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Don't VoteThe term "spoilsport" is described as a person who behaves in a way that spoils others' pleasure; especially by not joining in an activity (we add this clarification for those who may not be familiar with this term). The title of this article was spawn from another article by the newspaper The Star (South Africa), similarly but not quite called "Don't be a spoilsport. Go vote!"

THE FACTS

The fuzz about this voting marathon is South African general elections to be held on May 7th, 2014. There are 12 registered parties and 17 that were not allowed to participate… what a surprise… not to mention other 16 which are contesting provincial legislatures only. It would be something akin to the understatement of the year to say that there have been "controversies" in the electoral process. The whole thing could very easily be picked-up by a UK or US TV chain without the need of any modifications and transformed it into a political soap opera. We guarantee that it will have record ratings. If you are interested in the gory details, go to Wikipedia and search for "South African general election" and then 2014.

The fact is that the glorious South African democracy is in troubles. The disappointment of the South African people can be seen in the graph below.

South Africa Election Statistics

The numbers are revealing. The current percentage of people that actually bothers voting is in the order of 57% with a percentage of about 1.5% who invalidate their vote on purpose or by error. By comparison to other more "advanced" democracies, 57% is a high number; however, it is a far cry from the original 87% from 1994, when the people were given the right to vote after a long dictatorship. This number tells us of a large disappointment and disbelief in democracy. The other, the 1.5% tells us about the indifference of the South African people. If people would be upset, they would purposely destroy their votes alas, they are not doing so. South African people simply do not care one way or another. Their perception is the correct one: governments are independent organizations from people's needs. They exist to fulfill the needs of politicians and the power elite that hide behind them; the process also being known as crony capitalism. Good for the South African people! They got it right!

THE EXCUSES

We suppose that you already know how we think; having read the article To Vote Or Not To Vote Is The Question. The short version is that voting legitimizes governments, which are based on nothing, considering that Social Contracts Are A Scam. Therefore the only solution is not to vote.Vote for nobody since nobody in the government supports you.

Since the only currency that governments world-wide actually have is pseudo-legitimacy springing from votes, they do have a keen interest in ensuring that people vote. Is this vote that keeps them in their cushy jobs. Hence, expect all kinds of propaganda encouraging you to vote near election time. But again, you already know this. That much is true. Then why are we wasting your time? Because this article is a good laundry list of all the classical arguments for a voting and we relish the opportunity to demolish them. To task.

Candidates are not ideal, but vote anyways

The idea behind this notion is that you will never get good candidates or get candidates with your exact political view. However, you should be contempt with what you get and vote anyway. This is sort of substitution grocery shopping. You were hoping to get Coke or Pepsi but the only beverage available in the supermarket is an artificial orange-banana shake-like none-carbonated liquid available in 0.800 milliliters glass bottles with plastic corks, containing Copper Arsenate (a toxic food coloring), trans-fatty acids and other chemical products which are not listed. Furthermore, there is a lengthy legal disclosure on the label stating that if anything happens to you, the manufacturer is not responsible.

And the question is: would you purchase the beverage?

Of course not!

Any person with a minimum common sense would walk out and keep their money.

But, according to the argument we are considering, since this is the only supermarket in your area you have to purchase the drink. Furthermore, you have to drink it. How insane is this?

Why would you have to spend your hard earned money on a toxic product and be forced to consume it when it is against any common sense?

Glad you asked; because it is your "civil duty".

Of course, nobody actually bothers defining what is this mythical "civic" thing to which we all seem to be duty-bound. But it's there and you must comply with it. Why? This is not a difficult question. Why should anybody be bound to do something they are not convinced they should do, even when voting is mandatory? In South Africa, voting is not mandatory and therefore it is up to each person to decide whether they may want to vote or not. Even by the ridiculous legal standards of democracy, the most basic legal principle still applies:

Everything that it is not forbidden by law is permitted.

The truth is that if you are a South African citizen with voting rights, you do not have to vote.

Your vote is meaningless within the mass of other votes, but vote anyways

The article makes a point of pointing out that there are 23.1 million people registered to vote, and it would seem that your lonely vote will be meaningless. The article says no. It would seem that you have to think what kind of South Africa you want, what kind of government you want, you have to ask and answer the hard questions, the "key battle must happen in our own hearts and minds - not at town hall meetings and rallies." Which is correct. Attending town halls and meetings is pointless in the same manner in which is pointless to attempt to modify politician's views and actions. You are simply being lied at in order for them to get your vote.

Your vote does not count beyond legitimizing their jobs.

It is quite simple. If you vote for a party that loses, your vote is wasted.

If you vote for a party that wins, the politicians will do whatever they want anyways and your vote is lost.

Either way, your vote is lost… with one critical difference. If you vote, you are legitimizing politician's jobs. If you do not vote, you are sending a clear message that democracy is broken and that it does not work. In other words: count me out!

Vote because voting determines what the majority wants

Continuing with the article, it points out that "It's not so much who wins by what margin, it is whether the election reflect the view of most South Africans."

At this point we have to ask who exactly are "most South Africans"? If this election will be similar to countless other elections held across the world, this would mean that the upcoming ruling party will win with about 40% of all votes, or, about 20 to 25% of all citizens. In other words, 20 to 25% of citizens will determine what the other 75 to 80% must do. How exactly do these numbers represent "most South Africans"? Answer: they do not.

It is a fallacy; bull manure plain and simple.

By voting you are actually supporting the dictatorship of a minority. Even worse. The electoral majority (or the ruling minority) will be thoroughly disconnected from political action because politicians are, in practice, independent from the voters.

In the end, by voting you are not even supporting a dictatorship of a minority but a tiny oligarchy with close ties to power elites.

Let's be clear: voting does not and never did determine what the majority of a population wants.

Vote because voting is supporting and maintaining freedom

Yes, this one never fails to show-up. If you vote you are exercising your freedom to vote, for which many people throughout the world fought and lost their lives. You must vote because if you do not vote you will lose your right to vote and with it your freedom.

The tiny flaw in this argument is the assumption that governments (and politicians) actually represent the will of the people (whatever that may mean). As we have shown above, this is a fallacy since in practice governments and politicians are independent from the will of the people.

By voting you are only prolonging the charade that democratic systems are.

Your real freedom is to vote or not to vote. At the most basic, freedom is the personal choice to do or not to do something. If you are bullied into voting, they are actually denying your freedom. The thing that they never bother explaining is how is it possible that by denying your freedom you are actually exercising and caring for it. Well, rest assured you are not.

Furthermore, we have the tiny difficulty that if you vote for a losing party, you still end up being represented by the other party, the one that holds the views you do not share. How is this possible? You are being "represented" against your will and against your wishes. What kind of "representation" is this? Well? The answer is that it is not. It is simply a ridiculous proposition.

If they are truly for freedom, then you should be able to simply opt-out from any political control over your life; yet, you cannot. What kind of freedom is this when you have no choice?

Furthermore, even the most basic political concepts are deeply flawed. Governments are invalid simply because Social Contracts Are A Scam and there is no room for freedom in them.

Voting or not voting is real freedom. Removing your political yokes and deciding by yourself what it is that you want is real freedom. Anything else is simply brainwashing.

Bad votes against good votes

The article goes on criticizing a book that essentially advocates for the self-qualification of voting. This is, if you have researched all political options and have decided that you are for a specific view, then vote. If you can't be bothered doing the research, then disqualify yourself and do not vote.

According to the article, is this thinking that prevents universal suffrage and people should not be deterred from voting since although voting is about making decisions, even if you have incomplete or erroneous information, you should still vote. And why? Because there is "no one truth about voting" and "Others may feel differently."

And here we thought that voting was indeed to select how you want to live and convey this information to your representatives. Alas, it would seem that this is not the case. In the end, voting is a "feeling" and, apparently, there is no right or wrong answer… if we understood correctly.

But if this is indeed the case, why vote altogether? If we cannot have access to key information (and we do not) then we cannot make any meaningful decision that will affect other people (suspending disbelief and assuming that politicians are actually responsive to our wishes). Furthermore, we cannot see the future. Today's information will change tomorrow but tomorrow we cannot vote differently. We must wait for the next election and hope for the best!

Why? None of this is necessary. Not voting is the most honest decision a person can make. Alas, it would seem this is not the case because…

Candidates may not be ideal, but vote anyways

Well… no. Neither the candidates nor the process nor democracy are ideal; they are not even close to being anything other than a thinly disguised oligarchy.

Stay at home. Send a message. Do not vote… and get your friends and family to do the same.

Spread freedom. Spread the truth.

Your fellow citizens will eventually thank you.

Note: please see the Glossary if you are unfamiliar with certain words.

 

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