None of the Above: The Flaws of Majoritarianism

This message is mostly for those to “the left,” or “liberals,” though anyone else can read it (obviously).  The two parties want more of your money for corporations, wars, more lousy trade agreements, more stupid nationalism, and more social stratification generally.  And they will never have enough.  You can vote for them if you want, but you’re probably not doing yourself a big favor.

I won’t bother condemning you for voting, no matter who you vote for.  Because you know what?  If you’re a liberal/Democrat/progressive/leftist, whatever, you needn’t feel bad if you vote or don’t vote.  Putting aside how the system’s rigged to favor the rich and powerful, and other aspects of corruption, you should understand  your vote represents only a tiny fraction.   Your vote for (or against) any candidate is almost nothing.  It is almost statistically meaningless.  Now, throw in considerations like the Electoral College, which can actually allow candidates to win who didn’t even win the popular vote.  Your vote is now rendered even more meaningless.  Also, plug the Super Pacs and big money donors back into this equation, then consider the generally lousy field of candidates.  Whether you vote or not becomes less of an issue.  It truly does.  All of your choices are lousy.  Maybe some are better than others, but it’s not worth getting bent out of shape about.

Here’s another reason I’m saying this.  If someone truly terrible gets elected (and when hasn’t that been the case for someone?), just realize that the human race kind of/sort of has it coming, for giving any credence to majoritarianism to begin with.  Sure, it’s especially bad for minority groups (and minority opinion) who didn’t want this state of affairs, but that only bolsters my point.  The simple reality is that good or bad, right or wrong, fact or fiction and smart or stupid should not be a popularity contest.  Something does not become correct (or incorrect) just because a majority says so, any more than it would from a minority saying so.  A majority of people are often enough wrong about things.  Also, what is right for a majority may not be right for you.  Similarly, what’s right for you may not reflect the majority.  Neither extreme is inherently wrong, nor is it inherently right.  To complicate things, it’s also not inherently in the middle.  Why?  Because most of these different problems are essentially made up to begin with.  Debate, discussion and even name-calling are not completely pointless, but the vast majority of the world’s problems were caused by human stupidity, which isn’t something we can vote away instantly.  In fact, for anyone to think they can only demonstrates stupidity more.

The very root problem in politics is straightforward:  People want to impose their opinions on others, and force them to do things.  That is the central problem.  It even goes beyond the mere nature of government, which is only one variation on this theme.  It ultimately comes down to the idea of people wanting to cram their ideas down everyone else’s throats.  It’s something that cannot be done intelligently, so everyone who wants their way — individually or through organizations — either do their best to justify their policy (so-called political debate), or they’ll try to hide it from everyone else if society doesn’t think it’s justified (examples:  An overly controlling and abusive parent, a playground bully, or a pariah-state dictator trying to conceal his crimes).

So where does this leave us?  Where does this leave me?  There will be an outcome to this and future elections, and maybe one candidate is better than the other in some key respects, but I am not happy with a human race that would gamble with my well-being in such a way to begin with.  Nor do I feel the system gives me much say in anything.  In fact, it was designed to, for all the reasons mentioned above, and more.  So I can pretend that I should object to your voting or non-voting, but I know it’s a useless objection.  We’re locked into this system for the perceivable future, and a few votes (or a few million votes) this way or that won’t change the reality of human folly.  And you probably won’t listen to me any better than the standard politician would.

So have fun pulling that proverbial lever this election year.  Maybe– maybe — it’s not like pulling the lever to your own electric chair, but it’s hardly more useful than pulling the handle on your own sofa recliner.

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