Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats. –H.L. Mencken

The State as Country Club Part II: Voting and Representation

 Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.
~ H.L. Mencken

In the 2012 elections, only 57.5% of those eligible to vote actually cast a ballot for a candidate. Over 40% of the ‘citizens’ who meet the voting requirements decided voting was too much of a hassle, the outcome was predetermined, or the entire process was a joke. This flies in the face of those who claim voting is an endorsement of government and, as a result, taxation. Were voting an act which could – on its own – actually set or dramatically affect the rate of taxation in this country, voter participation would increase greatly. This is NOT the case, however, as voting merely affects the representative a particular region sends to Washington, where representatives feign interest in their constituents but tow the line of the national party.

When a state supposedly based on individual rights subscribes to democracy, they divest themselves of any hint of individual rights and embrace mob rule in its stead. This consequently leads to the use of fear in political messaging and the manipulation of journalists by the political class to keep the proletariat in line. The longer politicians can keep headlines about terrorism and butchery on the computer screens or televisions of average Americans, the simpler their case for war and intervention becomes. The same is true for regulation. Journalistic paeans regarding perils like corporate profits, helmetless biking, or raw milk consumption serve as a boon to the passage of bills restricting individual choice.

Laws enacted ‘for the greater good’ or ‘for the benefit of all’ serve not to liberate us from our fears, but to confine our choices to those already approved by our political masters. :

“Madison thought there should be one representative for every 30,000 people. He didn’t think you could have self-government if you got much bigger than that. And some people disagreed with that, but let’s just take Madison’s ratio of self-government requires one person for every 30,000 people. Well today, we have one person – one representative – for every 725,000. That would seem again to be meaningless… [O]ne way to look at this is to consider that if we had Madison’s ratio, there would be 10,500 representatives in the House. That’s too big for a law making body… Put it another way – if Madison had our ratio in 1790 – if his Congress had that ratio – it would be only 5 members in the House. Five states would have one representative each, but eight states would have no representation at all. Now is that self-government? No – that’s pathetic.”
~Donald Livingston (Abbeville Institute, Emory University) on the Tom Woods Show

 In our country it is commonly preached – and believed – that the vote of each individual matters. I think Dr. Livingston’s quotation above should serve to dissuade believers in that particular myth. It is even more compelling to calmly investigate the trust an individual has in the politicians she votes to elect. Should she indeed cast the deciding vote, does the voter truly believe that individual represents her interests? Does she also believe her politician – given the opportunity to vote for personally profitable regulation – will continue to vote in a manner desired by the voter? I think we can all agree on that outcome.

The difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is that in a democracy you vote first and take orders later; in a dictatorship you don’t have to waste your time voting.
~Charles Bukowski


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