Thursday, December 29, 2005
The UN says the Iraqi election was fair. But hasn’t it overlooked a rather large consideration? Everyone who voted did so under duress; that is, everyone was threatened with government domination—taxation, inter alia—whether or not he or she voted. Thus the decision to participate in the election was hardly a free choice. “Free election” makes as much sense as "square circle." Or “paid vacation.” Or “military intelligence.”
Which reminds me of Herbert Spencer's point in Social Statics (Chapter XIX, §5, "The Right to Ignore the State") to the effect that in conventional thinking, no one is justified in complaining about the outcome of an election. If you voted for the winner, you obviously can't complain. If you voted for the loser, well, you knew you might lose when you voted. And if you didn't vote? Well, if you chose not to take part, how in hell can you complain now? Says Spencer: "So, curiously enough, it seems that he gave his consent in whatever way he acted—whether he said yes, whether he said no, or whether he remained neuter! A rather awkward doctrine this."
(Cross-posted at Liberty & Power.)
Posted by Sheldon Richman at 8:06 AM