Thanks a bunch archon and gokul. I'll look over it in the morning. Night Everyone!
That was the only thing I found not mentioned so far by any one else.The Libertarian sees a political system of consensus as necessary to make sure everyone has a degree of autonomy and can maintain their individual freedom from being imposed [upon ]by the majority.
Yeah I thought about that, hope for the best. I did change a fair bit after posting that though, more than just what you guys posted, so maybe she'll find it or maybe not. Either way, I can prove that I am, in fact, Smurf.Moonbear said:And now poor Smurf is going to be accused of plagiarism when his teacher runs the essay through some online search service and finds that it's copied verbatim from some kid named "Smurf" posting on physics forums. :tongue2: :rofl:
Being small and blue should be a definite giveaway.Smurf said:Yeah I thought about that, hope for the best. I did change a fair bit after posting that though, more than just what you guys posted, so maybe she'll find it or maybe not. Either way, I can prove that I am, in fact, Smurf.
Smurf said:Yeah I thought about that, hope for the best. I did change a fair bit after posting that though, more than just what you guys posted, so maybe she'll find it or maybe not. Either way, I can prove that I am, in fact, Smurf.
A Libertarian Response to the Ethics of Majority Voting.
“Burning and eating ballots-organized nonparticipation-is a waste of effort that might go into actual reform of actual politics” (Bell, 254)
Non-voters are often subject to criticism by various organizations and interest groups in the public eye. Frequently these criticisms come from corporations, unions, the government and the schools. However, this criticism often completely ignores many important moral and political aspects of non-voting that should be considered. This essay will address a Libertarian perspective that not only is non-voting desirable, but that it should be considered unethical or possibly even violent as well. (Hunh? It's both desirable, as well as violent? Something's wrong here...)
Clearly the voter, by pulling a level and punching a ballot card or by marking an X next to their favourite party, has not directly committed any violent action, because no one was directly or immediately harmed from such an action. The case against the violent and unethical nature of electoral voting [strike]as being violent and unethical[/strike] rests in four points: First, electoral voting enforces the voters' will (or their candidate's will) on the rest of the populace. Second, a majority decision does not establish truth, and does not justify the violation of minority rights. Third, electoral voting discourages consensus. And last, electoral voting shows support for, and legitimizes, the compulsory state.
Voting is a broad term, but in a political context it usually refers to a system of electoral voting, [strike]which this essay will address[/strike]. To participate in electoral voting, one must first register, and meet age and residency requirements. Then a voter will usually mark on a ballot (by various means) the candidate they desire for [strike]which available [/strike]political office. At the end of the election the votes are tallied and the candidate with the majority of votes for any particular political office is given that office. Another form of voting is a referendum. For one to vote in a referendum one must again meet the same age and residency requirements, and then mark one’s vote on the issue in question. At the end of the voting all the votes are tallied and if the majority of voters voted for the motion, it is passed into law, and if the majority voted against the motion, it is dropped.
Violence is also somewhat ambiguous. The kind of violence referred to in this essay is the use or threat of physical force. If a person, through use or threat of physical violence, alters or intends to alter the way in which individuals use their body or property, that person is committing an act of violence. (you lost me with this allusion to violence. I am still hoping it comes together for me.)
The first of the four points mentioned above is a Libertarian argument. Libertarianism is the political doctrine that asserts freedom and individual liberty should be the highest priority of any political structure. Further, Libertarianism holds that any restriction of individual freedom, except when an individual tries to harm another, is an unethical action. The Libertarian argues that democracy is unethical because the state will impose the decisions of the majority voters upon the rest of the population which limits the individual’s autonomy (right or capability to independence and self-rule) and personal freedom. Robert Klassen writes [strike]this [/strike] on the topic of voting in the US : “We allow the state to teach our children that majority rule in political government is good, proper, and fair. The state does not teach our children that the authors of the Constitution were mortally afraid of majority rule and that they expended every effort to prevent it, an effort which was subsequently subverted. The state does not teach our children that when a majority rules, a minority is ruled. The concept of political democracy was flawed at its birth in ancient Greece and has remained flawed ever since precisely because a majority of people elect which self-interest will be enforced by arms, which ultimately and inevitably leads to the use of those self-same arms against the majority, the minority, and every living thing in sight.”
This perspective of majority rule argues that voting is nothing more than the majority enforcing it’s will on the minority and since the minority has no way of defending it’s self against this, it will lead to either passive acceptance by the minority, or violent coercion if they resist. The voter, by participating in electoral politics, will either end up the minority, where he is unheard, or the majority, where his will is imposed upon the rest of the minority. Furthermore, regardless of whether the voter ends up in the minority or in the majority he, by the act of voting alone, helps legitimize the system of majority voting. This point will be addressed in more detail further on.
A majority vote does not determine truth or falsity. In formal logic arguing that something is true because everyone believes it, or because the majority of people believe it, is called an “appeal to popularity” and is a fallacy. Merely because everyone thinks that the sun orbits around the earth does not make it so. Similarly, just because the majority of citizens think that a certain tax policy will result in a better economy does not make it so. (I think the analogy is unecessary; further I think it weakens your argument by comparing a complex tax situation to geocentrism.) This can be further extended to ethics and legal rights. If a majority of the population decide that only Caucasians should be allowed to vote, this does not make it ethical.
Another important aspect of the Libertarian perspective is the Anarchist argument. “Government by its very nature must govern. To govern is to dictate. All governments are dictatorships of one form or another. They may be one-man dictatorships, constitutional dictatorships, dictatorships in republican or democratic form, majority rule dictatorships, dictatorships by bureau or what have you. But the fact remains that to govern is to dictate.” (Hoiles)
This explanation given by Harry Hoiles is the essence of the Anarchist argument. The state is an institution meant to govern and control, or to dictate to, the population [strike]within the territory [./strike] over which it claims sovereignty [strike]over[/strike]. The very definition of the state is “The supreme public power within a sovereign political entity.” (Houghton Mifflin Company). The state is therefore in a position of control in society. The state, the Anarchist would argue, restricts individual liberty and autonomy by making decisions, such as on criminal laws and economic policy, directly for the rest of the people in their territory, rather than letting them decide for themselves how to run their lives and their communities. (I feel like you are hammering the same point repeatedly.)
Consensus decision-making is the process that not only seeks the general agreement of most participants, but also to resolve or mitigate the objections of the minority to achieve the most agreeable decision. This does not mean that a decision must be made with which everyone agrees[strike] with[/strike], but rather that no member’s objections are too strong that they would be oppressed. This is sometimes explained as “Meeting everyone’s needs”. There are several practical examples of this in international organizations such as the World Trade Organization, which makes no decision without the general agreement of all members. Likewise, all permanent members of the United Nations Security Council have a veto and thus any motion, even if the other 4 members vote for it, will not pass if one of the Security Council members objects strongly enough to use its veto (United Nations). However, those 5 members can still impose their collective will on the rest of the UN members.
Creating an institutional policy that legitimizes and encourages the act of majority rule results in discouraging consensus because the majority have an easy way to establish their authority and thus impose their will upon the dissenting minority. The Libertarian sees a political system of consensus as necessary to make sure everyone has a degree of autonomy and can maintain their individual freedom from being imposed by the majority.
As established earlier, the voter, by participating in the electoral process, serves to accomplish two things: First, the majoritywill is imposed upon the minority [strike]if their vote wins. [/strike] [COLOR] And second, [strike]whether they are the majority or the minority they [/strike] every vote serves to legitimize the political system of majority rule.
The consensus among political scientists and the general public that high voter turnouts are desirable, rests in the notion that high voter turnout is [strike]seen as [/strike]evidence of the legitimacy of the current system. This is because a very low voter turnout is seen as likely resulting in unfair representation for the populous and a high voter turnout is praised as leading to everybody having a fair say in their government. Dictators have often fabricated high turnouts in showcase elections for this very purpose. For example, in 2002 Saddam Hussein’s referendum was claimed to have had 100% participation (CNN). Also, opposition parties often boycott votes that they feel are unfair or illegitimate. For example, in 2001, Pakistani Christian groups boycotted the Pakistan elections, protesting the “religious apartheid” in the political system (BBC).
So why is legitimizing the majority state necessarily unethical or violent in it's self? Firstly, it’s supporting the governmental system of majority rule which, as [strike]this essay[/strike] addressed above, Libertarians would argue results in violent suppression of minority rights. (You never convinced me that violence was occuring.) If a state is not seen as legitimate in its proceedings, it will have difficulty gaining public support for any of its motions. In a democracy the police and military [strike]are taken[/strike] come from the people, and feel a certain responsibility to them; the Libertarian argues that after the majority rule government loses support of the people, they will also soon lose support of those who would enforce it.
Wendy McElroy wrote an article in 1997 titled “Why I would not vote against Hitler”. In this article she explains the Libertarian arguments about the ethics of voting and then criticizes the democratic state saying “the essential problem is not Hitler, but the institutional framework that allows a Hitler to grasp a monopoly on power. Without the state to back him up and an election to give him legitimized power, Hitler would have been, at most, the leader of some ragged thugs who mugged people in back alleys. Voting for or against Hitler would only strengthen the institutional framework that produced him - a framework that would produce another of his ilk in two seconds”. She explains that it was not actually Hitler that committed any horrible acts of genocide; it was the institution of the state that both empowered him and then carried out his orders in his name. And it is the state and the institutional framework that empowered him that carries blame as well the individuals.
Hitler knew this too; he recognized his power was not personal. And he expressed this in his will, stating that “What I possess belongs -- in so far as it has any value -- to the Party. Should this no longer exist, to the State, should the State also be destroyed, no further decision of mine is necessary.” (United States, 259) Hitler did not possess any power except for that invested in him by the state and employees of the state. And, if it had not been for the voters who legitimized the state investing that power in him, then he would not have had enough popular and political support to seize dictatorial powers, let alone to start operating death camps and commit the atrocities we all know him for today. Hitler’s power was legitimized by the democratic majority when he was voted into office, and again when the state allowed him to gain dictatorial powers.
In summary, the process of majority voting serves two harmful or unethical purposes: To impose the majority decision on the minority which is not necessarily ethical or right, and to discourage consensus in politics. These externalities (is this a word?) of the democratic state are supported by the voter who, by the process of participation, legitimizes and supports the political system of majority rule.
All of these points are very important considerations on the topic of electoral voting. However they receive almost no publicity and groups such as the Edible Ballot Society or the Non-Voters League are consistently criticized for being immature, undemocratic and thus counterproductive towards a free and just society. In response the Edible Ballot Society says “Voting is really an insignificant act compared to the greater goal of creating authentic democracy. We need to participate in forging real communities through everyday acts of resistance and community building. A vote every couple of years is not democracy, it's repressive. Get over it.” It’s time for the public to give these ethical views some real consideration.