Montecristo Captain Quixote


The World Line of the Horizon Star

Some would say I was a lost man in a lost world

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Montecristo Captain Quixote

Letter to my friend Herb, on the lesser of two evils.

Empire is bigger than either of the major parties. It is bigger than both of them combined. Picking a president in November (stipulating only for the purposes of interesting discussion that your individual voice counts for much of anything at all) is merely a case of rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. The problem is bigger than the democracy you think has a chance of fixing it. Unfortunately for us all, it is not bigger "democracy" (government) that can fix the problem, because over-large, over-centralized, IS the problem. Our best chance for survival is to stop drinking the seawater. Unfortunately, everyone is too thirst-maddened to consider that a "sane" option. The answer is for people to take back their liberty -- and you can't do that by voting, which is, by definition, delegating more of it away.

As we have argued before, the "Lesser of Two Evils" argument is no argument at all for voting, as the lesser of two evils is still evil. It is no compromise to be heading in the wrong direction half as fast. The Sydney Morning Herald article "Alliances and the American Election" though, raises an even more interesting hypothesis. The "Anything But Bush" Democrats have been running around cynically trying to sell their guy to the voters as "The Lesser Evil," but what if he's not? What if Boy George is "the more harmless candidate" simply by reason of what his incompetence and lack of trustworthiness is likely to effect in the long run? I am not one to choose "lesser evils," but when the real lesser of two evils cannot even be identified, you must concede that the strategy is a fool's errand.

"Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it."
~ Judge Learned Hand

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Radical libertarian that I am, I'm admittedly biased. However, I like your letter a lot. The Hand quote at the end was a particularly nice touch. It always reminded me, wistfully, of Franklin's quote about how the new government was going to be "a republic, if you can keep it." We didn't.

Yes, but the real trick is

gently dismantling the empire before it gets any bigger, and in such a way that it does not fall down on our heads. I've devoted quite a lot of thinking to that.

I would never say "not vote". It's like telling your wife "Whatever you want, dear." and ending up with chartreuse and various fluffy things in your bedroom. You can't complain because you didn't speak up but, ye gods, do you want to sleep on the couch now.
As for the lesser of two evils, sometimes you're just sending a message to the gov't that what is there is not acceptable. Politics is evil, plain and simple. Most of those people have to learn the art of compromise and ambivalence early on or their careers don't go for very long. Jimmy Carter really showed that a man who stood by his ideals could not get anything done in our gov't.

It is a common delusion among voters...

...that they are somehow "communing" with "the powers that be" when they step into the magic booth that transmits their desires to the "wise statesmen" who do their bidding. The truth is, hardly any action of democracy transmits anything that is clear, or unified, in meaning and understanding. YOU know what you meant when you pulled the lever, but politicians are human beings, not mind readers. Both the Social Contract and the Election Mandate are mythology -- no more real than unicorns. The larger the system, the more abstract and insubstantial these myths become.

It is a fallacy of erroneous philosophies that the practical and the ideal are antithetical. If anything, it is the voter, not the non-voter, who has made a Hobson's Choice by agreeing to delegate yet another chunk of his personal liberty and authority to whomever wins the election, whether it is moral or even legal to be putting the particular question up for a vote at all or not. When your wife brings flea-infested animals into the bedroom, and insists upon letting them sleep on the bed with you, as many of the electorate are metaphorically doing, then yes, it is much better to sleep on the couch.

I need to address that analogy better:

When your wife gives you choices only between frills and chartruse, and if every time you pick one or the other, you still end up with both, then it is time to sleep on the couch until the woman registers your displeasure and rethinks her decorating philosophies.

Haven't read your link yet, but do have this to say:


They have rendered the fruit quite inedible.

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