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Do not vote, it only encourages them

Cartoonist and longtime Freedom contributor Donald Rooum has seen more “radical” governments than today’s offerings come and go, and has a little reminder for people who get too excited by Statist “democracy.”

Do not believe the media which exhort you to vote for Theresa May or Jeremy Corbyn. Only a very small minority, of about 100,000 adults, will have the opportunity to vote for either.  Only voters in Maidenhead can vote for or against Theresa May, and only voters in Islington North can vote for or against Jeremy Corbyn.

Everybody on the electoral register may vote for the national constitution, but nobody may vote against.  That is true of democratic constitutions all over the world.

In China, there is one candidate, appointed by the authorities, in each parliamentary constituency, and people turn up to vote in large numbers, because by voting they demonstrate their approval of the authorities and the Constitution. In Iran, each competing candidate has to be approved by the religious rulers, which may prohibit or annul parliamentary laws. In Australia (where the law is enforced – not everywhere), citizens may be fined or even imprisoned for not voting.

Every government, however despotic, needs at least public tolerance, and electoral democratic governments like big election turnouts, for reassurance that they are tolerated. 

Of course parliaments are useful to ordinary people. Chinese elected representatives do not merely vote unanimously at mass meetings on television. Citizens have legal rights, such as not to be robbed or blackmailed by petty officials, and elected representatives have the job of making sure that constituents are not mistreated. A major job of British parliamentarians is to make sure that constituents get their legal rights. Let us not discard anything useful, not even legal rights.

But let us not either give our parliamentarians too much reassurance. At every election, anarchists who refuse to speak in favour of the voting game are accused of “encouraging apathy”.  Well-meaning people, for instance the group calling itself 38 Degrees, one of several which seeks to improve the world by organising petitions, is wasting energy telling people to vote, no matter for which candidate. They confuse letting sheep choose between shepherds, with freeing sheep from the shearing pen and the slaughter pen.

To reiterate the old anarchist slogan, DO NOT VOTE, IT ONLY ENCOURAGES THEM.

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