Voting is Giving Away Your Liberty

Posted on February 08, 2015

“You cannot give leaders any rights that you do not have yourself” is probably the tenet with which non-libertarians struggle the most. Most people believe that elections cause leaders to somehow become more than human, that once leaders have been elected they can do as they please and the population needs to abide. The thing is - elections are just voters delegating their own rights. "So-and-so you can declare war on my behalf." "So-and-so you can take a portion of my income to do things you see fit." "So-and-so you can educate my children and preside over my disputes." This is fine as far as it goes.

Participation in the voting process is saying "I participate in this competition of candidates and I bestow upon the winner a portion of my liberties." But, because you can't delegate the rights of others, you can't vote for someone to be someone else's leader unless they consent to it. If someone doesn’t vote that means they are have chosen not to delegate their rights. They have not consented to be subjugated. Their rights remain entirely theirs. Nobody can delegate their rights on their behalf.

Voting is, in fact, giving away some of your liberty to someone else. This isn't a new idea. Literally that’s what it is, philosophically speaking. It's the foundation of the idea - an idea that depends on affirmative consent.

What does the Constitution say about this? It starts with "We the People of the United States..."

Say what? The Constitution was drafted by a few dozen people. The "People of the United States" didn't write it or sign it. In fact many people participating didn't sign it. Many refused to sign it. There's this implication of consent and yet it is the hubris of the framers that caused them to think they were speaking for the entire country. Well... they weren't. And certainly not for anyone still living.

All of this elaborate process with elections and laws and technical language is provisioned under the pretext that it's okay to take away the liberties of people without their consent. Maybe it's finally time to keep our liberties.

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