New Poll Exposes the American Voting Paradox

Ian Brzeski | @IanBrzeski

Nearly 70% of Americans believe the United States government purposefully withholds information from the public. In other words, almost 70% of Americans do not trust the government. Two-thirds of Americans do not know whether they believe what elected officials are saying or not, and the other third are either lying or missing something. Yet, well over a third of eligible voters still go out and cast their ballots every November. The results of this poll demonstrate a sort of voting paradox where people recognize the failures of voting in elected officials but continue to indulge in this extravagance.

Inconsistent Logic

So many people have blatant misgivings about the government, and yet they actively participate in the societal institutions established that tear away at our liberties. Every election season, people get their hopes up and believe if they vote for the right people, everything will be okay. When has that ever worked?

Election season disappoints people every time. Every election, our rights are stripped away and people recognize this. Now, why do they refuse to do anything about it?

Americans recognize societal problems as well as the roots and causes of our political atmosphere and choose to do nothing. Even worse, they feed into the system; they vote and think something will change. They campaign for politicians who they swear are not corrupt while believing that the other guy is. It is mind-boggling to see that people are aware of how corrupt the government is but still play into the system that allows for this to happen. The problem is that people are not able to draw this connection. They are not able to see the voting paradox they are participating in.


Many say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. People do not trust the State. People want to fix this but yet they vote, and they vote, and they vote again. They vote because one day, voting will solve all of our issues. Right?

Today, people keep on voting and see no real change at all. Government overreach continues at an increasing rate, no matter who is in charge.

The Constitution greatly expanded the federal government’s power from the Articles of Confederation. Looking at how government grows from both a rational and empirical perspective, it is easy to see how it can only expand, not shrink.

The Beginning of Government Expansion

The Constitution is considered the framework of our government and small-government advocates herald it as some eternal, perfect dogma. Although the Constitution lays out one of the best forms of government for individual liberty and freedom in existence, it has inevitably led to this voting paradox. People maintain the notion that they can somehow confine the government to its constitutional limits.

It all started with the Articles of Confederation, which had extremely scarce federal powers. To illustrate how weak the federal government was, it was not even allowed to generate tax revenue. Only the states had the power to generate revenue. This was the biggest critique people had against the Articles of Confederation.  Most people agree that the Articles of Confederation were too weak and inadequate, but not Murray Rothbard. Rothbard essentially believed that the Articles of Confederation were a halfway point to a powerful, more centralized government established by the Constitution.

Rothbard was right. To increase the government’s purview, the Federalists created the Constitution. Objectively speaking, the Constitution was a massive power grab by the government. Today, small government advocates praise this document that historically only trampled on the liberties of the American people.

The Tyranny of the Executive Order

Article II of the Constitution established the Executive Branch. More specifically, the second section of Article II lays out the powers that the Executive Branch holds. Within this section, there lies the power granted to the President to initiate executive orders. The ability for the President of the United States to essentially have that unchecked power is a massive infringement on the liberties of the American population. It is tyrannical and oppressive. The fate of our liberties lies at the stroke of a tyrant and their pen.

“While an executive order can have the same effect as a federal law under certain circumstances, Congress can pass a new law to override an executive order, subject to a presidential veto.” The quote here is saying that Congress needs to pass a bill that blocks the order, which the President can veto. Congress can then overrule a veto with 2/3 majority. At first glance, it seems like a reasonable check on the Executive Branch. However, it is an awful check on executive powers.

First of all, we know how inept Congress already is at making decisions. Government is seen to be ineffective and inefficient due to the extreme lengths of time it takes for anything to get done. They need to reach a majority to pass a bill, which does not seem too bad, but the President can and most likely will veto the bill. After that, Congress would need to get 2/3 majority to override the veto. It is hard enough to get 2/3 of Congress to agree on anything. It especially hard because of the polarizing political atmosphere we have today.

With this ability, the Constitution renders the Legislative Branch useless. The masking of tyranny with this futile check leaves the Legislative Branch at the whims of the President. The Articles of Confederation had no Executive Branch. The Articles of Confederation provided no means to steal money from American citizens. So yes, historically speaking, the Constitution is a document that has and still will trample on the liberties of the American people.

The Voting Paradox

This current fixation with restricting the government to its constitutional powers contributes to the voting paradox. It is impossible to achieve this idealistic end because Government has always expanded. Our government has currently expanded so far beyond the scope of its constitutional limits that it is laughable to actually think that we can get it down to the “right” size. Yet, people still somehow believe in this utopian fantasy that a limited government is realistic.

It has always grown and it will always grow. From the Articles of Confederation to the Constitution, from the implementation of a “temporary” income tax to the calls for a 70% income tax, there will always be a desire for government expansion. It has been proven time and time again, and not once have we been able to restrain the government to its “proper” size for a decent amount of time.

Sure, we have had people in positions of power that have done their best to shrink government. But who comes in right after them? Politicians who increase the federal government’s power ten-fold. It is simply not realistic to believe that a government with a limited scope is sustainable. It is not realistic to assume that being stuck in this voting paradox will magically change things one day.

Support But Don’t Idolize

The average person is able to recognize that politicians rarely ever fulfill their promises. People agree that they are corrupt and spineless, but why in the world do people idolize their favorite candidates? They will say how politicians are crooks, but then travel the country saying how their favorite candidate is the infallible chosen one. “All politicians are crooks except for the candidate I most agree with” is a belief more common than it should be. It is clear to see how this line of thinking is fatuous and again leads to the voting paradox.

It quite simply does not make sense. Having full belief that a candidate will actually have the effects they promise is utopian and idiotic. Now I am not saying that you can’t support certain candidates. It is just that there is an unhealthy culture where people campaign excessively for their favorite candidates and simply idolize these people.

I am one of those libertarians who support Tulsi Gabbard. I have problems with a lot of her stances and I do not even think she is going to fulfill her anti-war promises as well as I would hope. However, she brings something new to the table. Her anti-war stances are refreshing and something that most mainstream politicians wouldn’t even dare to touch. She brings forth ideas worth talking about.

Do Your Own Thinking

People are caught in this eternal voting paradox. Whether they realize it or not, both limited government advocates and progressives participate in it. It is believing in a utopian form of governance which will inevitably lead to the idolization of certain candidates. Believing in a utopia will inevitably lead to idolizing a candidate that holds similar ideas or values.

People need to wake up. Stop contributing to a broken system that has done nothing for the liberties of the American people. Go out and learn. Go out and stand firmly for what you believe in. Do not rely on others for your opinion and please do not idolize politicians and believe that things may actually be better with them in power. The establishment rigs the system and is an enemy of the people. Logic and history support this and it is up to the people to recognize this. The voting paradox can’t live without the system in place. In order to alleviate ourselves from the voting paradox, people need to recognize the implications of participating in the system.

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