Sunday, November 6, 2016
Whose Vote is Really a Vote For Trump (or Hillary)?
From the beginning of this election, I supported Gary Johnson. I believed that there was a block of principled conservatives out there who would not support Donald Trump under any circumstances. Combine that with liberals seeking an honest anti-war candidate, armies of independents willing to go for something different and you get at least 20% of the vote. Maybe not enough to win, but respectable enough to make things interesting and create some momentum to push the cause of liberty forward. With Johnson polling at 5%, I recognize that he is not going to come anywhere close to winning. Thus I will be casting a protest vote. Many on the left will tell me that there is no such thing as a protest vote; a vote for Johnson is a vote for Trump. I find this argument to be very strange because, by the mere fact that they are agreeing to grant legitimacy to this election in the first place, liberals are the ones implicitly casting a vote for Trump.
I am a radical Lockean secessionist (to put in simplistic terms, an anarchist). Every property owner has the moral right to take their property and secede from their present country, forming their own new little state. I challenge anyone to come up with an argument against my position that could not have also been used by the British to invalidate the claims of the colonists during the American Revolution. One of the reasons why I am a secessionist is that I wish to avoid the conundrum of being morally compelled to do something immoral because it is the law. Read Henry David Thoreau's Civil Disobedience and you will see an explicitly anarchist text. It is ok and even commendable to break an immoral law because your conscious precedes the authority of the law. The law can only have authority over you if you personally consent to it. Therefore, if you do not consent to the law because you find it immoral, the law never had authority to begin with and you never had any obligation to follow it. I challenge you to take a principled stand in defense of breaking the law even through non-violent passive resistance that does not rely on such anarchist premises.
Imagine that Trump wins this coming Tuesday. Come January, he is going to start rounding up eleven million illegal immigrants. We know very well that there is no way that any such plan could be carried out without mass murder. Trump has promised to eliminate any soldier that does not agree to commit war crimes so any soldier left is a de facto war criminal. What would be an appropriate response? According to my political morality, I am not bound to recognize any such Trump government. It is my right to pursue passive resistance and even to follow the lead of those British citizens in 1775, who claimed that it was alright to kill British soldiers. If you are not a secessionist like me, on what grounds will you claim that it is alright to do anything but comply with the will of the "people" and their President Trump?
What if the United States had a strong Nazi party, one that had the support of even 10% of the population? Could you accept an election in which they were even allowed to take part, as opposed to them simply being granted Idaho as an independent country or shipping them all to gas chambers? Even such a minority could easily leverage its support in exchange for the government having to agree to some seriously immoral compromises. Those familiar with the history of Weimar Germany know that during the 1920s the Nazis were a fringe party. Comes 1932 and there is the Great Depression so the Nazis get 33% of the vote. They then manage to pull a deal with the conservative parties to take power and once in power they do away with democratic elections. So instead of being in power for just a few months as an odd quirk in German history, the Nazis were able to stay on top for twelve years and start World War II. Most Germans never supported the Nazis, but the Nazis were able to manipulate a democratic system for their own ends. In essence, a fatal flaw of Weimar was that it allowed the Nazis to participate in the first place. Agreeing to be part of a liberal democracy in which Nazis took part meant accepting the Nazi takeover and everything that happened afterward.
The United States is a vast and diverse country with over 300 million people, the vast majority of whom I have good reason to heap contempt upon both their intelligence and moral judgment. This includes white men without college degrees, who believe that Mexicans are rapists and Obama is a Kenyan Muslim. It is precisely such people who are largely responsible for turning Trump into something more than a reality TV star on a joyride. Even if, as I hope, Trump loses, those hordes of angry stupid white men will still be there and they will still be voting American citizens. At some point, perhaps with a candidate who can forge an alliance with another angry and stupid demographic (it is not as if white men have a monopoly on those things), these angry stupid white men will win. What do you plan on doing then? Accepting that they will one day win is the price of having the United States. So either you reject having the United States and instead attempt to build a mini-state with only intelligent and moral people or you implicitly agree to support Donald Trump.
Remember that when this day of Trump comes (and it will), conservatives and spineless liberals will tell you that, while you are free to wait four years and vote against Trump, in the meantime you need to respect the fact that the American people voted for bigotry and intolerance. You can prepare yourself starting from today. Put your hand over your heart and repeat after me: I do not pledge allegiance to any flag, nor to any republic that does not even obey its own constitution. I follow my own conscience from God (however I choose to define him/her) and pledge to work for liberty and justice for all. If you are not yet willing to take this step I understand (it took me years to get there). But please do not lecture me about how I am the one voting for Trump.
(To all the well-meaning conservatives out there, who reject Trump but feel that if they do not vote for him they are voting for Hillary, feel free to replace the name Trump with Hillary in this article. Rework my examples as you feel appropriate.)