Blogs > Liberty and Power > Ok, one more thing

Sep 29, 2004 3:24 pm

Ok, one more thing

I'd be interested in some intra-L&P discussion of something timely. Although he self-identifies as an anarchist, L&P blogger Roderick Long seems to support the idea of voting for Badnarik, thus by extension voting generally (Correct me if I'm wrong, Roderick, but your personal blog features an as urging people to do this). On the other hand, fellow L&P blogger Wendy McElroy has written that anarcho-libertarians should not vote at all -- I recall an essay you wrote in Liberty a couple years ago in which you argued eloquently that even voting against Hitler would be participating in something wrong, and again, correct me if I'm wrong, that means you and Roderick disagree on this issue. Is it a moral disagreement? A tactical one? Both? I voted for Ron Paul in 88, then shortly thereafter was persuaded by Wendy's writings to stop voting, but lately I've been wondering about this. I'd like to hear from other L&P bloggers about this, especially but not limited to Roderick and Wendy.

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Otto M. Kerner - 9/30/2004

I certainly agree that campaigning to get other people to vote could theoretically affect the real world. Perhaps a spirited libertarian campaign might have elected Ludwig von Mises (another Austrian) as chancellor of Germany instead of Hitler. Furthermore, a campaign to have other people simply ignore the results of elections would also have desireable effects if successful. However, you yourself voting or not voting is still useless.

By the way, unless I am mistaken, the Nazis never got anywhere near 50% of the vote, even if you only look at the people who actually bothered to vote. The problem in the 1932 election was that the Nazis and the Communists combined got a little over 50% of the vote, making it impossible for the other parties to form a government without including one or the other.

Max Schwing - 9/30/2004

Oh, but the voting Germany went wrong, because people felt like you, that voting doesn't change anything :)

The rise of Hitler really took place under certain circumstances and only 50 % of the German population voted in 1933. Among those 50 % were the radical facists that supported the NSDAP (and who were bound to vote by their party), while the rest were the core-supporters of the other parties (Zentrum, socialist party etc.). so, if mor people had voted, the NSDAP and her allies would have never reached the overwhelming majority.

On the other side, today voting is merchandised in a way that takes the usefulness out of it: You have to vote, even if you have no idea what it is about. That's nonesense and should be changed into: We are showing you reasons why you should think about voting.

Roderick T. Long - 9/29/2004

Wendy McElroy, as I understand her position, accepts the "voluntaryist" argument that voting, even for a libertarian candidate, is an act of aggression. I disagree. I've written on this at the link below:

Otto M. Kerner - 9/29/2004

Voting is useless. If it's Germany in 1932 and Hitler is running (for the sake of argument, let's say that the Nazis actually won that election outright), you can either vote against him or not vote, but he's getting elected either way. You could go ahead and vote for him, for all the difference it would make. So voting is a symbolic, demonstrative, or emotional act. That being the case, I think that it's hard to say that anyone is wrong or right about how to do it. Long prefers to symbolically send a message that he wants a more libertarian society. McElry prefers to symbolically send a message that she denies the legitimacy of the whole proces.

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