Thursday Thoughts: March 24, 2016

Alright folks, since it’s an election year, I am going to make one post addressing the idea of voting. I’ve already started having some of these conversations come up when I tell people that I do not, and have never voted. They like to come back with that “If you don’t vote, then you have no reason to complain” idea, which is just plain nonsensical. I’m not going to be delving into that idea too much, but there are 2 things I will be addressing:

  1. Your vote DOES NOT matter
  2. The state is institutionalized violence
  3. There is no way to accomplish a moral end using immoral means

1. Your vote DOES NOT matter

To start off, let’s ignore the fact that the state is completely immoral & violent; let’s pretend that “democracy” is an acceptable way of making decisions for 300+ million people, and simply look at the way the system is operating right now. I’m just going to run through a couple points that break down how much a person’s vote actually count in the USA.

  • The Electoral College:
    • The electoral college is basically a convoluted game that was created to keep the land-owning, white, protestant men as the only people able to make decisions for the US government.
    • Each state is given a number of representatives based on its VAP (Voting Age Population), meaning the number of representatives a state has comes from the number of people over 18 who live there, regardless of citizenship, eligibility to vote, or whether or not they have ever registered to vote.
    • When someone casts a presidential ballot, they are not actually voting for a candidate, they are voting for a party, and specifically for that party’s elector. The electors have no obligation to vote for the person people picked on their ballot either.
    • When votes are counted, each state tallies up theirs and has a “winner”, the person who will receive all of that state’s electoral votes, even if they only got a portion of the population’s vote.
      • California has 55 electoral votes (more than 10% of the total), and if someone receives more votes than any other candidate in California, they receive those 55 electors. Even if they didn’t even receive a majority of the actual votes (35% Candidate A, 30% Candidate B, 25% Candidate C, 10% Others).
      • Only Nebraska & Maine actually allocate electoral votes based on the popular vote instead of “winner-take-all”
      • Just as an example, if someone got the most votes (remembering that it doesn’t even have to be a majority, and this never takes into account all the people who voted for nobody), in just 11 states, they would have the electoral votes needed to win the election, even if they got zero votes in the other 39 states. (The 11 being California, Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, North Carolina, New Jersey)
    • Because of the way that electoral votes are decided, the higher population the state you live in has, the less your vote matters. It takes almost 4 times as many people in California to get 1 electoral vote as it does in Wyoming.
  • The 2-Party System:
    • The false dichotomy of left-right keeps people trapped in a mental box, thinking that the world can be broken down into a simple A or B choice.
      • The parties create the illusion of a difference between them by focusing the debate on topics like gay marriage, abortion, religion, and other things that are 100% personal choice, and should have nothing AT ALL to do with government.
      • The parties completely agree and strive towards the same major goals: keeping the 2-party system, continuing the flow of tax revenue, expanding government power, and using their power to accomplish the desires of the agricultural-pharmaceutical-military-industrial complex.
    • The 2 parties control the debates, keeping anyone else from even appearing before most voters.
    • Both parties are owned by the same corporations & investors, including the 6 media companies, thus ensuring that they will have the money to overwhelm any outsider’s campaign
    • The parties “gerrymander” to create the districts in a state, manipulating things to control which party gets the representatives for a state. (See image)


  • The Power of the Media:
    • Most people learn everything that they know about candidates, initiatives, and everything else to do with government from the media.
      • This means the average American’s opinion on Trump, Sanders, Clinton, etc. is based almost exclusively on what they have heard from that person’s (or their opponent’s) advertising campaign.
      • Groups like the GMA spend millions of dollars on campaigns to convince people to vote a certain way. In California in 2012, Washington in 2013, and Oregon & Colorado in 2014, this organization spent millions of dollars on widespread radio, TV, newspaper, and billboard ads over the week(s) before election day in order to trick everyone who wasn’t aware of the truth, that GMO labeling would mean terrible things for them personally.

2. The State is Institutional Violence.

Let’s say all the corruption & inherent controls in the USA & its voting system are gone. What gives someone the right to say, “I believe people should (or should not) do this thing, therefore I believe that a group of people should use violence and the threat of violence to force others to do (or not do) this thing”? If you think the state does not use violence and the threat of violence to accomplish everything it does, just ask yourself how it responds to something as harmless as smoking weed (in most places), not getting the proper “permit” or “license” to do or sell something, or not paying “property taxes” on land that you have bought and paid for, inhabit, and care for.

Let’s look at a hypothetical:

  • Contact you: “Hi there, we’ve decided that you owe us money for something you did (or did not do)”
  • Contact you again: “Hey, us again. We’re gonna need that money soon, or bad things may start happening. We’d really hate if you made us do bad things.”
  • Contact you again: “Hi. Bad things are starting now”
  • Do any number of minor bad things to you, including revoking your “driver’s license”, charging you “fines”, “garnishing your income” (read: forcing your employer to steal money from you, for the state), etc.
  • Contact you again: “So that was a little taste of the bad things we can do, how about you just give us our money and we can all move on with our lives in peace… because if we can’t all move on, things are going to get much worse for you”
  • Do any number of major bad things to you, generally involving some combination of: sending men with guns to your house, having those men violently kidnap you and keep you in a concrete box, going through all your personal belongings (and phone records, texts, and emails), stealing your property, convicting you of a “crime” (thus limiting your ability to find work, housing, or a loan)

This isn’t even addressing the violence that states commit against people outside of their boundaries through mass murder (which they call war), instituting puppet governments, setting “embargoes”, etc.
3. There is no way to accomplish a moral end using immoral means

I don’t really know how to explain this in a simpler way. You cannot get to a right by committing a wrong.

If you want to change ANYTHING in the world, the way to do so is by taking responsibility for your own life & actions, and CHANGING it. By voting, you are giving up your right to be heard, because you are making a choice to keep things the way they are. Once you’ve voted to keep things the same, you have no right to complain about things being the same.
How to actually change things (just a couple ideas off the top of my head):

  • If you want the world to be more peaceful, start meditating, stop giving your money to the most violent people on the planet, stop taking in propaganda that makes you think someone else deserves to die because they’re different from you, eat a vegan diet, use non-violent communication, and practice peaceful parenting.
  • If you want corporations to have less power, stop giving them your money, stop using brand names instead of the actual name of an item (it’s not Kleenex, it’s tissue; it’s not a Band-Aid, it’s a bandage), stop taking in their PROGRAMMING (television, radio, newspapers, magazines).
  • If you want the Earth to be healthier, to stop “Climate Change”, use transportation not derived from petroleum, stop buying packaged foods, stop giving money to the US government (the #1 polluter on the planet), eat a vegan diet, buy your clothes from the second-hand store (or make them yourself), grow food instead of grass, use as little electricity as possible.
  • If you want there to be less houseless, hungry, or other not-having-their-needs-met people, start giving people food, clothing, and bedding that you don’t need, grow your own food (you’ll always end up with more than you need), give (time, money, etc) to groups/organizations doing outreach work, stop giving money to the government so they can bomb more places into subsistence living.

Each of these issues the state will try to convince you they can “fix” for you, while generally being the greatest cause of the issue itself. Ever heard the quote “be the change you want to see in the world”? It doesn’t mean “ask someone else to be the change you want to see in the world”, it’s up to each of us to change our own lives, and thus the entire world.

Illusion of Choice