This Blog Has Moved!

My blog has moved. Check out my new blog at realfreemarket.org.



Your Ad Here

Thursday, July 5, 2007

The Voting Scam

The average person does not vote at all. They have correctly figured out that voting is a waste of time. It's more productive to spend an hour on some other useful activity, rather than spending an hour voting.

Voting is a lie that's used to trick people into complacency. The argument is "If you don't like the way things are, then vote for someone else." However, the two mainstream candidates are usually both lousy. Typically, both candidates are funded by the same wealthy people and corporations. The only difference is that the candidate who is more likely to win receives a larger bribe.

For example, in the Presidential election of 1912, all three candidates were advocates for a banking reform bill. All three bills had nearly identical language. This banking reform bill created the Federal Reserve.

People who want to cause social change and improvements have their energy funneled into the wasteful activity of voting and advocating for specific candidates.

It's almost impossible to mobilize the 50% of people you would need to get support for a promising candidate. There are all sorts of dirty tricks that can be used. For example, Ron Paul is gaining popularity on the Internet. If he starts getting mainstream success, another libertarian candidate will emerge and split Ron Paul's support. That trick was used to get Schwarzenegger elected as governor of California. In the special recall election, the democrats fielded several candidates, but the republicans all supported Schwarzenegger.

One defect is in the winner-take-all voting system. Instant runoff voting has defects, although it is preferable to winner-take-all. The best system is called "range voting". Each voter rates each candidate on a preference scale of 0-100. The candidate with the highest average approval is the winner. This is the only system that allows people to support third party candidates without detracting from their support for a mainstream candidate.

Another reform is to allow several candidates to be elected from each district, as is done in Europe. Consider a state that gets 20 seats in the House of Representatives. In the current system, a candidate must get 50% in one district to gain a seat. Gerrymandering makes it even harder. If all 20 Representatives were elected statewide, it would only take 5% of the vote to elect someone to office. Such a reform would benefit third party formation. There is no chance that such a reform will occur.

The probability of election reform is zero. The people who control the election rules are the ones who benefit from the current system.

Some people say that a grassroots campaign resembles slaves petitioning their masters to be less cruel.

There are all sorts of defects with the election system.

1. A candidate cannot get to 50% support without all the free advertising in the form of television news and newspaper coverage. Whenever Clinton or Guliani are mentioned as front-runners, that's effectively a free advertisement for them. Other candidates can be censored just by being ignored. The argument of mainstream media is "we shouldn't spend time covering candidates who have no chance of winning", but that just makes it a self-fulfilling policy.

2. Corporations and wealthy donors support both candidates in an election. The choice of an election is a false choice.

3. If a non-approved candidate gains sufficient popularity, other candidates with similar views can be promoted. This will split their support and guarantee that an approved candidate will win.

For example, in the Presidential election of 1992 and 1996, Perot drew support from republicans and guaranteed that Clinton won. In 2000, Nader drew support from democrats and guaranteed that Bush won. A third party candidate with sufficient support can prevent the mainstream candidate he most resembles from winning.

4. The winner-take-all system guarantees that third parties can't be effectively formed. Without electing candidates to office, a third party movement dies. If the platform of a third party starts being popular, a mainstream candidate will adopt a tiny fraction of the platform and attract votes.

In a Presidential election, the winner-take-all system means that many votes are irrelevant. For example, California is almost certain to be majority democratic in the next Presidential election. Effectively, people in California do not get to vote in the Presidential election because the outcome was predetermined. It does not matter if the democratic candidate wins California with 55% or 80%.

5. In a closely contested election, 1 vote is less than the sampling error in the polling system. If a major election is decided by 10 or fewer votes, the election is more likely to be decided by a legal dispute than an actual vote count, as happened in the 2000 Presidential election.

6. With electronic voting and anonymous voting, it's impossible to verify that the election results weren't tampered with. Even paper voting is abusable. For example, there's no way to tell that a dead person didn't vote. The only way to conduct a verifiable election is to publish a list of who voted for whom.

Besides, what right does a majority of 51% have to confiscate my wealth? Anyone with productivity equal or below average can vote to confiscate the wealth of more productive people. The income tax does not hurt wealthy people; it hurts productive people. Wealthy people have the ability to use tax loopholes to avoid taxation. Corporations pass on their taxation expense as higher prices. Wealthy people have the ability to get the government to pass laws giving them special perks; the value of these perks exceed the campaign contributions (bribes) and income taxes paid.

Some people estimate that the rate of return for political campaign contributions is 10,000% or more. That money comes from somewhere. It comes from the wealth confiscated by government activities.

The people with extreme wealth can control the candidates presented for election. Their government perks allow them to confiscate the wealth of people who are productive but not wealthy. They promise token amounts of welfare to the poor to get them complacent and so they vote for the current system. A lot of poor people would be better off under an economic system that was fair but had no welfare.

People say "the government is legitimate because of elections" and "governments without elections are not legitimate". The voting system is defective and corrupt. The current system is the functional equivalent of a system without any elections at all. Therefore, I conclude that the government is not legitimate.

People are tricked into thinking that by advocating one candidate or another, they will accomplish genuine change and improvement. People who sincerely want to improve things have their efforts wasted and frustrated. Is it possible to redirect their efforts into a more productive alternative?

15 comments:

Broadlighter said...

So are suggesting 'We The People' revolt?

Broadlighter said...

Are you suggesting that 'We The People' revolt?

FSK said...

A violent revolt would not be successful. It would be pointless. A direct one-on-one violent confrontation with the bad guys is not feasible at this time.

I actually do have a recommended solution, but I wasn't planning on mentioning it until later posts.

The solution is for people to do productive work and not report it to the government for taxation, confiscation, and regulation. This would create a pool of wealth outside the control of the bad guys.

That's the key most people miss. A winning revolt should be about creating wealth, not destroying wealth.

People would develop a private monetary system. I recommend a Social Credit system based on any form of non-fiat money. You can use gold, silver, hours of labor, or other barter credits. In a Social Credit system you don't even need physical gold or silver, as long as everyone keeps a balance near zero.

People need to develop their own private justice system and not rely on the government's corrupt system.

It would have to be leaderless resistance, so it could not be infiltrated or subverted. A dictatorship organization is inefficient. It would have to be distributed.

The legal basis for the new economic system is that all transactions would be, legally, gifts. If I make a shirt and sell it to you, that's a taxable transaction. If I make a shirt and give it to you, that's not taxable. There would be a system for making sure gifts given approximately equal gifts received, i.e. money. As long as the total amount of gifts you give to one person in a year is under $10,000, it is not reportable or taxable. In practice, you probably could do more if you trusted your trading partner to not keep records or tell the government.

This philosophy is nonviolent resistance. You do productive work and don't tell the government. By avoiding all taxation and regulatory hassles, your productivity will be increased by 50-90% or more.

It turns out that large factories are inefficient. Most goods can be more efficiently produced by a few people working in their basement. A large corporation is optimized for exploiting workers and extracting perks from the government.

A system needs to be developed for matching buyers and sellers. You need to make sure you only trade with people who won't rat you out to the bad guys.

This philosophy is called "agorism", mentioned elsewhere on the Internet. I have my own description of how it would work. I've already written drafts, but I wasn't planning on posting them for another 2-3 months until I finished all the prerequisite posts.

Rabbit Tree said...

Very interesting!

FSK said...

According to Google Analytics, this post has been my most popular, by a huge margin.

Are people interested in reading more about my analysis of "agorism"? I have several good drafts, but I don't have them scheduled to be posted for awhile. I was planning to post on other topics first, such as the Social Credit monetary system. An agorist community would probably use a Social Credit monetary system, because Social Credit money doesn't require a centralized issuing authority.

My Google Analytics stats are interesting. I didn't think this would be a popular post. One of my favorite posts, "The Five Levels of the Economy" has been hardly read at all.

BROKEN LADDER said...

Corporations and wealthy donors support both candidates in an election. The choice of an election is a false choice.

No it's not. I can vote for Eddie Vedder if I want to.

In any case, the solution to this conundrum is Range Voting.

http://RangeVoting.org/

FSK said...

You can vote for anybody you choose. If that candidate has not been supported by the mainstream television and newspapers, that candidate has no chance of winning.

How exactly do you plan on getting the range voting reform passed? I don't see any elections for Congress or the President that use range voting.

I agree that range voting is a more sound basis for an election system than winner-take-all, only vote for 1 candidate, which is the current system. However, I doubt that more than 5% of the population is capable of understanding why range voting is better. You certainly aren't going to get 50% of the population to become strong advocates for range voting.

Besides, even if range voting were allowed, what right does a majority of 51% have to impose income taxes on me? What right does a majority of 51% have to force me to use worthless fiat money?

Even if range voting were allowed, with anonymous voting, how can you verify the election results weren't faked?

I'm afraid that advocating for range voting is wasting your time. There is no chance of passing that reform. I'm not convinced that the range voting reform would accomplish anything.

You're free to waste your time talking about range voting and advocating for specific candidates. If you want to do something actually useful, you should look elsewhere.

After careful analysis, I've come to the conclusion that setting up an agorist economy is the only reform with a nonzero chance of success.

TZ said...

I live in Australia which has compulsory voting for over 18's.

The "sham democracy" follows the same faults here.

I am of the opinion that true democracy is a combination of

1) being able to vote on issues - one issue at a time (rather than every 3 or 4 years being able to vote for your dictator). The media and money power manipulates public opinion and therefore the vote means almost nothing. Besides, both of the sides in the unfairly two-party manipulated system only vary slightly in strategy, but both serve the same underlying policy which is not up for negotiation - the centralization of power.

A number of years ago, a man named Albert Langer publicised a method by which one could vote without rolling up preferences to one of the big two (Labour & Liberal in Australia). Immediately after that particular election, legislation was enacted to make Langers method an 'informal vote'.
(informal means wrong and therefore not counted).

2) most issues have more than 2 alternatives, and yet we are constantly bashed with an either/or else scenario.

3) freedom in association means very little unless one has the right to contract out. (ie. why should I have to vote when I believe there is no suitable candidate?)

FSK said...

Direct democracy is just as defective as representative democracy. For example, direct democracy could impose a $1000/post tax on bloggers. Such a measure would pass if less than 50% of the population liked to post on the Internet.

I researched Albert Langer. Australia uses Instant Runoff Voting. Langer was advocating that people write "1" on the minor party they supported and "2" on all other candidates. At the time, it was considered to be a crime to advocate that people do this. Now, if someone votes that way, their ballot is disqualified as an improper vote.

If you analyze what Langer was doing, he was essentially performing a Range Vote under an instant runoff system.

I say that voting has no validity at all. What right do other people have to force me to use a corrupt monetary system? What right do other people have to force me to pay income taxes? The income tax is bad because it's an unavoidable tax. Anytime I work, I must pay income taxes and support the bad guys. All I accomplish by working harder is that I make the bad guys more powerful.

Besides, in a valid election system, "There should be no government at all." should always be one of the choices.

I read an interesting post elsewhere about compulsory voting in Australia. Someone decided to stop voting, just to see what would happen. He received several threatening letters and he ignored them. Nothing else happened.

BROKEN LADDER said...

How exactly do you plan on getting the range voting reform passed? I don't see any elections for Congress or the President that use range voting.

The first four U.S. Presidential elections essentially used Approval Voting, the simplest form of Range Voting. All it would take to get Approval Voting is to change the rule from "vote for one" to "vote for one or more". Way simpler, and better, than plurality or IRV.

And if IRV (or at least simplified variants of it) can be adopted in major cities across the U.S. (e.g. San Francisco and Oakland), there's no reason we can't implement a better simpler system, with better education, and ballot initiatives.

I agree that range voting is a more sound basis for an election system than winner-take-all

Range Voting is a single-winner voting method. For multi-winner elections there is Reweighted Range Voting and Asset Voting.

However, I doubt that more than 5% of the population is capable of understanding why range voting is better.

Indeed, many proponents of Instant Runoff Voting (who already want a different voting method) can't understand this. I've taken quite a lot of advanced math while studying computer engineering in college, and it still took me a week of debating a Princeton math Ph.D. to understand why Range was better than Condorcet. But I think that's why you have to sell the lay voter with the simpler benefits, like eliminating spoilers, and giving third parties a fair shot.

You certainly aren't going to get 50% of the population to become strong advocates for range voting.

I disagree, considering that IRV is a poorer and more expensive/complex system, and it has still won out in many areas.

Besides, even if range voting were allowed, what right does a majority of 51% have to impose income taxes on me?

Good point. But Range Voting will still objectively make you more happy, on average, with election results, regardless of your political stripe. This is essentially because it reduces the amount of random chaotic skew between what voters say they want, and what the election method actually picks.

What right does a majority of 51% have to force me to use worthless fiat money?

Use the Liberty Dollar. :)

Or use some Chaum-based anonymous digital currency system.

Even if range voting were allowed, with anonymous voting, how can you verify the election results weren't faked?

Here are two relatively simple ways:

http://RangeVoting.org/Rivest3B.html
http://scantegrity.com/

But fraud is statistically "irrelevant" in severity compared to bad voting methods, so if we could either

A) eliminate all fraud
or
B) use Range Voting, without doing anything about fraud

then option B would by far be the better option.

I'm afraid that advocating for range voting is wasting your time. There is no chance of passing that reform.

The alternative is intolerable, so there's really little choice. And especially for third parties, you either have to work to get Range Voting, or just stop running candidates.

I'm not convinced that the range voting reform would accomplish anything.

Range Voting accomplishes a LOT. See the list of benefits at RangeVoting.org

Range Voting is a comparable improvement over plurality voting, as plurality is over non-democratic random selection (say, by accident of birth).

Michael Badnarik, as well as the Libertarian Reform Caucus both support Range Voting.

FSK said...

I have an upcoming draft on the Liberty Dollar. I read the Liberty Dollar specification and I'm deeply offended. The Liberty Dollar gives alternative monetary systems a bad name.

There are two defects with Liberty Dollars. First, the amount of silver backing each Liberty Dollar is decreased as the price of silver increases. That completely defeats the purpose. Second, even if you do transactions in Liberty Dollars, you have to pay income taxes in Federal Reserve Notes based on the value of the transactions. Legally, it is impossible to boycott Federal Reserve Notes completely.

Since someone brought it up, I might as well publish my scathing criticism of Liberty Dollars now. That's a separate post.

I would value a Liberty Dollar silver coin based on the spot price of silver, no more. I would refuse a paper Liberty Dollar, unless I knew I could immediately redeem it for physical silver; in that case, I'd value it based on the price of silver.

When I have time, I'll look up the anonymous digital currency reference. I don't think that completely anonymous currency is desirable. I prefer the opposite, the Social Credit system, where there's an audit trail for all the money that's backed by me. If I'm making a grey market transaction, I need to trust my trading partner. I need to know my trading partner won't rat me out to the red market.

There is an alternative to Range Voting. It's the idea that government has no legitimacy whatsoever.

I have another unfinished draft that is a criticism of Libertarians. The Libertarian party is designed to cater to people who are fed up with big government, but haven't come to the conclusion that government itself is the problem. Libertarians want to try and make the government smaller. The Libertarian party is designed to distract people away from the idea that government itself is the problem. The Libertarian holds out the false hope that the government will voluntarily restrain its own power.

Who needs a government at all?

Debating alternate voting systems is like debating how much lubricant a rapist should use. I suggest that people should not be raped at all, and everyone acts as if that's a totally bizarre notion.

TZ said...

Well said FSK!

However, don't forget that even government are the servants of International Finance - backed by their ability to tax their own people!

TZ said...

The American government, for instance, relinquished its constitutional responsibility in 1913 by handing over all their rights to issue money - to a private business, The Federal Reserve Bank, which is now its master.

CorkyAgain said...

Another form of counter-economics is frugality -- opting out of the consumerist lifestyle and thus the need to sell yourself out as a wage slave.

Reducing our need for wages is a way to reduce the income taxes we pay. Consuming less means paying less in sales taxes.

Frugality also means not buying on credit. This means not exacerbating the compound interest paradox.

Anonymous said...

What kind of democracy do we have? I don't think is a democracy at all. How about industrial totalitarianism or fascism or communism? I come from an ex-communist country. They use to vote there as well, however there was an option between person A and B with no connection with you. Same here.

direct democracy means you can vote on any law. It has pros and cons.. How many laws will stand .. how many people will agree with gay people or police fines?

representative democracy means when somebody represent u and take decisions in your name.. Now lets say you are a homeless or without a job. According to statistics there are about 6-10% without a job.. That means 10% of senate shoud come from this people.

This Blog Has Moved!

My blog has moved. Check out my new blog at realfreemarket.org.