How to Vote
I have been inspired me to gather a group of voluntaryist media arts folks to create a documentary, "How to Vote Without Losing Friends: Works for Democrats AND Republicans, Non-Partisan!" It would basically explain a lot of what you did, but with graphics and parables and building tension until the final, real answer, is "have conversations to change behaviors rather than forcing change through politicians and violence."
(an EXTREMELY ROUGH one) is as follows, subject to (lots of) revision:
- Collect and create bits of media that illustrate the points in the FLOW described below
- Filter collected/created bits through community engagement (if you're reading this, you're part of the community)
- Wait for Dave or others he's asked for help to update this plan, but remain community engaged by providing suggestions.
- Assemble the best bits of media into a documentary with the following narration:
My sister asked me how I would vote. This was awkward for me because my view is quite difficult for most people to understand. I can't call myself a pacifist because I expect that I will hurt people to defend myself when they give me no other choice. Rather, I'm a voluntaryist, one who reserves the right to use responsive aggression to defend myself. Our society, the society of most places on our planet, uses a strategy of fear or threats to maintain order. At least that how most people see it. I think most people (95 - 99% of us) are good, kind, and loving, but damage can degrade those excellent qualities. Healing can improve them.
If you vote for one party, you're choosing that party's folks to add to or subtract from a man-made body of law. A law is basically a justification to make someone suffer because they did something we don't want anyone to do. In my mind, the justification is simply a failure. There are two senses in which the justification for creating suffering fails:
- A person who does something I don't like will be less motivated to please me after being made to suffer. Instead, their motivation will be to avoid me.
- A person has a brain that is the product of at least a billion years of trial and error genetic mutations to create something capable of comprehension. It is a secondary organ in a physiological sense, but it is one of the tools most effective at creating joy. The common strategy of threats and fear denigrates and ignores this organ.
A good leader engages with the ability for those listening to him to comprehend his rhetoric. He changes minds and those minds go out and change the world into a better world. Leaders who aren't so good may do exactly the same thing, but since they're less good, the world created through the actions of those they lead might be the same or worse than the world we already have.
If you pick and choose people for whom you vote, carefully selecting those you believe will make the best decisions, and you get enough people to join you, and you're correct about their decisions, those people that you helped to elect will still be adjusting a body of law, which remains a justification for creating suffering. What happens if no one adjusts the body of law? Will things just stay the same. I don't think so.
As man-made laws age, the suffering we create in response to those who break them gets lazier and sloppier. One of the best examples of this is the Federal Reserve Act which institutionalized the practice of printing monetary notes that have no backing. To be precise, they were backed for 10% of their value in gold, but that was only until 1933 when that fraction dropped because the U.S. Treasury assigned an ounce of gold the value of $35 instead of $25. In 1971, it disappeared altogether. The man made law was that when you print up a monetary note for an amount of gold that you don't actually have, you get hanged from a tree. That law has all but decayed into a dust mite's poop.
Stealing, however, continues to earn for its purveyor, the expectation of returning what was stolen and compensating the victim for any suffering the theft created. Sadly, this expectation is severely curtailed by the interference of man-made laws. Man-made law, it turns out, does us a lot more harm than good. It's a dangerous thing, and it has been hurting us for a long time.
If we just stop messing with man-made law, we will slowly learn to ignore it and pay more attention to our own innate goodness. Those who don't have innate goodness will either learn to fake it, or they will mess with more and more people until they run into someone that ends them. If there are man-made laws that you want people to obey, and you want to make people suffer for not obeying them, do that on your own, and please stop expecting me and so many other good people to help you create suffering for those who prefer not to obey them.
If you vote for a person, you're just choosing who messes with this dangerous thing. If you vote for or against a law, then YOU are messing with it, or at least trying to, and often fruitlessly. Even when your vote actually pushes the count to the point where something changes because of you, we still continue creating suffering to maintain social order, still decreasing motivation for people to behave better, and still debasing the value of their intelligence.
Have you heard of "Voting with your pocketbook?" I vote with my voice by talking and with my fingers by typing. I'm voting right now by speaking to everyone who will hear me. Rather than doing a thing once because it might help get people into a position to mess with man-made law, I speak and type every day to plant the seeds that can grow into greater peace for the world, and less justification for the creation of suffering. It seems much friendlier than voting for someone a good friend may have judged as a bad choice, and possibly losing that friend because politics creates so much emotion.
If you'd like to vote the way I do, have conversations to change behaviors rather than forcing change through politicians and violence.