Nashville Tennessean Denounces My Cynicism

b3-happiness-ah_s640x622-wash-times-happiness-index-illustrationAn editorial headlined, “Your Time is Coming – Make it Count”  in Sunday’s Nashville Tennessean denounced my bad attitude:

Staunch libertarian James Bovard cynically decries efforts to promote participation in elections, saying, “Trumpeting the importance of voting deludes people into thinking that they have a leash on the government.”

We could not more vehemently disagree. When we don’t pay due attention to the “down ballot” races, where we elect those who serve in capacities that often have the most impact on our lives, then we are abdicating our role in making democracy work. And because so many choose not to participate in these elections, we cede our future to the few who take the time to show up.

I’m bummed that they didn’t include this line from Attention Deficit Democracy: “In politics, ‘positive thinking’ is often a slave’s virtue, something people do to delude themselves about the burdens and chains being placed upon them.”

Here’s another line that from that book that would probably not pass muster with them: “Instead of revealing the will of the people,’ election results are often only a one-day snapshot of transient mass delusions.”  (I’m glad they don’t have that problem in Tennessee.)

And one more “fail” – “Rather than a democracy, we increasingly have an elective dictatorship. People are merely permitted to choose who will violate the laws and the Constitution.”

Or maybe they could work this line from Freedom in Chains into one of their editorials on ObamaCare: “Paternalism is a desperate gamble that lying politicians will honestly care for those who fall under their power.”

Or, from the same work – “A successful politician is often merely someone who caged more votes than the other liar running for office.”

How about “The effort to find a political mechanism  to force government to serve the people is the modern search for the Holy Grail” ?

Or – ” The ability to push a lever and register a protest once every few years is supposedly all the protection a citizens’ liberties need – or deserve” ?

Or perhaps -“The fiction of majority rule has become a license to impose nearly unlimited controls on the majority and everybody else” ?

And this line from Terrorism & Tyranny would almost certainly fail their Uplift Test: “Citizens should distrust politicians who distrust freedom.”

But sometimes voting is worthwhile.  For instance, I went out to the polling booth in November 2012 in part because I was out of beer and had to make a jaunt down the road anyhow.

And there are a few politicians – like Ron Paul – who I would make the effort to vote for even if my fridge was fully stocked with good brew.  And I have voted against plenty of ballot initiatives to boost government spending or enable the government to stuff more people into prison.

I hope the voters who are inspired to vote by the Tennessean editorial can wisely select honest candidates who will not trample the law and plunder the till.

But if I was a betting man…. And, unfortunately, “A democratic government that respects no limits on its own power is a ticking time bomb, waiting to destroy the rights it was created to protect.”

[the illustration is from the Washington Times]


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19 Responses to Nashville Tennessean Denounces My Cynicism

  1. Rick Hanson March 31, 2014 at 10:29 pm #

    “When the master is holding elections, we should all vote. Don’t allow only the few who take the time to show up at the polls to decide which of us the master will smite. If all of us voted, we’d be living the dream!” WTH?!

    • Jim March 31, 2014 at 10:34 pm #

      I especially liked this line from the Tennessean editorial: “When we don’t pay due attention to the “down ballot” races, where we elect those who serve in capacities that often have the most impact on our lives, then we are abdicating our role in making democracy work.”

      And what about when the winners betray their promises and trample voters’ constitutional rights?

      I have not followed the Tennessean’s editorials but I wonder if they have vigorously investigated and persistently denounced local govt. abuses.

  2. Jim March 31, 2014 at 10:50 pm #

    Ironically, this blog entry has already generated more comments online than did the Tennessean’s editorial.

    Maybe quoting that “leash on the government” line made newspaper readers apathetic as well as cynical?

  3. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit April 1, 2014 at 10:42 am #

    I’m surprised you missed the clout shot: That they allege it’s about “making democracy work” is the clearest indicator possible that the last vestiges of the old Republic have been swept away. But yeah, actively choosing who gets to wear the boot that’s kicking me in the squirrels is EVER so much more civic and responsible.

    And who was it who said that if voting could actually make a difference they’d make it illegal?…

  4. Tom Blanton April 1, 2014 at 8:12 pm #

    Those that see government as the salvation of the human race seem to believe that higher voter turnout results in better government. I presume they believe that if 100% of the population voted, a perfect government would exist, bringing utopia to our lives. This might not be as retarded (can I say that word here?) as it may seem considering that, for those who might prefer no government, society might become a little more utopian if there was 0% voter turnout.

    That would make democracy work for me.

    I’ll bet the Tennessean would have something to say about poll workers seeking to achieve the no vote goal – even if there was no physical contact.

    • Jim April 1, 2014 at 10:42 pm #

      But if only more District of Columbia residents had voted in today’s primary, D.C. would finally have an honest govt.!

      Speaking of representative democracy – have you gone to any of the new Va. governor’s $100,000 “policy access” breakfasts yet, Tom? I hope they at least provide real maple syrup for the pancakes.

  5. Tom Blanton April 2, 2014 at 7:56 pm #

    I haven’t been to any of these fancy breakfasts yet, but I think real maple syrup costs extra – probably not much, maybe 2 or 3 grand.

  6. D. W. Sabin April 7, 2014 at 11:23 am #

    $100 k “Policy Breakfasts” ? The first policy is to never spend more than $14 on breakfast. The fact that this
    might be occurring under Terry McAuliffe, Bag Man of cheery distinction is hardly surprising. Government is now little more than the enormously rich throwing gobs of vanity money at the worst investment of their lives . The Time Share in the Lincoln Bedroom comes to mind.

    Heaps of Fiat Money are building, predictably, a Fiat Government. Dress a rat in Brooks Brothers and their twitching whiskers still betray them.

    “Public Servants” ehhh?

    • Tom Blanton April 7, 2014 at 8:17 pm #

      Yo, if you wanna play, you gotta pay. Terry Mac is the man, motivational speaker to all grifters and investment adviser to players keeping it real, yo. I mean you could go eat Tricky Ricky Cantor’s $5,000 bagel breakfast, but you’d be better off with with a McMuffin, know what I’m saying? Mac Daddy is the dude spreading the wealth thick. Buy one large MacBreakfast and get a free State MacContract.

      • The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit April 8, 2014 at 10:16 am #

        It’s like a Happy Meal for Big Kids!

        • Jim April 8, 2014 at 10:36 am #

          And it’s tax deductible besides!

      • Jim April 8, 2014 at 10:35 am #

        I suppose the Virginia government will not be hiring any hecklers, so I have no reason to pay $$$$ to pursue a state contract there.

        • The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit April 9, 2014 at 10:22 am #

          But what if you marketed yourself as an anti-heckler heckler? Politicians and bureaucrats tend to be fairly slow of wit (except in matters of self-preservation) and they might like having the ability to pick up a phone and have you on tap to supply a verbal curbstomping to someone who’s picking on them for their inconsistent, self-serving ways!

          Alternatively, convince them that by having you on the payroll they’d be immunizing themselves from your hecklation activities – much like an an attorney is conflicted from representing clients on both sides of a case.

          • Jim April 9, 2014 at 12:08 pm #

            Instead of anti-heckler heckler services, maybe I could simply offer to protect congressmen against the release of videos of them dry-humping their aides.

          • The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit April 9, 2014 at 1:42 pm #

            I hope not the same way a soldier protects his squadmates from a grenade….

  7. Jim April 9, 2014 at 1:44 pm #

    Not a chance of that. My liability policy coverage does not include congressional aides.

  8. Robert April 22, 2014 at 9:28 am #

    I like Frank Chodorov, “Don’t vote. It only encourages them.”