An Anarchist’s Argument for Voting

By Daniel Goldman | Politicoid | 3 Nov 2019


Many anarchists do not vote, because they consider voting an exercise of force against others. But that’s only the case in certain instances.


 

It’s election season. It’s always election season. Ah wonderful Democracy. It’s such a wonderful form of government. Actually, it’s not. Democracy, like all forms of government, is force. It implies that there is a legitimate ability to force others to act, simply because the majority agrees. For instance, if the majority votes in favor of slavery, does that make slavery valid? No.

Anarchist’s Against Voting

The above view of voting is why many anarchists do not vote, and when it comes to voting for government action, I agree. To vote for government to act, to vote for government to restrict our freedom, is to support slavery. But a lot of anarchists will argue that voting legitimizes the system. To an extent, this idea might hold.

It’s true that fighting the system from the inside isn’t necessarily going to work. That’s one reason why I, as long as hold my current views on government anyway, I would never run for public office. Even something as seemingly mundane as joining a public planning board, in order to promote my ideas on how my town should grow and change is, to supporting the system, and trying to use the system to force others. And that’s why I always promote fighting government through involution.

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Self Defense

However, since voting occurs, with or without our consent, and force is being used against us, voting in many cases can be reasonable. As an example, suppose that there is a vote concerning gun ownership. According to the non aggression principle, force against another is only reasonable if it is to stop force being initiated against us. Those who are voting in favor of suppressing gun ownership are trying to use force against us. Therefore, voting against such an act is not an initiation of force, but rather self defense, and valid, within the scope of the NAP.

For this reason, voting can be acceptable. So long as you are voting against government intervention, and not for it, there is no reason not to vote. It is not an initiation of force. It is self defense, just as fighting back against an assailant would be self defense, and thus legitimate. But there are a few rules that must be followed for this idea to hold. For one, a person cannot vote for the lesser of two evils. We must vote for a good person, not a person who is likely to win. And then even if they do win, we must continue to fight them at every turn, whenever they try to promote government and the power of control that voting has over others.

Moreover, as much as the argument is somewhat valid, our votes really won’t make a difference, in terms of validating the election process. People aren’t going to start thinking that democracy is legitimate, just because some more people voted.

So vote. It’s okay. Just don’t vote for government. Vote against it!


Modified from an article originally published on Politicoid

 

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Daniel Goldman
Daniel Goldman

I’m a polymath and a rōnin scholar. That is to say that I enjoy studying many different topics. Find more at http://danielgoldman.us


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