The political, social networking site that integrates politics with popular culture.
The political, social networking site that integrates politics with popular culture.

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James L. Riggs @jlriggs57aol-com


Sounds interesting. If she is a non-voter, she doesn’t know what the issues are, she doesn’t know what the candidates stand for, and she obviously doesn’t talk politics with other people, then I’m going to say she probably shouldn’t vote.

Going by the terminology, she has principles and therefore cares about something. Maybe she cares about not voting, so that would make her a Principled Non-Voter.


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Derrek @dbollus


I believe it’s unfair to assume that if someone is a “principled non-voter” that they do not know what the issues are. To me it sounds like she understands a myriad of the issues and candidates, yet chooses not to vote for particular or many reasons. She could possibly not align herself with the two party system. To explain in the most general of terms she could view non-voting as her resistance to what she believes is a violent or malfunctioning electoral/ political system. But honestly, there isn’t enough content provided in your topic to reach any substantial conclusion and I think that it would be unfair to simply assume that she isn’t informed. It’s also unfair to chastise anyone for not voting. Freedom is about choice. The freedom to vote is also the freedom not to vote.

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James L. Riggs @jlriggs57aol-com


I’m feed up with the 2 party system myself, I don’t align myself with either of them. I would lean more toward an Independent or even maybe toward the Tea Party.

Wouldn’t the better way to show resistance to the 2 party system is to vote for someone who is not a democrat or a republican?

Maybe she does know a lot, maybe she can’t align with either party, maybe you took this discussion way too serious.

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Gary @grand-vizier

You are probably right that I take it too seriously,but when I remember it’s a Government ,Of the people,by the people I feel it is an obligation of citizenship to
A. Inform yourself and
B. vote.
If enough people were Principled Non Voters the Politicians will become our rulers by default don’t you think?

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Gary @grand-vizier

Actually as I recall she had strong and defense able thoughts on a number of issues so clearly she was far more informed that many actual voters.
I think that’s what bothered me so much.
That someone could be knowledgeable and deliberately choose not to vote.
The blood and sacrifice made by so many for this essential act which is or ought to be the basis of our freedom should not ,in my opinion,be so frivolously discarded.
Perhaps I am just old fashioned but if have voted in every election since 1963 and can’t imagine not voting.
The right to vote is the big deal!
I simply can’t equate the term Non Voter and the term Principled together.
I agree however the uninformed might be better off not voting as they are as likely as not to vote for the opposite of what is in their best interest.
The whole issue is obviously hard for me to comprehend which is why I raised the subject on Volkalize to hear from the rest of you!

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Peter T. Burke @peter-t-burke

A “principled” non-voter. Interesting concept but not at all uncommon. A “principled non-voter” exemplifies the concept in US politics of “what ever you don’t oppose, you condone.” When someone does not vote they effectively vote for who ever wins and this is without any consideration of the consequences. This is true at every level of government.

An un-informed voter has a 50/50 chance of choosing the candidate who best serves their interests. A non-voter simply accepts what ever the results are without regard for their best interests, or anyone else’s best interests.

A “principled” non-voter simply accepts the winner and then expects, without reason, their personal principles to be observed.

In my opinion, these are the people who have no problem with complaining about governmental issues that they condoned.

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Gary @grand-vizier

I think Peter makes the most sense so far.
Since generally less tha half of all registered voters seem to vote is it any wonder that at the end of the day 70% of people think the country is headed in the wrong direction?
How could the results be otherwise?

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Peter T. Burke @peter-t-burke

There is also the strategic issue in encouraging people to not vote.

Given that I have a voting population of 100 duly qualified voters. 25 of them are my supporters. 25 are my dedicated opponents. 50 are entirely ambivalent about the process and the effort required to vote. Common wisdom would say that I need 51 votes to win and that just my 25 supporters won’t be enough to put me on the Throne.

In a simple plurality I only need 1 more vote than the rest of the candidates combined.

If I can convince some number of the 50 to vote for Elvis Presley’s cat I will reduce the voting population by that number. So lets assume that I convinced 20 of the fifty to vote for Elvis Presley’s cat for President. They are out of the race and I only need 41 out of 80 votes to win absolutely.

Now if I can convince 15 of the remaining group that their vote is meaningless and they should not bother to vote I will get a boost of 15 votes for whoever wins.

25 supporters + 25 people who didn’t vote puts me where all I really need is one vote in my favor and I win over my opponent.

So then if I can count on 25 of the non-voters my 25 supporters plus 1 independent vote will put me on the Throne despite the fact that I clearly only represent 25% of the population that is qualified to vote.

There is vast political power to be had in convincing people that there is nothing to be accomplished by voting because;
a) all the politicians are evil,
b) the parties are all identical,
c) the government is crooked,
d) all of the other guys are racist bigots,
e) everybody is doomed because of the Banksters on Wall Street,
f) Christians are going to have the police watch you and your partner have sex
g) the other guys hate women

I think you get my point and I don’t want to keep typing on this interminable list of routine complaints.

I think people should consider carefully when somebody is expounding on the negative issues of elections instead of the positive issues of the election. I wonder what side they actually are on and what their intentions are.

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Kevlar @kevlar


Interesting topic. You all have valid points and perhaps this thread really discusses what it means to be an American and what it means to value freedom instead of taking it for granted.

When Gary started this topic he made a most interesting comment and I will quote that comment here:

“Is her mental capacity too impaired to comprehend the distinctions between the candidates (a more common situation than generally believed I think).”

I think if I was going to give a “pass” to someone for forgoing their responsibility (as-in not law) to vote, it would probably be this person. This person strikes me as an honest person. However, there is still a problem here and that is if her mental capacity is too impaired to comprehend then it is quite likely that her mental capabilities are also too impaired to even know that she is too impaired. I agree with Gary that this is probably more common than believed.

That also opens the door to unscrupulous people trying to get her “uninformed” (genuinely and legitimately) signature on a ballot, not of her choice, but of the choice of the unscrupulous person. Your thoughts are welcome here.

Even though voting is a right, or at least not a legal obligation, I believe that every free American has a responsibility to vote and with that responsibility comes the responsibility to cast an informed vote.

If being “informed” meant having a P.H.D. in political science and geopolitical events, then I would admit that could be an unreasonable burden on those who just want to make their life as good as possible.

Fortunately you don’t need a degree to be informed. You don’t even need three credit-hours of schooling. You don’t even need a GED. All you need to do is pay attention to your surroundings and have the capacity for rational thought – that’s it.

Derrek brought up a good point and James mentioned this as well (I tend to hold this position too). Derrek said: “She could possibly not align herself with the two party system.”

While that is true and I certainly have trouble with the integrity of both parties, most people can make a decision between the two as to which of the two candidates is best (“best” defined as being better than the available alternative). If a third party candidate is the best person but has absolutely no chance of winning, then you need to be careful to not waste your vote.

Using this principle of voting for the best person who has a CHANCE to win, I have held my nose and voted for some real idiots because as bad as they were, they were considerably better than the other idiot (November 2008 comes to mind).

I think a valid exception to the above paragraph is during the primary elections. This is where I will sometimes (often) vote for the best person even though I know he can’t win because it makes a statement and sometimes you can afford to make a “statement” in the primary. You must be careful here that you don’t defeat, in the primary, the only guy who has a chance to win the general election (I believe we did just that in the November 2008 primary).

I will vote, in the general election, for a third party candidate (assuming he is worthy) if and only if I think he has a reasonable chance to win. Perfect example – you might think Snoopy is the best person for the job and maybe he is but if you vote for Snoopy and he can’t win, you wasted your vote. Be careful doing this in the primary but don’t do it in the general election. In the general election you need to have a reasonable assurance that your candidate can win.

Derrek also said “The freedom to vote is also the freedom not to vote.” This is technically very true and I support the statement but I think it misses the essence of the American spirit. Some will use this as an excuse to justify their non-participation in our way of life and the freedom we enjoy.

For the record I DO NOT get the impression that Derrek is using this as an excuse or even suggesting that others use it. Rather I think that Derrek is correctly point out that voting is a right and not a mandatory action. In case I didn’t say that right Derrek, I’m not trying to attack you. You made a very valid point and I am trying to offer clarity on it.

I agree 100% with Gary’s comment: “it’s a Government, Of the people, by the people I feel it is an obligation of citizenship to A. Inform yourself and B. vote.”

The only thing Gary left out is “… for the people…” I think the point is well taken though. I also agree 100% with Gary’s statement: “I simply can’t equate the term Non Voter and the term Principled together.”

Peter T. Burke said it best when he said: “A “principled non-voter” exemplifies the concept in US politics of “what ever you don’t oppose, you condone.”

How true is that! If you have the ability to “fix” the country by voting, and you chose not to vote, then whose fault is it that the country is broken? I must acknowledge that this “fault” is not just on the shoulders of the so-called “principled non voters” but a great deal of that “fault” also falls on the shoulders of those who we, in good-faith, elect but then do not have the integrity to do that for which we elected them. First time shame on you, next time shame on me (re-electing a failed president for a second term is a good example).

This is our country and it was the people who decided to band together to protect the freedoms our forefathers fought and died for. They gave us the means to guarantee those freedoms and that is spelled out in the Constitution of the United States.

That Constitution provides for a government to guarantee and defend our freedoms because many of them are not defensible by the individual (meaning that not everyone can park an F-16 fighter jet in their driveway). Our rights and freedoms must be protected by a group (government) that is responsible and accountable to the public they serve.

The constitution gives a method to correct the direction of the government when it strays and that method is the vote. If you don’t like the direction of the government the solution is to vote for what you honestly believe to be better. If your choice is to not vote, it means you like everything just the way it is, and that is not often the case. Where does the real integrity problem reside?

This is an excellent topic for discussion and I hope it continues because you all bring valid points to the discussion!

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Peter T. Burke @peter-t-burke

I wish that somebody would say something that is stupid or just dumber than a bag of hammers. All of these intelligent contributions make it difficult for me to think of something useful to add. Hmm… maybe we need to solicit a few “useful idiots”?

I don’t agree that voting is a “responsibility” any more than being subjected to a governmental search or getting your property or person seized is a “responsibility” under the 4th amendment.

I don’t find any place in the US Constitution that explicitly defines the “right to vote”. I do find many places that imply the issue of voting but only in the sense that if a vote is held the Constitution prohibits denying the vote to particular groups of people.

Voting, in my opinion, is a voluntarily assumed civil obligation of the people who choose to participate in deciding the future of the USA. people clearly do not have a Constitutional duty to vote and may freely decline to do so.

My primary issue is with people who do not participate and then proceed to complain about the outcome. My secondary issue is with people who vote injudiciously and are then unhappy with the outcome of the election.

Clearly, the politicians where I live do not like to see me marching down on them. I do vote and frequently oppose a candidate openly and directly but I will vote for that same candidate when he is the best choice of the time.

“The great lesson for democracies to learn is for the majority to give to the minority a full, free opportunity to present their side of the case, and then for the minority, having failed to win a majority to their views, gracefully to submit and to recognize the action as that of the entire organization, and cheerfully to assist in carrying it out, until they can secure its repeal”

Henry M. Robert, Parliamentary Law, 1923, reprinted Irvington Publishers, 1975, p. 4

This is what is missing from the political discussion in the USA.

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Gary @grand-vizier

Wow! I feel like Socrates! A simple little topic is generating some really excellent thought.
Peter I think there is way too much detail about how the government is actually elected not to presume there is a right to vote but when you consider all the restrictions formerly keeping groups of people FROM voting such as women before suffrage and poll taxes etc. I am forced to concede the point. I sometimes forget those things existed. My how we have progressed?
Peters math is also on point, it’s how we have presidents with less than even majority votes.
The idea that one should have either property or pay taxes to vote clearly would dis-enfranchise a lot of people and is unacceptable but I also think it’s unacceptable that the vote can be used to take other people’s property and re-distribute it to those who have not earned it.
By that method the producers become the slaves to the non Producers. I don’t think the founding fathers of this country had that outcome in mind,especially since the income tax was also not included in the Constitution.
I must admit I am enjoying the developement of this topic immensely.

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Kevlar @kevlar


Peter brought up a point that I think is fundamentally important to discuss and understand, one which I am not sure I completely understand. I am asking for more discussion on this. That is the notion of the “right to vote” or the “responsibility to vote” or the lack of that “right” which would mean that voting is merely a “privilege” as opposed to a “right.”

As a matter of conversation we often mention the “right” to vote and we never give it a second thought. I am guilty of this as are many people. I must confess that in the past I would attempt to correct someone when they called voting a “right” and I would say it is not a “right” but a privilege. This would often take the debate down a side path and other more important topics of debate (of the day) would go unaddressed as a result.

Then I started using the term “right to vote” because it kept those debates more on-topic for one thing but also it fit well with my heartfelt opinion that patriotic Americans (those who respect their freedom) have a responsibility to vote in an effort to keep that freedom. I constantly toil over this as you may have noticed by my previous statement “Even though voting is a right, or at least not a legal obligation, I believe that every free American has a responsibility to vote and with that responsibility comes the responsibility to cast an informed vote.”

I have given in to this voting as a right thing but I still feel compelled to leave open a way out as indicated by the phrase “or at least not a legal obligation.” I have felt for quite some time that I was the only person (or at least one of a few) who would fight this. I am glad that Peter pointed this out because I think we need to understand our rights versus our privileges in order that we might know what we fight for.

As Peter correctly indicated, this still isn’t black and white. While voting may be only a privilege and not a “right” as many believe, denying a person “in good standing” (as in not a convicted felon) the chance to participate in his government is clearly wrong as well.

This needs to be nailed down because it has implications in areas such as voter-ID. You cannot deny the American citizen the opportunity to participate in his government, but on the other hand you MUST deny the ability to participate in our government (voting) by those who are not citizens of this country. These two concepts are mutually exclusive, affording the vote to those eligible and denying the vote to those ineligible.

If you want to screen those who are ineligible one of the easiest ways is to require alter-proof voter-ID. However, those who oppose this method do so on the grounds that it denies people the “right” to vote. This puts the debate at a standstill because nobody wants to deny someone their “rights.”

For the record, at least for this discussion, it matters-not to what degree illegal people are casting a vote (be it ten million people or just a couple people) because even one illegitimate vote taints the process. Lincoln said that we have a “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” He did not say we have a “government of the people, by the FRENCH (or Mexicans), and for the people.”

In my simple thought process this emphasizes the notion that our government is by the AMERICAN people specifically and that ALL others are legally ineligible to vote in our system. How do we prevent them from voting if their defense is that you might possibly deny a legitimate person their “right” to vote and you can’t do that?

It seems to me that this is the perfect time and place to discuss voting as a “right” or “privilege.” Again I have long thought it to be a “privilege” but have been unable to accurately and definitively articulate that thought (as such I gave in to the “right” side). Peter seems to understand this better than me so Peter, you have the floor. I believe you spoke the truth on this subject but can you provide some more clarity please?

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Peter T. Burke @peter-t-burke


Oh, Oh, Now I’ve gone and done it. (A general question begets a general response)

Privilege, for the purposes herein,is a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group of people whereas a “Right” is a moral or legal entitlement to have, or obtain something, or to act in a certain way.

The issue begins in the US Declaration of Independence:

“1. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

2.That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

(Recall that nobody voted for several of these guys!)

We,the People, have generally given our consent to using the process of voting by not opposing the issue of voting.

Thomas Jefferson was a dedicated Parliamentarian and the process of voting is embedded in the English form of Parliamentary Law. That said understand that “civil rights” in England are just a nostalgic tradition and not anything memorialized in the law anywhere. Voting is assumed to be “how it is to be done” in the USA.

The general philosophy of the statutory law in the US is “Prohibitive” in that anything not expressly prohibited is permitted and may be done until prohibited. (Hence my philosophy that only what I get convicted for is illegal all else is just fine)

The general philosophy of the practice of government (administrative law also known as regulatory law) in the US is “Permissive” in that only what is permitted may be done and all else is prohibited. This is the nature of the conflict between US Americans and the Progressives- Democrats vs Republicans – Conservatives vs liberals, etc

Under statutory law there would be no bar to voting unless there was a specific prohibition in effect. Under regulatory

US Constitution, 14th Amendment;

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

Section 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Section I uses the defines and uses the term “citizen” and then proceeds in the second sentence to give protection to the “privileges or immunities” of those citizens – and then in the middle of the second sentence extends the equal protection of the law to every human being who just happens to be in the United States jurisdiction for what ever reason.

Section 2 makes it absolutely clear that the “right to vote” exists but can be denied to the male voters for just about any capricious cause. This is in clear conflict with the Declaration of Independence.

There are dozens of other examples of the conflict of the voting privileges in the law of the US. The result is that we are stuck with the common law tradition of allowing voting to take place along with all of the arguments of who may vote and all of the associated conditions.

Some Rights exist independently of man’s conception and understanding and even man’s existence. These are natural rights. The right to life, the right to liberty (not license or freedom), and the right to the pursuit of happiness. There are other natural rights such as the right to survival, procreation, self-defense, and many other issues that a civil society may aid but does not grant. In the philosophy of the USA these rights are endowed by whoever, or whatever, created the recipient of the rights in question.

Common law is the “law” of long standing practice from time immemorial. Taking a wife is a practice from time immemorial and is clearly enshrined in the common law of England and since the common law of England is incorporated into the common law of the USA, it is a practice in the USA; hence the term “common law marriage”, BUT …
statutory law refines common law and many US states deny the right to common law marriage.

Voting is clearly enshrined from time immemorial in the common law of just about every country that is the origin of US governmental procedures (except where it isn’t – monarchies, dictatorships, Cartel run societies, countries we don’t approve of, etc.)

Voting is a right of the people in the USA except when it is inconvenient and then the governmental body in question does away with that right which actually exists only at the whim of capricious and arbitrary people in revered as some sort of “higher power” authority. And that makes it just a casual privilege of whosoever the government chooses to grant the option to vote.

My natural rights are irrevocable save and except by the Grantor of those rights. If I live in a society that grants some sort of right that it can alter at will it is clear to me that the grant is just a privilege that is presented with some wonderful words to make it appear to be more than it is.

The US government has freely altered, withdrawn, extended, and diluted the issue of voting in the US. The US Federal government has had no qualms about murdering US citizens that it feels are not doing as the Federal Government has instructed. The issue of “voting” has been all to frequently an issue of voting by the “bullet ballot”.

My personal feeling is that voting is the only grip the people who live in the USA have on their government and that grip is very tenuous at best. Lincoln showed how easily the US Government can slip into the practice of just casually killing anybody who doesn’t agree with those who are in power. No nonsense about debates or voting, just the bullet ballot for those who absolutely must have an election.

I think that voting is more a case of “you ‘should’ if you care to live with some degree of liberty” as opposed to a being a blind duty or obligation of living in some particular geographical region.

A side note: “Americans?” Would that be the people from America? North, Central, or South America? Canada? United States of America? United Mexican States? Do all Americans get to vote in American elections? Somos Americanos?

I suppose I probably made that as clear as mud. It might be more productive if we could refine the topics to specific issues.

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Gary @grand-vizier

Peter when you answer a question you really stir the pot don’t you?
I think its clear from the text in section 1 of the 14th amendment which you kindly refer, to that ‘Americans” is not germane. It is persons born in or naturalized and therefore ate citizens of the United States that are referred to.
If I may be so bold as to try and simplify the issue it seems to me that boiled down to the basic facts, either people start to take seriously their ability to vote knowledgeably and make the effort to do so, or we will become Venezuela.
The political class of both parties will become Royalty and we will become Serfs.
Those with enough money will find a way to survive and be comfortable ,here or elsewhere and the fools that coasted along expecting others to look out for them will reap what they have sown.
I expect I will have more to add after I digest your remarks.The level of explanation you offered was more detailed and concise than than expected. Greatly appreciated though.
The level of thought that is presented on Volkalize is very interesting.

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Gary @grand-vizier

OOPS didn’t mean” ate”,meant are.
Going too fast again.

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Kevlar @kevlar



Thanks for the response. You are an educated man. Whether that means diplomas on the wall or a self motivated person who has paid attention to the world around him, you seem to have a handle on things and I seem to agree with you on much of that. That said, I will offer my opinion when I can or clarity when I can.

I’m glad you went to the Declaration of Independence first when referencing rights because that document gives the foundation for all else. The Declaration of Independence is the “why” of our existence as a free nation and the Constitution is the “how” of our free nation. The constitution specifically mentions a few rights but we have more than the ten rights it mentions. In my opinion the Declaration of Independence mentions them all (in non-specific terms).

The Declaration of Independence mentions the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” You mentioned that there are “other natural rights such as the right to survival, procreation, self-defense, and many other issues that a civil society may aid but does not grant.” In my opinion the right to “life” as stated in the Declaration of Independence encompasses these “other natural rights” you mention.

The “right to survival” is included in the right to “life” for obvious reasons. The “right to procreation” is also included in the right to “life” because without procreation, “life” stops. The “right to self-defense” is also included in the right to “life” because without the “authority” to defend yourself, “life” stops. My point is that ALL rights are included in the Declaration of Independence, albeit in general terms.

Furthermore, it is my opinion that this is where the distinction between “rights” and “privileges” is made. If my neighbor has a “right” then I have an obligation (whereas if my neighbor has a “privilege” I do not then have a corresponding obligation). My neighbor has a right (specifically) to freedom of speech and while morally there is a responsibility that goes along with that freedom of speech, technically there is not.

My neighbor can even use his creator-endowed and constitutionally-protected freedom of speech to yell “fire” in a crowded theater (think about it, if the theater is on fire, nobody is going to tell him he is wrong). My obligation to the protected right of my neighbor is that I cannot interfere with his “right” and I must allow him to speak (the case is easier to make when it is the government interfering, but if this happens between private persons and one disagrees, the government can and will get involved and that is where the protection of rights comes into play).

What my neighbor cannot do, and the ONLY reason he cannot do it (because it then becomes a limitation on his protected right to free speech) is he cannot intentionally (or even reasonably) cause two hundred people to hit the door at the same time because if they do, someone will get killed and the person who is killed by the mob will then have had his right to life denied; at this point wrongdoing has occured.

In other words, when it comes to “rights” the ONLY limitation to those rights (excluding the convicted felon) is my rights. Your rights cannot interfere with my rights and vice versa.

Again, he can yell “fire” all he wants in the crowded theater without any wrongdoing but the minute someone gets hurt or dies because of the yelling of “fire” which caused a highly-excited crowd to hit the doors en masse resulting in that injury or death, a wrongdoing has been committed.

For clarity, if the theater is truly on fire and my neighbor yells “fire” and because of his warning 100 people survived who otherwise would probably have died, even though three people died when they were crushed by the mob at the door, there isn’t a jury that would convict. My neighbor in this case would be a hero.

The thing to take from this is that we have a “right” to do just about anything we want to do because just about anything we want to do will fall under “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” No law can limit those rights (exception in a minute). The ONLY true limit to those rights exists when your exercise of your rights interferes with my exercise of my rights.

Here is the exception and if you think about it this is reasonable: If reasonable people will conclude that the yelling of “fire” in a crowded theater, especially one that is NOT on fire, will cause harm or death to innocent people, then those reasonable people have reason to establish a law against the yelling of “fire” in that crowed theater.

Another good example: if getting drunk and then driving 90 miles per hour on the highway is how you want to pursue your “happiness” then by what measure of decency, law, reasonableness, etc, does the government (County, City, State) have the authority to interfere? Simple, reasonable people will conclude that the drunk driver stands a better than average chance of killing you and your family in a car crash and that would violate every one of your “rights.”

Those “rights” which you were just denied, by the way, are the same rights the government is duty bound by sworn oath to protect. The problem is obvious in that while this may be how the driver pursues his happiness, once he loses control and is heading for your car, certain death is going to result because after a certain point the chain of events cannot be stopped. This would mean breaking the laws of physics.

The only way to protect your right to “life” and the rest of the rights you would lose when he hits you is to take preemptive action to prohibit, via law, all drivers from driving drunk and using excessive speed. A government imposed speed limit is not an interference of your rights, rather it is a reasonable effort by the governing body who is constitutionally responsible to protect and guarantee your rights, to do just that. We have yet to figure out how to defy the laws of physics although I am sure somebody somewhere is trying.

I think I probably went farther than necessary to illustrate my point but I think it is a very important point. If this concept is understood then even the common and uneducated man (like me, LOL) can rationalize with a high degree of accuracy the legality, or constitutionality of any given law. If a law does not support the concept described above then there is probably reason to question it.

You correctly quote Section One of the Fourteenth Amendment and then offer the notion that this extends our “privileges or immunities” to non citizens. If this amendment is taken by itself, because of its lack of clarity, you could possibly draw that conclusion. However, elsewhere we find that the constitution itself is the supreme law of the land.

The constitution, without amendments, was passed all at the same time. Yes, over time by states but it was not enacted in a piecemeal fashion meaning that it meant nothing yesterday when the Articles of Confederation prevailed, and means everything today and the Articles of Confederation do not count.

The Constitution is the Supreme law of the land. The yet unwritten Bill of Rights, although redundant with the Declaration of Independence was agreed to become part of the original document as a means to acquire the requisite number of signatures.

All subsequent laws were required to have authority from the constitution. This means that if the congress passed a law and the president signed that law but the congress had no authority to make the law in the first place then congress was acting outside its constitutional authority and therefore it was not itself a recognized authority. In this case the law even though signed by the president, is unconstitutional.

My point: the purpose of this country as a nation, and the sole purpose for having a government of this nation is to do nothing other than guarantee the protection of our freedoms (I make this sound simple but it is a daunting task). This tells me that the very reason for the United States of America to exist is for the sole benefit of the people of the United States.

In other words, the purpose of the United States is not to further the goals of the French. If a French citizen happens to be in the United States visiting friends or relatives, he does NOT have the “right” to vote for, or participate in our government in any manner just because he happens to be present in this country, and Section One of the Fourteenth Amendment does not extend to that Frenchman these “rights” and “privileges.” I offer this as my heartfelt debate and not a personal attack so please take it accordingly.

The only thing left to discuss is what I believe constitutes a “privilege.” Your rights are, in general but very accurate terms, that of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” I discussed the limits of those rights and there aren’t many; suffice it to say that your “rights” are limited only by my rights.

What then is a “privilege?” A privilege is anything that is neither a right, nor a law that prohibits a certain action. Example: You do not have a “right” to drive a car. If driving a car was a “right” then you would be hard-pressed to prohibit the blind, or drunk, or mentally incompetent, or even under-aged people from driving. As long as you meet all the criteria established by society to drive (age, license, safe car, sobriety, ability to see and control the car, etc) then you have the “privilege” to drive within those established rules.

Note that a police officer, who is not a judge and jury, can completely stop and forcefully prevent you from driving and do it on the spot and he can do it for violation of a law that you might never have heard about. If driving was your “right” he would have to offer complete due process (trial on the side of the road with witnesses, perhaps expert witnesses etc, in which you are innocent until proven guilty).

If driving is a “right” then how can you justify denying the three year old child her “right” to drive (remember that all men (and women) are created equal). By the same token, if voting is a “right” then how do you justify denying that same three year old child her “right” to vote? You can deny these things because they are “privileges” not “rights.”

The problem with voting is that it is inherent in self-rule and that is how this country was designed. This self-rule is the difference between free people and non-free people. If there ever was a “privilege” that could be used (in most cases) interchangeably with a “right” it would be voting.

This is what makes this a difficult topic, although a very important topic. Think “voter-id” laws and the protection of the integrity of your right as an “American” (see comment below) to control your government – government of the people, not United States Government by the French people.

By the way Peter, you got me on the “American” thing, I use that term interchangeably with United States citizens but I take it farther and add a dose of patriotism to the “American” that the “citizen” should but might not have. However, technically this could include South Americans. Not my intent but you win the point.

Good discussion/debate. I am learning both from what you present and from my own research to reply.

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Gary @grand-vizier
This topic and resulting posts would make a hell of a good government studies course.
Better than what’s being taught in most high schools I trust.
Having said that we are still faced with the basic question of the “Principled Non-Voter.
Is there really such a thing or is that just a delusional excuse for being to lazy or irresponsible to actually fulfill what I,at least,consider ,the most basic responsibilities of citizenship.

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Peter T. Burke @peter-t-burke


My apologies for the delay in responding. I am forced to struggle for survival in Obama’s USA with the impediment of a rising equities market.

This discussion has given life to many rabbits and many trails. I suggest that we focus on the topics one at a time or at the least narrow the selection of trails. This despite the fact that I was probably the one who opened the trails.

So, like the Walrus and The Carpenter perhaps we should begin at the beginning…?

My view;

Man is created in a private sphere within which he is responsible solely to his Creator and himself alone without qualification. For as long as he remains in that private sphere his responsibility remains unchanged. Within that private sphere the individual is perfectly free to do as he will responsible only to himself and his Creator.

When he, in his private sphere, moves into the public sphere of a civil society, he assumes the common responsibilities of every other member of that civil society with the proviso that he can freely exit that civil society at any time of his choosing with no lingering responsibility arising out of his freely chosen presence in that civil society.

I have the freedom to enter, remain or depart the USA at will. I am at liberty within the jurisdiction of the USA but I do not have freedom, because I am obliged to the civil requirements of the society which may or may not grant me license to do certain actions and refrain from other actions.

In the USA the requirements of the civil society are presented in the civil social contracts that set out the requirements for being at liberty in the USA. The foundational social contracts are the Declaration of Independence and that which is further delineated in Constitution of the United States of America.

The nature of these social contracts is that they are between the current person of the individual and the civil society as set forth in the written document and the further subordinate document that set out the requirements for a person to be at liberty within the jurisdiction of the civil society of the USA.

Clearly this is a civil process that is based on Sola Scriptura (only that which is written) rather than the extended hypothetical imaginings based on some projection of a leveraged view of what might be the consequences of an “If” compounded by innumerable “may bes” that are supported by unlimited “could bes” and very judiciously restrained by liberal “should bes” and proven by a vast quantity of “would bes”.

In the civil philosophy of the USA (as written) there can be no crime without a particular victim. To hold somebody responsible for what may happen if their hypothetical condition has the potential for being the proximate cause of some terrible consequence that only might happen, is not incorporated in the written requirements in the USA that delineates the conduct of a good citizen.

To punish or hold a citizen responsible for the possible future consequences of some imagined act that the citizen potentially might be unable to control is about as “un-American” as one can get. These are the “future crimes” so well presented in the film “Minority Report”.

To present an example;

i normally drive as fast as I feel I am comfortable with. Sometimes that means 50 mph and sometimes that means 120+ mph. If no one is in fact injured by my actions, where is the victim of my so-called “crime”? If I consume more Jameson than the local copper can deal with why am I considered inebriated? I normally like 4 or 5 pints of Guinness, but the Guinness that is served in the USA is a weak “near-beer” that necessitates adding a shot or two if Jameson to each pint.
If I then drive and I am doing, say 90, who is the victim? Nobody. So in my view there is no crime.

If I am stone cold sober while I am driving and I collide with another car head on killing everybody in the other car, is that better than my driving at 90 after having enjoyed 5 or 6 pints but I don’t collide with anyone or any thing.

Is the fact that I am sober according the local test results as administered by some local copper when I kill a family in another car, a mitigating circumstance that would reduce my civil and moral liability?

It is my argument that when my actions are the proximate or ultimate cause creating a victim out of some innocent person, there is a crime and I am responsible. Otherwise my actions are my own affair and I am responsible only to myself and my Creator.

The written social contracts of the USA do not require a citizen to vote. Because of the wording of the 14th amendment there is a question of whether a voter must necessarily be a citizen.

If the majority of the eligible voters in the USA acquiesce to the further conversion of the USA into a European-style authoritarian socialist democracy, is that not their privilege in accordance with the controlling social contracts that govern the civil society in the USA?

Most people in the USA, citizen or otherwise, have no objection to the USA being referred to as a “democracy” despite the fact that the people of the USA are guaranteed that the USA will be a “republic” by the expressed terms of the US Constitution. In the USA the leader of the national government are unabashed in instructing the citizen to not ask what the country can do for them but instead how they can serve the the country. So much for the issue of a republican form of government.

The US is 100 years along the road to the successful conversion to being a socialist democracy. This has been done with the willing consent of the majority of those who exercise their right to vote and those who exercise their right to not vote.

I going to leave this for the moment, but I will add two of my favorite quotes of Edmund Burke on the subject of the conduct of men:

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” and

“Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.”

-Edmund Burke (often quoted by Thomas Jefferson)

If you will, may we continue on specific points?

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Gary @grand-vizier

Well,clearly until we are each able to make our own personal laws, whether anyone is hurt by driving fast ( A passion we share,apparently) is beside the point. If caught you’re going to pay the piper.We could start a whole other discussion about speed.
I do think your Burke Quotes are precisely on point.
We are training a nation of fools who are abandoning things of value in exchange for ????
But fear not ! The community organizers are here to help us !!

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Kevlar @kevlar



Interesting, to say the least!

At the risk of knowingly wading into a pool where the water in the shallow end is a minimum of 300 feet over my head – I say “let’s go wading.”

If by the “impediment of a rising equities market” you mean that you have uncovered shorts that are going against you in a rising market then I sympathize with you.

My belief is not that much different than yours, at least I think. We both believe that man has the right (freedom) to do whatever he wants to do. I see it as though the rights of the individual are limited ONLY by those same rights of another individual. In fact this is pretty clear in the Declaration of Independence. You see it in a similar fashion (if I am free to assume).

You see it as man is solely responsible to himself (which can be absolutely unlimited) AND at the same time to his creator (which puts limits on the man). Ultimately in both views the man has limitations on his rights (freedom) and it is my opinion that those limits are exactly the same.

I believe I can drive drunk and at 100 MPH in the pursuit of my happiness but that my right to the pursuit of happiness stops moments (nano-seconds) prior the impact where I hit and kill the other driver because that is the point where I have interfered, in fact denied him the right to “life” which is a right that I also enjoy.

Furthermore I believe that since the laws of physics won’t allow me to stop my car instantaneously from a speed of 100 MPH (plus the closure speed of the other driver) that the state has an interest in making a law to prevent drunk drivers and speeders. There is no guarantee but there is reasonableness.

In my opinion, you get to the exact same conclusion but via different methods. You say (this is my understanding of what you are saying) that your responsibility isn’t to the rights of the other driver but to the creator who gave us those rights. If the creator gave all of us those same rights (that whole created-equal thing) then you would be violating that bond between you and your creator when you drive drunk and fast and kill someone.

I believe we reach the same conclusion but use different avenues to get there. If my understanding of your position is correct then I accept your viewpoint. If I am wrong – please clarify.

If you are within the jurisdiction of the USA then you do have freedom, certainly not in terms of the messed up society of today but in the fashion the country was designed. You are free because the only limitations placed on you are, at least in my opinion the rights of others. In your case the wishes of the creator who in turn gave those same rights to the next guy.

Your obligation (and mine) to the civil requirements of the society should be few. In fact because of the intended small size of government, any requirements of government on the people would be there to protect the rights of all citizens and nothing more. I will concede that the size of government is orders of magnitude larger than necessary and as such we are subject to “unconstitutional” requirements like Obamacare.

I think I will use my discretion to side-step the paragraph with all the “maybes, could bes, would bes, and should bes” because I think that maybe I could be and possibly would be in deep doodoo if I should be going there (I wasn’t sure I could pull that off but I think I did well, let me know, LOL).

Can there be a crime without a “particular victim?” Yes, I believe there can be if you consider that even though there was no oncoming driver when you veered across the line because you were drunk and going 100 MPH, you took an unreasonable risk with the freedom of others because had there been someone there it would be impossible to stop the sequence of events in time to respect his rights (or as you see it, honor your commitment with the creator who gave those same rights to the other driver).

If your point is that since there was not another driver there and as a result you didn’t kill anyone in a crash, you shouldn’t be charged with murder, I totally agree. However, in this case I would support the arrest for DWI and likely criminal speed. These are far less offenses than murder but the fact that there was no oncoming car was not something over which you had any control. Either way, you are unlucky because of your own actions but you could have been even more unlucky.

The 14th amendment states that no state shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States… Even before the 14th amendment the Declaration of Independence stated “that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Note that this says from the consent of the “governed” and that a visiting French citizen is not a member of the “governed” and therefore the “government” derives NO power from the French citizen just because he happens to be here visiting (meaning that clearly he cannot vote).

Some will say that the Frenchman is subject to our laws while he is here visiting. Yes but not always because he might have diplomatic immunity. But even if he has no diplomatic immunity he is subject to a minimal set of laws, not all of them. For example, if he is here for a ten day visit of friends and he does not have a health insurance plan that meets the standards of Obamacare, he cannot be taxed as a result. No, the visiting Frenchman is not a United States citizen and therefore cannot vote. Respectfully this is a liberal interpretation of the 14th amendment.

As far as it being the privilege of the voters to acquiesce to the further conversion of the USA into a European-style authoritarian socialist democracy, I say both yes and no.

No because of what you mention in your next paragraph and that is that the constitution, to which we make our public servants swear an oath to uphold, guarantees to each and every one of us a “republican form of government.”

Yes because it is the privilege of the people to amend the constitution as they see fit. If the people want a socialist form of government then they are free to amend the constitution to remove the guarantee of a “republican form.” However, short of that – undoubtedly and unquestionably NO!

Same thing with Obamacare. Obamacare is unconstitutional in many respects and that is without question (I have made that case on this site many times). If the people want to have Obamacare they certainly can have it but they must first amend the United States Constitution to “give” that power to the federal government because as it stands the federal government is forbidden to exercise any power it does not have.

Well that was a bit confusing and I probably got in over my head but I think my “wading” adventure was successful. Successful except for the maybe, would be, could be, should be part. Since discretion is the better part of valor I think that side-stepping that bomb was the prudent thing to do.

I am ready to address specific points if you want but I don’t think I have yet to introduce any, I am just keying off the points of others.

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Peter T. Burke @peter-t-burke


It is my argument that government has no power or authority save and except what the governed expressly grant to the various organs of applied government.

When I was a child I asked my father about “government” and he explained it as his father did for him;

I slowly drifted out of the pub after 2 or 6 pints. On the street as I headed to my home that I built alone for myself and my family, I was stopped by a man who was at the front of a group of men.

The man in the lead asked “Did you get paid this week?”

I replied: “I did, and just how is that your business?”

The leader ignored my question and demanded “Give me two out of every three dollars of the money you got for the work you did!”

And the conversation went on like this:

“And just why should I?”

“Because we’re your government! So give over!”

“And just what did you do for me?”

“We are protecting you from Pink Elephants and robbers.”

“I have never seen a Pink Elephant!”

“See how good a job we do? You owe us our share of your wages”

“What about the robbers?”

“There aren’t any robbers here but we will take control of them to our system if they show up”

“What if I don’t give you the money I worked for?”

“Then we grab a hold of you and just take it!”

There are two works that are near and dear to my heart and very useful in the general understanding of governmental claims;

1. “On The Prevalence of Humbug”, Max Black, Cornell University Library, 1983
( )

2. “On Bullshit”, Dr. Harry Frankfort, Princeton University Press, 1986
(,d.b2I&cad=rjt )

Please pardon the mess – Hyperlinking not available

Later in life I encountered many writers and people who expressed my view very succinctly:

“There is no human condition so miserable that a policeman can’t make it worse.”

Brendan Behan, Irish poet, short story writer, novelist, and playwright, 1923 -1964

I see nothing in the US law that makes the citizen responsible for the imagined horrors envisioned by some terrified politician. Again we have government pursuing the herds of Pink Elephants. To hold somebody responsible for what “might be” instead of “what is” is to relive citizens of personal responsibility for their specific actions and enrich the police and the legal system by the pursuit of imagined possibilities.

The law and legal system in the US is retributive. It only strikes after the deed is done.

I can rob the bank and kill all of the witnesses. I do have the ability. The law is silent on this topic and only address the conditions of retribution in the event that I should be apprehended by the law, formally charged, presented to a Grand Jury, sent over for trial, competently represented at trial, and found guilty as charged by a jury of my peers, then and only then does the law indicate the range of what may be done with me if the Judge does not set the jury verdict aside. That risk averages around a 20:1 chance.
It is not fear of the angry law that keeps me from it – it is that the act is self-evidently wrong for me to do. In my view it is a self-evident truth that killing the witnesses is inherently wrong in all of its degrees. Robbing the bank might be a different story.

People are on the spear point all of the time – government and police men have no effect on this.

If a criminal shows up at my door he never seems to bring a policeman with him and I have to deal with the issue with only the help of Sam Colt. When a police man shows up at my door I know I would be better off had it been the robber.

“Everybody loves the Red,White and Blue, except when it is shining in their rear view mirror.”

If I am on the road and doing what I please who is the victim? Until someone is actually harmed there is no victim. If I am driving drunk as a skunk at 90 miles an hour on my private road entirely on my property is that still a crime against the State?

Nota bene: The 14th Amendment is the finest example of bad legal craftsmanship perpetrated by politicians when it comes to enshrining stupidity. It specifies the conditions of “citizens” and then expounds on the extension of the rights and privileges of “any person” within the jurisdiction. It also makes it clear that the voting rights of males over the age of 21 may be suspended.

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Kevlar @kevlar



You have an interesting philosophy. Some of your views are in step with my views. For example you said: “It is my argument that government has no power or authority save and except what the governed expressly grant to the various organs of applied government.” I agree with this and in fact this concept is found in many of our official documents.

However, you have some other views which, although I am not to the point of disagreeing with you, might benefit from clarity on your part. I find your quote “If I am on the road and doing what I please who is the victim? Until someone is actually harmed there is no victim” to be particularly interesting and it seems to me (correct me if I am wrong) that you might be using the fact that there is no “victim” to justify the action. It should be noted that I take this as a hypothetical situation and not one in which you would actually engage.

You said: “To hold somebody responsible for what “might be” instead of “what is” is to relive citizens of personal responsibility for their specific actions and enrich the police and the legal system by the pursuit of imagined possibilities.”

To continue with our on-going analogy of the drunk driver speeding down the road at 100 MPH, you seem to give him a complete pass provided that he doesn’t kill or injure anyone or destroy the property of others. In a sense I tend to agree but I take that a step farther and acknowledge that the driver (and others) has the “right” to the pursuit of happiness and it is not for others to interfere with that right.

However, if he swerves into the oncoming lane and hits a car head-on and kills all four people in that car, we both agree that the drunk driver “overstepped” his bounds. The problem is that technically if you could stop/freeze the motion one second before impact and freeze that for eternity then nobody has been harmed, there is no “victim” and no “rights” have been compromised.

The reality is that one second prior to impact, you have the drunk traveling at 100 MPH and the other driver (the sober one with his family in the car) driving at the legal speed limit of 75 MPH. With a combined closure rate of 175 MPH, the laws of physics dictate that you cannot stop that action at the one second point. Due to the laws of physics the vehicles will continue to collide killing everyone in both cars (not just the drunk).

It is my contention that in governments mandate (a mandate which we the people placed on them) to protect the rights of the individual (life, liberty, etc) that reasonable people can and should take reasonable measures to prevent this unreasonable action from taking place.

The key to this is “reasonableness.” It is possible to absolutely guarantee that nobody will ever be killed by a drunk driver in a vehicle crash and that is to forcefully prohibit the use of all vehicles. That is unreasonable though. Life is a risk-management business/exercise and the only way to guarantee that you will never be killed is to never be born in the first place.

These are not “imagined horrors.” They are reasonable risk-management precautions taken by a reasonable society. Note that this concept can be abused and often is abused and that I certainly don’t use this concept to justify all the laws we have.

Please shed some clarity on this. If your children were in that car (not the one driven by the drunk), exactly where would you draw the line? Or would you? Would you wait for all to be killed and then act? By the way, I don’t think you would.

The concept of being subject to a law ONLY if you get caught and convicted is not one to which I subscribe. It is true that you can break the law and not get caught. Most of us have driven over the speed limit by honest mistake and didn’t turn ourselves in just because there wasn’t a police officer to issue a ticket. Most of us have made a lane change without using our turn signals as well.

Just because you are not caught doesn’t mean you didn’t break the law. You must be arrested, tried, and convicted ONLY if you are to be punished by the government for breaking a law.

Additionally, a person can break a law, get arrested, and be found not-guilty by a jury of their peers. Sometimes you do the crime and are not found guilty by the jury. Sometimes innocent people are imprisoned. This is not ideal and we strive to not allow this to happen but it is our system and the alternative is lawlessness and that is actually worse.

Finally I agree that “The 14th Amendment is the finest example of bad legal craftsmanship.” Actually I think Obamacare Is worse. At the same time I believe your following statement needs clarity: “It also makes it clear that the voting rights of males over the age of 21 may be suspended.”

I don’t believe that it makes it “clear” that the voting “rights” of males over age 21 may be suspended and just leaves it at that. I think the necessary clarity is there in that it states that no state shall deprive any person of “life, liberty, or property without due process of law…” It is my strongly held opinion that the opportunity to participate in our government (by us, not the French) is inclusive in the right to “liberty.”

We are a nation of self-rule meaning that the government must defer to the people. That deference MUST be within the confines of the constitution because the government is strictly bound by that document. The people, however, are bound by the constitution but unlike the government the people have the authority to amend the constitution.

That said, we the people no longer care what happens to us. Some do and I know I do. All will tell you they care but a simple five minute discussion of politics will tell you if that person is truthful. Most are willfully and woefully uninformed and they are the ones who don’t care about this country.

When enough of these uninformed people vote the politicians see this and slowly take power from the people (if you are uninformed you don’t even know this is happening to you). The government takes that power and becomes abusive to the people.

Reasonable self-imposed limits can be good. Give up on that and you have government imposed rules. The following quote is applicable here. I have left the authors name off because that can overshadow the idea:

“There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.”

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Peter T. Burke @peter-t-burke

In my opinion I don’t need to justify my action unless some greater authority is able to call me to account for my actions.
I drive at the speed that is convenient to me. I don’t want to waste time at 30 mph when I can get done at 100 mph.
If I drive up and down the road for years at what ever speed I choose and no one is injured as a result then I assert that there is no victim.
Life is risk. When you get behind the wheel of a car or you put your family in a car you take a risk. The fuel might blow up. The road could open up and swallow you car and all. The wheel could come off another car and smash into the windshield of your car causing you lose control. An airplane could land on the highway infront of you with the same results. In fact the National Traffic Safety Board has figures that show that people with cars are far more deadly than all of the people with guns. Since those things have happened they are real risks. So how does one go about eliminating all risk from life? In my opinion the only way to avoid risk is to die.

If you get behind the wheel of a car and you kill somebody because you just are not a good operator is that better than killing them as a result of being drunk and a bad operator?

Until I do something that creates a victim I am not responsible for the work of chance. When my actions cause a person to actually become a victim I am as responsible as that person is injured.

If somebody is driving at 100 mph and there is no actual victim as a result there is no crime other than the imagined horrors created by a minion of the government by the stroke of a pen.
Once again the cops are chasing “Pink Elephants” by chasing a motorist who has not done anyone an injury. Profitable for the cop just like any other protection racket.

We go along in agreement and then you begin with “However, if …”. I do not agree with penalizing an entire population for something that is predicated on “if”.

I do agree with penalty for “However, when …”

The laws of physics are what ever man says they are for however long man intends for them to be the law.

When you do an action and your action creates a victim then you are responsible. No “Ifs, ands, or buts” about it. Society has the right to hold you accountable for what you have done but not for what you “might do” as imagined by some frightened bureaucrat.

If the people of the US have placed a mandate on the government to to protect the rights of the individual from all harm of any degree and of any nature then the only possible solution is for the government put all citizens in a cage and don’t allow them to interact with anything.

“… That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

I don’t see where the consent of the governed has been given to take away all liberty in the name of protecting people from their own actions.

As long as someone asserts the independent authority of the government to determine what rights and responsibilities an individual shall have there is no way that I can see to reach a common agreement. I see the government as entirely the servant of the citizen and not ever the master of any individual.

There is no possible way to live one’s life in the US without breaking some law or violating some rule or regulation that results from some law. The IRS tax code is a tiny example of the nature of the briar patch that is US law. Nothing is said until some one of the myrmidons of the law decides that this law must be enforced and that one is appropriate to ignore.

At every level of the law in the US the vast majority is casually ignored by the very minions of the law who are charged with upholding the law. From the President of the US (Chief Law Enforcement Officer of the US) who commits perjury and is found guilty, to the cop on the corner who just lets his personal informant do a few hundred drug deals law is a matter of personal choice when it come to what is the legal theory and what is the fact of what’s illegal.

The law is the law as written – except when it is not. Regardless of what the written statutory law says, anybody who makes their wealth and benefits by cultivating laws will tell you that you have to know what the trial precedents are in order to know what the law is – maybe – sort of – for now – until it is challenged – and for as long as the Appellate Court ruling isn’t over turned. The law of the land is a fine example of a Humpty Dumpty argument.

‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.’

The law, like most other systems of ethic in the US is just a fog that drifts over the land obscuring everything until somebody proves to a jury of the defendants peers that the defendant violated the law and the jury does not nullify that law.

I am free to live as I will until I am discovered, apprehended, charged by a magistrate, presented to a Grand Jury, tried and found guilty by a jury of my peers and convited. This also requires that the jury agrees that the actions I am charged with ought to be a violation of the law else the jury can just agree that the charges are true and correct but the jury finds me to be not guilty regardless.

The philosophy of “Sola scriptura” is also know as a “four corners of the document” posture. The government in the US not subscribe to Sola Scriptura when making an application of the law. I may have robbed the bank but … after that it’s all just another Humpty Dumpty argument.

Alphonse Gabriel Capone didn’t go to prison for any of the murders, bootlegging, and other crimes. He was given a pass on all of that. He went to prison for income tax evasion. Now in the eyes of the law that is a serious crime!

Suspension of the right to vote:

14th amendment to the US Constitution, section 2:

Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed.

Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed.
But when the -> right to voteis denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States<-, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

I do not know how to add HTML tags so I put arrows in to draw your attention to the wording – read section 2 of the 14th amendment carefully.

Things may not be the way the US was intended to be by the "Founding Fathers, et al" but it is the way it is intended to be by the various Progressives of the past 100 years.

Can you think of any crime of violence or moral turpitude that has not been established as acceptable by the various elements of the US government? How about any act of misfeasance, malfeasance, or non-feasance that has not been done by a representative or agent of the government?

What crime against the individual or massed citizens of the US has never been excused by the various legislatures or by the various courts in the US? Since we are all equal I may do any act that has not been judged to be a prohibited civil wrongdoing for all citizens, or any act that has received tacit approval of the legislatures and courts of the land. The only restraint on my actions is my understanding of what is right or wrong.

In my view "sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander". That is nothing more than "Do as I do" instead of "Do as I think I said, maybe, as I remember what I may have said if I said it. "

Everything in the US that was wrong at one time either is right to do now or soon will be. Commonly accepted ideas of right and wrong are dismissed without pause for reflection.

The US legal system is a morass of moral relativism – and that works for me!

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Peter T. Burke @peter-t-burke



I failed to put the tag on the response that precedes this one.

I agreed with the contents of your quote when I first encountered it. I was surprised that there were people who didn’t grow up in my world who came to the same conclusions I did, only earlier than I did by many years.

Too soon we grow old, too late we grow smart.

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Peter T. Burke @peter-t-burke


Sorry about the delays.

Yes “if” I am caught I will pay the piper, but that is conditioned on a lot of stuff that has to take place between getting caught and being obliged to actually hand over the money.

I found some decals for my rear view mirrors that say “Objects in the mirror are losing.”

I drive a 1999 Chevy Suburban (5.7L 255 hp 8 Cyl) and it has several “go fast” modifications. It is built up for running in Mexico and all I can say is that on the highway in Mexico – “faster is safer”.

I do think that public education (as in what they do to kids in government schools) is generating a nation of subjects.

His Holiness, The Obama, and his Obamites are the predictable outcome of the past 100 years. I don’t blame him for his beliefs and attitude – I blame the worshippers who elected him – twice!

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Kevlar @kevlar



If you thought I was demanding that you justify your action then you grossly misread my post. However I did ask for clarification but that is entirely different. Sorry, but you got that very wrong.

I thought we were engaged in a hypothetical discussion in an effort that we could more easily make our points clear – I was wrong. Apparently this is reality for you.

I am certainly not a fan of big government but I do acknowledge that there are things for which we need government. It seems you do not share that thought.

I mentioned Libertarians a while back and how I believe they will never win a presidential election. It is clear now that you hold these Libertarian views. For the record I believe that Libertarians have some good points (several actually) but that some of their positions are untenable and unacceptable no matter how good the rest might be.

I respect the notion that if you kill someone that you will stand tall and hold yourself accountable, however, the willingness with which you seem capable of lighting your hair on fire and taking unnecessary and/or unreasonable risks with my life (or others) disappoints me. I speak specifically about your idea that driving drunk at extreme speeds is OK as long as you aren’t caught. I didn’t know you were serious. Seems we each have our opinion here and that is that.

In your opinion the “only way to avoid risk is to die.” Isn’t that the ultimate risk? Is taking the ultimate risk a good method to avoid risk? This is a point I’m sure I made but I then pointed out how ridiculous it is. You seem to have missed the obvious.

Your attempt at moral equivalency by stating that killing somebody in a car crash because you are a “bad operator” is the same as killing them because you are a “drunk” operator, is beyond incomprehensible.

Your quote that “The laws of physics are what ever man says they are for however long man intends for them to be the law” does nothing but demonstrate your argumentative nature when educational and informative debate is what I am after. This one is on me because I expected more than you were prepared (or able) to give.

In regards to the following sentence of yours: “If the people of the US have placed a mandate on the government to to protect the rights of the individual from all harm of any degree and of any nature then the only possible solution is for the government put all citizens in a cage and don’t allow them to interact with anything”.

I can’t imagine how anyone could draw that from what I said. Yes, the people placed a mandate on the government to protect and defend their freedom and that sir is the very essence of this country, there is no other reason for this country to exist. To recklessly assume that that guarantee is to be protection from ALL harm is unreasonable and again, argumentative of you because even the least intelligent among us knows that there are no absolutes.

Furthermore your statement: “I don’t see where the consent of the governed has been given to take away all liberty in the name of protecting people from their own actions” presumes that same argumentative nature you demonstrated above.

The government is the servant of the people and NOT ever the master. I have been very clear about this to the point of being repetitive again and again. Why then you think you need to aggressively make the same point I have been clear on is beyond me.

As for your notion that the fourteenth amendment warns about suspending your right to vote, I couldn’t disagree more. Your analysis is out in left field (in my opinion). The fourteenth amendment discusses the loss of the ability to vote as being pursuant ONLY to due process and that is it.

The rest of that amendment that you address discusses the apportionment of Representatives as it relates to the change in the percentage of eligible voters. You keyed into one word (the word “denied”) and used that to justify a failed analysis.

In plain English – the vote CAN be denied if you are convicted of a crime. If enough people in the district, or state were convicted of a crime, the paragraph to which you refer ONLY allows for the recalculation of the Representatives as a result. Keep in mind that in those times the populations were much smaller and it took fewer convicted felons (by due process) to make a given percentage of the total population.

I especially keyed into the following statement you made: “The only restraint on my actions is my understanding of what is right or wrong.”

That statement told me that I was not talking to the rational thinking person I had assumed all along that you were. For that I am truly sorry, usually I am a better judge of character than that. That statement of yours is truly dangerous in my opinion. Now that I know you really think that way (and this is not a hypothetical discussion) I will be concerned every time I meet a car on the highway because until now I didn’t believe someone could be so intentionally reckless.

No reply needed!

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Gary @grand-vizier

Couldn’t agree more.
What is being described is like saying one could go out in public and spray rounds from a machine gun and if no one is actually hit its fine to do so.
Driving around drunk ( even if one is delusional enough to believe the ability to drive is unimpaired ) at high OR low speeds where there is any possibility of injuring someone certainly intrudes on their rights as it subjects others to the random possibility of injury.
Not acceptable ! Definitely !
However considering the very interesting writing Peter has previously put forth I wonder if,as the Brits might put it,he’s just having us on , to see what reactions might be expressed here at Volkalize.
In the past Peter writes like a pro so I don’t know whether to take all that seriously the lunatic actions described.
A bit like fiction to my mind.

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Gary @grand-vizier

Of course if it’s true that’s another story!

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Kevlar @kevlar



Thanks. It is good to know that I am not alone in my viewpoint that this was wrong. I cherish rational debate on the merits because I think it is educational for all, not just the participants. I am not at all opposed to delving into the hypothetical if it can help prove a point. I often go to the extreme to illustrate my points because it leaves little room for misinterpretation. I try then to bring that extreme back to a more normal reality.

I thought this was how this thread was developing. Unfortunately I now believe I was wrong. I believe I fell for the misguided (my opinion) ideas of a devout Libertarian. If that is the case, in the true nature of Libertarianism he has shown his ultimately weak (my opinion) hand for all to see and decide.

For the record here is my opinion on Libertarians: I have debated Libertarians in the past and I will admit that I agree with probably 70% of what they stand for because much of what they stand for is constitutionally based. However, the other 30% (can’t say these numbers are exact but they are indicative) of the Libertarian views, in my opinion are untenable and without question unacceptable. I believe these few unacceptable positions far outweigh the many good positions they hold.

For me most of these unacceptable views of devout Libertarians fall in the area of national defense because they basically want to pull our forces back to the United States proper and stand them all on the border and call that “national security.” I strongly disagree with that. I do agree that we need more border security but these are two completely different issues.

If the Libertarians got their way and brought our forces home there would likely be enough soldiers to stand shoulder to shoulder on all of our borders. I would agree with them that no enemy would likely get through that line.

The overwhelmingly gaping hole (and unacceptable flaw) in their scenario is that no matter how many soldiers stand on the border, all it takes is for Iran, North Korea, Russia (basically your nation of choice) to launch a nuclear missile over the tops of the soldiers heads and we as a country are finished. This is unacceptable. The problem isn’t quite this simple but the idea is the same.

The ONLY way to prevent for example Iran from launching a nuke at us is to be in Iran (covertly or otherwise) to guarantee that they never acquire that capability. The Libertarians don’t see it this way because they believe that Iran has the “right” as a sovereign nation to develop and possess nuclear weapons.

Most freedom-loving Americans see it as even though Iran is a sovereign nation, when threatened our liberty and freedom trumps their sovereignty. Most nations in the world see it this way but sadly the Libertarians don’t value our freedom as high.

Sadly the only way to avoid that danger is to make sure they never win elections. The Libertarians don’t see it that way because as pointed out in this debate, they believe that no wrong has been done until there is a victim.

I don’t believe that a true Libertarian (remember Ron Paul) will be elected in the near future so this doesn’t really worry me that much. However, they do damage to this country by splitting the vote and making it much easier for liberals to get elected. Ironically my Libertarian opponent has pointed out the dangers of having liberals in power – he just doesn’t realize his substantial contribution to the problem.

In the case of a nuclear launch against the United States by Iran or any other country, the “victim” will not be created until the nuke impacts St. Louis (or Dallas or Chicago or Atlanta). The problem is that by the time there are “victims” there will be millions of dead Americans.

At this point, and for the most part ONLY at this point will the Libertarians start to take action; that is if there happens to be enough left of the United States to mount a defense. Personally I believe we need to be proactive and stop the nuclear launch before it happens. Two different ideologies at work and the lives of millions hang in the balance.

There were two statements that convinced me that I was not debating a rational person and those two statements follow: “The laws of physics are what ever man says they are for however long man intends for them to be the law.” The other statement is “The only restraint on my actions is my understanding of what is right or wrong”.

The first statement is blatantly false and denies the physical world in which we live, which is to say it denies reality. The second sentence, in my opinion, is very dangerous and reckless in a multi-person society (society consisting of more than one person).

Gary, you brought up a point that needs to be considered (just that I won’t do it). That is that considering the worthwhile points he previously made it is possible that he is just “poking a stick at a wounded animal” solely to see what reaction he will get. This is a valid consideration but not one that I will spend time trying to figure out because I already feel dirty. There are others to debate and they can usually conduct their debate without having to resort to what I consider a disrespectful tactic.

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Gary @grand-vizier

We are on the same page!
I likewise agree with about 70% of the Libertarian view but the rest is just unworkable for exactly the reasons you describe.
Is it my neighbors right to raise lions next door to my family on the grounds they haven’t killed any of us yet?
Maybe I prefer not to have the threat!
I still feel guilty of sticking you with the “History”crack. Please forgive,love your writing.
Someone’s personal understanding of right and wrong is not always a reliable guide as history (couldn’t resist) keeps proving.

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Gary @grand-vizier

Wait !!
Have we gone past the “Principled Non Voter”
Is a PNV just someone too lazy to vote?
Sometime the conversations on Volkalize get so interesting we get off the subject.
I still want to hear from people about Non Voters.
How can we get more informed people to vote?
I agree uninformed voters have a 50/50 chance of voting for (wrong) choice by which I mean a candidate who actually works against the voters interests.
those voters SHOULDN”T vote.
I did not say shouldn’t be allowed to vote,they just shouldn’t because unless one knows what they are voting for I don’t see the point.
I often don’t vote for various minor office holders because I just haven’t followed the issues.
Thats not a PNV,I just limit my vote to the things I am knowledgeable about.
The deputy director of the sewage plant may not be familiar to me so I prefer those who are familiar make that choice without my ignorant input.
SO! What about the Principled Non Voter ??

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TheChrisDoes @chr1sday

If anything I’m glad we have people who don’t vote. The majority don’t know the issues, don’t care to do the research, and often cast ballot with whoever has the best PR scam. I even wonder if democracy is all that noble: simply because one has the bigger number of individuals maintaining a body heat of 37 Celsius doesn’t mean one has political legitimacy and just because you have a pulse doesn’t mean you are fit to have your political opinion considered.

Rather, we need ways of making sure the voting franchise is allowed only to those worthy of the task; literacy tests, IQ tests, and maybe even a little bit of strenuous public service for two years at least. This will make sure that those who vote are not only qualified but willing to earn the full rights of a citizen. Something given has no value, I see no reason to keep such a valuable power cheapened.

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Gary @grand-vizier

If it wasn’t for the slippery slope I fear we would enter I would 100% agree.
The problem with such restrictions on voters SOMEONE would get to decide who and it will just be a matter of time before FREEDOM will be gone then.
There are just too many non-conclusive qualifications to make it work.
I know people with very high IQ’s that have no sense at all.
I know people will relatively low IQ’s that are informed and really know what they are talking about and I bet you do to.
At one time you had to either pay taxes or own property to vote. Meant the rich were in charge.
Never happen again for good reason.
Women couldn’t vote,want to go sell THAT idea?
Still ,what you say is true,an uninformed or even worse, the bought vote, is really bad news.

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TheChrisDoes @chr1sday

@grand-vizier I’m not talking about things as inconsequential as wealth, race, or gender; I’m talking about making sure those who vote take it for what it is: a duty. As I said, something given has no value and if all one has to do to be eligible is make it without dying for 18 yrs., we shouldn’t at all be surprised with the low standard government we now have. If you let lunatics run the asylum, don’t be surprised if a few if them start reaching high office.

The full rights of citizenship, ie, the right to elect and be elected must be retained so leg for those who have proven willingness and ability to carry the responsibility. In Israel, we see two years of mandatory armed service; in Sparta, we saw young men given the training to be warriors before being granted full citizenship. Military service won’t due for some given physical handicaps, etc. BUT some sort of service, some sort of physical or psychological sacrifice in return for the right to vote and hold office would only do good and eliminate the rabble from somewhere they do not belong.

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Alex Butler @thatdudeyoulike

A principled non-voter? She’s probably part of the sect of anarcho-capitalists that believe voting gives the government consent to rule over you. You can be fully aware of the issues and not choose to vote. Many see it as nonsensical to vote if you are in favor of eliminating the State, I am one of the few that does not view it that way.

It is unfair to say that she is ignorant simply because she doesn’t want to vote. You can be 100% informed on all the issues and all the candidates and still not vote because you don’t wish to give consent to the system, or none of the candidates are deserving of your vote. Also, assuming she is in fact an anarcho capitalist…there is no way you will convince her to vote, and honestly I don’t blame her for not wanting to vote. I rarely do so myself. I vote more to get the word out about my political philosophy through electoral politics. I, among many, recognize that liberty will not be attained through voting or even through government.

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Kevlar @kevlar



Your post is most interesting and worthy of comment by all present. You make a few comments that at first glance seem strange to me. After considerable attempts to understand them I am sad to say that this “strangeness” remains. Could you offer some clarification please?

Your statement “You can be fully aware of the issues and not choose to vote” is one that completely escapes me in meaning. Taken from a legal standpoint I agree because as free people we cannot be compelled to vote, and that as free people we can freely decide to “not vote.”

However, you state that this person is fully aware of the issues. Respectfully I disagree. If she is fully aware of the issues (as you assume) then she understands the issue of freedom and the issue of how this country protects and propagates that freedom.

If she is fully aware of the issues she would understand that because of the structure of this country, Constitutional Republic, freedom can only be maintained by informed input of those who in turn enjoy that freedom (self governance). Simply stated this would make her painfully aware of the importance of her informed vote.

You could attempt to make the case that she might personally believe there is a better way to be free and a better way to maintain that freedom but if that is the case and as you say she is fully aware of the issues then she would already know without any doubt whatsoever which country would better suit her freedom needs and she would go there.

You could then argue that family ties keep her here but I would also disagree with that because if she knew this absolutely because she was “100% informed on ALL issues” then she would see the absolute value of moving her entire family and possibly her extended family out of this country immediately because of her 100% informed perception of danger by staying in this country.

In this situation, the fact that she elects to remain a citizen of the United States of America indicates that she, because we presume her to be fully aware of the issues, has analyzed, evaluated, and decided that this country is the best place for her to be.

If she has come to that conclusion, and her presence here indicates that she has, she will also know because she is fully informed that the only way to keep things at least from getting worse, and hopefully to make things better, she must vote her conscience.

It is my opinion and I emphasize opinion, that your statement “You can be 100% informed on all the issues and all the candidates and still not vote because you don’t wish to give consent to the system” is erroneous to say the least. I say this with all due respect.

I believe this person is not 100% informed on all issues and the most fundamental of those issues is the constitution and structure of this country. In my opinion she fails to understand that this is the greatest and most free nation on earth, which is to say that she is not only ill-informed but completely uninformed (certainly NOT 100% informed).

As proof of this I again restate my position that if she is “100% informed on all the issues” and believes there is a country doing it better, she would already be there; but if she believes that there is no country doing it better yet we can do better, she would be participating in the voting process.

Regarding voting you state “I rarely do so myself. I vote more to get the word out about my political philosophy.” Is this not the true essence of voting in the first place? You believe you have an idea on how to make things better and you cast your vote in an attempt to state your opinion. I say “good for you” for taking that initiative.

The concept of being “100% informed on all the issues” is hypothetical simply because we are human and incapable of being “all knowing.” I don’t think you claim that power for yourself or for this lady of which you speak as being “100% informed on all the issues.” This is a hypothetical for the purposes of conversation and debate. I have no problem with that.

If you understand the need to vote as you have indicated that you personally do, and you are by definition not “100% informed on all issues” (not a slam on you personally, just pointing out that you are a member of the imperfect human race and nobody is 100% informed), how can someone who is hypothetically all-knowing, be less informed than you or me?

Please clarify your post. Thank you.

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Alex Butler @thatdudeyoulike


Anarcho capitalists, often referred to as Voluntaryists, propose a stateless society, thus it is nonsensical to achieve this goal through the State. We propose better ways to achieve our goals through education, activism, building stronger communities at the local level, peaceful parenting, and other techniques.

You are correct, the 100% was a hypothetical…perhaps an exaggeration, I’ll admit it. However most fellow voluntaryists I know are better informed on the issues and candidates than pretty much any libertarian, republican, democrat in my life. It took a great deal of political knowledge to simply get to the philosophical conclusion they have gotten to. Just because we wish to achieve our goals through non-conventional means does not necessarily mean we aren’t involved.

Although political pundits might not call it a withdrawl of consent, the fact is that millions upon millions of Americans show their displeasure with their government by not registering for and/or casting a ballot in political elections. Non-voting represents an exit from political society. It is a silent form of “social power” that speaks volumes. Choosing not to vote may be a form of apathy, but it is simultaneously an expression of “what I perceive is best for me.”

In other words, millions of non-voters are implicitly stating that voting is a meaningless and unimportant activity, so far as it applies to them and their loved ones in their own lives. After all, government programs, and spending and tax policies will continue regardless of how anyone votes. Furthermore, for those thinking individuals who understand that the government must “get out the vote,” the choice not to vote is a form of personal empowerment and a psychologically life-affirming act. Those men and women who consciously choose not to participate in politics expose the lie behind the myth of “government by consent.” They have not consented to anything. In other words, their decision not to vote is a form of personal secession – the form of secession that is most readily available to them.

This choice is exercised by many voluntaryists because we understand that elections are nothing more than tugs-of-war between tweedledum Democrats and tweedledee Republicans. Both parties seek the mantle of power to impose their agendas on society. Politicians of every political party want to continue the flow of tax money into the treasury and to pass laws allowing the government to increasingly invade the social spheres of daily life. Also, voluntaryists are of the firm belief that the very institution of the State is immoral because it relies on violence and coercion to enforce ideas upon the population rather than voluntary and cooperative means. This kind of behavior will continue no matter how “limited” the State is, thus those that are voluntaryist are of the belief that we are supporting a violent system we strongly disagree with just by voting.

Hope this clears some things up for you!

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Kevlar @kevlar



Not really. This doesn’t really clear anything up for me. Actually it saddens me greatly.

With the exception of a couple comments, I think it is in my best interest to steer clear of this topic because, respectfully I very much disagree. However I respect your right to do as you see fit so long as it doesn’t interfere with my rights, although in a way this does but that is another topic.

You said “Non-voting represents an exit from political society.” In my opinion your statement represents an exit from life.

Your statement: “Those men and women who consciously choose not to participate in politics expose the lie behind the myth of “government by consent.” They have not consented to anything. In other words, their decision not to vote is a form of personal secession – the form of secession that is most readily available to them.”

You may be right about the “personal secession” thing. But as far as the part where you say “they have not consented to anything” I would very strongly disagree with you because they have consented to EVERYTHING!

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Alex Butler @thatdudeyoulike


I think we are going to have to agree to disagree on this topic.I appreciate your insight on non-voting. It sounds like you are well informed on most issues, just mislead about voluntaryism and non-voting. For someone who advocates for the abolition of the State to engage in the political process makes no sense. We cannot use the political process to push through our ideas, because our ideas revolve around the idea of abolishing the political process and living in a society where all human actions are voluntary.

That being said, I do engage in the political process from time to time, not as a means of changing things, but as a means to introducing more people to the ideas of libertarianism. People like Ron Paul serve as great vehicles for people to get started on the ideas of liberty, and as they explore libertarianism…self ownership.

I think the reason so many people are skeptical of, and even show hatred towards, non-voting is because they don’t understand it. The process of voting as been a part of our society for so long that nobody could possibly perceive the idea that there could be any other way to bring about change in the country. Voluntaryists propose a new way to achieve our goals: through localization, activism, peaceful parenting, and education.

I look forward to future debates. :)

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Gary @grand-vizier

@ that dude you like
Alex, with the respect due you are spouting a load of crap!
Kevlar is being so diplomatic about this I am surprised!
Choosing not to expose the myth of government by “Government by Consent”, by not voting is one of ,if not the most,doublespeak comments I have ever heard.
I don’t agree what you are saying is an exit from life but I do think it’s an exit from logical thought.
I agree with the description of Tweedeldee and Tweedledum parties but they can only thrive because of people who aren’t informed and don’t vote.

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Alex Butler @thatdudeyoulike


As usual people fear what they don’t understand. Let me ask you something: If you are against the consumption of alcohol, would you go to a bar?? If you advocate for the removal of government, it makes no sense to vote to put people in office. If you are actively campaigning for the removal of the political process, why on God’s green earth would you participate in it?

It’s also ironic to say “with all due respect” and then claim I’m spouting a “loud of crap.” Kevlar and I had a decent, respectful conversation about it. We both agreed to disagree and ended the conversation in a diplomatic manner. You then come onto the thread half-cocked ready to fight vehemently against something you don’t understand. I’d bet a substantial sum of my money you hadn’t even heard of voluntaryism before today, and I’d also bet you still don’t have any idea what it is…I’d further bet you will make no effort to figure out.

Einstein once said that the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. That is what I see voters doing. It is clear you don’t understand what voluntaryism is, and you have already fabricated a pre-existing assumption about people who don’t vote…and nothing I say will break you of that false assumption because years of statist propaganda has led you to believe that your vote counts. People often vote because it’s an easy way to change things. “Hey, i voted for a pro environment guy…that makes me pro environment!” or “Hey…I supported a candidate that is against gun control, that means I did my part to ensure gun control doesn’t exist.” Voting has become so rooted in our culture, that nobody can imagine any other way to influence society towards your preferred political philosophy.

I could literally type out 5 pages explaining the consequences of voting, and the benefits of non-voting but I’m not. I don’t like engaging in hostile debates, they are counter-productive. It is clear you did not come onto this thread to debate peacefully and respectfully.

I do not wish do engage someone in debate that is on the EXTREME offensive about something he doesn’t understand, and doesn’t wish to understand and believes that using slander and ad hominems against someone and their idea is an effective way to get your point across. You are also making a pretty ignorant assumption about me by claiming I’m uninformed seeing as you don’t even know me! You make sweeping generalizations about how everyone who doesn’t vote is uninformed and lazy, and then you categorize yourself as “informed” and “doing your duty” because you checked a box on a piece of paper.

So I will leave it at that. I do not wish to engage in hostile debate. I feel like this site can be so much more than yet another outlet for statists to point fingers at each other without taking 2 minutes to consider that the REAL problem isn’t the other side, it’s both sides.

Good day to you sir, and I will see you around the forum.

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Kevlar @kevlar



I had decided that it was in my best interest to avoid this conversation because I have strong feelings about participation in government whether that means being a politician (which I could never do) or casting an informed vote. That said, I think there is room for one final comment from me.

You are proposing abolishing the political process which means the abolishment of government. Just so you know, I do not take this as an attempt at overthrow although I could be wrong. It seems to me that you would rather let the government implode of its own weight (which is currently happening because people don’t vote).

You are proposing a peaceful existence and “living in a society where all human actions are voluntary.” What you are proposing is an arrangement not that far different from the Garden of Eden (more people and before the apple thing) where everyone could live in peace and harmony and do as they please with no oversight. To be sure there was oversight in the Garden of Eden but that oversight wasn’t man.

That’s all fine and dandy and I hope you achieve your little “nirvana” someday. I actually don’t think this is achievable but let’s say it is. Do you know what is going to happen the minute you establish this idealistic place in harmony? Somebody is going to take it away from you and then you will have NOTHING.

Someone will take everything away from you because they can. You will be an easy target. Our founders had this scenario for a very short time and they were smart enough to see that they would lose it if they didn’t act quickly. You only have to read the first three paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence to understand that.

We were British subjects who had no rights and the King of England was abusive. We fought a bloody war for independence and won. At this point we were all free and had no government other than thirteen local governments that didn’t have the power to declare the start time of recess.

Out of fear that someone would take our hard fought freedom from us, we instituted a form of government for the sole purpose of guaranteeing the protection of our freedom. We wrote the constitution and that document is the guarantee to every American to protect our freedom. Then we made EVERY person who ever wanted to enter government swear an oath to uphold that constitution and this in turn obligated every person in government to first and foremost honor that guarantee of protection of our rights/freedom.

Bottom line: there are many countries and factions in this world who would conquer the United States in a heartbeat if we had no means to defend ourselves and it is only a government who can defend a nation. As much as I am pro business there is not a business around that is capable of defending us.

If you make a conscious decision to not vote that is your right. If you want that to be a means to an end and that end is the disappearance of the state so that you can be totally free to do whatever you want without limitation or accountability, you will also be defenseless and will be conquered immediately and taught to speak North Korean or worse.

You seem otherwise to be a smart person but if this is what you want to do, and it sounds like there are others with the same idea, go ahead but please select a location far away from the United States of America to do it because that is likely to become a nuclear wasteland someday.

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Gary @grand-vizier

@ thatdudeyoulike
You are correct that I am unfamiliar with voluntaryism and I was too argumentative. Must have been out of sorts.
I do apologize,sincerely.
I have written other comments tonight agreeing with your observations.
I find you generally on the same page as my views,especially your drug post.
I will inform myself about Voluntaryism now.
I disagree with you about not voting. Faced with an array of poor choices I still think it’s better to vote for the least worst choice that give up and help elect the worst choice.. Progress is step by step and ,at least for me,voting is one of the things we CAN do.
To be clear,I do not stand for the absence of Government.
I do stand for greatly curtailing its big footprint in our private and business lives but what other entity can provide the resources for roads, defense ,international agreements,international air traffic control interstate energy grids etc.
No private company can do these things.

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Gary @grand-vizier

@ thatdudeyoulike
Yes I would go in a bar in a heartbeat even if I don’t drink if these something in there I like.

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Peter T. Burke @peter-t-burke



I have not responded previously due to other pressing issues.

With due courtesy to all, I am not a “Libertarian”. They are way too far to the left for my me. ( Also I object to their philsophy on the grounds that they would not accept the various founding fathers of the USA as members due to their use of violence to accomplish social change. To be a member of the Libertarian Party one must first disavow the use of force and violence to accomplish social change. So much for Patrick Henry or George Washington, et al.)

Here is a political poll site y’all might be interested in.

My Political ViewsI am a far-right social libertarianRight: 10, Libertarian: 6.97Political Spectrum Quiz

My Foreign Policy ViewsScore: -1.51Political Spectrum Quiz

My Culture War StanceScore: -1.49Political Spectrum Quiz

If this site does not accept HTML I will post the same information as a JPG image.

I have used this political poll site for about 6 years and find it to be pretty accurate.

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Peter T. Burke @peter-t-burke



Basically when I am asked to explain my political stance I usually say “other’. In fact, I am a liberal Conservative Jeffersonian Democratic Republican. That is not a facetious or flippant remark nor is it a meaningless contradiction in terms. In fact it is a very precise description of my views readily comprehensible to anyone who gives it some serious consideration.

I would like to continue to participate in the conversation but I think it might be easier on everybody if they understood where my sympathies lie. I have no intention to offend although that probably will happen.

I view the current political landscape as populated by “Tax & Spend Liberepublicrats” who were hoisted to public office by a disengaged assortment of self absorbed people some of whom may have been citizens while some may not have been. Certainly very few gave much thought to the future unintended consequences of satisfying their immediate and rather arbitrary political, personal, and sexual whims.

The most constant theme I hear in politics is that whatever the current series of issue is, it is all based on the conviction of the associated proponents that the solution lies in radical change. The only radical change I would really like to see is the repeal of all amendments to the US Constitution that followed the first ten which were needed to get the Constitution ratified in its original form.

Principled non-voter? I believe that Thomas Jefferson was absolutely correct when he wrote;

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

I also believe that extends to the free choice to voluntarily submit to real and actual slavery in the form of absolute domination and control by another human being. Your life – your choice.

A principled non-voter simply submits to the will of whoever wins the contest regardless of how or why that contest was won. The will of the winner is not necessarily representative of the will of the majority – it is just the will of the winner.
What you don’t oppose you condone.

“The great lesson for democracies to learn is for the majority to give to the minority a full, free opportunity to present their side of the case, and then for the minority, having failed to win a majority to their views, gracefully to submit and to recognize the action as that of the entire organization, and cheerfully to assist in carrying it out, until they can secure its repeal”

Henry M. Robert, Parliamentary Law, p. 4

The “principled non-voter” condones every action and consequence the winner engages in and give tacit consent to anything else, without limit or restriction, done in their name.

The principled non-voter exercises their right to voluntarily pick up the chains and shackles of slavery and securely fasten themselves to the system that dominates their lives.

Nota bene: I view debate as a duel with intellectual single-shot pistols at close range, not as an exchange of cannon fire with the cannon being loaded with bird shot.

I am only a slave when I permit it.

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Alex Butler @thatdudeyoulike


Ok first off, thank you for your extraordinarily inaccurate strawman fallacies. If you had the first foggiest clue what voluntaryism was, you wouldn’t be making these claims. It kind of helps to research something before you argue against it. But I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that someone in the “point fingers and hope someone doesn’t blame me” political process is acting like this.

I’m not proposing a “Garden of Eden style utopia”, that’s not possible with or without government. Voluntaryism is not a utopia, it will not be perfect. No system is. It is simply much better than statism, and will prove to be more peaceful in the long run.

I’m not proposing abolition of all social structures and hierarchies, again if you understood voluntaryism you’d know that. People can pay for collective defense without having a gun put to their head to make them do it. Most likely people will want to be protected so they would pay for it, and it would be 10,000x cheaper without a central government attempting to wipe out entire nations in the name of “democracy.” Fire departments, police departments, and other things we like to have can be handed voluntarily either by a business or volunteer departments.

I will be doing it here in my homeland. I will join the many others like me in achieving real freedom and liberty. Why don’t YOU leave if you don’t want it. I’m sure Chinese has some extra trackers for you. Want statism? There’s plenty of other countries that have it! I will not be run out of my country because you don’t take the time to understand what I advocate for, and you argue based on assumptions probably taken from a post-apocalyptic movie about a man and his dog navigating through a world full of zombies.

You are correct unlike conventional anarchists, voluntaryists do not propose a violent overthrow of the State…that would go against our principles. But non-voting will not be how the State collapses, government can exist without voting and I am not so ignorant as to believe that simply not voting for collapse the State. It will take people realizing that every government in the history of the world, including our own, has corrupted. It will take everyone realizing no matter how “limited” the State is, that it’s very existence is immoral and that the State will always inevitably be backed by violence. We are living in one of the most violent regimes the world has ever seen, and people are sitting around complaining about how a voluntary and stateless society is chaotic and inhumane?

For the fifth time, do yourself a favor and actually do some research for once. I know you’re not used to it because voting only requires casting a vote for a party…but research can do a lot of good. I tried to keep this civil, but it is clear no-one on this thread wants to engage in constructive and polite debate. You and Gary come onto this thread half-cocked with pre-made assumptions without having the first foggiest clue what you’re arguing.

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Alex Butler @thatdudeyoulike


Thank you for admitting that you had no knowledge of voluntaryism. I accept your apology, thanks for coming clean I hope you find some good information regarding it. Feel free to shoot me a message if you are interested in learning more!

I will keep this brief as this debate is starting to get on my nerves. One of my biggest pet peeves is those that think that they have contributed to society and did their part to secure freedom by checking a box on a piece of paper next to their preferred political party. That really angers me because that does nothing, you can’t sit around for government to give you permission to be free….you TAKE your freedom.

You’d be surprised how little government contributes to those things you mentioned excluding taking money from citizens at the point of a gun, pocketing 40% and throwing the rest at private contractors. Government doesn’t build the roads, private contractors do. Government doesn’t pay for the roads, we the citizens do. So what in the world does government do other than act as an unnecessary middle-man taking half the money?

Good debate. I hope to see you around the forum :)

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Alex Butler @thatdudeyoulike

Opponents of anarchy are attacking a straw man. Their arguments are usually utilitarian in nature and amount to “but anarchy won’t work” or “we need the (things provided by the) state.” But these attacks are confused at best, if not disingenuous. To be an anarchist does not mean you think anarchy will “work” (whatever that means); nor that you predict it will or “can” be achieved. It is possible to be a pessimistic anarchist, after all. To be an anarchist only means that you believe that aggression is not justified, and that states necessarily employ aggression. And, therefore, that states, and the aggression they necessarily employ, are unjustified. It’s quite simple, really. It’s an ethical view, so no surprise it confuses utilitarians.

Accordingly, anyone who is not an anarchist must maintain either: (a) aggression is justified; or (b) states (in particular, minimal states) do not necessarily employ aggression.

Proposition (b) is plainly false. States always tax their citizens, which is a form of aggression. They always outlaw competing defense agencies, which also amounts to aggression. (Not to mention the countless victimless crime laws that they inevitably, and without a single exception in history, enforce on the populace. Why minarchists think minarchy is even possible boggles the mind.)

As for (a), well, socialists and criminals also feel aggression is justified. This does not make it so. Criminals, socialists, and anti-anarchists have yet to show how aggression — the initiation of force against innocent victims — is justified. No surprise; it is not possible to show this. But criminals don’t feel compelled to justify aggression; why should advocates of the state feel compelled to do so?

Conservative and minarchist-libertarian criticism of anarchy on the grounds that it won’t “work” or is not “practical” is just confused. Anarchists don’t (necessarily) predict anarchy will be achieved — I for one don’t think it will at least in my lifetime. But that does not mean states are justified.

Consider an analogy. Conservatives and libertarians all agree that private crime (murder, robbery, rape) is unjustified, and “should” not occur. Yet no matter how good most men become, there will always be at least some small element who will resort to crime. Crime will always be with us. Yet we still condemn crime and work to reduce it.

Is it logically possible that there could be no crime? Sure. Everyone could voluntarily choose to respect others’ rights. Then there would be no crime. It’s easy to imagine. But given our experience with human nature and interaction, it is safe to say that there will always be crime. Nevertheless, we still proclaim crime to be evil and unjustified, in the face of the inevitability of its recurrence. So to my claim that crime is immoral, it would just be stupid and/or insincere to reply, “but that’s an impractical view” or “but that won’t work,” “since there will always be crime.” The fact that there will always be crime — that not everyone will voluntarily respect others’ rights — does not mean that it’s “impractical” to oppose it; nor does it mean that crime is justified. It does not mean there is some “flaw” in the proposition that crime is wrong.

Likewise, to my claim that the state and its aggression is unjustified, it is disingenuous and/or confused to reply, “anarchy won’t work” or is “impractical” or “unlikely to ever occur.” 1. The view that the state is unjustified is a normative or ethical position. The fact that not enough people are willing to respect their neighbors’ rights to allow anarchy to emerge, i.e., the fact that enough people (erroneously) support the legitimacy of the state to permit it to exist, does not mean that the state, and its aggression, are justified.2

Other utilitarian replies like “but we need a state” do not contradict the claim that states employ aggression and that aggression is unjustified. It simply means that the state-advocate does not mind the initiation of force against innocent victims — i.e., he shares the criminal/socialist mentality. The private criminal thinks his own need is all that matters; he is willing to commit violence to satisfy his needs; to hell with what is right and wrong. The advocate of the state thinks that his opinion that “we” “need” things justifies committing or condoning violence against innocent individuals. It is as plain as that. Whatever this argument is, it is not libertarian. It is not opposed to aggression. It is in favor of something else — making sure certain public “needs” are met, despite the cost — but not peace and cooperation. The criminal, gangster, socialist, welfare-statist, and even minarchist all share this: they are willing to condone naked aggression, for some reason. The details vary, but the result is the same — innocent lives are trampled by physical assault. Some have the stomach for this; others are more civilized — libertarian, one might say — and prefer peace over violent struggle.

As there are criminals and socialists among us, it is no surprise that there is a degree of criminal-mindedness in most people. After all, the state rests upon the tacit consent of the masses, who have erroneously accepted the notion that states are legitimate. But none of that means the criminal enterprises condoned by the masses are justified.

That’s what voluntaryism is about. As long as people are buying to the decades of propaganda taught in school about how great the government is, and how we would cease to exist in the absence of it…well a voluntary society won’t be achieved. The unlikelihood of it happening in the future does not discredit it as an idea. It is likely something that, if we start now, could be enjoyed by future generations. It could be the next step in the revolution of human thought!

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Peter T. Burke @peter-t-burke



As I said – here is a graphic representation of my stance. (Not that it is that all fired important to anybody but me).

Actually I thought I would see if I can actually upload a photo to Volkalize.

You must be logged in to view attached files.

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Kevlar @kevlar



I took the quiz you linked to and it was interesting, probably more accurate than some because it not only asks your opinion on the subject but asks how important that subject is to you. That said, I think there is still room for error and I will provide four examples:

Question: “Radio stations should be required to present balanced news coverage.”

My position: Yes but that requirement needs to be self imposed by the station and specifically not the by government

Question: “If our leader meets with our enemies, it makes us appear weak”

My position: If our leader gives in to enemy demands then yes, we appear weak. If our leader persuades our enemy to see things our way then our leader appears strong

Question: “The lower the taxes, the better off we all are.”

My position: I strongly agree with this however the ultimate in low taxes is to have no taxes at all. I strongly disagree with that because that means that the country will have no means with which to defend itself and that in my mind is unacceptable

Question: “The military budget should be scaled back”

My position: As discussed at length on this website we have a lot of waste in the military budget so the logical answer is “yes” that it should be scaled back. However cutting at random by a given percentage, which is what we normally do, is dangerous, making the answer a very strong disagree.

The quiz doesn’t allow for this necessary qualification of answers but honestly it is probably difficult to design a quiz that accounts for all and yet is short enough that people will take it. To this end I believe the quiz is inaccurate though.

My scores were:

Compass – Definitely positive number but slightly less than you. Libertarian – positive but considerably less than you

Foreign policy – slightly positive while you were negative (minus 1.51 if I recall). This took me by surprise because I am an advocate of a strong military which should have given me a large positive number (see my quiz issues above). I want our military to be so strong that it will never be used because nobody will challenge us on the battlefield. This is a concept that Kennedy espoused in his 1961 inaugural address.

Culture – the absolute value of my positive number was more than the absolute value of your negative number (I had to dig back to grade school math for that one and yes it hurt my head, but I don’t see the value in posting my numbers because that is just a distraction)

I think you have finally defined the “principled non-voter” and that was the goal of this thread.

Your quote from the Declaration of Independence is especially appropriate. I think we all agree that freedom of choice includes freedom to participate or not participate.

You added some additional comments that define the station in life that a so called “principled non-voter” would occupy. I will list the comments that I believe hit the nail on the head but first a disclaimer if you will. Just because a person chooses to not vote a particular position or proposal on a particular ballot, that does not make that person a “principled non-voter” because on a case by case basis there can be valid reasons for not voting that certain item.

Peter you hit the nail on the head when you said and or quoted:

“I also believe that extends to the free choice to voluntarily submit to real and actual slavery in the form of absolute domination and control by another human being. Your life – your choice.”

“A principled non-voter simply submits to the will of whoever wins the contest regardless of how or why that contest was won. The will of the winner is not necessarily representative of the will of the majority – it is just the will of the winner.
What you don’t oppose you condone.”

“The “principled non-voter” condones every action and consequence the winner engages in and give tacit consent to anything else, without limit or restriction, done in their name.”

“The principled non-voter exercises their right to voluntarily pick up the chains and shackles of slavery and securely fasten themselves to the system that dominates their lives.”

And last but certainly not least: “I am only a slave when I permit it.”

Nice post!

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Peter T. Burke @peter-t-burke


I think I can see your points. I don’t think that “bigger” or “more costly” equates to “more effective”. The Continental Army under George Washington was about the size of the current New York City Police Department. King George’s British Army was the world’s superpower of the time. The British Navy certainly ruled the seas while the King’s Army was in control of an astonishing portion of the world that was larger than the Roman Empire’s actual control.
The British weren’t defeated by the Continental Army – they were beaten to a standstill and eventually pulled out. Much the same as the good men of the Republic have beaten the Crown to a standstill and withdrawal in the Republic of Ireland.

It isn’t the size of the dog in the fight that counts – its the size of the fight in the dog.

There is no excuse for the lack of appropriate good stewardship of the taxpayer’s earnings that is so prevalent throughout the US government. In my mind it is pure arrogance on the part of the net tax consumers combined with the voluntary submission of the net tax payers.

A portion of the wealth of the beneficiaries of the US Constitution must be contributed to the maintenance and furtherance of the just ends of the people and that includes funding the government.

Are you aware that the colonists in British America were objecting to what amounts to a 2% tax on their income? What do you think Thomas Jefferson, et al would say about the present 55%-60% total taxation?
I will cheerfully pay 10% to support the government but I will spend what ever it takes to pay little or nothing under the current system. The current system is nothing more than a competition to see who gets the benefits of my work – me or them. Where is the wisdom in giving me an incentive to find ways to beat the government out of all of it?
A demand for “lower taxes” does not equate to a demand for “no taxes”. The issue is one of common sense – If I have the ability to produce enough wealth so as to make the government salivate at the thought of robbing me by taxation doesn’t it make sense that I would have the ability to defeat the governments efforts entirely?
I don’t accept work from any government entity because I can do better by working for their victims.

There is another more sinister issue behind giving the net tax consumers all of the money they say they need to give you everything you want.

The government that is big enough to give you everything you need is big enough to take it all away. That is the inherent difficulty in hiring mercenaries to do what you either can not, or will not, do for yourself.

In re: another trip on a rabbit trail through the briar patch:

I don’t agree that there was ever an American Revolution. In my view it was a civil war between the English Crown and the people living in the English Colonies in British America, the majority of whom were subjects of the Crown.

Have you ever had a chance to read “the Rights of British America” by Thomas Jefferson? It was written two years before the Declaration of Independence and is very revealing as is Continental Army major General Benedict Arnold’s “Letter To The Inhabitants of America”.

If you don’t have a copy I would be happy to provide you, and anybody else, with one. Just send me a message here on Volkalize and I will email copies out to anyone who is interested.

An idle question: What do you think the current US Government would do if Thomas Jefferson and his cronies, to wit;|showed up in the US today?

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Gary @grand-vizier

Whether or not I always agree with everything you write aside ,I sincerely believe we will be the poorer if you stop. I agree you nailed the “Principled non-Voter”.
Been reading about Voluntaryism. Sounds like “if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it” logic to me.
As to roads being paid for by developers,as a developer for over 30 years of course I paid for a lot of roads,but I had no power of eminent domain to obtain the right of ways and interstate highways were more like what I was discussing anyway.Roads as part of development project are only a part of the vast public road system.
Many aspects of a complex integrated society MUST be done by Government.If everyone had to Volunteer ,nothing would get done. Obviously I think as you and others do that Government has far exceeded its proper function .
However under your belief,If a few don’t agree to something that needs done the rest will say why me? Or I will let the other guy do it so no one does.
Kevlar explained that very well so I won’t waste the time to do it again.
Since research indicates Voluntarism has been around for a LONG time without any meaningful success I expect it belongs on the ash heap of most other “isms”
Still I really do enjoy your writing and look forward to thinking about what you say.
as I pointed out,I strongly agreed with a lot of your other posts.
Just not this one.
Thanks for accepting my apology earlier.

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I haven’t seen any mention that politicians themselves choose not to vote also. Does this put them in the same category? They often abstain to cause the effect they need,or do not want to be associated with the results.
If you’re looking for more voters to show up,why not put a “no” next to a candidates name? Just voting for the other guy is as bad as voting party. The no vote would give the impression of taking away someone’s yea vote and thereby having an affect.

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Gary @grand-vizier

I have often thought a “none of the above” would be a great choice but only if candidates had to get a minimum percentage to be elected so the none of the above vote could actually result in denying a bad candidate from being elected.
Of course I think a candidate should get over 50% in order to win so we don’t end up with people in office making choices for the rest of us with 35% of the vote.
To me that’s another divide and conqueror tactic.

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Peter T. Burke @peter-t-burke


Over the past 100 years the progressives have managed to convince the US public that voting is not fair unless the person who gets the greatest count of votes wins, and that term limits are needed to control public officials. Those two issues, plurality voting and term limits, make the US political process a circus of corruption.

The original system was that the elections were continued until one person received at the least one vote more than the total of all of the other candidates combined. That is a simple majority of the votes cast. The US was intended to be a republican form of government and the process of the government was to be democratic as is shown by the Parliamentary Procedural Rules authored by Thomas Jefferson which is still the Parliamentary authority in the US House of Representatives. The US Senate has of course adopted their own set of “local rules” and everyone can see how they are implemented during the past 5 years.

Term limits means that the people are not permitted to keep the elected representative of their choice. The minority is unable to persuade the majority to elect a different representative so the representative who was legitimately elected by the majority is simply kicked out and replaced with somebody else. That is what has given us the notable idiots of the past 90 years.

How many people know that Senators were originally elected by the members of the State government and not by the popular vote. And how many understand that meant that the State elected officials could recall a Senator who went off the rails. Look at Colorado and California. Both of those States would be different today if the Senators were elected and could be recalled by the State Legislature.

It should be no surprise that the voters are disenchanted with the election process.

Adding a “None of the Above” would effectively end elections in the US since in the current climate it wouldn’t take many of those to effectively leave the position unfilled. The result would be “government by appointment” and the US population would finally have their master openly and publicly in charge.
Adding a “No” vote in order to take away somebody else’s “Yes” vote is more typical of countries like Venezuela or North Korea. If the people of the US are supposed to be equal what would give someone the right to take away another citizens vote.

Both of these methods of implementing the old English system of Feudal Rule would work for me. I don’t think they bear any resemblance to the philosophy expressed in the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution of the United States. I do think that I could insert myself into such a system to my great and lasting benefit.

Why not just cut to the chase and implement the “Bullet Ballot” and quit trying to pretend that there is any interest in being better than the other Banana Republics?
After all, most US citizens have no idea of what the Declaration of Independence or the US Constitution are or what the content of each document is.

Since you are apparently a reader – have you encountered Etienne de la Boetie’s “Discourse on Voluntary Servitude” written in 1548? He makes the point that Jefferson makes. Thomas Jefferson made a succinct statement that covers much;
“Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

I think most people in the US are happy to drift back to a time when they could be assured that they had a master who would decide for them.

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Gary @grand-vizier

Thought provoking! I will look for the book by Boetie. You are correct,I read a LOT.
Your comments on “none of the above are ,of course, valid.
In my thoughts,if not my writing ,was the intent that the election process would continue until a candidate who obtained over 50% of the total vote was elected.
I am aware of the former method of electing Senators and concur that the the original intent was to have the elected candidate obtain at least 50% of the vote,how else can we believe in MAJORITY rule.
In theory if we had 100 names (or more) on the ballot a victory could be declared by a person who got 2% of the vote! Some majority.
I hope you are wrong that most people would be happy with a master but the saying
“ignorance is bliss” in a population increasingly ignorant is threatening to say the least.
Finally ,I am hopeful (there’s that word again) that the Obamacare fiasco is a bit of a wakeup call that may spark a revival of interest in the way the Government is being mis-managed.
If people awake from the stupor the country can begin to get back on course.
Or not!
2% think
8%think they think.
90% never think.
Old adage.

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Pretty much the same thing as checking the “none of the above” box. However, if the non-voter is going to call it “principled” they ought to stick to their guns and not complain etc about the results… or if they’re going to complain, supplement the complaining with action (e.g. volunteer, run for office, create this website, etc). Another thing for “principled non-voters” to keep in mind: if you can never find any common ground with any candidate then the problem isn’t the candidates, the problem is you.

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TheChrisDoes @chr1sday

@peter-t-Burke Where can I take this quiz?

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Peter T. Burke @peter-t-burke


The quiz is at the following link;

There is quite a bit of information there about political comparisons between people who have taken this quiz (more than several hundred thousand).


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Lisa @lcraighead

I don’t understand the idea of not voting. Isn’t voting the fundamental way that citizens have to participate in government. It’s the only way that most of us have to have a voice. If a person doesn’t vote does that mean that they don’t care what happens? I have known several people make the statement that they don’t vote and have no interest in politics. It’s not like saying I have no interest in sports, or gardening, this is the system that determines most things these people are taking for granted, roads, police and fire departments, the right to a basic education. not to sound paranoid or preachy, but I believe that just because you don’t take an interest in politics (government) doesn’t mean that politics (government) won’t take an interest in you.

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austin.perdew.98 @austin-perdew-98

I dont vote because I know that anyone I vote for would change like night and day once they get my vote. I live politics, and care deeply about many major issues, the problem is, I dont think that there are any politicians that I see eye to eye enough with that I would ever endorse them with my vote, and if I did find one that I see eye to eye with, I would expect a great difference of opinion once they take office.

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Kevlar @kevlar



You seem to be contradicting yourself here. If you truly “care deeply about many major issues” as you say you do, it must be because you want those issues to go in whichever direction you feel would be best.

I also care deeply about many issues because I want those issues to go in the direction I believe they should. However, unlike you I have not given up in my effort to make a difference. I take an active role and do what I can to help those issues go in what I believe is the proper direction. In other words, I vote.

If you don’t vote you are making a statement that all others are smarter than you and can make better decisions than you.

It is pure fallacy to believe that you will find any politician who “sees eye to eye” with you. There is only one person who will ever “see eye to eye” with you and that person is none other than you. If that is your criteria to take part in your country then I suggest you run for office yourself, at least then you would have someone to vote for.

Short of running for office yourself, the best thing you can do is get involved and vote for the best person you can. That holds true no matter what party you tend to associate with. It also holds true if you are an independent.

There will never be anyone who does things exactly like you (except you) but there will always be a candidate that is better than the rest. You could also consider that person to be the “least worst” if that helps. In 2008 neither candidate was great but there was one who clearly was the “least worst” but sadly he lost. In 2012 the difference was extremely clear and sadly the best person (of those still in the running) lost.

If you want the best for your country then try to find that best person. If you don’t care about your country then don’t vote. But with all due respect, don’t tell us that you care deeply about many issues yet care so little about them that you won’t take part in shaping those issues. Your words are extremely contradictory and sadly, dishonest.

You said that you know that anyone you vote for “would change like night and day once they get your vote.” If that were true then I would suggest that you vote for the worst person because you have the full knowledge that he will change like “night and day” and likely be the best person.

Sadly that is not a valid approach either because both the first AND second time Obama ran for election we knew without doubt that he was the worst choice and on that he has not let us down. Perhaps your statement that they will change like “night and day” isn’t correct either.

Finally, when you “endorse” someone with your vote you are not saying that they walk on water in every aspect. You are saying that based on the information you possess at the time they should be the best person for the job, out of the small number of people running for the job.

You are accountable to yourself to make the best decision you can make based on the best information you can get. Once elected, the politician is accountable for his actions and his actions should be based on your continuous input to his decision making process.

Based on your admission that you do not vote, I am going to make the rational assumption that you are in harmony with EVERYTHING Barack Obama has done. To extend that sound logic I will assume that you were in harmony with EVERYTHING George W. Bush did as well. Other than you, I don’t know anyone who will admit to that.

Not voting is not a valid way to express your freedom, although technically it is a “freedom” but one that if exercised in such a manner, will disappear soon along with the rest of your freedoms.

Failing to vote is just another way to vote. The decision WILL be made as to the occupation of that office, in other words the office will not go vacant just because you didn’t vote. Your decision to not participate won’t change that, but it could change the person who wins. Your decision to not vote will only make things worse!

Ironically, you do have the right to surrender your freedom and your rights! It takes considerable effort to be free and we stand witness to that everyday. Since you are “free” you also have the “freedom” to become a slave if that is what you want. Personally I don’t care about you but if you become a slave then so do I. To that end I will ask you please to become involved in your country!


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Wailers Wale @donjulio

I just do not believe the candidates represent the people . When i say the people i mean the poor people ( middle class, low income class, black, white, woman, man. I feel every election we are tricked by mercenaries, and the poor suffers as a result.

The “poor” must be band together and demand our rights. I am tired of being tricked by officials

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