DON’T VOTE: It Only Encourages them! – from a West Coast shopping bag
I’m in a dour (dire?) mood this morning. Part of it arises from a taxing, difficult chore I’ve been straining to put off, the day for which has arrived and cannot be hired out, delegated, or otherwise shoved aside. But a larger part of it stems from the ongoing willingness of millions – many of them smart enough to know better – to believe that politics can solve problems. That has probably never been true to any degree.
But electoral politics – the chivvying of “the people” to the polls every two years – is an important, even critical ritual. It reinforces the notion that “we have a voice” in who will run “our government,” and therefore in how it will be run.
Allow me a citation that the Gentle Readers of Liberty’s Torch have probably seen before:
[W]e are told that there is no need to fear the concentration of power in government so long as that power is checked by the electoral process. We are urged to believe that so long as we can express our disagreement in words, we have our full rights to disagree. Now both freedom of speech and the electoral process are important to liberty, but alone they are only the desiccated remains of liberty. However vigorously we may argue against foreign aid, our substance is still drained away in never-to-be-repaid loans. Quite often, there is not even a candidate to vote for who holds views remotely like my own. To vent one’s spleen against the graduated income tax may be healthy for the psyche, but one must still yield up his freedom of choice as to how his money will be spent when he pays it to the government. The voice of electors in government is not even proportioned to the tax contribution of individuals; thus, those who contribute more lose rather than gain by the “democratic process.” A majority of voters may decide that property cannot be used in such and such ways, but the liberty of the individual is diminished just as much as in that regard as if a dictator had decreed it. Those who believe in the redistribution of wealth should be free to redistribute their own, but they are undoubtedly limiting the freedom of others when they vote to redistribute theirs.
[Clarence Carson, The American Tradition]
Among the things Dr. Carson did not say was this:
To prevent a true revolt against the status quo,
“The people” must believe that they “have a choice.”
However, in writing that “Quite often, there is not even a candidate to vote for who holds views remotely like my own,” he implied it as strongly as is possible without coming right out and saying it. A graphic I like is of immense relevance here:
The candidates who are presented to us are carefully selected by county, state, and national committees, all of which are firmly under the control of the political Establishment. And what was it Orwell said about establishments?
Half a minute while I fetch more coffee.
John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute puts it incisively:
The Establishment—the shadow government and its corporate partners that really run the show, pull the strings and dictate the policies, no matter who occupies the Oval Office—are not going to allow anyone to take office who will unravel their power structures. Those who have attempted to do so in the past have been effectively put out of commission.
They slipped once in recent memory. By dint of fantastic efforts (and the inability of Establishment Republicans to believe that he could do it) Donald Trump got through the barriers and won the presidency. Once inaugurated, he tried his best. He was opposed at every turn by his own party — and its kingmakers are straining to deny him another term in office. It’s quite possible that those kingmakers are part of the effort to immure him in prison for the rest of his life.
But the illusion of choice must be maintained. Should that ever fall, there would be no reason for any American to continue to pay taxes, obey the laws, kowtow to officials whether elected, appointed, or hired, and generally support “the system.” So the Establishment – the explicitly political part of which is coming to be known as The Uniparty — works to maintain the illusion that because America holds regular elections, “we” can change things at any time through the vote.
As the years pass I become ever more impressed by the insight of the late Philip K. Dick. Some of his stories display real penetration into what is as opposed to what we like to believe. One of them, “Faith Of Our Fathers,” was a 1968 Hugo Award finalist for Best Novelette. It follows Tung Chien, a functionary in a Chinese Communist government who is given a dose of an antipsychotic – stelazine – and suddenly sees things he’s not supposed to see. In a way, it was a precursor to John Carpenter’s movie They Live, though the politics were completely different.
The stelazine allows him to see the Party’s Supreme Leader as he – it – really is:
It was terrible; it blasted him with its awareness. As it moved it drained the life from each person in turn; it ate the people who had assembled, passed on, ate again, ate more with an endless appetite. It hated; he felt its hate. It loathed; he felt its loathing for everyone present — in fact he shared its loathing. All at once he and everyone else in the big villa were each a twisted slug, and over the fallen slug carcasses the creature savored, lingered, but all the time coming directly toward him — or was that an illusion? If this is a hallucination, Chien thought, it is the worst I have ever had; if it is not, then it is evil reality; it’s an evil thing that kills and injures. He saw the trail of stepped-on, mashed men and women remnants behind it; he saw them trying to reassemble, to operate their crippled bodies; he heard them attempting speech.
But as horrifying as this revelation is, there’s more to come…and come it does:
“You founded the Party?” he asked.
“I founded everything. I founded the anti-Party and the Party that isn’t a Party, and those who are for it and those who are against, those that you call Yankee Imperialists, those in the camp of reaction, and so on endlessly. I founded it all. As if they were blades of grass.”
Dick’s tale is a true nightmare, the exact opposite of the Beatific Vision. Dick, who was fascinated lifelong with questions of reality and what might lie beyond it, had glimpsed something that completely inverts the Christian postulate that Man is the shaper of his own destiny.
But wait: there’s more! For in that nightmare vision lies the truth about all who 1) attain power over us, and 2) are determined to maintain it: To be sure of power in perpetuity, they must become their own opposition, or at least suborn and control it.
And the surest way to secure their grip on that prize is to create and maintain an illusion of choice.
There’s a swiftly vanishing chance that Donald Trump will escape the clutches of the “justice system,” gain the GOP’s presidential nomination, and win a second term as president. Should that happen, I would expect a replay of his first term: his own party methodically undermining and thwarting the overwhelming majority of his initiatives. And it won’t matter a dented copper groat how many of us voted for him.
Our biennial election cycle is not the Kool-Aid of Jim Jones. It won’t kill us…probably not, at least. But it does strive to numb us, to anesthetize our critical faculty. For if a sufficient number of us were fully aware of what’s been done to us – what’s still being done, every hour of every day – we would rebel against it as surely as the Sun rises in the East.
That’s all for today, Gentle Reader. Have a nice day.