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By Andrew: Posted 10/31/06 2:03am EST

Don't Vote.

In the U.S., the midterm elections are just around the corner. The stakes for the outcome of this election have never been higher, so it’s more important than ever that you go out and vote.


The stakes are exactly the same as they’ve been for the last 100 elections. Possibly lower, if not much lower. There’s no cold war to worry about, hence minimal threat of nuclear annihilation. The threat of terrorism isn’t as big a deal as we initially thought in 2001. The war in Iraq is relatively small (2000+ casualties? We lose more people in a year to snow-blower accidents). All the big issues like slavery and civil rights are pretty much wrapped up. Want gay marriage legal? Your vote isn’t going to change the bigotry of 80% of the populace. Don’t want gay marriage? Why would you want to infect your bigotry on the public through your vote? Anyway, who gives a shit if gay people can get married? I’m not even sure they do. So if one of the “big issues” is whether some fraction of gay people get to use a certain word to describe their romantic relationship, shouldn’t you just stay home?

The answer is yes.

But for the sake of argument, I will pretend everything going on in the world is a really huge deal, and the apocalypse is imminent should the people you disagree with obtain power. Here is one of the lies the pro-vote lobby enjoys dispensing.

“I don’t care who you vote for, it’s just important that you get out there and vote!”

This is the righteous stance taken by those who love the idea of voting as a principle. Examine the cunning persuasion of it. So committed are they to the purity of democracy, they would have you vote, nay, insist you vote even if you don’t vote for the person they vote for. The self-sacrifice! It gives us the impression that voting is such a noble act that it even transcends the ultimate outcome of the election, the positions, the competence and equanimity of governance. Hitler vs. Jesus in ’08: I don’t care about the outcome, just get out there and vote! Getting as many dimwits as possible to punch ballots is the supremely desirable outcome, even if the winning candidate slaughters millions of Jews.

The statement is phenomenally disingenuous. Imagine you are about to be executed along with one other prisoner, but the firing squad only has one bullet. “I don’t care who you shoot, just shoot one of us! The integrity of the execution if far more important than the specific result!” Try to follow this idiot’s logic for a moment, without the aid of a humorous analogy.

- The “stakes” being what they are, influence must be exerted on the government to take correct action.

- Voting is the vehicle for this influence. Hence voting is important only insofar as it extends the people’s influence.

- Again, the “stakes” are very high, so the wrong choice could be disastrous. The pro-vote guy knows his, and makes his selection to avert the disaster.

- But because voting in general is so important by sheer principal, he encourages as many people to vote as possible, even if their views conflict with his.

- By doing so, he gets many people who’ve selected the “wrong” candidate to vote, inviting the exact disaster he sought to avert by voting in the first place. Oops!

So the next time someone tells you to vote, and “doesn’t care who you vote for, just vote!!!”, the correct response is “you are a very confused person who is twisted up inside, and you don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about.”

But aside from that ridiculous argument, surely there’s no harm to voting in general, right? If that’s what I want to do, and I choose to voice myself in an election, no problem, right?

Wrong. Voting is always a stupid idea. Here are some reasons why you should never vote.

Your vote doesn’t count.

I would liken the voting process to a really shitty lottery. One that’s almost impossible to win, and the prize is so underwhelming, you can’t help but feel silly for participating in it once it’s over (if you’re not an idiot). Imagine the grand prize of the Super Powerball Plus Jackpot lottery is a used toilet seat. That’s an election for you.

I explain: the odds of winning the grand prize are 1 in [some astronomical number]. The odds of your vote having any impact, given a very, very close election (already small odds) combined with your vote turning in favor of the winning candidate (worse), assuming your vote was actually counted (worse yet), you get a dreary estimate indeed.

And the “big prize”? Some dipshit politician wins! Fuck yeah! I’d rather risk gonorrhea with my new toilet seat.

Yes, we know in principle voting is effective through power in numbers. But very fortunately for me, I am not a huge mob of people. The decision to vote is a personal one, and when considering this, we do so as individuals. It’s the job of campaign managers and PR people to worry about swaying mobs, not ours. This sway is exacted by widely circulating promotional material that says things like “I don’t care who you vote for, it’s just important that you get out there and vote!” (read above)

And if that isn’t enough to sway your decision to the no-vote camp, then consider the voting process is technically fallacious, and subject to political and racial bias. I could go on at length about this by citing facts, but all you have to do is read this cartoon and you will agree with me 100%.

There’s no one to vote for.

Inherent to this or any system is the fact that there will never be any good candidates. Use whatever parameters for “good” you want, but if that result means you’re characterizing any politicians as “good candidates” then your definition is off. One problem is the candidates begin by lying to you. They lie to you by suggesting the stakes are high, which we know to be false. If on the other hand you believe the stakes really are high, then the politician has convinced you of his lie, you have become a voter, and you are an idiot.

It becomes easy to see how the voting process actually serves as a very effective screening device for the most stupid people in the nation to exert their influence. For example. If I stood in front of a crowd of thousands, and asked all the people with major brain damage to step forward, and everyone who steps forward happens to be really stupid, I have supplied a filter built into my query which ensures only stupid people will step forward. The people with brain damage in front of me do not merely happen to be stupid as well. They are stupid because of their brain damage. And voters are stupid because they vote.

How convenient that the act of voting itself is what draws out the most stupid. Convenient to the politicians who: A) first set the trap, pretending there are really high stakes that people should get upset about, thus drawing out the dumbass nectar from the electorate, and then B) capitalizes on that stupidity to sway voters to vote for them. This is the nature of electoral politics, and cannot be separated from it. You might have wondered how to define a good politician? At least I can define a bad one for you; one who seeks office through the political system.

Now, part of me resents having my position affiliated with the notion of “lesser of two evils”, the idea that all politicians are liars and thieves, which has been en vogue for centuries. Not because it isn’t true, but because the sentiment is most often brandished by morons. They are morons because they don’t really understand why this is, and even more so because most of them, while maintaining cynicism towards politics, still believe voting to be a noble practice.

But it isn’t. Voting is stupid. Speaking of which, here is possibly the best reason not to vote:

You are stupid.

It’s fair to say most people have a poor approval of politicians, and the political system as a whole. They shake their fists at the dysfunctional machinery, grumbling about its idiocy, but resting secure about themselves because at least they “did their part”. They voted.

The problem is, if you would believe a voter, voting is the vehicle by which the people reach out and influence the system. So by that logic, if the system is fucked up, then whom to blame is there but the people? The people who voted. People also seem to feel at ease with slamming the intelligence of “most” people, out of dim awareness that this bumbling majority has railroaded us into the current state of mediocrity, without cognizance that they themselves likely occupy this majority. There is a saying, that if you didn’t vote, you have no right to complain about those in power. I think it’s backwards. If you did vote, you have no right to complain about bad politicians or the broken system, because you have contributed to the conditions which give rise to the dysfunction, by voting. Similarly, if you voted, you forfeit the right to complain about the stupid masses, because your allegiance belongs to them. By voting. And by being stupid.

You are wrong.

Forget intelligence for a moment. Even if you’re pretty smart, who says you’re right? Smart people can have their perspectives muddled by all sort of things, money, personal agendas, morals, religion, idiotic theories and the like. What gives us the impression that any given person, let alone a nation, could land on the right side of an issue? What makes us think that person could see his own fist even if it was on imminent trajectory towards his own face? How many people have convictions just for the sake of having convictions? How much of conviction is tied up in ego and sense of identity? If a person’s convictions are challenged, is it received with intellectual evaluation, or as a personal attack? How often does degree by which one feels right correlates with whether he’s actually right?

I don’t want your convoluted, egotistical, ass-backwards sense of right and wrong to make its impression on the nation. And if I were you, I wouldn’t want mine to either. The difference is, I’m able to put myself in your shoes and examine what a nut-job I appear to be from your perspective. Can you do the same? Do you think someone with the typical pro-vote stance would read this, and really want me to vote? But wait, what about “I don’t care who you vote for, it’s just important that you get out there and vote!”

Yeah, why don’t you do us all a favor and sit this election out.

Voter apathy is better than the alternative.

We hear a lot about voter apathy, but we never see any concrete evidence that it’s a bad thing, or any real world examples of voter apathy gone mad and the dire consequences which ensue. I’m not a historian, so no notable examples come to mind, however I can think of many instances where the opposite has caused BIG problems. When too many people are swept up in their own bogus passions, you don’t have to look too hard to see the brewing shitstorm.

What the “voties” don’t want you to know: voter apathy is a consequence of very good things. When there are no problems, people are less inspired to enact change. U.S. voter turnout in modern history has always been staggeringly low (by what measure it is staggering, I’m not sure. It’s just really low). This is because we live in an era of relative world peace and prosperity. No cold war. World Wars a distant memory. World economy keeps booming. The low interest in voting is a very natural and reasonable expression of this, and people who see this as a grave degradation of our democracy are busybodies and airheads with no real perspective.

In fact, the people who would have you think this is a problem are the very people who seek to exploit whatever minor problems we do have to secure a petty stranglehold on whatever little power they can grab. Anything that stirs the pot is gold. Be it the wispy specter of terrorism waved around like a sheet hanging from a fishing pole, or this skirmish in Iraq (which is only a result of the same type of “hype nothing until it becomes something” politics). The only people who are predicting an imminent eruption of World War 3 are those who rooting for it deep down. Those who buy into the bullshit that’s waved in front of them are singularly responsible for putting these hacks in power, and will be singularly responsible for when the pendulum finally again sways inexorably towards world instability. And not “Arabs are sort of angry”-instability. More like “really scary holy shit”-instability.

“Ok, clearly voting is a really stupid idea. Are there any alternative systems you would advise?”

Voting we’re told is the engine, grease and fuel for democracy. This means democracy has obviously failed. It had its chance, and it’s just not cutting it. That’s why I propose instating American royalty to rule the country. No more political campaigns or anything like that. Just a king who decides what to do, and everyone’s cool.

I know what you’re thinking. “Wow, that sounds great! I love the idea. But aren’t there some new problems it introduces?” Well, just one that I can think of.

But all problems are remedied by the second half of the plan, and this is the most exciting part. Elections will now be held to choose which assassin will kill the king.

No more sloppy “issues based” campaigns. It boils politics to its simplest essence: do we want the stealthy covert ops guy, or the sexy femme-fatale to murder our monarch? Instead of a chore, voting becomes a delight! Then once the king is dead, another one is ordained through some inscrutable process (though not quite as inscrutable as our current electoral system).

I think everyone can agree, with this system, voting becomes a great idea.

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