How would you feel about government schooling if every teacher in the school had diametrically opposed beliefs to you?
How would you feel about being protected by a police force who thought you were the enemy?
How would you feel being forced to do business with someone who produced using methods that you deemed repugnant?
How would you feel being treated by a doctor who openly disliked you?
And so on.
Take those questions (and dozens like it) as a measure of your level of consistency on your preferred policy position. Would “progressives” still favor government schooling if 95% of the teachers were funded by the Koch Brothers in a new union and who vigorously defended their obligation to teach intelligent design? Would “conservatives” still savor the idea of a powerful government police force if suburbanites were the subject of regular profiling? And generally, what does it tell you about a political system when you care so damn much who gets the reins of power?
It tells me many things. Among them of course is that politics is not about politics – it’s about feeling good, about status signaling, about being part of something “bigger than yourself” and all of that. It tells me that Madison was right to worry about faction. It tells me that the checks and balances that were so celebrated by many generations of Americans don’t really check or balance much anymore (if they did, then it might not matter if someone as gruesome as Mr. ABC were elected). It tells me that there is a crap-load of loot to be divvied out by the political process. After all, if there were not much loot, there would not be much competition to gain access to distributing (and taking) some of it.
Voting is not virtuous. Voting is not a right. Many of you happily go to the polls today and by your actions impose large costs on many people. It is strange that such an activity seems to have obtained some moral character. You may rightly argue that voting is important, but you’ll have a hard time persuading me that it is moral. In closing, since I really am in no mood for an exegesis on voting, here are some thoughts from Thomas Sowell. I know, I know, he probably gets money from the Koch Brothers one way or another, so you don’t really have to take him seriously, but many of these are gems. HT to Aquanomics for the Sowell quotes.
- The first lesson of economics is scarcity: there is never enough of anything to fully satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.
- No one will really understand politics until they understand that politicians are not trying to solve our problems. They are trying to solve their own problems — of which getting elected and re-elected are number one and number two. Whatever is number three is far behind.
- There is usually only a limited amount of damage that can be done by dull or stupid people. For creating a truly monumental disaster, you need people with high IQs.
- It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong.
- The problem isn’t that Johnny can’t read. The problem isn’t even that Johnny can’t think. The problem is that Johnny doesn’t know what thinking is; he confuses it with feeling.
- One of the consequences of such notions as “entitlements” is that people who have contributed nothing to society feel that society owes them something, apparently just for being nice enough to grace us with their presence.
- Weighing benefits against costs is the way most people make decisions — and the way most businesses make decisions, if they want to stay in business. Only in government is any benefit, however small, considered to be worth any cost, however large.
- One of the common failings among honorable people is a failure to appreciate how thoroughly dishonorable some other people can be, and how dangerous it is to trust them.
- It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance.
- People who enjoy meetings should not be in charge of anything.
- Both free speech rights and property rights belong legally to individuals, but their real function is social, to benefit vast numbers of people who do not themselves exercise these rights.
- If you have been voting for politicians who promise to give you goodies at someone else’s expense, then you have no right to complain when they take your money and give it to someone else, including themselves.