Today is election day. The news is encouraging people to go out and vote, telling the voters all about their limited choice of rulers, and celebrating how lucky we all are to have a say in who will violently control every aspect of our lives.
I’m presently away from home, visiting family. They have the local traffic and weather station on, and it repeats the same crap every 5-10 minutes. “Happy election day, get out and vote!” is literally being chanted by the television on the next room.
I’m not going to bother talking to you about candidates today, because who you’re voting for or against isn’t really relevant to this article, or for that matter, anything else. If voting stood the slightest chance of changing anything, it would be illegal. Besides, my audience is geographically dispersed, and I don’t know the candidates running in your local elections. Not that I need to, to tell you that your election is as much a scam as any that ever took place in North Korea.
Let’s just pretend for a moment that there is no voter fraud. Let’s make the absurd leap of faith that people who want political power don’t lie cheat steal and murder to get it. This is a completely ridiculous notion and I’ll address that in a moment, but as a thought exercise, let’s just pretend that politicians obey their own laws.
In some of the most ruthless dictatorships throughout human history, there were elections. The people who lived under those brutal rulers were also assured that their elections were fair. However, one party was always in control. Be it the Nazis or the communists, or whatever the local translation for tyrant was at the time.
In America, we’re led to believe that we’re so much better off because we get to choose between two parties, the Republicans or the Democrats. We’re even fed this fun narrative that those parties stand for different things. One is for more social freedoms and civil liberties, but favors economic control, and the other is more for economic liberty, while favoring social control and curtailment of civil liberties.
If you need me to spell out for you how false that is, this blog is probably out of your depth. If you think George Bush favored free markets, or Barack Obama favors civil liberties, well, I suggest you go the way of Brittany Maynard. Your stupidity is a terminal illness that threatens to end not only your life, but the very extinction of our species.
This pattern doesn’t show much in the way of dissipating at the local level either. If you talk to people about politics, you’ll find that the general population is very comfortable with the government controlling all aspects of their lives. Blame the media, blame the schools, blame human nature, place the blame where you will, it matters not. People want control, and so they get it. No politician who expects to win an election will advocate any significant reduction of government interference in any aspect of our lives, because, aside from their own lust for power, voters want it.
A religious zealot who wants sodomy laws enforced, but doesn’t much care for socialized medicine, would sooner vote for a candidate who favors sodomy laws and socialized medicine, than a candidate who rejected both policies. Why? Because this grants him a sense of control over others, as ridiculous as that may be. If someone is anti-war but also wants laws favoring their gender, race, or sexual orientation, they will vote for the pro war candidate who gives them the controls they want, over the antiwar candidate who wants the market to figure it out, for the same reason.
At its best, the voting booth is the place people go to harm their neighbors with impunity. You want to discriminate against a race, gender, or sexual orientation? Best not do it in your own life, wouldn’t go over well. You want to kill a bunch of strangers in a different country? Pretty unlikely you’re going to pick up a gun and do it yourself. You want to steal from everyone else to pay for your needs and wants? It’s better with ballots.
So the truth of the matter is, even if elections weren’t rigged, even if you had the choice of voting for whoever you wanted to vote for, it wouldn’t matter. Democracy creates incentives by giving people the illusion of gaining the most valuable thing of all, control over other human beings. Think about how much it would cost for you to pay 300,000,000+ people to do what you want. More than that, think about what it would cost for you to expand that influence all over the world. The cost is beyond anything even the richest people in society could ever hope to afford. Government violence is the only way to accomplish such things, and as long as that option exists, people will exercise it.
Still, democracy is far too important a thing to leave to chance. The frame of discussion has to be tightly controlled. The central planners can afford rigorous debate, but the scope of the discussion has to be very limited. It’s fine for people to have a conversation about whether Mitt Romney or Barack Obama should wage the wars. A real conversation about ending the wars, that’s not something they want talked about.
A little research into your local ballot access laws will likely reveal just how important limiting this debate is to your central planners. While some states and localities are better than others, across the country it can be difficult or impossible to run as a Libertarian, Constitution, or Green Party candidate. In New York, a Republican or Democrat requires 1,250 ballot access signatures to get on the ballot, a Libertarian requires 3,500 to run for the US House. These disparities exist for all seats of power. In my election, I got more ballot access signatures than the guy who won the election, and I still wasn’t eligible for the ballot. Gigi Bowman is running for state Senate here in New York, and even though she got more ballot access signatures than required, she was challenged all the way up to the Supreme Court. Days before the election she won her case. It ran so close to the deadline, that the board of elections had to actually print up two sets of ballots, one with her, and one without her, costing taxpayers an additional $90,000. Worse than that, local media would only air interviews with her if she was a ballot qualified candidate, and since the case was still in the air, they only aired her interviews after the case was settled, two days before the election. This of course gave voters all of two days to get familiar with their only alternative to the major parties, hardly enough time to make a significant impact.
Not that multi party democracy helps matters any. In Europe there is plenty of ballot access to spare. You may have 5 different political parties in the legislature at any given time. None of that has prevented the citizenry from being taxed, forced into wars, disarmed, surveilled, and having every aspect of their lives controlled. A greater number of options when picking your rulers, does nothing to set you free.
Not that any of this even matters, because it’s not who votes that counts. It’s who counts the votes. Even before we get into the evidence of widespread voter fraud in the United States and elsewhere, it’s just plain stupid to believe that people wouldn’t be trying so hard to rig elections as to render them completely meaningless. Think about it, there are people spending the rest of their lives in prison because they killed someone to steal a purse or a gold chain. To know that and believe there wouldn’t be massive levels of corruption in the system that gives people a seat of power that grants them impunity while controlling entire economies and armies is just plain ridiculous.
People rob banks and steal weapons from military bases. These institutions are far more secure than any voting booth, and the incentive to steal guns or dollars is far less than the incentive to steal a government.
The fact that we so rarely hear about voter fraud should do the exact opposite of making people feel secure in their elections. With so much incentive for corruption and so little security, one has to expect that voter fraud is being attempted at every polling place on Earth. The fact that the people doing it aren’t being caught is only evidence that they are successful in their efforts.
By the way, when you do hear about voter fraud, how often do you see the election results overturned as a result? Never. Why? Because voter fraud is normal and expected and irrelevant to the process.
Keep these things in mind, then go have a look at a film like “Invisible Ballots”, or “Hacking Democracy“.
In Hacking Democracy, the investigators actually showed how the Diebold voting machines could be rigged to miscount votes. The unit simply tallies up how many votes for each candidate, but it was possible to set the counters to a negative number before voting began. So you could start one candidate with +100,000 votes, and the other candidate with -100,000 votes, and in the end the vote totals would equal out and your chosen candidate would win.
Adding paper to the mix doesn’t improve matters by much. Firstly, a recount is a difficult thing to trigger, so it’s unlikely such a scam would ever even become discovered. It’s not exactly difficult to create some extra ballots with a number 2 pencil. Very few places have voter ID laws, and in the ones that do, the people in power are the ones issuing the ID’s, not exactly hard to get a few extras. And ultimately if there is a discrepancy in the vote totals, it’s practically unheard of to do the vote over again. All of this would again suggest that the actual vote counts are not terribly relevant to the choosing of rulers. It’s just ceremonial, tradition, a show, the illusion of choice.
Elections ultimately hold about as much significance as a traffic court hearing. In traffic court, one is given the illusion of due process, before being commanded to obey. In elections, people are given the illusion of choice, and then commanded to obey.
To defy the commands, is to be subjected to violence. To resist the violence is to be subjected to death. If you think that’s choice, if you think that’s freedom, then congratulate your masters on a job well done. Because you’ve fallen for the oldest trick in the book.
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