One often used reason that people bring up to justify their decision to vote during elections is that if they don’t vote, they give the worst candidates a better chance of winning. By voting for the candidate that’s less evil, they lessen the damage that will be done in the future — or so they think.
This reason to justify voting was even mentioned in the past by libertarian Murray Rothbard. What he describes below (source) is in essence what you’ll often hear from other people to justify their decision to vote.
Let’s put it this way: Suppose we were slaves in the Old South, and that for some reason, each plantation had a system where the slaves were allowed to choose every four years between two alternative masters. Would it be evil, and sanctioning slavery, to participate in such a choice? Suppose one master was a monster who systematically tortured all the slaves, while the other one was kindly, enforced almost no work rules, freed one slave a year, or whatever. It would seem to me not only not aggression to vote for the kinder master but idiotic if we failed to do so. Of course, there might well be circumstances—say when both masters are similar—where the slaves would be better off not voting in order to make a visible protest—but this is a tactical not a moral consideration. Voting would not be evil but, in such a case, less effective than the protest. But if it is morally licit and nonaggressive for slaves to vote for a choice of masters, in the same way it is licit for us to vote for what we believe the lesser of two or more evils, and still more beneficial to vote for an avowedly libertarian candidates.
To that, Samuel Edward Konkin III responded as follows:
Can you imagine slaves on a plantation sitting around voting for masters and spending their energy on campaigning and candidates when they could be heading for the “underground railway?” Surely they would choose the counter-economic alternative; surely Dr. Rothbard would urge them to do so and not be seduced into remaining on the plantation until the Abolitionist Slavemasters’ Party is elected.
Like Konkin argues, instead of voting at all, it would be better to focus our time and energy on looking for, and supporting, better alternatives! Participating in this system of enslavement benefits the system and only helps it to stay alive that much longer! While it may be difficult to completely stop participating in this anti-social system, especially these days, not voting requires no effort at all.
Looking at it another way, voting for the lesser of the evils, as Rothbard would like you to do, still means that you are voting for evil! It’s aggression and idiotic to do so. The better and more logical option is not to vote for evil at all! Rothbard was simply very wrong.
This is similar to how people often mention that “government is a necessary evil.” The belief that government is a necessary evil, is a belief that evil is necessary. And I don’t think I have to explain to you why that belief is a very dangerous and destructive belief to have. It really doesn’t make sense to think that way.
Consider this analogy: If a group of your friends would decide to team up and go rob a bank, and you were opposed to that idea, would you go along with them just to lessen the damage they could do? Would you think to yourself, “well gee, I don’t like this at all, but I better go with them and try to discourage them and try to lessen the damage they are going to do?” The answer is no, you wouldn’t, because you understand that you would be complicit in the crime they were about to perpetrate. You would choose not to participate at all. At least, assuming you wanted to do what’s morally right.
The same goes for voting during elections; by voting you give your consent to all the crimes that will be committed by those who are voted into power — crimes that will be perpetrated not only against you, but even against others who don’t want to take part in this anti-social system. You become part of a criminal enterprise, whether you realize it or not. The same goes for all those politicians running for office, all the representatives of parliament and indeed everyone working for government — no matter if they have positive intentions. You cannot take part in, and support, a system that is fundamentally evil, and expect to bring about a lasting positive outcome. Like Spock would say, “that’s highly illogical, captain.”
Like I mentioned in a previous post where I described in details exactly how this anti-social system enslaves us all:
If you realize what the purpose is of the anti-social system that we live in, you’ll do everything you can to stop participating in it. At the very least you’ll stop voting, because voting means giving your consent to this anti-social system being imposed on you and everyone else. It means giving your consent to injustice being committed on a grand scale, for example by legalized theft and extortion (known as “taxation”), legalized murder through warfare, and destructive interference in people’s lives. It means giving your consent to your own enslavement and that of everyone else. Even if you do agree with the system, voting means forcing this anti-social system on others who don’t want to take part in it. And that makes you part of a criminal enterprise whether you realize it or not.
So before you decide to vote for a new slavemaster, make sure you fully understand the philosophy of liberty.
Also make sure that you understand what this anti-social system that we now live in is all about. Read my post “Statism: A System for your Enslavement”, or head on over to my “Do Not Vote” website and check out the information provided there.