by Neville Kennard, preaching and practising capitalist

The democratic right not to vote must surely be an important aspect of a democracy.

There are several reasons I choose not to vote.

The first is that I object to coercion. If someone says I must do something, then I need to know why. It needs to make good sense and not just be a government decree. Australia is one of very few countries where voting is compulsory, so this surely says something.

A non-vote is actually a vote — of no confidence, of apathy, of objection, so non-votes send a message too. “I don’t vote, it only encourages them” is a quote I heard once.

Another is I nearly always don’t like any of the candidates. Choosing the less-bad candidate is surely not a moral thing to do. If a bad candidate gets chosen over a very bad candidate, this winning candidate will think that his or her policies have been endorsed. He or she wins, when really it is more correct to say that he or she didn’t lose.

I live in several places and don’t know, or care, or feel I even have the right to vote for someone I don’t know; I am happy for those who do know and do care to vote for their candidate and let the result be what it will be. There are honourable, well-intentioned, diligent people who stand for office, and thank goodness. There are also shonks, party hacks, incompetents who can barely do anything else, who stand and actually get elected, either because they are part of the party machine, or are the “less-bad” choice. Many politicians and political candidates are not very nice people. Many could not run a business, though they seek to run the economy and the lives of the people. Many have an agenda to tax and then to spend on their pet cause, or to get re-elected. I choose not to endorse such people.

In a democracy, 50% of the voters are under-average IQ, and this is not encouraging. To be ruled by people chosen by average and under-average intelligence is not inspiring. Thank goodness there does seem to be a reasonable collective-intelligence in the electorate that mostly chooses not-too-bad representatives, so the system does work, sort of.

And who does get to vote? Among the electorate are all sorts of non-contributors, welfare recipients, people on the public purse, tax non-payers, even public servants and politicians get to vote. I say that voting should be a privilege and not a right and only those who contribute by way of net tax payments should be entitled to vote.

Then there is question of a slim majority choosing a less-bad candidate and that candidate and his party then having the “mandate” to do more-or-less whatever they want.

Lastly there is the question of it not really being compulsory to vote anyway: with a secret ballot you don’t have to vote, you just have to have your name crossed off the list and then you put in a blank, an informal or no paper at all. So it’s a waste of time and energy to go to the polling place and place a non-vote. That would be the height of stupidity. Reason, I believe, ultimately prevails, so compulsory voting will one day be abolished.

(in order of appearance on Economics.org.au)
  1. Welcome from Neville Kennard
  2. Think Tanks Don't Work
  3. "Market Failure": Just what the government ordered!
  4. The Tragedy of the Tax Pool Commons
  5. Corporate Welfare
  6. Citizenship for Sale?
  7. I Don't Vote
  8. Voting: Right or Privilege?
  9. Stockholm Syndrome and our Love-Hate Relationship with Government
  10. Civil Disobedience: The Rules of Engagement
  11. Should Respect for Law Extend to Bad Laws?
  12. Jaywalking as a Demonstration of Individuality
  13. Government Likes War
  14. Collusion is Our Right
  15. Why Not the Drug Olympics?
  16. Unconventional Wisdom
  17. Tiger Farming: An Alternative to Extinction
  18. Looking Backwards: Mont Pelerin Society Conference, Sydney, 2010
  19. Tax Avoidance is a Patriotic Duty
  20. Kennard Writes to IPA Review Editor
  21. Genocide by Welfare: A Tragedy from the Aboriginal Welfare Industry
  22. Separating Sport and State
  23. Your Home is Not an Investment
  24. Dick Smith, Celebrity Philanthropist
  25. A Libertarian's New Year's Resolution
  26. Extend Politicians' Holidays to Create Prosperity
  27. Entrepreneurs are Disruptive, and Bureaucrats Hate It
  28. What is a good Australian?
  29. Governments Like Employment But Hate Employers
  30. The Market Failure Industry
  31. Neville Kennard: The Tax Avoidance Imperative
  32. Wot if ...?
  33. The Tribal Chief and the Witch Doctor
  34. The Tannehills
  35. Democracy versus Property Rights and Prosperity
  36. Government Doesn't Work, and That's the Way They Like It
  37. Minarchy vs Anarchy
  38. Euthanasia and Self-Ownership
  39. The Right Policies to Fix a Depression
  40. Is Howard Our Best PM?
  41. Tax Producers vs Tax Consumers
  42. Where There's a Queue, There's a Business Opportunity
  43. Authoritarian Freedom
  44. Why Classical Liberals Should Debate Anarchocapitalists
  45. The Tyranny of the Majority
  46. If you could choose to whom you paid your tax
  47. Business Should Exploit Boat People
  48. The Immorality of Trade Unions
  49. "America" vs "The United States"
  50. Sweet Anarchy
  51. The Illusion of "Job Creation"
  52. Gold Is Money
  53. Guilty Capitalists
  54. Bureauphobia
  55. Prosperity vs Growth
  56. Capitalism vs Democracy
  57. More people = More fun
  58. Self-Ownership - the very idea!
  59. Government will murder Neville Kennard if he doesn't back away
  60. The Australian Dollar Has Been Cowardly and Criminally Devalued, Harming the Poor Particularly
  61. Is Taxation Theft and Government a Tax Cheat?
  62. My Journey to Anarchy:
    From political and economic agnostic to anarchocapitalist
  63. Government Needs Bad Guys –
    that's why they like wars
  64. What Is Obscene?
  65. Traffic Economics
  66. Wayne Swan stands on the shoulders of other intellectual pygmies
  67. Neville Kennard Obituary
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