Before the mid-term elections, I blogged about why voting has very little practical or philosophical merit for the future of individual liberty, peace, and the tenets of a liberal (free) social order.
Sure, there may be instances where voting can have short-term benefits --a tax cut, legalizing or decriminalizing drugs, the extension of marriage rights-- but these are tantamount to cowardly getting on our knees and begging our state rulers for longer chains. In the long run, however, consenting to the guns at our necks, which the act of voting does, is a self-defeating and even counterproductive option.
I owe many scholars, philosophers, theorists, books, and essays to these conclusions because I myself used to be under the spell that as long as we get "our guys" in charge, everything will be fine.
But thanks to the influence of these intellectual giants --Lysander Spooner, Murray Rothbard, Thomas Jefferson, Henry David Thoreau, and Emma Goldman just to name a few-- I have washed away my naive faith in politics and that social problems can be solved and/or addressed by the violent and coercive methods of state power.
This is the reason I do what I do, why I write this blog, why I end up spending hours at bars talking politics and philosophy with strangers, why I have dedicated myself to peaceful revolution. My only aim is to live as free and with as much dignity as possible in this statist world, and to convince, not force, others to throw off their chains and embrace the beauty and responsibility of liberty.
Here is Elisee Reclus, in Emma Goldman's Mother Earth, explaining better than I ever could why we should not vote.
EVERYTHING that can be said about the suffrage may be summed up in a sentence.
To vote is to give up your own power.
To elect a master or many, for a long or short time, is to resign one's liberty.
Call it an absolute monarch, a constitutional king, or a simple M.P., the candidate that you raise to the throne, to the seat, or to the easy chair, he will always be your master. They are persons that you put "above" the law, since they have the power of making the laws, and because it is their mission to see that they are obeyed.
To vote is befitting of idiots.
It is as foolish as believing that men, of the same make as ourselves, will acquire in a moment, at the ringing of a bell, the knowledge and the understanding of everything. Of course it is so. Your elected person shall have to legislate on every subject under the moon; how a box of matches should or should not be made, or how to make war; how to improve the agriculture, or how best to kill a tribe of Arabs or a few Negroes. Probably you believe that their intelligence will grow in proportion to the variety of subjects they have to give their minds to; but history and experience teaches otherwise.
The possession of power has a maddening influence; parliaments have always wrought unhappiness.
In ruling assemblies, in a fatal manner, the will prevails of those below the average, both morally and intellectually.
To vote is to prepare shameful treachery and traitors.