Vote Or Die!

During my morning blog-browse, I ran across some reference to “Vote Or Die!” t-shits being worn by bunches of the get-out-the-vote [for the democrats] entertainers.

Presumably, the implication is that if you don’t vote, Bush wins, and you die. I wondered if any of the youngsters wearing these things ever stopped to critically examine this “logic” flow, but I digress. The simple bottom line is that whoever wins this election; things are going to proceed pretty much as they have been for quite some time. The government deficit is going to increase, the government is going to get larger as a percentage of your life; the government is going to increasingly determine what values you will be allowed to pursue, what you will pay for them, and when and to what extent you will give up your values for the sake of others who profess to need them.

Anyway, I then went poking around for any articles on the “Vote Or Die!” apparel, and I stumbled onto an article called Vote and die, by Ilana Mercer. It opens:

Rapper P. Diddy and actor Ben Affleck have something in common other than the asinine Jennifer Lopez. At Mr. Diddy’s instigation, Affleck and a posse of “sexy people,” as Diddy referred to their defining attribute, have joined together to persuade “young people and minorities” (not to be confused with white, older people who shoulder the tax burden) to vote.

And she can also talk some pretty good trash about republican TV pundits (useful idiot Kool-Aid pushers) that’s well worth considering:

There are the Republican panel-show Pattons, and the ever-multiplying Stepford sluts who stand by their man – Bush – uncritically. Barely out of short pants (Noah McCullough), neoconservative neophytes are solicited for their sophomoric opinions with a reverence befitting the developmentally challenged.

Yes, the so-called Right’s representatives in the media are dopey faux conservative babes, blinded bimbos, and addled anchors, who can’t tell their Left from their Right. If they could, they would identify uncontrollable spending, deficits, corporate welfare and subsidies, the invasion of privacy under the Patriot Act, the suppression of peaceful assembly with “free speech zones,” and preemptive unconstitutional war, as the handiwork of an enemy of the Right. Their only talent is in out shouting their Democratic sparring partners, who, bar some hard-core socialists like the Nation magazine’s Katrina vanden Heuvel, evince the same lack of cerebral agility.

But whether or not you agree with the war on terrorists or not, voting is certainly not the answer to any of your problems, as Mercer via Barnett demonstrates below in laying out an entirely different, and valid, logic flow than “Vote Or Die!” with respect to voting.

Unfortunately, he is wrong. In “Default and Dynamic Democracy,” Loren E. Lomasky observed, “As electorates increase in size, the probability that one’s vote will swing the election approaches zero” … “[I]n large-number electorates, there is a vanishingly small probability that an individual’s vote (or voice) will swing an election … [F]or citizens of large-scale democracies, voting is inconsequential.”

…and, further:

In “Restoring the Lost Constitution,” Randy E. Barnett further homes in on why, contra Mr. Diddy, genuinely informed individuals have little incentive to exercise their “democratic right”:

If we vote for a candidate and she wins, we have consented to the laws she votes for, but we have also consented to the laws she has voted against.

If we vote against the candidate and she wins, we have consented to the laws she votes for or against.

And if we do not vote at all, we have consented to the outcome of the process whatever it may be.

This “rigged contest” Barnett describes as, “‘Heads’ you consent, ‘tails’ you consent, ‘didn’t flip the coin,’ guess what? You consent as well.'”

Just so I’m not misunderstood, here, my objection to voting is a moral one—It’s wrong to steal the values produced and owned by others. This means that I don’t walk into a 7-Eleven at 2 a.m. with a gun to stick up the clerk and empty the cash drawer. It means equally that I don’t step into a booth to affect essentially the same crime under the euphemism of “voting.” The only difference is that everyone else is there to steal from me, just as I am there to steal from them. As the article concludes:

His instincts are correct, although what Mr. Diddy has discovered are special-interest politics, likened by Lomasky to “Hobbes’s war of all against all, albeit by democratic means.”

I think that’s essentially what Beck means when he refers to the bi-annual event as Cannibal Pot Hysteria.

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