Consent to Tyranny: Transcript of Library Talk on 10/25/2012 - by Mark E. Smith
Local author Mark E. Smith discusses two essays "The Counterrevolutionary Constitution" and "You've Got to Stop Voting” from his controversial work, "Consent to Tyranny: Voting in the USA."
Part of San Diego Public Library project: "Searching for Democracy: A Public Conversation about the Constitution."
Location: Central Public Library, 820 E St. San Diego CA 92101
Good afternoon, good people, and thank you for caring enough about our country and our Constitution to attend this series. I'm an election boycott advocate,one of those apathetic people who doesn't vote, and I'm going to tell you why I don't vote, why I don't think you should either, and why I say that voting in the United States is consent to tyranny. If you've already voted in this election, please don't feel badly--you'll have another opportunity to make the same mistake again in 2016. Or perhaps, once you've heard what I have to say, and have a few years to think about it, you might not want to make the same mistake again.
Before I became an elections boycott advocate, I was first a voter for many years, and then an election integrity activist, joining with others locally and nationally in observing elections, doing research on election codes and laws, filing public records requests, and bringing litigation in attempts to ensure that our votes would be counted. It isn't enough to vote--I wanted our votes to be counted, because an uncounted vote isn't really a vote. It took me six years to understand that there is no way we can ensure that our votes are counted because the Constitution of the United States had not ensured our right to have our votes counted, and had even ensured that our votes did not have to be counted and could not influence public policy. The Constitution had vested power in the government, not in the people, and I was not living in a democracy at all. I was living in a tyranny, not in a democratic country where votes had to be counted and could influence policy. That's when I stopped voting and became an election boycott advocate. I'm happy to say that there are now many other election boycott advocates, activists, and organizers, nationwide. The success of an election boycott depends upon a majority of voters understanding the meaning, purpose, and necessity of the boycott, and many will not listen to any message about not voting, so even if you disagree vehemently with everything I say, I hope that you'll do me the courtesy of listening. You'll have a chance to voice your differences during the Q&A, but before we go any further, I'll define what I mean by the phrase "democratic form of government," and by the word "supreme."
My dictionary says that supreme means dominant, highest in degree, and ultimate. Both my dictionary and my political science books also tell me that a democratic form of government is one where supreme power over government, supreme meaning dominant, highest in degree, and ultimate, is vested in the hands of the people.
You can't have a partly democratic form of government, or a somewhat democratic form of government. Either supreme power is vested in the hands of the people or it isn't. If it isn't, you have an undemocratic form of government or tyranny. It may be a benevolent tyranny, but it is still not a democratic form of government.
There are two basic types of democratic forms of government, both of which are characterized by supreme power over government being vested in the hands of the people. In a democracy, the people exercise their supreme power directly, and in a republic the people exercise their supreme power indirectly, through their elected representatives. Obviously we're not a democracy, but many people seem to think that we're a republic where we can exercise our supreme power through our elected representatives. Of course to exercise your supreme power through your elected representatives, you have to have supreme power over them in the first place, and I contend that the Constitution did not give the people of the United States any power over our elected federal representatives at all. None.
I can give you a situation in which I do have some power. If my credit card is stolen, all I have to do is report it and the card will be canceled immediately and I'll only be responsible for a small amount, perhaps fifty dollars, of the debts incurred by the thief. But how would you feel if you phoned to report a stolen credit card and were told, "We're sorry. The law says that we cannot cancel your credit card for four years from the time you report it, and during those four years, you will be fully and personally responsible for all debts incurred by the thief." Do you think anyone would accept a credit card under those terms? Of course not. But those are the contractual conditions the Constitution sets out between us and our elected federal officials. If they incur debts without consulting us and against our will, we cannot remove them from office to stop them from incurring further debts, and we, and our children and grandchildren, are responsible for any further debts they incur during their remaining time in office. We can ask Congress to impeach them, because the Constitution gave Congress the sole power to remove, through the impeachment process, federal officials, but while they have removed a few district judges, they have never in the history of the United States, removed a sitting President, Vice-President, or Member of Congress from office by impeachment. Our other alternative is to wait until their terms of office, the only time that they can incur debts for which we are responsible and the only time that they are needed to represent us, are up, and then attempt to elect different representatives whom we also will not be able to hold accountable. While they are in office, they have power over us, but we have no power over them.
Of course we can petition, protest, and do all the other things that people do when they are oppressed by tyrants. But we have no power over tyrants so we can't compel them to represent us or to act in our best interests. We can beg, demand, have temper tantrums, and hold our breaths until we're blue in the face, but we cannot exercise power over them because we have no power over them--the Constitution didn't give us any. If we had supreme power over them, the minute they violated their oaths of office or betrayed their constituents, we could fire them and replace them with people we hoped would be more responsible, and if they didn't turn out that way, we could fire them also, and keep doing it until we got representatives who would represent us. If they're running up debts in our name that we didn't authorize, we should have that power, because they're thieves, no different than credit card thieves. How is it that we don't?
This situation doesn't appear to be what the writers of the Declaration of Independence intended. They wrote that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and that whenever governments became destructive of the unalienable rights, safety, and happiness of the governed, it is the right and the duty of the governed to alter or abolish such governments and institute better ones. Only in the case of a tyranny, an unjust government, would violent revolution be necessary, because in a democratic form of government where all men are equal and supreme power is vested in the hands of the people, the people would have the power to alter or abolish the government nonviolently. In some countries, I'm told, they have something called a vote of no confidence, and if the people vote no confidence in a government, that government must step down and be replaced with a different one. We have no such mechanism here.
The Constitution of the United States was written by people who were opposed to democracy, which they saw as rule by the mob and rabble. They believed that power should be vested in those who were already the most powerful, the wealthiest people, those who owned the country, because they, being exactly that sort of people themselves, felt themselves best qualified and having the most right to run the country. But if they had asked for the consent of the governed, they wouldn't have gotten it. Many people had come here because they were tired of being ruled by the wealthy tyrants of Europe, and they really didn't want to be ruled by tyrants any more. They wanted freedom and democracy. That was, for many, the reason that they'd fought the revolution for independence from England.
So a group of wealthy and powerful people got together, formed a political party called the Federalists, and devised a way to betray the revolution and establish a tyranny where power would be vested in the hands of the government rather than in the hands of the people. Since they knew they couldn't gain the consent of the governed, they didn't ask for it. They intended to govern everyone, including blacks, women, the working class, the poor, and even slaves and indentured servants, but they certainly weren't going to ask that mob and rabble for their consent to be governed. What they did instead was to convene a Constitutional Convention to which they invited only 74 rich and powerful people like themselves. There was no mass media in those days, so most people not only weren't invited to the Convention, they didn't even know it was happening.
Of the 74 white, male, landowning, often slaveowning, wealthy elites who were invited to the Convention in Philadelpha by the Federalists, only 55 showed up. Some may have had other commitments, and some may have thought it an unconscionable power grab that they wanted nothing to do with.
Of the 55 who attended, only 39 ended up signing the Constitution. And of those 39, some were not representing the people they were supposed to represent. Benjamin Franklin, for example, was sent to the Convention to present an anti-slavery petition, but he saw that if he presented it, it would cause divisiveness, so it never left his pocket. And afterwards, he flat out lied and told a woman that the Constitution had given us a republic, when he knew full well that it had given us neither a democracy nor a republic. Franklin was one of the most intelligent, educated men in the country, and he knew the meaning of the word republic, so he knew that the Constitution hadn't given us one. But he wanted it to be accepted and ratified, so he lied, just as he had failed to present the anti-slavery petition with which he had been entrusted. He may have had good intentions, but I think we all know where that road often leads.
After the Convention, the delegates were supposed to return to their states and report back, but the Convenors knew that no state legislature would ratify a Constitution that took supreme power away from the people and the states, and vested it in a federal government. So they devised their own means of ratification and wrote it into the Constitution as Article Seven. They convened their own state conventions, invited their own people, and bypassed the state legislatures. It then appeared to each of the states that several other states were banding together to impose power over them, so they felt they had no choices other than to join the union or be subordinated to it. They apparently failed to understand that by joining the union, they would, due to the way in which the Constitution vested power in the federal government rather than in the people or the states, be subordinating themselves to it anyway. It is likely that very few actually read the Constitution, since it was being promoted by some of the wealthiest, most respected, and most powerful people in the country, people upon whom state officials relied for financial support and political advice. It was an easy sell. There were even six men, George Read, Roger Sherman, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Morris, George Clymer, and James Wilson, who signed both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, so people had no reason to suspect that rather than the government envisioned by the Declaration of Independence, where all men are created equal and no man can have the Divine Right of Kings, the Constitution was a counterrevolutionary document, a betrayal of the revolution's values and principles, a bloodless coup against our fledgling democracy, and a return to tyranny. Few realize it today.
But to some who refused to sign the Constitution, its nature was obvious. Rather than recognizing the self-evident truth of the Declaration, that all men are created equal, the Constitution declared some men, to be 3/5 persons. Who would say that a 3/5 person is equal to a full person? Who would say that a Black man is not a man?
The Federalists knew how to find people who would, and to give them the power to enforce their will on everyone else. Instead of vesting supreme power in the hands of the people, who might not be stupid enough to give up their hard-won equality, they vested supreme power in something they brazenly called a Supreme Court. To this unelected body, they gave something that the colonists had shed blood to rid us of, something called the Divine Right of Kings. As colonists, subjects of a king, they'd had no appeal from his edicts. They could and did petition and protest injustice, but the King had supreme power, that is to say, dominant, highest in degree, and ultimate power, and his subjects did not. By giving the Divine Right of Kings, the right to issue edicts which would be the highest law of the land and which could not be appealed, to an unelected Supreme Court, the Federalists betrayed the most important accomplishment of our revolution against England, and restored a tyranny without shedding a drop of blood. Yes, Congress can try to legislate around Supreme Court rulings, but since the Supreme Court has the sole power to interpret the Constitution, it can strike down such legislation as unconstitutional. Yes, it might be possible to get an Amendment ratified, but the Supreme Court can interpret that Amendment to mean the exact opposite of what it clearly says, and there's no appeal from that judgment. This was treason. We had no power to elect Supreme Court justices, no power to remove them from office, and no power to appeal their edicts. The destruction of democracy was complete.
Of course, some will say, we have at least some power over the Supreme Court because we can vote for the Presidents who can appoint them. Never mind that the Constitution prohibits us from voting for President and gives that power only to the Electoral College, if people see the name of a Presidential candidate on the ballot, they believe that they're voting for President. In fact, they're voting for the slate of Electors of that candidate's political party, who are not bound to abide by the popular vote, which doesn't even have to be counted anyway. Try putting a name on any other contract and then substituting somebody other than that name. That would be fraud, but with Presidential elections there's no way to compel the Supreme Court to recognize it as such and they have the final say. If you voted for President, you'd be doing something the Constitution specifically prohibits you from doing, so you can't, but by fraudulently putting those names on the ballot, the government allows many people to innocently believe that they're voting for President. They're not. Ask people who they voted, or are voting for, and nobody will tell you that they cast their vote for the slate of Electors of a Presidential candidate's political party, they'll say that they cast their ballot for that candidate, because that's the name that was on their ballot.
But is it true that we really have no power over our elected federal officials? I'm sure you've often heard people bemoan the apathy of the electorate. It isn’t enough to just vote, they insist, once you elect somebody you have to actively force them to represent you, and they cite Franklin D. Roosevelt who said, “I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it.” The problem, they claim, isn’t with the system or with our representatives, but with us for not being organized and active enough to make our representatives represent us. Many elected representatives claim that they would like to represent their constituents, but, like FDR, they can’t unless they are made to.
If true, this would reflect poorly on us as a people. We have a basically good system, and some good representatives, but we are just too lazy and apathetic to make our representatives represent us.
This is all a lie. Let me give you an example. Back during the Bush administration a lot of people wanted to see Bush and Cheney impeached. In one district the desire for impeachment was so high that activists were able to collect signatures from more than 80% of the residents asking their representative, John Olver, to support impeachment. But when he was formally presented with the petition, his response was, “Spare me! I’m well aware that the overwhelming majority of my constituents want me to support impeachment. I will not.” His response would have been the same if the petition had signatures from 100% of his constituents. He wasn't concerned about whether or not people would vote to reelect him. It wasn’t that people were too apathetic to care, or too lazy to try to make him represent them, it was that our Constitution never gave people the power to exercise their will through their elected representatives. As both the Bush and Obama administrations made clear, our government does not allow public opinion to influence policy decisions. We are not a democracy or a republic. In the United States power is vested in the hands of the government, not in the hands of the people.
In a democracy, sometimes called a direct or participatory democracy, the people exercise their power directly by voting on budgets, policy issues, and other matters of import. Some remnants of that form of government still remain in the old Town Hall Meetings of New England. In a republic the people exercise their power indirectly through their elected officials but in the United States we have no such power. We can ask our representatives to represent us, we can protest if they don’t, but we have no way to make them do our will because we have no power over them. Once they are elected, they are free to represent us, if they wish, or they can, if they choose, represent their big campaign donors, their personal ideologies, the interests of a foreign country, or anything else they want. We can petition until we turn blue and protest until we get ourselves shot, but we have no way to sway them. Sure we can wait until their terms of office, the only time they’re supposed to represent us, are over, and then try to elect somebody else who can’t be held accountable, but while our representatives are in office, while they are supposed to be representing us, we cannot make them do so.
If your representatives appears to be representing you, it is because they chose to or their big donors told them to, not because you made them do it. You have no power to make them do anything. When you vote, you are not voting for representatives, you are voting for petty tyrants who may or may not represent you and over whom you have no power whatsoever. Once their term of office is over and they are no longer representing you, you cannot bring back to life the dead from the wars they funded with your taxpayer dollars or renounce the debts they incurred that your granchildren will still be paying. The damage they do while in office can be irreparable and you have no control over them while they’re in office. Once their terms are up, after the damage is done and cannot be undone, you can try to elect somebody else, but you will have no real power over them either.
Of course with corporate money even in local politics, gerrymandered districts, the Electoral College, and with easily hacked and totally unverifiable central tabulators counting the votes, you can never know for sure that your vote for a new representative was counted at all, no less counted for the candidate you tried to vote for. How can we possibly imagine that we have supreme power over government when we don't even have the power to ensure that our votes are counted? In 2000 the Supreme Court stopped the vote count. In 2004 Kerry conceded before the votes could be counted. We don't even have the power to force the government to count our votes, no less exercise our power through those who are supposedly elected by those votes.
Yet approximately 50% of the electorate vote anyway, hoping against hope that their vote might be counted and that they might be represented. The other half of us know better.
So don’t berate yourself and your neighbors for not making your representatives do their jobs. You can’t. The 39 plutocrats who wrote the Constitution, the wealthy elite 1% of their time, made sure that you wouldn’t have that power, as they didn’t trust the “mob and rabble” of democracy and wanted those who owned the country, people like themselves, to always rule the country.
What the Constitution gave us was a plutocracy, government by the rich. A plutocracy is not a democracy. The government vested power in the hands of the rich, not in the hands of the people. People can petition, protest, and complain, but you can do the same thing with any king, emperor, dictator or tyrant. Like the current and previous administrations, they'll just say that they do not allow public opinion to influence policy decisions, and you're welcome to get yourself arrested trying.
What about NDAA? How can it be Constitutional for the government to be able to indefinitely detain or assassinate you without due process? But that's the law right now. Is there anything you can do about it? If you lived in a democracy or a republic you could. But you don't, so there isn't. Obama isn't going to give up that power if he's reelected, Romney won't give up that power if he's elected, and nobody else has any realistic chance of being elected. So when you vote, even if you vote for a third party, you're voluntarily granting your consent of the governed to a government that you know is undemocratic. When you sign your name at the polls or on your mail-in ballot, you are authorizing the government to do whatever it wants in your name, the name that you signed.
Recently Jimmy Carter, who has observed elections all over the world, said that the United States has the worst electoral system. He was right, but he should have stopped there. Instead he went on to say that it is mostly due to the influx of money into politics. That, unfortunately is only a small part of the problem.
The problem with our election system isn't with corporate money in politics, unverifiable vote counts, gerrymandered districts, the Electoral College, or any of the hundred or so other critical problems with our electoral system. The problem is with the way that the Constitution set it up.
When I stopped voting and started posting on public forums that I didn't vote, many people were aghast. They tried to tell me that I was apathetic, I, who had spent decades voting in every election, carefully researching the candidates and issues, studiously reading every single line of every piece of legislation no matter how fine the print, and then spent years diligently trying to find a way that we could ensure that our votes were counted. Because I no longer wanted to vote for people who funded or commanded things I could not condone, such as wars of aggression and crimes against humanity, I was suddenly seen as apathetic, and those who cast ballots that didn't have to be counted, for candidates they couldn't hold accountable, were people who cared. That was absurd. So I started keeping track of all the myths that political party operatives use to get out the vote, and made a list of them along with why they were wrong.
Let's look at some of the most common reasons that people give for voting:
1. Not voting is doing nothing.
I think that if you're doing something wrong, or something that is self-destructive or hurting others, stopping might be a good idea, even if you have no alternative course of action and it means doing nothing. If delegating your power to people you can't hold accountable has resulted in the devastation of your economy, do you really want to keep doing it? If granting your authority to people you can't hold accountable has resulted in wars based on lies that have killed over a million innocent people, do you really want to keep doing it? If granting your consent of the governed to people you can't hold accountable has resulted in government operating on behalf of big corporations and the wealthy instead of on behalf of the people, do you really want to keep doing it? Wouldn't you be better off not doing anything at all? Election boycotts have been successful in delegitimizing governments in other countries, so there's no reason it couldn't work here too. An election boycott cannot oust a government, but it can show that it no longer has the consent of the governed and no longer represents the will of the people it claims to represent.
2. If we don't vote the bad guys will win.
We've been voting. When did the good guys win? Isn't that a matter of opinion? Isn't the nation almost equally divided on the question of which candidate is the good guy? Besides, it is often hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys. Suppose Al Gore had won, and then died of a heart attack. Do you think the Democrats who voted for him would have been happy with Joe Lieberman as President? Besides, Gore actually did win the popular vote. The Supreme Court stopped the vote count and put Bush in office. So just because the good guys you think you're voting for win, doesn't mean that they get to take office. Kerry also won the popular vote, but before anyone could finish counting the votes, he had to break both his promises, that he wouldn't concede early and that he would ensure that every vote was counted, in order to get the bad guy back in office again. Our Constitution was written to ensure that those who owned the country would always rule it, so the popular vote can be overruled by the Electoral College, Congress, the Supreme Court, or by the winning candidate conceding, and is not the final say. Even if we had accurate, verifiable vote counts, and everyone who voted, voted for a good guy, it doesn't mean that good guy could take office unless the Electoral College, Congress, and the Supreme Court allowed it. Even then, the good guy might fear that the Security State might assassinate him they way they killed JFK, and either concede, or stop being a good guy in order to survive. The Supreme Court, of course, has the Constitutional power to intervene on any pretext, and its decisions, no matter how unconstitutional, irrational, unprecedented, or even downright insane, can not be appealed, so they do have the final say, and they might not have the same opinion as to who's the good guy that the majority of voters do.
3. If you don't vote, you can't complain.
What good does complaining do? When successive administrations of both parties tell you that they will not allow public opinion to influence policy decisions, you can complain all you want and it won't do you any good. But you don't need to vote to have the right to complain. The Declaration of Independence is a long list of complaints against a king by colonists who were not allowed to vote. The right to gripe is one of those unalienable rights that is not granted by governments or kings. If you're treated unjustly, you have the right to complain. A lot of people who voted for Obama are now angry with his policies and are complaining loudly. He couldn't care less.
4. It is a citizen's responsibility and civic duty to vote.
Only if the government holding the election has secured your civil and human rights. If it has not, if it has instead become destructive of your civil and human rights, the Declaration of Independence says, "...it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."
5. Your vote is your voice in government.
In a democratic form of government it would be. In a democratic form of government, such as a direct or participatory democracy, people can vote on things like budgets, wars, and other important issues, and have a voice in government. In our so-called representative government, people can only vote for representatives who may or may not listen to them or act in their interests, and who cannot be held accountable during their terms of office, which is the only time they hold power and are needed to represent the interests of their constituents. Waiting until somebody has killed a million people in a war based on lies, destroyed the economy, and taken away your civil rights, and then trying to elect somebody else, is much too late because by then much of the damage cannot be undone and your grandchildren will still be paying for it.
6. Just because things didn't work out the way we wanted last time, and the time before that, and the time before that, doesn't mean that they won't this time.
Some say that Einstein defined insanity as repeating the same experiment over and over and expecting different results.
7. If we don't vote, our opponents will, and they'll run the country.
Of the approximately 50% of our electorate that votes, fewer than 10% approve of what our government is doing. If only those who approve of our government, voted for it, we'd have a successful election boycott. The Apartheid regime in South Africa seated the winning candidates after a successful election boycott where there was only a 7% turnout, but nobody thought they were legitimate or took them seriously.
8. You don't have the numbers to pull off an election boycott.
There are already more people who don't vote, who either don't think our government is relevant to them, don't think their vote matters, or don't think that anyone on the ballot would represent them or could, since anyone who represented the people would be a small minority with no seniority in government, than there are registered Democrats or Republicans. We have greater numbers than either major party, but they haven't given up so why should we?
9. People who don't vote are apathetic.
When you vote, you are either exercising your power, if you happen to have a democratic form of government, or granting your consent of the governed, to be governed, by an undemocratic form of government. That's what voting is all about. If you knowingly vote for people you can't hold accountable, it means that you don't really care what they do once they're in office. All you care about is your right to vote, not whether or not you will actually be represented or if the government will secure your rights. Prior to the '08 election, when Obama had already joined McCain in supporting the bailouts that most people opposed, and had expressed his intention to expand the war in Afghanistan, I begged every progressive peace activist I knew not to vote for bailouts and war. They didn't care and they voted for Obama anyway. That's apathy. But it's worse than that. Once I had learned how rigged our elections are, I started asking other election integrity activists if they would still vote if the only federally approved voting mechanism was a flush toilet. About half just laughed and said that of course they wouldn't. But the other half got indignant and accused me of trying to take away their precious right to vote. When I finished asking everyone I could, I ran an online poll and got the same results. Half of all voters really are so apathetic that they don't care if their vote is flushed down a toilet, as long as they can vote. They really don't know the difference between a voice in government, and an uncounted or miscounted, unverifiable vote for somebody they can't hold accountable. They never bothered to find out what voting is supposed to be about and yet they think that they're not apathetic because they belong to a political party and vote. It takes a lot of apathy to stop cherishing what is good in life, stop loving democracy, resign yourself to corruption and evil, and vote for what you hope might be the lesser evil.
10. If you don't vote, you're helping the other party.
No, you are. By voting for your party, an opposition party, a third party, an independent, casting a blank ballot, or even writing in None of the Above, Nobody, Mickey Mouse, your own name, or yo mama, you are granting your consent of the governed to be governed by whoever wins, not by the candidate you voted for. If there is a 50% turnout, the winning candidate can claim that 50% of the electorate had enough faith in the system to consent to their governance, even though fewer than 25% actually voted for them. When you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the result of the election will be more wars and more bailouts, no matter who wins and no matter which party, candidate, or issue you vote for, what you're really voting for is war and bailouts.
11. If we don't vote, our votes will never be counted and we'll have no leverage.
True, if we don't vote, our votes will never be counted. But how does hoping that our votes might sometimes be counted, provide leverage? The election just held in the UK had only a 32% turnout. Where people did vote at all, since UK votes actually have to be counted, they threw out major party candidates and voted for third parties (George Galloway's Respect Party for one, the Pirate Party for another) and in Edinburgh, a guy who ran dressed as a penguin, calling himself Professor Pongoo, got more votes than leading major party candidates. That's leverage, but it is only possible when the votes have to be counted and are verifiable. Those conditions do not apply in the US. If you are willing to vote in elections where your vote doesn't have to be counted, what incentive does the government have to count your votes? The only possible leverage we have is to refuse to vote until we can be sure that our votes will be counted.
12. The choice is bullets or ballots, so it's a no-brainer.
The Department of Homeland Security has recently used the authority that you delegated to the government when you voted, to purchase 450 million rounds of hollow-point ammunition that cannot be used in combat by law and therefore can only be used against US citizens. Your ballots authorized those bullets, just as it authorized all the bullets used in foreign wars. In this country, ballots are bullets. There is a third option: not voting, simply withholding our consent. That has the result of delegitimizing a government that doesn't represent us and demonstrating that it does not have the consent of the governed. It is a legal, nonviolent, effective option called noncompliance. Noncompliance can take other forms, such as not paying taxes or creating alternative systems, but these cannot delegitimize a government. Since governments derive "their just powers from the consent of the governed," withholding our consent is the only way to nonviolently delegitimize a government that fails to represent us.
13. Evil people are spending millions of dollars on voter suppression to deny minorities the vote, and people have fought and died for the right to vote, so the vote must be valuable.
Nobody fought and died for an uncounted vote. While corporations do spend millions of dollars pushing through Voter ID laws and other voter suppression legislation, they spend billions of dollars funding election campaigns to get out the vote for the major parties so that they can claim the consent of the governed for their wholly-owned political puppets. If they didn't want people to vote, those proportions would be reversed and they'd be spending more suppressing the vote than getting out the vote. Voter suppression efforts are aimed at trying to fool the ignorant into thinking that just because somebody is trying to take their vote away from them, their uncounted, unverifiable votes for oligarchs who won't represent them, must be valuable.
14. We may not be able to do anything about the bailouts or the wars, but we might, by voting, be able to obtain some personal benefits for ourselves, like GMO labeling.
I can't argue with that one--that one's true. If you're willing to consent to allow the government to continue to murder innocent people in wars of aggression, the worst crimes against humanity known, in return for GMO labeling, you might be able to get your labeling. You're not paying the price, innocent people in other countries are, so why not get what you can for yourself? GMO labeling could save your life, and what does it matter if it is at the cost of millions of other lives? There are many other benefits that could be gained from voting, like better local officials, less discrimination, or legalization of victimless crimes, but they all come at the expense of other people's lives. They are very persuasive reasons to vote, but they are not moral reasons to vote. Oh, and by the way, if you have any peanuts, peanut butter, or products containing peanuts, labeled USDA organic or 100% USDA organic from Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, People's, or from supermarkets or other stores, such as brand names Justin's, Larry & Luna's, Newman-Os, etc., they're been recalled by the FDA for salmonella. After you get your labeling, don't trust it, because it could kill you anyway.
In a democratic system of government, where supreme power is vested in the hands of the people, voting is the most precious right of all, because it is the way that the people exercise their power. In an undemocratic form of government where the people have no power, voting has no value. It is nothing more than consent to tyranny.
There was a time in England when the King, having the Divine Right of Kings, could have anyone thrown into a dungeon or killed, just because he was the King and could do that. Then a group of Noblemen forced the king to sign something called the Magna Carta. It said that the king could no longer cage or kill anyone he wanted, that everyone was entitled to something called due process. If the king wanted to imprison or murder somebody, he had to bring them to court and the court had to find them guilty. That happened back in the 13th Century and it lasted until the 21st Century. No country that did not have at least a semblance of due process, however biased, flawed, or corrupt, dared to call itself a democratic country. Now we have the NDAA that gives the President the right to detain or kill anyone he wants, without due process. We are now officially back in the Dark Ages of the 12th Century, and that is tyranny. I will not consent to tyranny, and I hope that you won't either.
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