Earlier this month, a UK government minister called for the institution of compulsory voting. According to Mirror.UK, it is a ploy to increase voter turnout, but it also seems to be politically motivated. The politicians pushing this policy (nearly all of who belong to the labor party) are highly concerned with low Brexit vote turnout. They speculate that if only voting numbers were up, they would have come out of the decision as victors. But with the seemingly endless Brexit debacle, a conversation about voting has been opening up in the UK. Should a civics exam be mandatory to vote? Is it okay to let felons vote? And famously, should voting be compulsory?
Josh Hughes | United States
Opponents claim that voting is an act of aggression, and thus violates the NAP, or non-aggression principle, that libertarians abide by. They argue that because the state’s existence is made possible through coercion and violence, voting simply legitimizes it. Simply getting a choice on who your leader is, some claim, does not make you freer. A slave that picks his master is still a slave nonetheless, after all. In our Republic, it only takes a simple majority for a leader to be elected. Is it fair that just because 50.001% of voters feel one way that the other 49.999% shouldn’t get a say? These are just a few of many, many totally valid arguments against the institution of voting. However, does being an idealist in this sense truly accomplish anything?
To some, the answer is clear. Abstaining from aggression in every way possible is of utmost importance. However, the other side of the token needs to be examined. Voting in a libertarian candidate, even if he or she is imperfect and not totally in line with your principles, is important for the sake of advancing the cause of liberty.
The system favors a two-party process, meaning that the overwhelming majority of people will align with either a Republican or a Democrat, and their views will match those of their respective party for the most part. In fact, there are many who are unaware of other options such as the Libertarian Party. If enough people show up on election day, many libertarians nationwide have legitimate chances to win their elections. The best way to get voters informed about the LP is for it to grow. The “lesser of the evils” argument is a strong one, but in the world of politics, idealists rarely get anywhere.
Politics in America are becoming increasingly polarizing, and the future seems destined to either take a turn for radical neo-conservatism or liberal socialism. Both futures are ugly ones for those who support personal and economic liberty. However, this will become the reality. While a libertarian leader is still a person with power over individuals that will engage in aggression, it will be a stepping stone towards a society absent of authority.
The Democrats are increasingly advocating for higher taxes and more economic intervention on the part of the government, which are ultimately a threat to American finances. The Republicans are advocating for an expansion of the military and police state, a threat to the social tradition of America. While imperfect, the principles of the Libertarian Party are by far the least aggressive and would lead to less government interference across the board.
This November 6, if you are able, get out and vote for your local libertarian candidate. If there isn’t one, find other ways to support the party or a candidate of your choice. If a vote was hypothetically going to come down to a democratic-socialist, a neo-conservative, or a moderate libertarian, who would you choose?
Ideals are important to individuals. It is imperative to not sacrifice your principles and remain consistent with what you believe. However, the current system America has left little room for true ideals. The best way to advance the liberty movement is to deal with voting pragmatically and vote for your libertarian candidate.
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