And so, on Facebook, I was recently treated to the following:
Hey all you young Americans: I will no longer listen to you complain about this countries government unless you tell the government what you want and vote.
Gag. My first thought, sarcastically, was, "well, at least I'm not 'young' anymore, so perhaps I get a pass."
The following is what I did not post on Facebook, in response. In the end, I just didn't feel like picking on a person who I know to be bright enough to figure this out independently, given enough time and a little attention.
Apologies in advance, [E]. I seem to have a thing with sacred cows.
"...unless you tell the government what you want and vote."And what, precisely, has this ever accomplished? Seems to me "we" have been "throwing the bums out" since approximately 1796. The problem is not now, and has never been, who occupies the offices, nor has it been the technical configuration of the dipswitches of regulation. If there was any chance whatever of that strategy working, it would have worked generations ago, and we'd be reaping the benefits now.
The problem has always been that "we" have gradually conferred ("ceded" is really the better word) absolute power into the state--meaning that no atrocity that we can now observe can possibly come as a surprise--and in what must be the mother of all absolution fantasies, "we" continue to this day not only to expect redress from the very source that produces the problem (!), but also to hold up as heretics any who would intentionally suggest that the answer may lie in (gasp) removing the enforced monopolies that allow the protection racket to "perform"...just exactly as all protection rackets do.
No, see, that's insane. The right answer is just to make sure the One Ring winds up in the hands of the "real" Frodo.* (So were we all taught in school, and so are we all reminded whenever the Establishment deigns to address its lessers.) To borrow from Pynchon, that quite effectively gets people talking about the wrong questions, so that difficult answers can remain safely--at the risk of serially mixing metaphors now--"behind the curtain".
That is: as long as we all keep bickering about seat assignments, team colors and the implementation minutiae of who should be controlled in what way, and continue to come vote it all into legitimacy for yet another term, the Establishment will remain healthy and undisturbed. (Once monopoly has been established, only legitimacy is necessary to maintain it, and voting is the basic unit of legitimacy.)
The morning of this year's election, I'll re-post what I finally got around to writing in 2010. (I suppose I could wait for the election results to come in, but hell, it won't matter.)
(Yeah, I'm a real killjoy on election day. I share the late George Carlin's attitude that it should probably be called National Public Masturbation Day. It's not that I like being a 'mudge and alienating otherwise pleasant people, but I'd prefer that, than try to further rationalize a system which, as Lysander Spooner observed over a hundred and fifty years ago during Reconstruction, either is wholly incapable of preventing the horrible things that we tolerate, or is in fact precisely the reason that those horrible things exist.)
I'll be staying home, thanks. And no matter what "official sources" may tell you, it ain't due to some dismissive fifty-cent term like "apathy". After more than twenty years of defending all the sophistries just like I was trained to do, I simply ran out of excuses, and realized that politics is not the solution to the problem. Politics IS the problem.
Disagree at your pleasure, of course. Most "enlightened" folks do, and perhaps the saving grace of my kind of heresy is that principled non-participation mathematically inflates the value of those who do vote. That is: I should be much easier to write off than those who simply want "the other guy", or "no" instead of "yes", etc. (And a special thanks in advance to anyone who reads this and thinks, "man, what a dumbass...doesn't want to participate and yet will still have to submit to the system's laws..." Doing so demonstrates once again how the system really works, and validates for me just precisely the reason I avoid politics wherever I possibly can.)
For what it's worth, my goal here is not converts. (It would be pretty ironic, if not outright hypocritical, of me to offer the above thoughts, to anyone for whom they may be new thoughts, and expect you to "take my word for it"--would it not?) In fact I wouldn't trust anyone who simply nodded along, without any independent investigation, anyway. I would simply propose a thought experiment for anyone who feels they must continue to vote, for whatever reason. It's a simple experiment, one question only:
What if the joke is really on you?Think about that, non-trivially, for one to two weeks. Observe the world with this in mind. And then do with your own answer what you will.
* And we might do well to remember that even Frodo failed at the moment of truth--it was the sheer luck of Gollum's clumsy greed that finally did the job that needed doing.
"If you don't vote you don't have any right to complain" may be the most pernicious lie anybody ever came up with.
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