Non-Voting is Principled Political Self-Defense


If a man claims the right to dictate your life to you, and you laugh in his face, are you giving up your right to self-defense? That’s what Libertarian Party member Morey Straus claims in his essay The trouble with voluntaryists.

What separates anti-political libertarians from principled partyarchs is the advocacy of a vulgar form of unilateral disarmament. This form of pacifism is more in line with the LeFevrian stripe than in the simpler sense, in that the anarchist is more concerned with becoming part of the problem than with straightforward avoidance. But it still walks and talks like pacifism. This willful disassociation from tactics used by statists is as doomed to catch fire as was Quakerism. #

Electoral Politics is Surrender

Anyone can claim power over us, according to Straus’ logic, and we must accept their ridiculous claims, fighting on their slanted playing field in a battle we can only lose. Otherwise, we’re giving up and letting the statists win. In their own mind, perhaps! How disappointing that Straus made the intellectual journey to anarchism but embraces the government-issued wool that’s pulled over his eyes.

Analogy FAIL

Straus wants us to believe that using a government-monopolized service is morally equivalent to competing for control of the force that maintains government-monopolized services. If the government nationalized the food industry, would eating render me morally equivalent to the statists who stole the means of producing food from its owners? Of course not!

In the same way that an agorist can use the statist roads to engage in counter-economic trade, the partyarch may use the vehicle of elections to advocate the abolition of elections. #

Is Slavery a Vehicle to Set People Free?

Is it logically consistent to use murder to advocate for the abolition of murder? What are the chances that one can awake people to the evil of initiating force by initiating force? Had Straus been alive in 1855, would he have advocated the abolition of slavery by using the vehicle of slavery? Clearly, this is nonsense.

Electoral Politics an Anarchist Credibility Killer

If you’re a libertarian anarchist, you don’t think government is necessary. You might even think it’s evil. So if you tell people in your community that you’re in favor of a stateless society but then proceed to run for office and ask for their vote, it will inevitably cause confusion. Are you an anarchist or not?

In the worst case, you have alienated members of your community with your refusal to respect the state. Maybe you don’t like drivers’ licenses. Maybe you have called into local talk radio and argued against the need for state-run fire companies. People don’t understand you. They may be scared of you.

Anarchists Beating Statists at Own Game?

And now you’re going to run for office? You’re going to compete with statists to see who will wield the state’s guns? Setting aside the ridiculousness of trying to beat the statists at their own game, you have destroyed what little credibility you developed. You’re in the statists’ coliseum now. The backlash is inevitable and it will destroy your nonviolent education efforts.

Non-Voting is Principled Political Self-Defense

Non-voting is principled, because it does not involve an initiation of force, as voting does (since you’re competing to see who will give orders to everyone else). The act of non-voting says, “You go and have your silly fun. I choose productive pursuits. I choose nonviolence. I choose liberty.”

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