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By: Rich Smith

Ether Zone columnist Joe Blow sucked pretty bad with his Sept. 13 advice to stop voting.

Ordinarily, a Joe Blow job on these pages is a heady experience. But, this time, I got no satisfaction. And I’ll bet few other readers found his latest full-throated mouthing to be very pleasurable, either.

Truthfully, the Blowster is a good guy, and I hope he takes no offense at my criticism of his performance, or at any of my linguistic foreplay - er, wordplay - here. But the fact remains that his reasoning is flaccid about why it’s detrimental to vote in erections - I mean, elections (one more lame double-entendre like that and you’ll have every right to spam the living daylights out of my e-mailbox, or at least tattle on me to fellow Ether Zone comedian Doug Powers that I’m stealing his Hooters Airlines routine).

To summarize Blow’s position, voting is immoral because it is an act that gives legitimacy to the socialist form of government now reigning in America. Furthermore, lending legitimacy to the illegitimate serves only to degrade the principled, freedom-loving individual who casts a ballot. And, to top it all off, the vote is basically worthless anyway, since it has power to change absolutely nothing in a duopolistic party system where Democrats and Republicans are completely interchangeable.

Thus, you’ll feel better about yourself if you simply refrain from participating in this fraudulent scheme, Blow and his cited sources contend.

Now I’ll point up the fatal flaws in this thinking. First of all, like it or not, you accord legitimacy to the government every time you pay taxes, whether directly via income and sales taxes or indirectly through your purchases of products and services containing so-called value-added taxes. Actually, come to think of it, paying taxes legitimizes the government about 1.5 trillion times more forcefully each year than have all the votes cast in all the elections since Franklin Roosevelt’s debut as the first modern American socialist ruler.

You might counter by arguing that voting is a voluntary act, whereas paying taxes is involuntary. Try telling that to any tax protestor. If he’s worth his salt, Mr. Protestor will respond by punching you in the nose - but not before spelling out in vast detail why no one is compelled to file with the Internal Revenue Service and its spawn across the 50 states.

Blow’s legitimization assertion completely crumbles as you begin to realize just how frequently and freely you give your approval to government. Legitimacy is conferred each time you cooperate with government in any capacity and whenever you utilize any of the services or benefits it provides.

For example, drive your car on a government-built and -maintained highway, and you are utilizing one of government’s provisions (forget that this is the kind of provision sanctioned by the Constitution - remember that so is voting). Buckle your seatbelt as required by law and you are cooperating with an immoral mandate of that illegitimate government, no matter that you use the safety harness by informed choice to protect yourself from injury in the event of a collision rather than because you fear getting a ticket from the traffic cop and having your car insurance rates rise through the ceiling.

Hell, just go buy an automobile and you’ve legitimized this illegitimate government once again, since your purchase stands as a bold, prima facie endorsement of the myriad and totally insane regulations inflicted on the carmaker (in other words, when you agree to buy the car, you’re voting with your dollars and in effect telling the government you support the illegitimate idea of federally-mandated emissions standards, fuel-economy goals, automobile factory health and safety rules, raw materials shipping and handling requirements, worker hiring practices, non-discrimination guidelines, handicap accommodations, sexual-harassment protections, et cetera ad naseum).

Bottom-line, government is so invasive in our lives today that nothing we do short of dropping out of society and taking up residence as hermits in one of those dank, smelly caves left behind by the fleeing al-Qaeda crowd in the hills of Michigan is going to spare us from granting legitimacy to the government. That being the case, you might as well keep voting, just as you might as well keep using the highways and buying automobiles.

As to your vote not mattering because the two major parties are, for all intents and purposes, one and the same: there’s no law that says you may only vote Democrat or Republican. OK, don’t hand me that line about voting for a third party is like throwing away your vote. Remember that the Republican party was once a third party. It caught on because it had a platform that resonated with huge numbers of Americans - and in the mid-1800s, Republicans had no 21st Century-type marvels of mass media to help them become known to the electorate. I believe unshakably that if a third party once before in history could rise up and come to dominate the political landscape for generations, then it can happen again in our future. But it will almost certainly never happen if you and I stop voting.

Besides, voting has real significance in places like California, where the people have power to directly enact laws of their own and even to amend their state constitution. Granted, most of the good stuff we Californians put on the ballot and pass gets eviscerated by leftist judges - but, sooner or later, we’ll wise up and float an initiative that includes a clause declaring that no portion of the proposed measure is subject to judicial review or cancellation.

Finally, voting is pivotally important at the level closest to home - in city-council elections, school-board contests, and even in the match-ups for the all-important post of dog catcher. This is where the votes of just a handful of individuals can be decisive in determining the outcome of a race. We can dicker (sorry, I can’t seem to help myself, double-entendre-wise) over the value of conservatives winning small-potatoes local offices when nowadays everything is controlled with an iron fist from Washington, D.C. But let’s don’t. Let’s just look at it from the position that, if you and I as members of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy can take control of councils and school boards, we’re one step closer to taking control of our states. And, from there, it’s only a short hop, skip and jump from deposing the entrenched socialists in the nation’s capital.

So, here’s what I want you to do. Number one, keep voting. Number two, vote for the third-party guys (but only those who are legitimate conservatives in an actual conservative third-party). Number three, run for local office yourself, and use your own vote to help get yourself elected (then, once you’re in power, be sure to send me a cut of the graft you’re able to get in on - no, er, ah; just kidding).

And finally, never ever in any way, shape or form allow yourself to embrace through thought, word or deed this thing called defeatism. Because defeatism is the ultimate mechanism by which you confer legitimacy on that which is illegitimate.

"Published originally at EtherZone.com : republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact."

Rich Smith has been a freelance journalist since 1976 and is currently based in a nearly liberal-free zone along the rim of California's fearsome Mojave Desert. He is a regular columnist for Ether Zone.

Rich Smith can be reached at newsdesk@cci-yuccavalley.com

Published in the September 23, 2002 issue of  Ether Zone.
Copyright 1997 - 2002 Ether Zone.

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