I suppose I could write a positive blog entry; you know, that people just totally love the concept of freedom or that they distrust government more than ever. But, neither of those statements are true. Public trust in government has been just as low - at least twice in the past thirty years. And the support for freedom (or at least the concept of limited government) is just as low.
But voter turnout isn't necessarily the topic I wish to write about today; rather, it has to deal with the issue of voting in general. Specifically, does voting violate the non-aggression principle?
To begin, the non-aggression principle (NAP) basically states that aggression against another is immoral. Aggression includes the initiation of the use or threat of physical violence against another. Accordingly, the State (or government) violates the NAP when it initiates aggression on another. Because there is no way for everyone to consent to every law created and enforced by the State, the State violates the NAP when it uses physical violence (or the threat of it) as a response to any violation of the law. Thus, under the NAP, the State is immoral.
If the State is immoral, then does the individual voter violate the NAP when he or she participates in the voting process? One would think agency principles would apply, as they do in the private market. But the voting process does not include any type of contract; to make an implied contract would be devastating if similarly applied to the private market. I mean, would an individual who buys a stock in Walmart really consent to the bombing of Target (its arch enemy) if Walmart decided it was in the company's best interest? Of course not. Thus, an implied contract can not be found. Accordingly, agency principles do not apply.
So, if the State isn't our agent, then what is our relationship to it? Well, because the State is immoral, then we are its victims. Moreover, because the State taxes us without our consent it both steals from us AND forces us to work. Thus, we are again victims as well as slaves.
So, if we are slaves and victims and the State is our slave master and thief, then what is voting? It's quite perplexing actually. Did an 18th Century slave master give his slave a choice of whether he wants to work in the fields or not? Does a thief give his victim a choice of whether he should only take $10 or $100? Of course not! But here - in this odd relationship with the State - we are actually given a choice.
Now, the choice may not be real. It may be similar to your boss asking if you can come in the next day. Or your wife asking you if she is fat. (these examples aren't really analogous because they aren't violating the NAP - well, hopefully not for you).
But voting is a choice. It is an opportunity. And it most likely does not violate the NAP (well, assuming you don't vote for a candidate who wishes to use the State to violate the NAP). And here is where it gets a bit tricky. After all, the State - by itself - is immoral. But what if it creates and enforces laws that do not violate the NAP? Let's assume, in contrast to the words above, that there is an implied contract between the State and the people (maybe, simply because you live within the territories of the State, you consent to its laws and regulations). If so, then the only way for the State to be moral is for it to not violate the NAP.
Accordingly, the only way for you - the voter - to not violate the NAP is if you vote for someone who advocates this principal (and they strictly adhere to it). Such an argument doesn't seem too out of place. It's still principled I suppose. After all, even in the Walmart example above, the bombing of Target would still violate the NAP.
So, in the end, it seems voting would not violate the NAP, but only if you vote for someone who will not advocate any laws or regulations that violate the NAP. For example, the politician must support eradicating taxation, public education, public roads, the Federal Reserve, foreign aid, etc. etc.
Of course, you - the voter - must live with the consequences if the politician does not adhere to the NAP (and, unfortunately, so would others). This is where you must think critically. Endlessly questioning who best advocates for a "moral" State (assuming this could even occur). Your candidate (assuming you can even find one that meets the above criteria) will most likely lose (unless it's Ron Paul back in action), but at least you made a choice. You could have instead chose to sit at home, maybe watch a rerun of House of Cards. Or you could have read Murray Rothbard's "For a New Liberty." While others in the liberty "movement" may despise you - calling you a Statist or other derogatory term - at least you did something about the immoral State (I suppose you could instead create a podcast, maybe CTINR and rant about the problems of government - but what effect would this have?).
And what about choosing not to vote? If the slave master gives his slave a choice to work or not work, and instead of choosing one option the slave sits at home reading Walter Block, what would you call the slave? Even if the choice was illusory, at least the slave has an option! What about all the slave masters who don't give their slaves a choice? Furthermore, if history is the reason to not vote, then how can one even support the ideas of anarchism in the United State? Since this nation's founding we have been a socialist country, so why advocate for such an improbable idea?
There really is no difference between you and someone who creates a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin to combat the State. Neither actions likely violate the NAP, and both could lead to more freedom for everyone everywhere. Isn't that what the freedom "movement" is all about?
Well, at least for now, I think it is. So, thank you for your vote (assuming you thought critically about the politician you voted for) and for your support of liberty.