Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Real Wasted Vote

The Republican and Democratic Charlie Browns are at it again. Election cycle after election cycle, the Republican and Democratic Lucy politicians of America promise to hold the football for Charlie Brown-- for sure, this time, instead of pulling the ball away at the last second so to make Charlie Brown fall on his butt as he tries to kick his field goal.

“Cut spending, lower taxes,” the Republican politicians say. And the Charlie Brown voters fall on their butts once again.

Restore our rights, get out of foreign wars,” the Democratic politicians say. And the Charlie Brown voters fall on their butts once again.

What makes anyone think that this year will be any different? If you keep on doing what you have always done, you'll keep on getting what you always got. And if you keep on voting for Republicrats who try to sound like Libertarians at election time, you'll keep on getting higher spending, higher taxes, more big brother, and more costly foreign wars affecting the lives of our nation's young and the nation's pocket book. Lots of sore butts out there.

Many people fall for the Lucy trap because of what is known as the “wasted vote” syndrome. It is thought that voting for the lessor of two evils is better than allowing the opposition party to take power.

But voting for the lessor of two evils is still evil and if evil takes power does it really matter if the evil manifests itself on the margin for more taxes, spending and regulation with a loss of our rights and the continuation of a destructive foreign policy, rather than on the margin for a loss of our rights, the continuation of a destructive foreign policy, and slightly less of “more taxes, more spending and regulation?”

Not a dollars worth of difference (in these inflationary times).

What many people don't realize is that politics is not a horse race. It is a protracted conflict in the battle of ideas and trends matter. One does not have to win to effect change.

If a person believes that the libertarian philosophy is the wave of the future then one should register that belief now by voting for Libertarian candidates in the coming election. The more votes Libertarians get, the sooner will a libertarian future be achieved.

And here in Illinois it is even more critical to do so, for to achieve “major party” status, the Libertarian Party needs to get 5% of the vote or more. If Lex Green, Libertarian candidate for Governor, gets over 5%, then the onerous ballot access requirements that have prevented the Libertarian Party in the past from becoming viable will no longer be operative, and Libertarians in subsequent elections can concentrate their efforts on the election rather than managing the multiple hurdles the major parties have placed to make it so difficult to get on the ballot.

So in this election, make the smart choice. Vote for who or what you truly believe in. And if the belief is freedom, don't waste your vote, vote Libertarian.


  1. Ken,
    Agree with almost all of this. Disagree with the premise that ending up with the worst of two evils is somehow a good thing.

    Agree that both parties have been poisoned by greed for power and greed for control and that we, the people, need to take authentic action.

    Agree that LIbertarians and the Tea Party (many of whom are one and the same) have some great platform ideas. (we'll continue to discuss the inflexibility on the addictive drug issue - that's resolvable, and the isolationim - that, too, is resolvable).

    Meanwhile - unless Libertarian votes come from independents or equally from both the right and the left - we end up with the worst possible candidate elected. How do we resolve that?

  2. My argument is that the difference between the two short outcomes is so marginal that when you consider both the short and long term consequences of your voting decision, the possibly minute short term worse result is far out-weighed by the long-term benefit. If you keep on voting for the lessor of two evils, your riding a slow path too hell. If you vote your conscience, you will eventually get out of hell and will be moving quickly on the road to recovery, prosperity and freedom.

  3. Hi Kenneth...this is your former show producer K. Walker! It is SO good to know that after all of these years, you are still fighting the good fight. We need you now more than ever stay strong!

    Much Love and support always!

  4. Hey Kelli. Great to hear from you. You were always my favorite producer.


  5. Ken, the truth of the matter is that it is the Libertarian Party and all other "third parties" that play the role of Charlie Brown trying to kick the football. Their hearts are in the right place but not their heads. The game is rigged, and all those who play it are promoting the interests of the state. The magic 5% has done no good at all for the Green Party as Rich Whitney's largely ignored campaign for governor and exclusion from the televised debates demonstrates. In any event, any party (including the LP) that gets power will inevitably be corrupted by it. In short, any vote cast is a vote wasted. I will be staying home this election day.

  6. That's a very comfortable position to take, Jerry. I wish I had the ability to be as prescient as you. Call me a fool but I would like to at least give the libertarians a chance to not be as corrupt as the ruling parties.

  7. Don't get me wrong here Ken. It is not that current LPers would somehow be transformed into corrupt statists; it is that corrupt statists would move in and displace the more ideological founders. Witness what is happening with the current Tea Party movement. The Paulians are steadily being marginalized and Palinites are taking over. F.A. Hayek explained this process in The Road to Serfdom in his chapter entitled "The Worst Rise to the Top."

  8. Good essay, Ken!

    I'm disappointed to see from the comments, however, that so many significant people in the movement still think (or have come to think) that not voting at all is the answer. I've never understood (and have always been somewhat angered by) that philosophy.

    Although I do think Jerry provides a better argument than most I've heard over the years. After all, he's right that the Tea Party has already been pretty much taken over by the (very well funded) pro-Palin wing of the Republican Party.

    But it's a matter of educating people to stop worshiping brand names, and look at what's really underneath. Alas people love the famous, and famous brands; it's an easy way to make a purchasing discussion without actually having to compare features, quality, price, etc. This applies whether buying an appliance or soft drink or what party to vote for.

    Someone I know (a relative, alas) (of course) was shocked to discover (when I told her to look on the back) that her (modern) TV wasn't built in a Chicago plant near where she grew up (long ago), but in Asia. She couldn't believe it, as it said "Zenith" in the front. I explained to this woman (who is of retirement age) about how brand names can be sold to anyone. She was quite amazed (and, I hope, perhaps a little wiser).

    The same thing needs to be done on a much larger scale -- don't trust any label -- even "Libertarian." Because Jerry is probably right -- once that label is sucessful it will be co-opted by statists, just as the label "Tea Party" (mostly) has.

    But I do believe in voting -- there is always a better choice (usually libertarian).

    But the (perhaps slightly ironic) thing is that we libertarians need -- even as we are trying to get people to respond positively to the "libertarian" label -- to teach them to not put their trust in any label, but to focus on the ideas behind it.

  9. (Oops! Forgot to sign my comment. It was by me, Neal Reynolds.)