Should libertarians vote? I’m voting NO!

With the presidential election at hand, it will be time to pull the faded Ron Paul 2012 sticker from my car. Around town I see some like-minded people with the same sticker. I also see a few stickers for our local Catholic radio station, but I’ve given up looking for someone else with both a Ron Paul and a Catholic Radio sticker.

Oh well . . .

I was waiting in line at a fast food drive-through when a fellow walked up to my window after having noticed the Ron Paul 2012 sticker on my car. He said to me:

“Do you know who you are electing if you don’t vote?”



“What if I just vote for Obama?”

That response turns out to be a good way to silence people who can’t understand why I refuse to vote for the lesser of two evils (even when I can figure out which is the lesser of the two evils).

Some libertarians make good arguments for never voting. I have to respect the ideals of those who refuse to play the game at all.  Abstention denies the rulers their fantasy that we approve of their crimes and avoids befouling oneself by participating (even peripherally) in the evil of government.

I might ask such a principled non-voter if they would be willing to cast the deciding vote on the question: “Shall the government be dissolved and none take its place?”

If I cannot resist the ballot box on election day, then I  must seriously consider the moral burden posed by the act of voting.

It helps me to imagine that I am participating in a violent mob as it searches out new victims to rob (or worse). What if the mob puts a question to its members: “Shall we take money from this group by force and spend it on something else?” How this could be seen as anything but a robbery is beyond my power of imagination. If I am a participating member of the mob, the only moral vote is “no.”

I confess I’m a sucker for this argument. When we get around to November 6, I won’t be voting for president at all, but there is always a tax increase on the ballot and I intend to go and vote “no.”

I used to disappoint the blue-haired election judges by refusing to wear the “I voted” stickers that they offered with every ballot. I never felt good enough about voting (the nation’s civil sacrament) that I wanted to advertise it. Reminds me of wearing ashes on my forehead on Ash Wednesday, only shameful.

From now on, I’ll take along my magic marker and amend the sticker to read “I Voted NO” and then I’ll wear it.

For anyone who is going to vote–it is important to keep in mind the maxim that the end does not justify the means. For Christians, this is found at Romans 3:8, where St. Paul condemns doing evil that good may come of it. We must refuse voluntary participation in aggression. We must also reject any candidate, any measure, any compromise, that results in more government aggression:

  • Cutting or eliminating any tax is a reduction in aggression and therefore moral.
  • Imposing or raising any tax means increased aggression and must always be opposed.
  • Any new law that goes beyond the protection of life, liberty and property must be opposed.
  • Any law that prevents peaceable neighbors from exercising their liberty must be repealed.

We do not have the luxury of compromise if that means agreeing to any government aggression, no matter how worthy the cause. When we consent to aggression against our neighbors we collaborate in one another’s persecution.


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