Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Don't Vote...more questions.

Six people have encouraged me to vote in this election. In Texas, one is allowed to vote early without any explanation. The polling booths have been open for awhile. So, hoping the nudgings would go away, I complied. I feel like a  sucker though, led by the masses to believe that my vote will make a difference, when in reality it probably won't. And I'm especially despondent that I voted for a fix the roads bond issue that was advertised that it would not raise taxes. I told my wife about it and she gave me a gentle sucker look.

One of the persons, my friend Joan, assumed that all her Facebook friends would vote for Democrats. I wonder if she would have encouraged me, knowing that I might not.

One person promised that their favorite candidate wouldn't be the nasty fellow that he was appearing to be in the campaign... and that, when elected, he'd become an advocate for all things good.

A colleague, Buck, and I once had a discussion about voting. I said, "Rich (I didn't call him "Buck" to his face), suppose that there were three candidates, A, B, and C. A was a popular and evil contender. B was not a favorite, but had a chance to keep the evil contender out of office. and C was brilliant, but didn't have a chance. Who would you vote for?

I said that it would be a waste of a vote to choose C. He said one always had the responsibility to vote for whom they believe is the best candidate. I asked if you had a chance to keep Hitler from being elected (supposedly in the first election that he won, he did so with only one vote), would you vote for someone better but not your favorite. He said absolutely no.

So where do we get these rules? I'll do this, but not that. I won't fight a small battle to prevent a bigger battle. I won't get sell a stock because it might go higher. I won't engage in politics because it is corrupt.

What a breath of fresh air it would be if we could just look at new situations for what they are. My friend told me today that when we see something more information goes to our visual cortex from our brain than from the object. We don't really "see," do we? 

Which leads to another question, "how should I vote?" Most people would say that, given a choice of voting for someone who'd benefit the country or benefit themselves (but not both) they'd say that good people should vote for those who'd benefit the country. I'll have to ask Buck if that's what one should do. Imagine if everyone voted for their own benefit. Wouldn't the greater good ultimately be served?


christopher said...

I was troubled by this post, especially the ending concerning self-interest as some kind of Ayn Rand like idealistic sense of creating "good". Today I read something by Terry Eagleton in Harpers that helped clarify my concern:

"The problem with market societies is that they erode the symbolic, affective dimensions of social existence, and thus have little chance of grappling their underlings to them with hoops of steel. They rely instead on the self-interest of their subjects. But self-interest is a notoriously faithless, fickle affair. It may inspire you to kick someone in the teeth as much as vote him into power."

This is, in my opinion, the problem with libertarianism and its anti-government stance. With the exception of the very rich (who manipulate everyone else to their own real self-interest of making and keeping as much money as possible) self interest as "good" can only function as idealism. In reality, without social structures including government (and taxation) you return to the feudalism that preceded--no middle class, no shared governance, no sense of community. Eventually all you have is power concentrated in the very few who then control everything--or just let it dissipate into chaos like in Arizona. Not a very good set of alternatives in my opinion.

Kim Mosley said...

More private charity (as a percentage of income) was given in the US when the government was smaller. This and similar texts allude to some country where government and taxes make things sweet. Where is that country? It isn't France. They are broke.