Episode 269 has Skyler giving his commentary on the following topics: the new Gillette commercial admonishing men to be better men, in part by keeping other men under control; the patriarchal undertones of the Gillette commercial; the unfortunate oversights of not including women (mothers) in their admonishment in how boys are raised and the absence of striking the root issue of violent and coercive parenting practices; the claim that voluntaryism is “exploitation pretending to be anarchism”; where left anarchists make major mistakes in their critique of voluntaryist and anarcho-capitalist theory; and more.Open This Content
I just got the chance to meet another of my readers (along with his lovely partner). I’m always impressed with the quality of people I meet through this blog when we meet in person.
Impressed, but not surprised.
I know that those who live Voluntaryism are likely to be people who are just good folk. How could it be otherwise? And this has always been my experience so far.
By my count, this is only the fourth time I’ve had this opportunity. Quality over quantity, I suppose. I am somewhat out-of-the-way; far from the interstates. Not exactly in the bustling center of … anything. Crops, dairies, and feedlots aren’t that thrilling and don’t draw crowds. That can be good and bad.
I’m glad I got to meet another couple of good people.
I look forward to the next time I get this chance.Open This Content
Nobody asked but …
Sooner or later, the know-nothings are going to bite off more than they can chew. POTUS is now threatening General Motors about plant closures. The sad truth is, however, that when a business overproduces, it must cut back.
Voluntaryism holds that freedom necessarily involves individual responsibility for each individual act. General Motors should have accepted responsibility, in advance, for manipulating the labor market. The idea people at GM should know that start ups entail consequences. They should be compensating Lordsville and their laid off workers for the shutdown.
But be that as it may, no politician has a right to exploit the situation further, promising, riding in with all the king’s horses and all the king’s men, to put humpty dumpty together again.
— Kilgore ForelleOpen This Content
Do you find it as difficult as I do to put your voluntaryist principles aside in order to engage with other people on questions of public policy? Here’s a metaphorical trick to make it easier: view every ideology as a sandbox. Some sandboxes, like voluntaryism and stoicism, or filled with pure, clean sand. Others are more or less filled with nasty things, like dog shit and blood. Although you may have to take a shower after, it’s alright to leave your sandbox to go play with others in theirs. You don’t have to make their sandbox your sandbox, and your sandboxes will be there waiting for you when you’re ready to return. And who knows, maybe by generously playing with others in their sandboxes you’ll attract them to come play with you in yours. You might even discover new sandboxes that are just as fascinating as your favorites.Yay! Sandboxes can be fun! And that’s today’s two cents.Open This Content
I learned early on in my journey toward voluntaryism that “constitutional limits” were a temporary hurdle at best and totally invisible at worst in “chaining” down the state authority-expanding actions of opportunistic politicians and bureaucrats. It was obvious to me during my Constitutionalist phase that how these people should go about expanding their [supposed] authority was not via interpretation or re-interpretation of the Constitution (or straight up ignoring), but by amending the Constitution to say exactly what they wanted it to say. If an article, clause, or section of the Constitution or it’s later Amendments were less than perfectly clear, then the default position should be to protect life, liberty, and property, not to embolden and license the agendas of expansionist politicians and bureaucrats. There’s an amendment process for a reason. But alas, what use are strictures and limits to those who seek authority over other people to begin with? Humanity was conquered along time ago, and though the forms and rituals change throughout time, the facts do not: the people who call themselves “government” have assumed jurisdiction over other people arbitrarily and coercively, constitutions notwithstanding. And that’s today’s two cents.Open This Content
November 2018: I read this essay and added commentary for Editor’s Break 110 of the EVC podcast.
The first Tuesday after the first Monday every November is Election Day in the United States. Every election season, many organizations attempt to rally voters to the polls. The “Go vote!” message is everywhere these days. As a principled non-voter, I find it incredibly annoying, but such is life under statism.
People are aghast when they learn that I do not participate in electoral politics and voting. I have a lot to say about political philosophy, for sure, but it does not follow that I should be politically active. I have only ever voted twice since my 18th birthday, the first was during the Bush-Kerry election, in which I voted, quite ignorantly, for John Kerry. The second was during the Obama-McCain election, and I wrote myself in for President. It was a joke, because it is a joke.
How does one become a principled non-voter? It was an evolution that occurred alongside my journey toward voluntaryism. I know plenty of libertarians and voluntaryists that still vote, however, so I don’t believe it’s inevitable that this journey will result as it has for me. So here it is, the step-by-step guide to explain exactly why I didn’t vote this November.
My first realization was that campaign promises made by candidates are incredibly difficult to keep. What’s the point in allowing a promise to persuade you toward supporting a candidate if it’s obvious that they are either lying to get votes, or promising what is not theirs to promise. The most a candidate can effectively promise is to not do something, such as voting to raise the level of coercion leveled at society by government. And how many popular candidates are doing that?
My second realization was that I have no right as an individual to push for the implementation of a tax increase on my neighbors. Very few Propositions on the ballot are to decrease taxes, but what about voting against tax increases? A defensive measure, to be sure, but keep reading.
My third realization was that I have no right as an individual to push for an increase in the amount of coercion leveled at society by governments. Most Propositions necessarily have this effect, not only those that are concerned with tax levels. Again, voting against? Defensive, but keep reading.
My fourth realization was that my individual vote is statistically worthless. It is an incredibly rare event for a candidate or issue to be decided on the basis of 1 vote. Probabilities tell us that virtually all elections are decided by no fewer than a few hundred votes. Statistical value is lessened even more when you consider the margin of error and the possibility of voter fraud. Every morning after Election Day I wake up and perform a little thought experiment while viewing the election results: I ask myself, would my vote have changed the outcome in any of these elections? To date, the answer has been a decided NO.
My fifth realization was that, after considering the statistical worthlessness of my vote, spending any amount of time on researching the candidates and issues was irrational. How many people spend more time researching elections than researching buying a house? Arguably, the election is far more important, and the knowledge required to make an informed decision is far more vast, than for buying a house. Yet, our vote does not get us what we want in the same way that buying a house does. The house is certain, the vote is not. As economist Bryan Caplan wrote, it is rational to be ignorant when voting, and irrational to be informed. Therefore, most voters are ignorant on the issues, and their vote is worth as much as mine.
My sixth realization was that elections are a very effective way to give people the feeling that they’ve had their say. As long as people feel like they have some effect in the process, that their “voice” has been heard, they are more likely to shut up about their dissent toward government and its policies. I find the idea of voting as voice to be ridiculous on the bases described above, but also, there are far better alternatives to being heard than voting. I’ve been writing and discussing for ten years and podcasting for five, and in all that time I have affected more people to change their thinking, their lives, and their parenting for the better than I ever did in the election booth. Elections are meant to quiet dissent, and I will not allow my dissent to be silenced.
My seventh realization, one that was evolving along the way, was that governments are just better organized criminal gangs. Sure, some election issues to increase coercion can be stopped, and some candidates promise to protect your liberties, but every election to date has had the result of increasing the size and scope of government overall. Libertarian-minded candidates and liberty-protecting issues are simply not popular, and probably never will be. Criminal gangs attract the criminal minded. Elections are allowed by government, and are unlikely to affect their existence in any positive direction. Plus, as George Carlin put it, governments were bought and paid for a long time ago. My vote won’t change that.
Culture and Technology
My eighth realization came when considering the effects that culture and technology have toward the actions that people who call themselves “government” take. Governments don’t make progress in front of culture. Quite the opposite. Culture changes first, and forces government policy to follow. So what’s the point in participating in elections if the candidates and issues are several steps behind culture? Consider also the effect that technology has on forcing governments to change the way they do things, or become obsolete. The very real forces of culture and technology toward combating governments are effective and occur without any regard to elections.
So there you have it: why I didn’t vote on Election Day, and why I never will.Open This Content