while it's nice to think our individual votes can make a difference, they almost never do. According to Ilya Somin's book Democracy and Political Ignorance, the odds of a single vote influencing the outcome of an election are "possibly less than one in 100 million in the case of a modern U.S. presidential election. A recent analysis concluded that in the 2008 presidential election, American voters had a roughly one in 60 million chance of casting a decisive vote, varying from one in 10 million in a few small states to as low as one in 1 billion in some large states such as California."

The idea that you can complain only if you vote rests on the assumption that your vote might change the outcome: You had a chance to flip the result and didn't bother. Under that erroneous assumption, it's not just non-voters who can't complain; nobody can. That hardly seems right, does it?

Of course, the no-complaining argument might mean something different. It might mean that complaining is a privilege granted only to active members of the political community, and you earn membership by the act of voting. If that is true, then it follows that the more active you are, the more right you have to complain.

Under this theory, people who pay taxes have more right to complain than people who don't, and people who pay high taxes have more right to complain than people who pay low taxes, and people who give money to political campaigns have even more right to complain than that. By this logic, the Koch brothers have more right to complain than almost anybody—while a non-voting waitress who gets laid off because of a recent hike in the minimum wage has none. Hmmmm.

Despite the lousy choices and long odds, many of us vote anyway, because we get a charge out of doing so— rather like people who get a charge out of joining the office basketball pool. It's fun to take part in something even when the results are mostly out of our hands. But as with the office betting pool, it's perfectly rational to decline—and no moral stain on you if you do.

This column originally appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

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158 responses to “No, You Don't Have an Obligation to Vote

  1. If I don’t vote, how will the system know who is not supposed to be put in office? (Past eight years my ballots have been the inverse of the winners)

    1. Use reverse psychology and vote for the candidate you hate the most.

        1. You’re supposed to put a curse on the ballot before depositing it.

          It’s like you never took any political science courses!

          1. I didn’t. I have a technical degree.

            1. Voodoo is very technical, you should look into it.

              1. /just a joke, it’s either real or fake, and in either case you don’t want to mess with it.

                1. “Go and do that voodoo that you do so well.”

            2. “I didn’t. I have a real degree.”

              ftfy

          2. I can put a macumba on one. Does anyone know voodoo?

            1. I can reach out to Papa Legba if needed.

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    3. Only eight? I haven’t always voted major party, but my streak of non-winners goes back to 1988. I offer my curse to the highest bidder.

      1. Why is that a curse? You probably voted for the best candidates, they never seem to get elected.

  2. If Michelle Obama wants me to do it, I automatically don’t want to do it. I can’t even explain why.

    1. It’s called “First Wife Reflexive Rejection.” She reminds you of a first wife, and that triggers a reflexive rejection of anything she says in all males (assuming you’re male).

    2. Fear of wookies?

    3. Know what? I agree with this.

      And while we’re at it even if ‘House of Cards’ is 25% accurate, it’s enough for me to conclude what’s the effen point?

      Politicians do not serve a nation. They serve themselves and they will mangle the system to the point of disfigurement to ensure they quench their thirst and lust for power.

      Some bony dead white wop said it a long time ago. His name was Machiavelli.

      1. Veep is the real Washington. Venal, narcissistic morons blundering around in an attempt to not be caught looking as stupid as they actually are.

        1. I’m sure there are masters of political manipulation but I wonder how real Underwood is. The guy and his wife are exhausting to watch.

          You’re saying Obama is more Veep than Underwood?

          1. Underwood: Putting America Back on Track

            FU2016!

          2. The Underwoods are obviously based on the Clintons.

            1. Except on the looks. But yeah, I can’t but help think it’s all them and some of the Obamas too but mostly those two.

            2. The Underwoods are based on the original BBC House of Cards.

              Bill Clinton model his career on that of PM Francis Urquhart, with adaptations for difference in the US and UK forms of government. However, Hillary insisted on a much more public role than Urquhart’s wife, Mortima.

              I’d put US politics at about 25% HoC, 50% VEEP, 24.9% Being There, and less than 0.1% West Wing.

              1. “Being There”

                Goddamn, I love that movie. Peter Sellers would have been very hard pressed to find a better role for his finale.

                The second choice for my handle was Chauncey Gardner/Gardiner but there was too much confusion about the proper spelling so I went with a shitty pun based on the title of a song by a band I enjoy(Morcheeba).

          3. I work with a lot of feds, and I’ve talked with a lot of relatively successful albeit local politicians. Veep is being charitable. There might be one Underwood in a million, it’s just that most politicians are so self-absorbed and stupid that it doesn’t take much to manipulate them, so it makes someone with average social skills look like a master manipulator.

            Think about it. Most politicians are lawyers or doctors. With apologies to members of both professions, neither requires actual intelligence, per se. You need a good memory, you need motivation and persistence, and you need to be willing to spend a lot of time developing in-depth technical knowledge. None of this implies being especially perceptive, witty, cunning, good at solving problems or thinking outside of the box. Again, apologies to all, but I’ve met a fair number of doctors and lawyers, and I know a number of lawyers reasonably well. Not the sharpest knives in the drawer. Champion public speakers, but dumb as a bag of hammers.

            1. We have a doctor in my hockey pool.

              If his arguing skills are any indication…well, anyway.

              As for the Underwoods, it’s just tooooo much how they portray them as master manipulators. Claire in particular is hard to stomach.

              Bah.

              I hope they all die including that psycho Stamper. They’d better all die or else I wasted time watching this show.

              1. I’d like to add if student bodies and associations and people who ran for elections on college/university campuses are a microcosm of who gets into politics.

                Then yes, only douches, butt heads and the insane go into it.

                1. Yeah, was it Heinlein who said something about power not corrupting, but simply attracting the corruptible?

                  1. Not Heinlein, but Herbert said something similar in Chapterhouse: Dune “Power attracts the corruptible. Suspect all who seek it.”

                    My mod is that power attracts the already corrupt and easily corruptible.

              2. Hockey pool? Is that what happens to the rinks when the weather warms up?

              3. I gave up on house of cards when I found out that he wasn’t dead at the end of the third season. I like the original BBC series a lot better and thought they should have stuck to the general direction they laid out.

  3. I always vote.

    But I buy lottery tickets too.

  4. Probably already posted, but:

    Derpbook gets his Stalin on

    1. Derpbook = Stasi. Where’s my shocked face?

      Although I suppose one way to interpret this is that maybe derpbook users aren’t as prog-tarded as the “trending news” feature would seem to imply if the curators are having to monitor it and suppress conservative news articles from showing up. Silver lining?

  5. Veterans fought (and troops now are fighting) to keep Americans free

    Not in any recent war, they haven’t.

    1. Valid point. I am always amazed how my young Marines joined to fight our enemies and defend liberty, but think freedom of speech is garbage if they don’t like what’s being expressed.

      Point is in a democracy the military reflects the society it protects and our military is primarily made up of 18-22 year olds.

      1. I cringe every time they tell me how they are in the Middle East fighting for my freedom. Certainly not our freedom from economy crushing debt.

    2. But we have to be protected against the imminent invasion of pre-technological camel jockeys!

      1. No, you see, camel jockeys have this super-weapon called terrorism. Terrorism scares people real bad. So bad, in fact, that people will demand the government submit to the will of the terrorists, up to and including turning over the entire nation to the camel jockeys.

        So fighting camel jockeys is actually fighting for our freedom.

        Ask any politician, if you don’t believe me.

    3. As a veteran I will accept beer in place of voting.

  6. I find I can predict the outcome of an election with 75-90% accuracy by taking the inverse of my ballot. For example as a matter of principle I vote against all bonds, and they always pass.

  7. Veterans fought (and troops now are fighting) to keep Americans free

    Who exactly are US troops currently fighting that threaten Americans’ freedom?

    1. Who exactly are US troops currently fighting that threaten Americans’ freedom?

      Somalis. who have completed Stage 1 of their takeover: commandeer all taxis in Chicago and Minneapolis.

        1. Somalis, Bangladeshis… same difference.

          1. THEY”RE ALL THEM ISLAMS

            1. DAMM STRATE

    2. I assume it is talking about the cops, fighting off the drug overlords and rogue shampooers,

  8. NO. Don’t skip the polls. Just ignore the top choice and vote the down ticket. Your daily life is affected more by state and local governments, especially in the wallet. Don’t ignore those races

    1. 75% of those races appear on the ballot unopposed in my district. 🙁

      1. Doesn’t mean you can’t write in “None of the Above”.

        Yes, I like my futile gestures to be *really* futile.

        1. It feels good to be a cynical outsider. But it feels even better to be a cynical insider with the ability to actually stop the continuing raid on our wallets.

          1. But it feels even better to be a cynical insider with the ability to actually stop the continuing raid on our wallets.

            I’m sure it’s great to be a unicorn too.

        2. +1 Montgomery Brewster

      2. I assume that means you’re going to get the D in any outcome?

        1. Are we still doing “phrasing”?

          1. Nooooooooope.

    2. But my vote (or lack thereof) won’t affect the outcome of those races either.

      1. Depends upon where you live. A couple years ago in my township there was a write-in campaign that won posts for two supervisors, and the same thing happened with a state senator. It was unprecedented

        When there are just a few thousand people voting, you and your friends and family can make a difference.

        1. I live in a populous city in a populous state, and I am not aware of any elections here that have been decided by a single vote.

          1. That sounds like not being a Democrat from Massachusetts. There’s really no point in voting around here.

          2. Bush beat Gore five votes to four.

            1. So, all you have to do for your vote to matter is become a Nazgul.

            2. Oh come on, you can get more out of this rhyme….

              Door, whore, more, lore, bore, for, fore, ignore, and so on.

              1. My butthole’s sore?

          3. Al Franken won his Senate seat from Minnesota by 312 votes after several recounts and challenges. I seem to recall stories that some of the Iowa Caucuses this year were finally decided by a coin toss.

            Personally, I believe in going to the polls but only casting a vote in those contests or on those issues that I can actually for *for*. I have this vision of results coming in like 1034 people voted at X precinct but the totals for ____ was won 147 to 132. Hard to claim a mandate when people who were obviously there to vote didn’t like either one of you enough to vote for you.

    3. “Your daily life is affected more by state and local governments, especially in the wallet. Don’t ignore those races”

      Yes, for example, if you’re voting on a proposal to protect mall businesses from harassment from the “civil rights” bureaucracy, go ahead and vote for it, and maybe you’ll get two years before the President, with the help of Presidentially-appointed judges, gets the proposal declared unconstitutional.

        1. Damn! I was really hoping we were voting to protect Cinnabon.

  9. Don’t vote! It only encourages them.

  10. This article is win. I also, in a sick way, want Trump to win. It’s not because I agree with him very much, and I certainly don’t want to be associated with him. I think that we need a populist president, so we can get around to correcting how screwed up our system is. I think if Hillary spends 4 or 8 in the White House the next populist movement will be worse. The pendulum always swings back, and I think Trump is exactly what we need to take a U-turn on stupidity street and head back onto mildly retarded lane.

    1. By the time the election rolls around, I’m not sure you’ll be able to tell the difference between Hillary and Trump. Now, all 3 candidates left in the race have went full on with the tax the rich and minimum wage shit. Trump not as much of course, since he’s still testing the waters, but Hillary and Bernie are in it too far up to their ears to ever back out.

      Sure, Trump sounds like the best choice if you believe everything he said ‘before’ the nomination was a done deal. Now he can safely slide leftward since the independent vote is the big prize.

    2. I think that we need a populist president, so we can get around to correcting how screwed up our system is.

      B does not follow from A, to say the least.

      1. I think it’s very popular to take more of my money and give to someone who didn’t earn it. A populist president will have to take advantage.

        Trump’s tax system proposal does not look that good to me. It almost looks like I would pay MORE taxes at the federal level, not less. If you make 50k I think you get a better deal though. But the 20% bracket is way too low. No one has accused this guy of knowing what he’s doing, to say the least. And now the ‘tax the rich’ bullshit starts. And it’s funny how ‘rich’ is first defined as billionaires. Then as someone making more than 2 million. Then as someone who makes 250k, or more. Then before you know it, everyone making 6 figures is a filthy rich fat cat.

        1. Eventually it’ll be anyone who makes more than the mean (which is something like what, 42K?) is “rich.”

          1. Does that include all of the zeros?

        2. Trump’s tax system proposal …

          …is a Rorschach test. No-one knows what it is, including him.

    3. I wonder if him being an ‘outsider’ meaning he’s not a career politician, he’d be less Hillary/Underwood or more.

  11. Just now snapped out of my work zombie mode and got to read a few headlines and the threads here. Was interesting about the Trumpster suddenly sounding more leftist with a touch of fascist now that the nomination is over. There’s no way to anticipate what to expect from this guy, but I have to say this is not surprising at all.

    So now you have a GOP nominee sounding more and more like a leftist and 2 Dem candidates who both sound like full on commies. I know we’ve been talking around here about how the two parties keep becoming more and more alike until we eventually will have no choice at all. I think we are almost there. And since they’ve apparently already convinced an entire generation of millenials to accept full authoritarian control by either fascists, communists, or a hybrid of both, I think we are pretty fucked at this point. We’ll have to go all the way to the bottom before the unthinking masses will realize they have been shammed. It’s going to be very bad and who knows for how long? Will liberty ever arise again? Who knows.

    I mean, it makes perfect sense why the politicians are going in the direction they are. If you have a free society who can vote, you can’t just suddenly make yourself dictator. You have to slowly transition the country away from free markets towards socialism and/or fascism. They are well advanced towards this goal now. Just a few finishing touches left to go and maybe a national emergency.

      1. I don’t eat French people.

        1. Only their legs.

      2. Exactly. Gad Saad has a great video on that exact topic.

        As far as the whole Trump is moving left thing, it is literally happening to a T exactly how I told my friends who “support” Trump (mostly they just want to troll dems, but, you know). I told them he couldn’t be trusted, and as soon as he had the nomination he would immediately go center or left of center and would do or say anything possible to get elected. The sad part is once he is elected we have no idea what he will or won’t try to do. It’s literally a shot in the dark. It boggles my mind that people actually believe someone who clearly is a narcissist and doesn’t even try to hide it when he says he will do X or Y.

        /divide by 0.

    1. I think the GWOT did a nice job of preparing an entire generation of Americans to believe that it’s the federal government’s role to protect individuals from imminent harm without having to fool around with some stupid Constitution. Under Barry we’ve expanded that concept to include a lack of health insurance, and we’re rapidly heading towards tacking on environmental threats (as defined by the agency which would be responsible for enforcing compliance, conveniently) and even the danger of not making enough money.

      1. When Trump wins, there will be a new civil rights bill to protect us from not renting rooms in Trump hotel’s. Everyone needs protecting against not having a vacation. A penaltax will apply to everyone who failed to take advantage of their human rights. Stress you know.

        1. You know, I’ve often said that the medical benefits of a vacation are so great that not taking one each year really does put an undue strain on the health care system, to the general detriment. Someone really needs to get those self-centered hourly employees off their asses and out to the beach.

      2. The WoD did a lot to move the country in that direction also.

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  13. There is always a worse option, despite Reason.com’s recent article proposing otherwise. I am very suspicious of anyone who maintains that the prospects of either a HRC or DJT presidency are equally bad, however that may even be quantified, and treat those who abstain from voting, usually in a self-affirming and ego-stroking flutter, as being unable to defend their reluctant choices. Or is it intellectual cowardice?

    Participate. Vote. There are good and bad reasons for either candidate to be in office.

    1. There are good and bad reasons for either candidate to be in office.

      You’re half right.

    2. It couldn’t be a stubborn refusal to participate in a broken system. Nope, no siree, couldn’t be that.

      1. You can say that again!

    3. It couldn’t be a stubborn refusal to participate in a broken system. Nope, no siree, couldn’t be that.

    4. I would logically conclude right out of the box, that no one could be worse than Clinton. However, we still have about 6 months to go, don’t underestimate the Donald, either in terms of being able to beat Hillary or becoming just as hideous as she is.

    5. My vote has no effect on which candidate wins office.

    6. Let’s say that, for the sake of argument, my choice is to not accept the authority of the state because I’m a voluntaryist. In that case, the only rational decision would be to not vote at all, since voting would imply that I concede the authority of the state and the legitimacy of the “social contract”. Not voting, from that perspective, is the only meaningful participation I can have that wouldn’t be hypocritical.

    7. RE: HRC and DJT not being equally bad.

      I agree. But, I can’t decide which is worse. They’re both horrible. On assorted topics, one or the other will usually be worse. But, on the whole, it’s incredibly difficult to determine which is worse.

      So, I agree they aren’t equally bad. But, they are equivalently bad.

      But, that’s a bullshit excuse not to vote. Just don’t vote for one of those assholes. My 3rd-party vote may not accomplish much, but it accomplishes more than not voting.

      1. What does it accomplish, exactly?

        1. Feelin’ good. A mild sense of smug satisfaction. If you vote for a third party you get to be the kind of person who can say they vote for third parties. I mean, that’s what I’ve gotten out of it in the past.

      2. Third-party voting tends to sound better than it actually turns out. Here’s why. https://youtu.be/s7tWHJfhiyo

  14. But if you don’t vote, you can’t complain about the outcome!

    /retard logic

    1. I love that argument. I’m going to embrace it whole-hog, and next time I’m told that I can’t carry a concealed weapon I’m going to march into the Governor’s office with my “I Voted!” sticker and demand a refund.

    2. It is – and yet I keep seeing variations on “they get what they deserve” when some prog hellhole like my city progs even harder, from people here who ought to know better.

      1. @Rhywun:

        Austin, right? Yeah, I know Austin as the headquarters of an anti-APBT PAC that spurred recent pit bull legislation in Maryland, where I live (i.e., not Austin, where they live). As an owner of two rescued pits and having worked with pit rescues for a number of years, I can honestly say I can’t think of a more reprehensible group of human filth. A lot of dogs are killed and a lot of people have to suffer because of the FUD they push.

        The problem with the vote is that it’s either a tyranny of the majority or it’s a rubber stamp for a minority with a lot of free time (or connections with the city council) to impose their will.

        1. Nah, I’m in NYC but same difference. The Left around here are way more motivated to get out the vote than anyone else, with predictable results.

          1. Oh, man. Good luck with that shit. I’ve never been to NYC but everything I’ve heard makes me think I should never go. I’d probably love it, want to move there, and then I’d have to deal with running afoul of the local government on a daily basis and it would break my heart.

        2. I’ve known more actual pitbulls than most folks and can actually identify one by looking at it, and as far as dogs go they are more consistently biddable and well behaved than any other common breed. The various cow dogs that are so popular, on the other hand, are much less controllable or well disposed to random people. I been bit by a pit bull one time. By cow dogs, dozens of times, frequently at random with no provocation. I’ve had some trouble with labs, but not to that point. With the pitbull that bit me, it was one time out of thousands of interactions every day for years; at no other time did it ever behave difficultly toward me. There is the fact that that one pit bull bite left a huge fucking scar, while none of the various cow dogs bites did much of anything. The city here once was considering a pit bull ban. My wife went down with a bunch of photographs of dogs and arsked them to identify the pit bull. None of them got it right. They don’t even know what it is, but they think there ought to be a law…

    3. I was informed by my sister-in-law that I can’t complain about our Glorious President (blessed be his name) because I didn’t vote. I countered that I had voted for the Gary Johnson in the last election. She said that didn’t count because I was throwing my vote away.

      No way to win.

      1. Heh, that’s great.

      2. You can only complain about Obama if you voted for him.

        Paging George Orwell.

  15. “In certain instances you might even have an obligation not to vote. If you sincerely believe the system is rigged, as Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump claim, then maybe you should abstain?lest you grant legitimacy to a system that doesn’t deserve it.”

    That’s the thing. I’m not convinced if the non-voting percentage rises to, say, 90% it would have any meaningful impact. Rats are rats and they’ll just reconfigure how it’s interpreted and assume the 10% who vote are an actual and accurate reflection of an entire nation and people. See Austin with Uber. 17% of voter turn out apparently meant it spoke for the rest of the population.

    1. True: if such a vast majority were to stay home and not vote, then the politicians would simply go into overdrive and bus as many of their lackeys as possible to the precinct and win by a very small margin, over the opponent who could not get their hands on as many buses. Pretty much Zimbabwe.

      1. Yeah, so a while back we recalled a couple people (you can prob guess where I am from) and the dem party was literally bussing students from almost 100 miles away to vote in those “local” elections.

    2. What boggles my mind is that people continue to believe these politicians on their word alone. They don’t even look at voting records, just purely off of their word.

      The city I live in just last year passed an almost 1% sales tax hike that was supposed to be earmarked and ONLY earmarked for fixing the roads. It was in very clear language that the money would only be used for fixing the roads…

      So, of course it passed with like 86% of the people who voted. Here’s the best part. It’s been almost a year and the roads are just as bad, if not worse than before…

      I’ll just say this isn’t the first time something like this has happened.

  16. Veterans fight for corporate and political interests masked as the so-called preservation of our ever disappearing freedoms…

  17. The other day someone here mentioned the idea that not voting should simply be counted as “none of the above” and if “none of the above” wins, the seat stays empty. I like that.

    1. Realistically, not every political seat could be done this way. But a lot of them could be. If that means there’s no city manager or not enough aldermen for the city council to have a quorum, disincorporate.

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  19. Eh, I agree there’s no moral or legal reason to vote – that said, I think voting is worth the minor inconvenience. I always think of it as the chance to make my own microscopic course correction to the country; maybe if 1000 people vote for the libertarian candidate for state senator instead of 999, the government won’t get any more liberty-friendly that year but someone out there might notice and give more thought to voting third-party later. Butterfly effect or something. Probably dumb, but it’s not like voting is personally costly anyways.

    1. I pretty much agree. A single vote will never change the outcome of an election, but it does express a scintilla of support for a candidate or the issues he advocates. That’s why a libertarian should never throw away his vote by voting for a Democrat or a Republican … unless the candidate has genuine libertarian bona fides. Such bona fides are exceeding rare, so go ahead and vote Libertarian, or if you can’t stand the Libertarian candidate, don’t vote.

  20. RE: No, You Don’t Have an Obligation to Vote

    I can understand why people wouldn’t want to vote with Trump the Grump, Comrade Bernie and Heil Hitlery running for the executive office.
    Nevertheless, I’m still voting for all Libertarian candidates.
    The republican fascists and democrat socialist slavers can kiss my rectum.

    1. I read that as “Trump the Gump.”

      Now I have a mental picture of a middle-aged blond windbag sitting at a bus stop telling strangers the story of his life and then firing them one by one.

  21. “Boy Scouts can earn a Citizenship merit badge?an emblem of good citizenship?even though most can’t vote, and the merit badge requirements don’t include casting a ballot.”

    I earned the thing despite being an anarchist.

  22. In fact, Boy Scouts can earn a Citizenship merit badge?an emblem of good citizenship

    Bzzzt! Thanks for playing. It’s not an emblem of anything but the ability to parrot back to the merit badge counselor what they want to hear. The theory behind merit badges is that you acquire a minimum knowledge in the subject (in this case what constitutes a good citizenship according to the BSA).

    ?even though most can’t vote, and the merit badge requirements don’t include casting a ballot.

    Given that you’re not allowed to earn merit badges once you hit 18, voting would be a really difficult requirement to fulfill.

  23. I’m just gonna quote Spencer here, again, at length:

    “Perhaps it will be said that this consent is not a specific, but a general one, and that the citizen is understood to have assented to every thing his representative may do, when he voted for him.

    But suppose he did not vote for him; and on the contrary did all in his power to get elected some one holding opposite views ? what them?

    The reply will probably be that, by taking part in such an election, he tacitly agreed to abide by the decision of the majority.

    And how if he did not vote at all? Why then he cannot justly complain of any tax, seeing that he made no protest against its imposition.

    So, curiously enough, it seems that he gave his consent in whatever way he acted ? whether he said yes, whether he said no, or whether he remained neuter!

    A rather awkward doctrine this.

    Here stands an unfortunate citizen who is asked if he will pay money for a certain proffered advantage; and whether he employs the only means of expressing his refusal or does not employ it, we are told that he practically agrees; if only the number of others who agree is greater than the number of those who dissent.

    And thus we are introduced to the novel principle that A’s consent to a thing is not determined by what A says, but by what B may happen to say!”

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  25. If you’re okay with surrendering history to social justice fascism, then either abstain or vote for Hillary.

    A Hillary presidency isn’t going to make Libertarian ideas more appealing.

  26. We need Montgomery Brewster to launch a None of the Above campaign

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  28. Given the current campaign trajectory, voters will almost certainly face a November choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

    No, they won’t. Gary Johnson (or some loonier Libertarian) will also be on the ballot. Me, I’ll vote for the 2-term governor.

  29. Elections. For the love of God, if you don’t hear anything else I say for the rest of the evening, listen to this.

    Elections are no longer free. They are staged theater, designed to maintain the illusion of representative governance and to enrich the political class. This is despotism. If after this mess that we just went through, if you do not understand this, you are beyond hope.
    My God.

    And then you have election fraud on top of it. Here in Colorado ten counties had voter turnout in excess of the total adult population of the [county]. Not just the registered voters ? the total adult population of the county, excuse me, the county. And what did Romney do? Roll over. How can you not see this? How can you not understand? Do not talk to me anymore about elections. There are no elections. There are no more free elections. Just stand over that dead horse and beat it ? it is never going to get up.
    For the love of God.

    I’m sorry, but there comes a certain point where you have got to pull your head out of your a-ss and deal with reality. You cannot just keep going on with this over and over and over again, saying, “Well if I just give somebody some money and I put some signs in my yard I’m doing enough?”

    No, you’re not doing enough. You’re not doing enough at all. Not even close. In fact, if you’re participating in this, you’re part of the problem.”

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  30. I will defer to part of my namesake on matters such as this.

  31. This attempted satire would have been marginally successful if accompanied by a laugh track, to assist in understanding where exactly the punchlines occurred.

    Because… It can’t have been the considered opinion of a paid adult American.

    The reasoning fails to support the premise at just about every turn.

    i agree that we’re not obligated to vote any more than we’re obligated to be nice or to pay the electric bill on time or to not eat sweets before meals. But for most of the reasons the spoiled adult American author tries to undermine, we Should vote. And ultimately, this whole thing fails for the same dumb ass reason as saying “you shouldn’t vote because the candidate you like best can’t win” fails. The reason you should vote is Because You Can. And because beyond Dillary Clump there are local races and revenue bills to consider, and which deserve your time and support.

    this article was a distracting waste of time which lowered my damn IQ just by spending time with it.

    how about “thought provoking,” please, not just Provoking.

  32. I’ll be voting libertarian again this year. The sad thing is these Republican and Democrat voters remind me of those Ford Vs. Chevy folks. Listen, they both suck. Why buy overpriced crap, when you can get more for ur money with something far better?

    You want a freaking $70,000-90,000 dollar pickup truck that has a “diesel” and best in class towing? Ditch that piece of shit pickup and get an old redone (inframe, rebuilt tranny, etc.) Kenworth / Pete, etc. that u can haul your own shit with and pay little for personal insurance. You’ll be able to ruin any Pickup’s day, and pay 20-45,000 for an awesome ride that will outlast any of them.

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  34. “the right to sing the blues”

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    (I really hope that was just a hypothetical example and not a reference to an actual controversy over someone singing the blues)

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  47. It is not your obligation to vote, but it is the best option, even if you don’t like the major party candidates. We won’t see true change in government until we proof that we are unwilling to accept poor candidates. So if you don’t like the major party candidates, vote for 3rd parties. Here is why not voting is a poor option:

    http://independentflorida.com/not-voting-at-all/

  48. “the right to sing the blues”

    KULTURAL APPROPRIAYSHUN!!!!!!11

    (I really hope that was just a hypothetical example and not a reference to an actual controversy over someone singing the blues)????? ???
    ???????

  49. the right to sing the blues
    ————————————————
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  50. THERE IS AN OPTION TO NOT VOTING.

    Make your no-vote count.

    Here’s how:

    Read up on a proposal for how to add your vote into the ‘other’ box that sends a message to move us out of this clown show. Snoopy may be a comic strip, but this project is not comical.

    Go to http://bit.ly/WhatVoteSnoopyChanges or VoteSnoopy.com

  51. THERE IS AN OPTION TO NOT VOTING.

    Make your no-vote count.

    Here’s how:

    Read up on a proposal for how to add your vote into the ‘other’ box that sends a message to move us out of this clown show. Snoopy may be a comic strip, but this project is not comical.

    Go to http://bit.ly/WhatVoteSnoopyChanges or VoteSnoopy.com

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