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Author Topic: Don't vote!  (Read 6884 times)

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Offline Primal

Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #200 on: April 19, 2014, 01:18:49 AM »
Hey Valthazar!

Valthazar: Showing that politicians of the past and present deviate from their campaign platforms, even if very true, is not sufficient grounds to suggest that every future candidate be branded in the same negative light (unless their actions dictate otherwise).

Very true, and a good point that I cannot say is false.  I'd just say that I find it highly unlikely.  But ultimately, you're right.

Valthazar: You mention that we would imagine that these flip-flopping politicians would be voted out of office, but that they almost never are.  It is due to voter misinformation.  Many people on this forum are opposed to NSA surveillance, for example, yet many will still vote Democrat or Republican in 2016 - even though it is exceedingly likely that NSA surveillance will continue with either of these parties in power.  People don't feel they have an alternative voting choice - even though there are plenty.

I've voted all my life, so I feel your pain on this one.  We chose the lesser of two evils, based upon what small, subtle real differences there actually are between the candidates.
I do think it's possible to get enough of the populace to realize that the majority of the problems stem from excessive state power (which I realize is just my opinion, but we're discussing our opinions here so I'll go with it :P ).  But I think the best way to do that is allow the rise of the state to happen as quickly as possible.  Sudden changes are more easily perceived then gradual ones, and therefore easier to combat.  Ergo, me not voting will help expedite that, so it's something I've considered.

Valthazar: I am not sure what you mean by the state "growing" through elections.  Based on your perspectives, a candidate committed to your libertarian views would reduce the scale of government - unless you are assuming that candidates will invariably backtrack on their campaign promises.  I would agree that this is very true for the establishment parties.

You bring up a spectacular point: Would a Libertarian candidate be any different, and actually stick to his guns and reduce the size of the government?  Ultimately, it's a moot point.  A Libertarian will never, ever, ever get elected to the presidency.  However, for the sake of the discussion and integrity of my argument, I should answer you.  Unfortunately, an honest answer would be that I don't really know.  I don't assign any special ethical fortitude to Libertarian candidates only because they happen to be Libertarian.
I guess I'd just cross my fingers and pray that they actually stick to their guns. 
At least their ideology coincides with mine 80% of the time (instead of ~25% of Repubs and Dems), so even if they follow-up with only a quarter of their promises it'll be some kind of advancement (in my personal view).  Republicans and Democrats both want big governments--they preach specific exceptions to this (Republicans claim they'd like a more free market, Democrats claim they'd like the state to keep out of our social issues), but in the end neither of them do even that much.

But yeah, your point is very valid.  Do I have any special assurance that a Libertarian candidate would be significantly different? .........

Offline Kythia

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Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #201 on: April 19, 2014, 02:49:26 PM »
My issue with your argument, Primal, is that things have got better throughout the time we've had elected officials.  Suffrage has been expanded, rights have been increased, conditions have improved...look at any aspect of life that politicians could reasonably affect a hundred years ago compared to today.  Things have got better and as a result we know that things can improve by people voting.

For not voting to be viable, it seems you would need at least one of:

a) a reason the situation has changed and that the previous pattern of  improvements in quality of life won't continue

b) a reason that not voting would make those improvements happen faster/better/other positive/etc. than the alternative.

There are problems, sure.  But without at least one of the above, I struggle to see how not voting is a solution to them.

ETA:  Welcome to E by the way.  Best of luck with the approval
« Last Edit: April 19, 2014, 03:29:17 PM by Kythia »

Offline Primal

Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #202 on: April 20, 2014, 12:43:46 AM »
Thanks Kythia!  It seems like there's a ton of great people here, and I've read over really interesting threads so far, so I hope to get approved.

Kythia: My issue with your argument, Primal, is that things have got better throughout the time we've had elected officials.  Suffrage has been expanded, rights have been increased, conditions have improved...look at any aspect of life that politicians could reasonably affect a hundred years ago compared to today.  Things have got better and as a result we know that things can improve by people voting.

You make a good point that I don't think is false as a whole, because I definitely agree with it on many levels.  I think I just need to articulate my stance a little better.

To describe my personal beliefs on government, I use the following analogy: The government is like chemotherapy.  It always makes you sick, and too much of it kills you.  But sometimes you need it to survive!  In such an instance, its best to use the lowest dose possible and take it for the shortest amount of time required.
Sure, life is better with government then without one.  I'm not an anarchist, so I agree with you on that one.  Concordantly, one can give examples of wonderful stuff that's been accomplished because of government.  One can do the same for chemotherapy, which has been life-saving (or life-expanding) for countless patients.  But, in my own humble opinion, both chemotherapy and government are inherently poisonous; no matter how much good they can do us in small doses, large whoppin' doses will always be lethal no matter how you do it.

Naturally, at what point you've reached "too much" is subjective.  But first you'd need people to agree on the concept before a "too much" point can even be discussed.

Offline Ironwolf85

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Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #203 on: April 20, 2014, 08:36:54 PM »
I'm voting.
I find voter apathy is one of the worst problems we have in the US. If nobody cares, nothing changes. Time after time it's been proven that while not every vote counts, a massive shift can change a lot, as can being politically active in your community.
I find nihilism's only offspring is a sense of smugness when other people's lives suck as much as yours. Thus it is not a worthwhile idea to me.

Offline Valthazar

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Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #204 on: April 20, 2014, 09:21:54 PM »
To describe my personal beliefs on government, I use the following analogy: The government is like chemotherapy.  It always makes you sick, and too much of it kills you.  But sometimes you need it to survive!  In such an instance, its best to use the lowest dose possible and take it for the shortest amount of time required.

That's an interesting analogy, I would agree it is true in a lot of ways.  I would like to believe that there are still some honest politicians out there.  For example, if a guy like yourself were to run for office, I think you would reduce the scope of government.  I am hopeful there are others like that as well, and those are the candidates I usually vote for.

Also, good luck with the approval process!

Offline Drake Valentine

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Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #205 on: April 20, 2014, 10:01:36 PM »
I usually, mostly, ninety percent of the time vote.

Unfortunately, I am kind of a Centrist.  That being said, I generally don't strongly agree with every Presidents' views that pops up as running candidates and also on that note I don't believe I liked that many Presidents in the states in my lifetime save for a very selective few. So for me, it does matter to an extent. If I have to pick, I will always pick the lesser evil whose opinions can reflect my own. Now, whether they hold true to them is another story.

Maybe in the long run votes may not seem to matter, but the way I see it is that no one has a right to complain or moan about politics or who is running them when they never bothered to vote. Also who knows, your vote could be that one to make the difference of who is elected.

Offline consortium11

Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #206 on: April 21, 2014, 07:40:50 AM »
That's an interesting analogy, I would agree it is true in a lot of ways.  I would like to believe that there are still some honest politicians out there.  For example, if a guy like yourself were to run for office, I think you would reduce the scope of government.  I am hopeful there are others like that as well, and those are the candidates I usually vote for.

It's the fairly standard "necessary evil" view of government generally favored by minarchists, libertarians, classical liberals and to an extent even certain communists (the socialist stage in Marx's theory of history and the dictatorship of the proletariat favoured by Lenin for example).

Offline Primal

Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #207 on: April 21, 2014, 02:28:00 PM »
Thanks for the good lucks! :) 
As a side note, I will say I'd make a horrible politician.  Not because I'm "too moral for such a corrupt job" or any self-righteous crap like that, but because the job (even in when done in a pro-small-government, protecting-individual-freedoms kinda way) requires certain skill-sets I lack on almost every level!

And now on to the topic!
The term "necessary evil" might not be a bad way to say it.  But as Consortium11 pointed out, two might agree that something is a necessary evil, but arrive at completely different conclusions regarding its use.  Perhaps a communist agrees with his/her libertarian buddy on government's many poisonous attributes, but still believes handing over all property and power to the state is a better deal then giving people the individual freedom to own and run things for themselves.  The political elite may be bad, but the bourgeoisie are even worse!

That's why I made up my own analogy.  It's difference from "necessary evil" is subtle, but I think significant.  It substitutes evil/bad vs. good with sustaining vs. lethal.  If one agrees with the premise that large government is lethal then it removes it as a viable option.  This is quite different from "necessary evil", which could easily lead to a large-scale implementation of said evil, simply because other options are "more evil".

Of course, comparing a social construct like government to a medical drug like chemotherapy is only a simple metaphorical tool.  It expresses only a very general idea.  It has almost zero practical use, and says next to nothing on my personal value system (or what values I think a government ought to use).  But as simple as it's message is, it's a vital element of my point of view.  Namely, that government is a wonderful (and necessary) tool for productive society, but is utterly lethal as a large excessively-powerful institution in any form. 

Naturally, plenty of people disagree with me.  Nothing wrong with that; our difference of ideas and points of view makes the world go 'round!  But properly expressing this idea at least lets people understand where I'm coming from.  If we understand each other's point of view, then meaningful discussion becomes much more productive--or at least it helps us respect one another's viewpoints more fully.


So in regards to voting: Given my own personal opinion on the current state of affairs, I think the best option is to expedite the rise of the state.  The faster the changes take place, the easier it is for the populace to recognize the ensuing problems.  A slow and gradual usurpation of our rights only obfuscates the fact that we're living under oppression.  Therefore, if I am to put my money where my mouth is, I'd either not vote or cast my vote to the most pro-big-government candidate there is.

Offline Jusey1

Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #208 on: May 26, 2014, 03:06:41 PM »
Like I always say, any good people we vote in who wants to help and make a difference will end up being bought or being assassinated...

And I think we kinda know which one happens more often.

In my honest opinion, it is useless to vote anymore these days and now I am just waiting for a revolution to happen. You can only bottle-up all this stress on everybody for so long after all.

Offline Zakharra

Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #209 on: May 27, 2014, 09:53:43 AM »
Like I always say, any good people we vote in who wants to help and make a difference will end up being bought or being assassinated...

And I think we kinda know which one happens more often.

In my honest opinion, it is useless to vote anymore these days and now I am just waiting for a revolution to happen. You can only bottle-up all this stress on everybody for so long after all.

 That's a very pessimistic and somewhat sadistic point of view to have there by claiming that anyone that tries to fix the system by being elected is bought out or assassinated.. Oddly enough I haven't heard much of any politicians being assassinated recently. As for being bought out, it's more like their lone voice is lost in the cacophony of voices in the government or runs afoul of entrenched politicians and bureaucrats that are -very- hard to remove/change the policy of said bureaucracy. It takes -time- to change a system from within and the best way is to get your own people, people you are willing to support inside. And it it's done piece-meal, then it will take a bloody long time. Any change brought about by revolution is always uncertain and usually bloody at first. Everything is thrown up into the air at those times.  Actively supporting a revolution should only be the absolutely last option.   

Offline Oniya

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Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #210 on: May 27, 2014, 10:16:44 AM »
That's a very pessimistic and somewhat sadistic point of view to have there by claiming that anyone that tries to fix the system by being elected is bought out or assassinated.. Oddly enough I haven't heard much of any politicians being assassinated recently. As for being bought out, it's more like their lone voice is lost in the cacophony of voices in the government or runs afoul of entrenched politicians and bureaucrats that are -very- hard to remove/change the policy of said bureaucracy. It takes -time- to change a system from within and the best way is to get your own people, people you are willing to support inside. And it it's done piece-meal, then it will take a bloody long time. Any change brought about by revolution is always uncertain and usually bloody at first. Everything is thrown up into the air at those times.  Actively supporting a revolution should only be the absolutely last option.

I'd like to point out Bernie Sanders of Vermont who has apparently neither been 'bought out' nor drowned in the cacophony.  If I were able to, I would move to Vermont just to be able to vote for him.

Offline Tairis

Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #211 on: May 29, 2014, 11:16:42 PM »
I would love to move to Vermont sadly its SO damn small that it doesnt really have a sustainable economy for the average schmuck. It's kind of a catch 22... it's where all the libertarian types like the laws, but only the ones that are already rich can move there.

Offline LostInTheMist

Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #212 on: June 11, 2014, 04:56:52 PM »
I vote. Always have and always will. It's the only way I know of to slow the inevitable decay of my nation and our world. I'm hoping that by voting I can die before the Earth does.

Offline Ebb

Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #213 on: June 11, 2014, 06:03:15 PM »
Anyone who believes that voting doesn't matter might find a differing opinion today from Eric Cantor, soon to be ex-House Majority Leader.


Offline Top Cat

Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #214 on: June 14, 2014, 09:44:07 PM »
I've skimmed over the thread, and I'll toss my 2 cents in here - apologies if someone else has already made this point.

A single voter has little to no effect on the outcome, but large numbers do. mj2002 makes a point about not voting causing elections to lose credibility, but traditionally, that hasn't been true - we've had some elections in the US that have gotten down to single-digit percentages - that is, less than 10% of the registered voters actually voting - and the result of the vote still carries on. Having a low turn-out doesn't prevent anything from happening.

Not Voting has a singular problem, however. If you're satisfied with all of the votes, then not voting is just a sign that you're happy with the current system, and see no reason to change it. But if you're unhappy with the system, and choose not to vote, you are essentially demanding that other people make changes for you, without making any effort to support them. How often do things in your life get better when you do nothing to change the status quo?

Voting isn't the perfect solution to our problems... but not voting is complaining about what other people do, without making any effort to change things.

Offline mj2002Topic starter

Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #215 on: June 15, 2014, 12:15:19 AM »
I've skimmed over the thread, and I'll toss my 2 cents in here - apologies if someone else has already made this point.

A single voter has little to no effect on the outcome, but large numbers do. mj2002 makes a point about not voting causing elections to lose credibility, but traditionally, that hasn't been true - we've had some elections in the US that have gotten down to single-digit percentages - that is, less than 10% of the registered voters actually voting - and the result of the vote still carries on. Having a low turn-out doesn't prevent anything from happening.

Not Voting has a singular problem, however. If you're satisfied with all of the votes, then not voting is just a sign that you're happy with the current system, and see no reason to change it. But if you're unhappy with the system, and choose not to vote, you are essentially demanding that other people make changes for you, without making any effort to support them. How often do things in your life get better when you do nothing to change the status quo?

Voting isn't the perfect solution to our problems... but not voting is complaining about what other people do, without making any effort to change things.
If you skimmed through the thread, you should have read the the multitude of times that this specific argument has been made and, in my view, rebutted.

Voter turn out in the presidential elections has not been in the single digits as far as has been recorded;
http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s0397.pdf
This might be different for local elections but considering the fact that this argument focuses on broad and long term economic issues, I don't consider those elections relevant to this discussion and as such not applicable.

In the end though, yes, the vote is going to carry through. However, not voting in elections en masse is merely a step in the process. It's not the end goal. It is meant to create an environment that shows those in power that the general population is unhappy with the status quo, and does not accept the existing electoral system as a solution to the current problem. That's the core of the problem. Your entire argument would work fine, if not for the fact that it's inherently flawed.

The whole reason for not voting is because voting doesn't work. That's the premise of this argument. As outlined in the video, when it comes to big issues like social equality and corruption in politics (to a lesser degree, climate change is an issue as well), you can vote all you like but it isn't going to make any difference. In a system like that, why bother voting? Whichever way you vote, these issues are not going to be addressed.

This is not being lazy or "demanding that other people make changes for you, without making any effort to support them", this is a step to show the political elite that the current game that's being played by them is unacceptable. Not voting is the first step in this process and further steps will be necessary until things are changed.

Offline Top Cat

Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #216 on: June 15, 2014, 12:25:11 AM »
This is not being lazy or "demanding that other people make changes for you, without making any effort to support them", this is a step to show the political elite that the current game that's being played by them is unacceptable. Not voting is the first step in this process and further steps will be necessary until things are changed.
Except that not voting doesn't show the political elite anything like what you seem to believe it does. Not voting isn't a negative, it's a null entry, meaning nothing at all. If you want to affect change, you need to be active, and do things more than just voting. Voting is how your opinions matter legally. But if you're motivated enough to cause change, go out and get involved in the political facets that you care about.

I imagine you've heard of California's "Proposition 8"? A law that was passed that banned gays from marrying. It succeeded because of lack of voting. It was shown several times before the election that Californians, as a whole, didn't really object to gay marriage. But the mass who objected to the idea were convinced to vote, while those who didn't object were... not really convinced to vote at all. And so the law passed (and, thankfully, has been declared unconstitutional by the courts), because of a skewed perception in voting. Because, in part, of many people who thought that gay marriage was an obvious right and that voting was a waste of time, it passed.

Is voting often ineffective? Yes. But doubly so when you do nothing to work toward the ideals you believe in. Consider voting, at the minimum, a way of publicly saying, "I care."

Offline mj2002Topic starter

Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #217 on: June 15, 2014, 12:31:07 AM »
Your argument only works with the premise that your vote can actually make a difference. I don't accept this premise. At this time, it will not matter who you vote for in the next presidential elections. Issues such as social inequality, government corruption (the lobbying industry, etc) and climate change are not going to be addressed to any meaningful degree. As I said, not voting is a step in the process to force change with regards to these issues. This is not forcing change in a nice way (by voting), this has been tried for the last few decades and it makes no difference.

Don't mistake the meaning of this action. This isn't a way to circumvent the system and find a shortcut to changing the situation, this is effectively a step towards revolution.

Offline Top Cat

Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #218 on: June 15, 2014, 12:43:52 AM »
As I said, not voting is a step in the process to force change with regards to these issues. This is not forcing change in a nice way (by voting), this has been tried for the last few decades and it makes no difference.
Emphasis added. The bolded part is making a fundamentally wrong assumption. Not voting is not a negative, it's not a "step in the process." It cannot be, never has been, never will be. It's a zero, a blank, an ignored lack of information.

Quote
Don't mistake the meaning of this action. This isn't a way to circumvent the system and find a shortcut to changing the situation, this is effectively a step towards revolution.
Not voting, in and of itself, is nothing like what you seem to think it is. It's laziness, lack of action, not some profound opposition to the system. It means nothing, and carries no weight. Nobody in politics cares if you don't vote, and those who push the sorts of activities you oppose are just as happy when you don't. Feel free to look up the Voter ID laws that have been attempted in recent years...

If voting had so little function as you seem to think it does... why do some sections of the politicos push so hard to prevent people from voting?

Your talk about non-voting being a "revolution" is hot air, meaningless and useless. Your non-voting is just an excuse, a demonstration of your own apathy. And apathy won't ever create a revolution.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #219 on: June 15, 2014, 12:53:47 AM »
Still waiting to hear what the plan on this 'revolution' is.  I think you should be more explicit in Step 2.

Offline mj2002Topic starter

Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #220 on: June 15, 2014, 12:55:55 AM »
Emphasis added. The bolded part is making a fundamentally wrong assumption. Not voting is not a negative, it's not a "step in the process." It cannot be, never has been, never will be. It's a zero, a blank, an ignored lack of information.
Not voting, in and of itself, is nothing like what you seem to think it is. It's laziness, lack of action, not some profound opposition to the system. It means nothing, and carries no weight. Nobody in politics cares if you don't vote, and those who push the sorts of activities you oppose are just as happy when you don't. Feel free to look up the Voter ID laws that have been attempted in recent years...

If voting had so little function as you seem to think it does... why do some sections of the politicos push so hard to prevent people from voting?

Your talk about non-voting being a "revolution" is hot air, meaningless and useless. Your non-voting is just an excuse, a demonstration of your own apathy. And apathy won't ever create a revolution.
How is it not a step in the process? I don't understand why you would say this. If there are actually a significant amount of people that choose not to vote, that generates interest. You believe that a 10-50% decline in voter turn out for a national election is going to remain unnoticed? Of course not, it would be newsworthy. It's a strong sign of discontent, to be followed up by more actions/protests until either an electable person steps forward that would actually make these changes or until the current system is overthrown.

Not voting can be a step in the process and you've not given me any reason to conclude otherwise. Perhaps we have different ideas on how this might look, but it's not just being lazy and sitting at home. It goes together with other actions. The problem is that if you do vote, you're legitimizing the current system, which is clearly flawed.

Still waiting to hear what the plan on this 'revolution' is.  I think you should be more explicit in Step 2.
I believe that this may be beyond the scope of this discussion.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2014, 12:57:12 AM by mj2002 »

Offline Oniya

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Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #221 on: June 15, 2014, 01:07:35 AM »
I think you missed this bit.

A single voter has little to no effect on the outcome, but large numbers do. mj2002 makes a point about not voting causing elections to lose credibility, but traditionally, that hasn't been true - we've had some elections in the US that have gotten down to single-digit percentages - that is, less than 10% of the registered voters actually voting - and the result of the vote still carries on. Having a low turn-out doesn't prevent anything from happening..

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #222 on: June 15, 2014, 01:10:25 AM »

"Not voting" is equivalent to voting for "All of the above."

By not voting, you legitimize all candidates equally and the voting system itself.






Offline Top Cat

Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #223 on: June 15, 2014, 01:24:10 AM »
Let's step back and abstract this a bit.

Your theoretical sorority has decided to make a breakfast nook. They've decided to have a vote between having pancakes or eggs for the free meal. You want waffles, so you don't vote.

How does anyone know anything from this situation? How do you think your lack of vote is going to encourage the breakfast nook to carry waffles? You haven't objected to either of the choices, you've just lowered the number of votes... and unless the vote requires there to be a winning bid of 50% of all potential voters (something that doesn't happen in any voting system I've ever seen - not even Australia, where voting is a legal requirement), you're going to end up with pancakes or eggs. Even if 3/4 of the sorority people choose not to vote, the 25% who do vote will end up making the decision... the non-voters won't prevent the vote from happening, nor will they cause some revolution to start a new vote.

Even worse, by choosing not to vote, you may end up with a worse solution than if you do get involved in the voting. Say, you don't like eggs, but you'd tolerate pancakes - but you'd prefer the sweet, free taste of waffles, instead. But waffles aren't an option. By not voting, you're increasing the chances that the food you don't like will be voted in. Who knows? You could be the one vote that makes a difference. But by not voting, you're washing your hands and refusing to participate.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2014, 01:27:20 AM by Top Cat »

Offline Valerian

Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #224 on: June 15, 2014, 07:05:39 AM »
I believe that this [revolution] may be beyond the scope of this discussion.
Well, it shouldn't be, assuming you actually want any results from this discussion.  You're not going to encourage people to take the first step if no one (including you, apparently) has any clue what the second step is going to be.