Sunday, December 6, 2009


I used to believe that voting made a difference, that it was my duty to exercise my privilege to vote. The cry “No taxation without representation!” made sense. Today I would gladly give up my right to vote if I could be free of taxation, let alone the scads of other rules that govern, or threaten to, my private behavior.

Perhaps my first doubt about voting came after Enron collapsed, when I learned that Enron had made substantial contributions to candidates on both sides of more than one federal election. There’s no reason to believe that that is not common practice, and if it is, what good does voting do? Even if “my” candidate wins, he’s much more beholden to his big contributers than to me.

Another problem is sheer numbers: even if 99% of, say, Oregonians were to decide that abortion is murder and outlaw it, the Californians, New Yorkers, Pennsylvanians, and Massachusettsites would overrule them at the federal level and force them to keep it legal. When a decision is made at the ward level, you only need to sell your idea to a few dozen people to get it enacted. If it’s made at the county level, you have to convince hundreds—if you’re in Malheur County; in Multnomah County, you’d have to convince hundreds of thousands. At the federal level, you have to convince dozens of millions. If, as Jesus promised us, our views will always be in the minority, we can pretty much guarantee that whatever is under federal jurisdiction will go against us.

On that basis, then, I have concluded that every vote for a losing candidate or referendum is a wasted vote. And if I can expect to be in the minority on almost every issue, voting itself is a waste.

The fundamental hurdle we Christians who love liberty face is theological. There are only two religions, Jesus and everything else, and those religions have two fundamentally different operating principles, grace and power, respectively. If this is so, then non-Christians are by definition power religionists. Government is always raw power; it cannot be gracious, though sometimes government officials operating ex officio can be.

People who believe in power look to control the most powerful entity they can so they can get their way; this is why they are always looking to expand federal jurisdiction and even trying to build a one-world government in their own image. And once in power, elected officials at all levels have every incentive to buy votes—always “for the common good,” of course: there is good evidence that all expansions of federal power, Democrat and Republican, have been enacted by elected officials who truly believed that they were doing what was right. If we are to reverse the erosion of our freedoms, part of our job is to show people that power politics is not the best way for them to get what they want out of life.

(I also need to say somewhere that our primary goal is not to free people from earthly bondage, whether to drugs, pornography, or tyranny. Rather, we are to be introducing them to Jesus. I like to think that showing them how grace and freedom work in everyday life would be a good way to till the soil for showing them their need for forgiveness from God and for his power to live life to the fullest, but God saves whom he will, and he has certainly saved many without tilling the soil my way.)

Unfortunately, too many Christians want to play the power politics game. For example, though government schools are power politics par excellance, Christians want to take control of them, specifically of the curriculum, rather than working to defund them completely. They want to sanitize Social Security, another product of power politics, by making it impossible for homosexuals and single people to designate the recipients of their benefits, rather than defunding it. As a result, we are seen as simply another bunch of baby birds, competitors for Artemis’ nipples, wanting to make others pay for our programs, instead of people who simply want to be left alone to “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.”

Ben Franklin, asked what kind of government he and his friends had established, replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.” Would he say we have kept it? If not, when would he say we lost it? If so, how is it that most of our fellow citizens think we’re “going the wrong way”? Either way, are we better off trying to gain control of a power structure that has run amok or declaring the whole thing illegitimate and working to get it out of our lives?

To declare our government legitimate because it is “a constitutional republic” or that it’s the best government the world has ever seen is to say that people are bound by contracts they did not sign: specifically, we are bound by a constitution that was signed before we were born, one that the politically powerful have the ability to violate at will.

And we should remember that the Declaration of Independence stated that the goal of the secession was that the colonies become “free and independent states,” not “a republic,” one nation, under God or otherwise. Franklin and his gang staged the most successful fraud in our history when they drafted the Constitution instead of revising the Articles of Confederation.

To declare it illegitimate is one step toward declaring lex rex: “the law is king,” and no one—no politician and no armed agent thereof—is above it; no one has the right to take the life, liberty, or property of another.

Not even by majority vote.

1 comment:

  1. You are indeed very perspicacious.I am by nature a dead set contrarian but I find it very difficult to disagree with you.
    Voting only legitimates the "advance auction of stolen goods" as one writer puts it.
    Defunding the beast is the only only way to achieve our goal. As you say, there are only 2 religions, true Christianity and all the others.There is only one rightful government, that is God's Kingdom ruled by his Son Jesus, the only king I am aware of in history who sacrificed his life to save his subjects.