By Tyler Bauer
I know, I know, this is the exact opposite of what everyone else is telling you. With tomorrow being Election Day, nearly every media outlet is telling you to vote. “It’s your civic duty!” “This is the most important election of our lifetime!” “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain!” All of this is BS. I’ll give you two big reasons why you shouldn’t vote.
Voting is Irrational
As a pessimist, I feel the need to tell you that your vote probably doesn’t matter. Sure, there is the chance that your vote could decide an election. But that’s rare – so rare that someone made a (bad) movie about it. Your vote matters somewhat more in Congressional and local elections. Any time you decrease the amount of voters, the value of a single vote increases, but only slightly. Even in a relatively small state like Indiana, your vote for Senate is only one out of several million. Add to this other factors like the underlying party identification of a given district, and your vote is even less likely to matter.
If you won’t take my word on the futility in voting, take it from smarter people who have done far more research on this topic. In 1957, Anthony Downs wrote An Economic Theory of Democracy, in which he applied economic theory to politics. In applying economic theory to politics, one quickly realizes that voting is irrational. The time and effort it takes to vote – traveling to your voting place, standing in line, missing work or class, etc. – are far greater than the benefits of voting. In such a large group of people, your vote is unlikely to matter, so you’d be better off doing quite literally anything else. You’d be better off using that time and effort to clean your room, do laundry, get more work done, or even binge something on Netflix. By doing these, you’d at least be productive and/or happy, whereas with voting, you likely have no effect on the outcome of the election.
Put simply, voting is a waste of your time and effort.
*If you’d like more of an in-depth look at the rationality (or lack thereof) of voting, click here for an article that discusses a number of approaches to measuring the rationality of voting. At the end of the article is a long list of resources, some of which I’ve read before, that can give you more information on the topic.
Voting as an Act of Violence
This is the part where I get deep into libertarian theory and lose most of you. If you believe in the non-aggression principle (NAP) – the belief that one should not use force on another – then voting is an act of violence. When you vote, you are choosing who you want to govern over you and, by extension, everyone else. By voting, you are effectively forcing others to live under your chosen ruler and abide by your beliefs. If they don’t, your chosen leader can use force against them to imprison (or even kill) anyone who objects to his or her rule. (After all, the laws passed by your chosen leader will be enforced by the police, who will arrest law-breakers. And, if the law-breakers object to being arrested for breaking objectionable laws, violence – including lethal force – can and will be used. If you don’t believe me, look how protesters were treated when they objected to the enforcement of objectionable laws in the past.)
To be fair, when you vote, you aren’t throwing your neighbor in jail. You aren’t shooting someone for resisting arrest. You are making it all possible, though. By voting, you are aiding and abetting any and all violence carried out by the government. You are supporting the people who are responsible for jaywalking tickets and wars in the Middle East, and everything in between.
For more discussion on whether voting is a violent act, click here.