The Silver Linings in Canceling the Elections
The Silver Linings in Canceling the Elections
by Anthony Gregory
(With inspiration and some tutelage from Walter
Bob Murphy described a horrendous and scary scenario
in which terrorists attack America, the US government
cancels the elections, and America becomes a
If it happens, which we cannot absolutely rule out,
that would indeed stink big time.
But I don�t think any of the fascism that would
inflict America could be blamed on canceling the
elections. Suspending democracy might be a symptom of
US martial law, but I wouldn�t call it the cause.
In fact, I�d say that canceling the elections has many
silver linings. Walter Block has pointed out the
silver linings of wrongful executions, drug
prohibition and term limits. The other day over
Chinese food � we went to a great restaurant in San
Francisco with Walter�s wife, our friend Michael and
his wife, their friend Ed, and my girlfriend � Walter
told me I had his blessing to tell the world about the
silver linings in canceling the elections. (Actually
he said, "Anthony, you know there�s no such thing as
intellectual property rights! Haven�t you read Stephan
Kinsella? Steal my idea!")
Certainly, canceling the elections would be a boon for
I�m serious about this. Can�t we see America becoming
just as totalitarian while maintaining elections? What
do elections really do to temper bad government,
anyway? Canceling the elections will at least make
Americans wake up and realize they have no control
over the government. It will smash the illusion, held
by many, that voting every four years, along with 100
million other Americans � when we all know that the
winner will either be a Republican or Democrat �
somehow means the government represents the people.
There are other silver linings. Certainly canceling
the elections will reduce expenditures by government
on elections. What Rothbardian wouldn�t gladly approve
of any reduction in the size and scope of government?
Think of all the money saved on printing ballots,
hiring poll workers, not to mention on federally
financed matching funds!
We could save millions, and convert it into tax cuts!
What libertarian wouldn�t take that trade?
There�s also the time preference issue. Hans-Hermann
Hoppe argues in Democracy: The God That Failed that
monarchs are in some ways preferable to democratically
elected rulers, because they care more about the
long-term prosperity of the country, somewhat like
property owners care about their long-term
investments. If Bush were our president forever � oh
joy!! � we could assume that he wouldn�t run the
country into depression and failure, any more than he
would his own business.
Oh, wait. I forgot that Bush ran most of his
businesses into the ground. Well, this would be a
silver lining, if Bush had more managerial competence.
Another great thing about canceling the elections is
that we wouldn�t have to hear about elections all the
time! We wouldn�t have to talk about whom to root for.
Libertarians would no longer stress out about which
candidate is the lesser of two evils, or whether to
vote Libertarian or for another third party.
No one would hassle you for not going to the polls on
Election Day. You could stay at home and watch
television, just like everyone else, and prime time
network TV wouldn�t be saturated with news from the
vote returns. Tuesday evenings are great times to
watch sitcoms, and why should we preempt our routine,
even once every for years, just to spend hours
watching that annoying map gradually fill up with a
bunch of red and blue states?
America would no longer be so divisive! We wouldn�t
have Republicans and Democrats anymore; we would all
be happy nonpartisan subjects of the US government.
Can you think of a better way to end all the bitter
partisanship in America than to eliminate elections?
You wouldn�t have to remember to register to vote
every time you moved. You wouldn�t have to read
through those nauseating sample ballots that weigh
twenty pounds and come in fifty languages. You
wouldn�t have to deal with obnoxious petitioners
outside grocery stores, when all you want to do is get
home and microwave your pot pie and watch sitcoms. We
could repeal campaign finance laws, because there
would be no more campaigns, let alone campaign
finance. Michael Moore�s movie would be advertised on
television. Some Republicans might finally understand
that Bush�s presidency is as indeed illegitimate as
the Democrats complain.
Supporting the end of elections is hardly defending
the undefendable; it�s merely pointing out the
obvious. The silver linings are endless!
Unfortunately, the House of Representatives
overwhelmingly refuses to consider such a sensible
libertarian policy as canceling the elections. I urge
you to write your Congressman! Get involved in
democracy, just this once, so we can help in getting
rid of it altogether.
Truthfully, I�m just as frightened of the US
government canceling the elections as the next guy,
not because I believe so much in elections, but
because it would likely coincide with real oppression.
But on the election question alone, who wouldn�t give
up the right to vote for all his or her genuine,
natural rights in return? One of the biggest mistakes
in US history was giving women the vote. Instead, we
should have taken the vote away from men, and told the
politicians to pack their bags and go home. Democracy
is a very dangerous illusion. It makes Americans think
they have control over their government.
I prefer the real control I have in the marketplace,
where if I want something, I buy it, and if I don�t
want something, I don�t buy it. I wish it were that
way with politics. Everyone could pay Bush or Kerry to
be their rulers, while I would save a few bucks and
see if I could govern myself without the wisdom and
guidance of the omnipotent lords in Washington, D.C. I
doubt terrorists would have much interest in those of
us who didn�t pay for US imperialism in the Middle
East, and I doubt there would be much US imperialism
if the warmongers had to foot the whole bill on their
But until that day comes, we can at least spend our
time thinking about what American politics would look
like with some substantial, albeit gradualist, reforms
in the right direction. Whether or not canceling the
elections is one such reform is open to debate.
July 27, 2004