Get Off Your Butt

Arthur Silber won’t be voting today — or maybe ever.

He makes the old libertarian argument that the simple act of voting gives legitimacy to a system and to candidates who don’t deserve it. And Arthur makes the point well.

Of course, he’s still wrong.

If we lived in a perfect world. . .no, let me rephrase. If we lived in a perfectible world, Arthur and his libertarian protest non-voters would be absolutely right. But human nature being the mess it is, and politics thus being the mess it must be, voting is a virtue.

It’s a minor virtue, admittedly; you can refuse (or even forget) to vote and still be a perfectly fine human being. While you can’t change the fact that we live in a squabbling society filled with squabbling people, you can at least try to do a little something about it.

Some people use their voices. Others use their pens, or, more likely these days, their keyboards. Still others donate time and money to people or causes they believe in. And a lot of us vote.

If I give money to the Cato Institute, does that mean I’ve “endorsed” a system that also gives legal protections to Ku Klux Klanners? Perhaps. But so the hell what? The point is, I’ve given money to a think-tank promoting freedom, and not to a bunch of brutal, racist idiots.

The same goes for my vote. I don’t agree with everything Cato does. Hardly. But on balance, I’d still rather my money go to them than the Klan. Arthur says that voting for the lesser evil is still “supporting evil.” But we all know the old saw that goes, “the perfect is the enemy of the good.” If Arthur wants to sit around waiting for the perfect candidate, that’s his choice.

What Arthur forgets is that no serious politicians (or at least almost none) are reading his blog. But they’ll damn sure be reading the election results tomorrow. And if they’re aren’t any politicians worth even voting against, I’m sure California (his home state) has some ass-stupid ballot measures in serious need of defeat. And Arthur can’t do that from his sofa.

Me, I’ve got some protest to register and some freedoms to at least try to protect — so I’ll see you, I hope, at the voting booth.

UPDATE: Arthur voted after all.