On Voting is a philosophical examination by Billy Beck, in opposition to the democratic mechanism of voting, which first appeared on Usenet in 1998. It is the source of the aphorism, "To even submit the matter to a vote represents a grievous assault on the very idea of rights."
Billy Beck 6/17/98 On Voting
Rob Robertson <rr...@gte.com> wrote:
>Billy Beck wrote:
>> To the point: it is *far past* the time when individualists
>> *withdraw* their sanction of this government, JQ. There is no more
>> currently prominent exponant of "democracy" than the regime currently
>> in power and attributing every move it makes to "the American people".
>> *That* is the premise which must be refuted, person by singular
>> person, in order to make clear that our lives (yours and mine, for two
>> examples) are not subject to the whims of a Field Marshal Rodham, and
>> that our imprimaturs are not available to the chisling antics of her
>> cardboard excuse for a husband.
>> This is a matter of authentic principle, and there is no more
>> appropriate time or place for its exposition.
>> To the group: Stop voting. Do it *now*: *this* year. Do it out
>> loud: tell everyone *why* you will not vote.
> What a bunch of loony rot.
- Why, Rob Robertson. How... *passionate*.
> If *no one* voted for *anybody* in '96,
> Clinton still would have won with two votes (his vote, and another
> he stuffed in the ballot box when no one was looking) and he would
> have crowed about yet another mandate from the people.
- And the *lie* would be a lot more clear, wouldn't it, then? What's your point? Would you care to imply that The Lying Bastard wouldn't be able to get away with such a thing because the manifest absurdity of it would be evident even to the least politically aware Sterno bum in the street? If *so*... then what does *that* mean? Could it possibly mean that the very *premise* of "representative democracy" is *bullshit* from the ground up?... that the very existence of *dissent* - even if it were "polled" on every policy question arising in, say, the legislature (which, as we all know, never happens) - is disposed of at "law" (i.e. - by force), a fact which flatly contradicts the idea of "representation"?
- Tell me what you're getting at.
> Not voting accomplishes absolutely nothing when there is no examination
> of *the root source* of authority, what to do with it, and why.
- Voting accomplishes absolutely nothing when an "authority" properly examined, rationally validated, and exercised in the voice of conviction is nonetheless overwhelmed by nothing but numbers.
- Example: if the question of whether or not to put Jews to death came to referendum tomorrow, would you cast a ballot? Suppose you did, and voted no. Suppose the result came down with a majority assent, and the program of murder was instituted. What of your "authority" *then*? What did you "accomplish"?
- Try to think about this very carefully, Rob, because there are *principles* at work here. That is: there are concepts which are *true*, the validity of which does not change with substitution of particulars in the example.
- The proper answer to the question is that the matter of the Jews' *right* to their lives is immutably closed without resort to majority opinion. It is not *open* to that sort of examination. To even submit the matter to a vote represents a grievous assault on the very idea of rights. The very same assault is present in submitting one's "authority" to the disposal of "representatives" who, in fact, in no way "represent" you at Washington. (If you think they do, I'm telling you that you're wrong. If they happen to prevail in a matter in a way which is agreeable to you, it's the merest chance occurrence, a fact which is proven in the very *first* instance when a policy decision is taken *against* your values, when your *dissent*, premised on the "authority" of your own rational conviction, is rendered *invalid* by force.)
- Now, you could, if you wanted to, submit your "authority" to such dubious "representation", but you have no right to subject your *neighbors'* values to it. *That* is the premise (I think) of Schneider's "enemies" remark. Personally, between you and me, I won't characterize it quite that way, because I like you.
- But I'm begging you to stop it, man.
- I would never sanction such a thing against *you*.
> 'Freedom' may be inherent in Man, but the expression of Liberty
> in our lives has come at the cost of blood, and sweat, and the
> intellectual struggle of generations of lovers of Freedom braced
> against the relentless tide of tyranny and oppression.
- Swell. I've noticed how well it's been going. (Aside from the obvious abominations reeking out of Pennsylvania Avenue, I would perhaps suggest that the "Republican Revolution" of 1994 was better suited to the script for a way-off-Broadway musical of brief duration than a "brace against the relentless tide", etc. ...all of which is of a piece with pointing out that if you think The Lying Bastard is a bad deal, wait'll you see the *next* one. *Mark my words.*)
- Look: we've had rank leeches right here in this group crowing about how they "outnumber" people like you and me, baring their fangs right out loud in celebration of the fact that "the intellectual struggle" has been reduced to gang warfare.
- Somehow, you don't strike me as the gang type.
> Freedom is a direction, and the path extends back to the Magna Carta,
> the Glorious Revolution of 1688, and the American Revolution, and it
> continues to this this very day, right into this very newsgroup. The
> idea that representative democracy should be abandoned simply
> because it has been corrupted by traitors is foolish,...
- It could not *be* "corrupted" if it didn't *exist*.
> ...and in my view it is *exactly* what I would wish for if I were bent on global domination.
> It's ineffective to sit in the audience and heckle the choir; the
> truly insidious plan is to *join* the choir, then sing off-key! This
> is what I see happening today. The usurpers have attached themselves
> to everything that we hold in esteem in the hopes that, in our disgust,
> we choose to dismantle the one true light of Freedom in this crazy world;
> the U.S. Constitution.
- For god's sake, Rob: they are *using* the "constitution". It's their *tool of choice*. Further, I should not have to point out the defects of such a premise for liberty to a man who knows where and what Framingham Green is.
> It's short-sighted and foolish to believe that we can magically jump to an anarchistic utopia...
- *Hey*, you. You're talking to the single most adept proponent of *reality* in this group. I would very much appreciate it if you'd lay off that ridiculous "utopia" crap.
> ...when the majority around us have no clue as to what freedom even means,
> let alone from whence it derives or why it is precious.
- That's their problem. Let 'em figure it out.
>You would create a vacuum for tyranny to come pouring in...
- Nonsense. To begin with, it's already *here*, pal.
> There is much ground-work to be laid before we can even *think*
> about living the anarchist's dream. That requires rationality,
> and unfortunately we are surrounded by soulless weasels who would
> gladly, mindlessly, eat your eyes out of your sockets before they
> realize that when they're done with dinner, they are each others dessert.
- That's right.
- So why are you so intent on taking up their premise?
"We outnumber you. We're winning. Life is good." (a recent anonymous post to the Whitewater group)
"The Party itself, diluted by the great influxes of the 20's, had changed in the style of its leadership and now contained a rank and file who had regularly, so far at least, acted as reliable voting fodder for the secretaries imposed by Stalin's Secretariat.
On the face of it, the opposition could well have argued that Stalin's control of, and claim to represent, the Party was based on no higher sanction than success in packing the Party Congress, that in fact he had no real claim to be regarded as the genuine succession. But the oppositionists themselves had used similar methods in their day, and had never criticized them until a more skilled operator turned the weapon against them."(Robert Conquest, "The Great Terror", 1990, Oxford University Press, p. 114)