“I will vote for any electable candidate who stands for liberty, or against the greater of two evils. It is my duty to do so.” This is not something I made up, and the bloke that said it honestly believes it to be an intelligent plan… but is it?
The questions it raises are:
1. Which is better, an electable candidate or an electable platform?
2. Given a chance to vote for freedom, why vote for coercion instead–especially when that weakens my vote by nine-tenths?
3. Suppose the greater evil is an electable candidate, and the preferable good is an electable platform: which is the best way to vote?
In a democracy with free, unrigged, verifiable elections, any candidate can win, regardless of what the polls and bookies say. In other words, neither your choice nor anyone else’s has been acted on before Election Day, and every voter has the right to decide at the last minute. Some jihadist might take out the Dem and GOP candidates at a debate to avenge their bombing of his village. A plane might crash, lightning could strike–improbable things happen. But when I vote I vote to make the world a better place for myself and those I like–not to elect or defeat a candidate.
Candidates whose party platforms favor voluntary cooperation and peace are preferable to those in favor of coercion and aggression, irrespective of any other details. So if you cast an honest vote to the dictates of your conscience, there is no law of physics or mathematics, nor theory of probability or averages that says you can’t get what you voted for. Because I know my Libertarian vote works to make the world a better place for me, I have already won the very day I cast it. My purpose is to benefit myself, not some candidate I’ve never even met, and to maximize the effect of that choice. Clearly, in answer to (1), the electable platform is the better choice.
From 1848 until 1917, “everybody knew” that the communist candidate–under whatever name–would lose the election. Yet communists, socialists and looters of all persuasions and pigmentations voted in favor of taking by force that which they neither own nor earned. To keep those sincere votes from benefiting “the other” party, oligopoly parties changed their platforms and politicians changed the laws until Plank 2 of the Communist Manifesto of 1848 became the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. That the American people–people who made money would do such a thing greatly inspired Russian communists, and their revolt soon turned that great nation into a pitiful, starving dictatorship of genocide, murder and war, despite all theories that the result of the noble experiment would be a workers’ paradise. Communists and socialists lost practically every U.S. election, but by voting their conscience looters got the government they deserved for trusting in altruism and coercion. This is because each of their spoiler votes had ten times the law changing power of votes cast by blind consensus. So the answer to (2) is that you vote for freedom because it is right and good, and because integrity makes your vote worth ten times as much.
The definition of government as a circumscribed monopoly on the use of force had not even been formulated with any precision before 1914. But that definition allied with Thomas Jefferson’s statement of the purpose of government–to secure these rights–finally completed the whole when studied by Ayn Rand, born 1905 and Robert Heinlein, born 1907, and converged on a theory of rights based on the value of an individual human life. Students are taught in college that a right is a moral claim to freedom of action. To secure your right to freedom you must express your understanding of its value when casting your ballot. But as we have seen from the multiplier effect that results from the reaction of the kleptocratic oligopoly to smugly-cast partisan spoiler votes, it does not matter which candidate the milling herd is backing to win. The important thing is that the platforms for which support is shown by votes that place, or simply show, as reported in election returns the next morning, are the platforms that will someday become the law of the land and repeal the platforms (such as communism, nationalsocialism, prohibition) which experience, history, the evidence of our senses and the facts of reality now show us were wrong, evil, miserable failures. The answer (3) is to vote against evil (meaning wrong) and for the preferable good (meaning right). With 5% of the vote your platform is sure to become the law of the land provided only that it is increasing its market share when you vote. Right now the Libertarian Party platform is increasing its market share in every country in the world where elections are the least bit free and honest.
Why, then, do people have this impression they are voting for candidates, not ideals? Why do people believe obvious lies? In a 1955 experiment Psychologist Solomon Asch proved that 4 out of 5 intelligent, educated people vote against what their senses tell them is true.