Monday, May 18, 2009

Of Course The People Are Happy With Us

They all vote!

If one had doubted whether the totalitarian impulse is alive and well and abroad in the land, the number of voices clamoring for compulsory voting in the wake of less than half of British Columbians voting last week should remedy that.

This concept is incompatible with individual liberty as it assumes state ownership of the individual, rather like conscription to military service, which in a free society, takes, as Daniel Webster put it, "an exercise of perverse ingenuity to extract slavery from substance of a free government."

Its also instructive to note how popular compulsory voting is with authoritarian governments and governments in general who feel insecure about their legitimacy.

As Filip Palda puts it so well in Vote. Or Else
"The less legitimate politicians feel, the more they try to pass laws that build around their regimes a Potemkin facade of citizen involvement. This is why Soviet Bloc countries forced their citizens to vote. I remember one election day in Prague in the 1970s when my aunt had returned from the polling station. A young man had started shouting that the election was a farce in which he refused to participate. Police whisked him away, perhaps for a lesson in civic duties administered by truncheon. As the fall of the Soviet Bloc showed, government cannot paste a happy face on a political system and hope that people are smiling inside."
Then there are those great defenders of democracy like Team 1040's Don Taylor (who should stick to sports) and CKNW curmudgeon Bruce Allen who figure, in Taylor's professional broadcaster turn of phrase:
"All's (sic) I'm saying is if you didn't vote you got no right to complain."
Apparently, free expression and free association (as opposed to the forced sort) are even more devalued than ever in some people's minds, while taxes of all sorts count for nothing.

As for Bill Bland's assertion that people who disdain the choices on offer should just vote "for someone, for anyone or spoil your ballot", well, every day in every way Bill demonstrates why that nice deep voice of his is so good for reading the news.

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