"If You Vote, You Have No Right to Complain"

[Ed. Note: Earlier this week, on Election Day, Chris Campbell gave his Laissez Faire Today readers a detailed explanation as to why he didn’t vote. The response he received from that issue was pretty intense – to put it mildly. Below, Chris offers further clarification of his stance on voting and responds to a few vitriolic accusations in the process. Read on…]

The old “If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain” bumper sticker slogan has been strong in my mailbox this week.

If You Don't Vote, Don't Complain

Yeah, that one.

It was all in a reaction to the “don’t vote” missive I featured in my Laissez Faire Today e-letter on Election Day.

“You’re worse than the socialists,” one reader said.

“At least I didn’t stick my head in the sand,” said another.

“DEFEATIST!” another screamed.

“All that is necessary for the forces of evil to prevail in this world,” quoted yet another, “is for enough good people to do nothing.”


If I don’t agree with the fundamentals of the system, then why should I engage in it at all?

To be clear, just because one doesn’t vote does not mean he or she is a complacent human being. Or worse than a socialist. Or has his or her head stuck in the sand.

In fact, there are many things individuals can do every single day to promote freedom and fight the status quo — and voting isn’t one of them.

Even while you’re out running errands, you can make a much bigger impact in one day than that limp, government-sponsored vote ever will.

What can you do? We’ll get to that in a moment.

First, we, as humans, don’t need someone to lead us. We need to learn to lead ourselves. That’s the next stage of human evolution. And the sooner we understand that, the better.

The current administration (and last… and one before that… ad infinitum) should be proof enough of this.

But here’s the thing I’m most confused about…

At what point, I wonder, did we adopt the belief that only those who accept the status quo have a right to criticize it?

When did that become OK in the “freest country in the world”?

It’s odd to me that the same people who are most adamant about protecting core American values — such as freedom of speech and assembly — can have another, completely contradictory belief:

The belief that those who choose not to participate in a government they didn’t consent to in the first place should not be allowed to voice an opinion about it.


Here’s how I see it…

If I don’t agree with the fundamentals of the system, then why should I engage in it at all? Why should I waste my life’s nonrefundable energy?

Especially when voting does absolutely nothing to change the fundamental things I disagree with.

For example, the last 13 years have proven, without a shadow of a doubt, that…

Privacy is being destroyed no matter what party is in office.

Regulators and bureaucrats will tell us what we can and cannot put in our bodies and how we’re allowed to educate our children no matter what rubber duck wins the race.

Police and government agencies will still confiscate assets at gunpoint under a donkey or an elephant.

Bombs, drones and welfare programs are bought with our tax dollars in either spectrum.

As long as the government grows, the train is on track.

The kicker? Central bankers (100% unelected, mind you) wave their wands and materialize trillions of dollars with or without the president’s consent.

They answer to no one. In turn, savers and retirees get punished so that insolvent governments, banks, and the uber-wealthy can ride a manufactured gravy train — all under a blue or a red cape.

Who benefits? Surely, it isn’t you and me.

By voting, I’m not exercising my freedoms as an American. I’m merely consenting to have my opponent’s agenda violently thrust upon me if I lose. Or consenting to whatever my victor has in store for me after he’s elected — despite what he might promise prior to Election Day.

The “lesser of two evils” argument? Bunk.

As an individual, there isn’t a single person in the government that represents me.

My government consists of leaders I didn’t choose. These leaders push policies that I don’t believe in. They use money that I earned, but did not consent in giving them.

And if I refuse to give them my money so they can do things I don’t want them to do with it, they’ll take it by force.

My vote doesn’t change any of that.

At no level — as a law-abiding (save for excessive jaywalking and periodic ripping tags off of mattresses) and taxpaying citizen — does the current status quo work in my favor.

So you’re telling me I have no right to complain if I don’t flick a few buttons at a voting booth? It’s a ridiculous thing to say to someone in an apparently-free society.

The nature of the current system is that some people have a right to tell others how to live their lives. And it shows.

And sorry, I don’t agree with it.

“If you vote and you elect dishonest and incompetent people… you are responsible for what they have done…”

I’ll end this Friday rant with a little piece from George Carlin:

Enjoy. (Even if you don’t agree with it. Come on! It’s funny!)

“I believe if you vote,” Carlin said, “you have no right to complain. People like to twist that around, I know.

“They say if you don’t vote, you have no right to complain, but where’s the logic in that?

“If you vote and you elect dishonest and incompetent people and they get into office and they screw everything up, well, you are responsible for what they have done, you caused the problem, you voted them in.

“You have no right to complain, I on the other hand, who did not vote, who, in fact, did not even leave the house on Election Day, am no way responsible for what these people have done and have every right to complain as loud as I wanted at the mess you created. Which I had nothing to do with.”


Chris Cambpell
for The Daily Reckoning

P.S. This is just a brief snippet of the conversation I’ve been having with my Laissez Faire Today readers all week. It’s been both informative and, if I may, very entertaining. I invite you to join the conversation for yourself, for FREE, right here.

The Daily Reckoning