Is our only hope voter apathy?

Keith at ‘Pinch’ makes a well thought out set of arguments about why he will not be voting, saying the system is:

1. Unjust.
2. Creates political apathy
3. Creates losers.
4. Disenfranchises the majority.
5. Allows people to abdicate responsibility for the decision made in their communities.
6. Selects people to fund and organise violence against me and people in distant countries.

check it out – if it’s not already too late…


3 thoughts on “Is our only hope voter apathy?

  1. 1. The voting system is unjust, the only way to change this is to vote for a party that will change the voting system not to simply fail to vote.

    2. Contrary to Keiths contention, ignoring elections doesn’t ‘scare’ politicians. It scares (most) people who want to live in a country that is as fair as possible. People who get elected even if only 1% of the country turn out don’t question their mandate, they simply rule the way they see fit. And it’s no surprise since that means 99% of the electorate don’t care enough to tell them that they’re wrong.

    3. Creates losers. Yeah, it’s a shame that everyone can’t have everything work the way that they want. What a pity we can’t just agree that everyone is right! That’s what Jesus would do right? Well no. Jesus spoke against all sorts of people. He made them look bad, he made them into losers. The truth is that speaking against injustice always creates losers too, because those in power lose some of their ability to hurt the poor. But that’s a kind of loser that it’s ok to create. Incidentally, Keith seems to think that we put effort into silencing other peoples views. That’s not true of plenty of voters who only seek that the real voice of the people (including the voice of pacifists) get represented in the way the state is run.

    4.Disenfranchises the majority. In that case, why not vote for someone who wants electoral reform? Not voting doesn’t help enfranchise the majority, voting for electoral reform does.

    5. Allows people to abdicate responsibilities for the decisions made in their communities. These are bizarre. Not voting in the election for the person who will represent your community is exactly abdicating responsibility. Apart from that, it’s orthogonal. You can find excuses for not doing anything, but there’s no reason at all why people who vote should refuse to get involved in their local communities, and in fact, you often find that the politically active are exactly the ones working hardest in their local communities.

    6. War. This is also a nonsequitur. It’s perfectly possible for a modern state to reject war. The Japanese constitution, the French constitution, the German constitution, the Italian constitution all contain clauses rejecting the right of states to make war (to varying extents- the Japanese constitution doesn’t even allow it to wage a war of self defence at the moment). The way you get there from here is to make sure that the people making the decisions are as close to your opinion about how bad war is as possible.

    None of these arguments against voting make any kind of sense. Lots of them complain about our current system, but the complaints are made on the basis that representing the will of the majority is a good thing (points 1, 2, 4). If representing the will of the majority is a good thing, then there’s no excuse for taking yourself out of the system.

    The whole premise of democracy is that government is better when it reflects the views of the governed. You owe the rest of society the benefit of your views.

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