To vote for a ruler is not a sanction on his authority to rule. Rather, it is an affirmation of it.
[Updated version of “Why Voting Out of Self Interest is a Contradiction in Terms”; with many edits]
Staying with the theme of voting, and my devil’s advocate approach (again because I do not consider myself an anarchist), here is another article criticizing the efficacy and rationality of voting. In this article, I take a much more denunciatory approach, questioning not merely the relevancy of voting–specifically for public officials in a representative democracy–but the morality of it. I l attempt to effectively argue why voting is a fundamental denial of one’s own self, and a capitulation to rule that must inevitably lead to one’s own categorical destruction.
Perhaps this is hyperbole. Judge for yourself. And feel free to disagree and comment. I am very interested in your perspectives on this controversial topic.
Voting, I submit, is a contradiction to self, and a rank opponent of self-interest, and therefore an opponent of self-existence. And this is because, I aver, voting always implies an authority/submission dynamic–henceforth referred to as a “politic”. That is, to vote for someone to occupy a specific office implies that that office is one in which appealing to authority–which means appealing to force–is the fundamental means of discharging the duties of that office. This in turn nullifies the nominal purpose of voting (the affirmation of the self via representation) and therefore demands that all representative democracies inevitably morph into tyrannies sooner or later. Usually sooner.
But before we can discuss the conclusion, naturally we must examine the rationale that I submit takes us there.
When it comes to claims that voting is not in the self-interest of the voter, the most obvious and perhaps most stark evidentiary argument can be found with those who voted for the loser of an election: the minority vote. Indeed, it seems almost a poor use of time explicating the reasons why voting is not in the interest of those voters on the losing side of the election. Nevertheless, the self-evidentiary nature of such reasons may not be so…well, self-evident, given the common assumptions with respect to the presumed benevolence of a representative democracy. So let’s go ahead and examine the reasons.
The voting process whereby the majority elects the one who will act (ostensibly) as a representative of the “people” means that the self-interest of the minority–those who did not cast votes for the representative elected–is not served by the vote. Keeping in mind that “self-interest” is defined by the individual, not the representative nor the collective which he or she ostensibly serves. For only the individual has the absolute context of “self” whereby self can be sufficiently known in order to ultimately determine what it truly needs and desires.
By definition, then, and ironically, the representative, or official, who has been elected to represent the minority has neither been elected by them, nor can he or she represent them, since such an official, during his or her running for office, must have openly declared that what they support and affirm with respect to the purpose and plans of that office is contrary to what the minority voters desired. In which case the official must necessarily officiate his or her responsibilities in a manner contrary to the will of certain people–people who are nevertheless obligated to submit to the authority given to the official by other voters who are not their political allies, and who may even promote ideas which are diametrically opposite.
Now, one might be tempted to make the argument that, given certain constitutional dictates, or the freedom to move out of the given geopolitical area, the minority voter is not necessarily bound to an elected official’s authority. But I submit that this reveals a lack of true understanding of the root philosophical premises and implications which underwrite the idea of voting…premises and implications one necessarily concedes by engaging in the voting process in the first place.. These premises (which we will discuss momentarily) and implications have consequences which must inevitably reach across all geopolitical boundaries and eventually affect the whole of humanity, and define its condition.
But at the very least, to argue that one who finds himself or herself under the authority of an official they did not consign to office is not necessarily obligated to submit to that official’s authority, is to render their vote, as well as the voting process irrelevant entirely, thus supporting my case that voting cannot in fact serve their self-interest.
My point here is that there is no reason to vote for someone who shall have no power over the voter to affect outcomes; who shall possess no philosophical mandate to exert some manner of control–of force. And even more concisely: to vote is to implicitly condone rank authority over one’s life via the power granted by the vote to he or she who has been elected–as a function of their office. Period. In other words, voting does not imply freedom from coercive force by authority, but affirms it. If authority is not granted by the vote, then I submit what one is doing is not voting, and that voting is moot.
But some may argue that voting is voluntary. Thus, voting is not a binding of oneself inexorably to authority, but rather an exercise of free will.
I would counter this claim by saying that authority and free will are mutually exclusive. That if we accept that the vote implies the authority of the elected official to act, then free will is non-applicable to the process. Indeed, this is almost my entire point of this article: that free will in the case of democratic voting is in fact an illusion. Perhaps a convincing illusion due to the deft nature of the sophist arguments in support of voting, but an illusion nonetheless.
In other words, I submit that it is a contradiction, and thus impossible, to bind oneself willingly to authority, since authority is the power to compel behavior by force (if there is no implicit force there is no explicit authority). Once force…once threats of punishment or death enter the equation, free will is irrelevant. For choosing to obey or to be shot/imprisoned (or otherwise punished) is NOT a legitimate choice.
But to willingly and freely accept the requests of another in one’s own self-interest is to fundamentally grant allegiance first and foremost to one’s own self-interest. And one never to votes for one’s own interest. It is what one does by nature. Thus, such a relationship is not and cannot be dependent on a vote, but on volunteerism. And volunteerism is obviously not efficacious by authority, but by cooperation. That is, it is not a relationship based upon an authority/submission politic, but on the voluntary mutual exchange of value.
Where there is no authority there is no force. And where there is no force there is no sacrifice of ANY individuals. And where there is no sacrifice of any individuals (like the minority voter) there is no efficacy not purpose of voting. For if those elected to office NEVER have the power to compel behavior by force, then it does not matter who is elected to office, or if anyone is. People are free to cooperate with those they like, and to eschew cooperation with those they do not. Since officials have no authority over any person, any person’s vote for them is irrelevant. Any person can choose to interact with them in whatever capacity they want, or not. And thus if voting doesn’t imply a right to rule–to compel–then what exactly is the point of voting?
Or said another way, of what use is voting for someone with whom you will only ever engage cooperatively–that is, of your own will and according to your own interest?
None at all.
Therefore I argue that when one votes he or she must implicitly accept the idea that submission to authority is the efficacious and rational means of effecting outcomes as a function of the relationship one has with his or her elected official. And this context, I submit, must inevitably expand to includes one’s very existence, in general. He or she who refuses to submit themselves, and their very will, to he or she who has been elected by the majority vote, acts hypocritically with respect to voting, thus nullifying the voting process altogether, and their own identity of SELF (more on this in a moment) because they have refused the necessary authority/submission politic which they must have implicitly conceded as the fundamental philosophical rationale for casting their vote in the first place; and this in order to not render the act of voting an act of hypocrisy.
One cannot have his or her cake and eat it too. If one affirms the efficacy and morality of voting, by voting, then one is ethically obligated to the outcome of that vote, whatever it is, whomever is elected. What one wants, or believes is the moral or rational means to organize society one’s own life, or whatever other issue with which they happen to concern themselves, besides the point. One alaways votes not for cooperation, but for rule. One votes for a politic which demands that cooperation is fundamentally irrelevant. To vote is to submit, and this by the very nature of voting. And this concession to one’s individual submission is the irony which makes voting moot.
One could also put it this way: If the vote necessarily nullifies the free will of the minority voters by subjecting them to the coercive power–the authority–of the official, then I submit that everyone’s free will is nullified. That is, even what those who voted for the official want is besides the point. It may appear to be cooperation at first glance, but if force can be used to compel the will of those who voted against the official, then we must assume that force is the operative means by which everyone is compelled.
If one agrees with the official, good for them, they are not ostensibly forced. But at any time should that person withdraw his or her support, he or she shall be forced to comply with the authority granted by the vote, just like any other minority voter who must endure the consequences of the vote. And this makes the person’s willful compliance irrelevant. The official doesn’t need their will. He or she doesn’t need their choice. And thus, he or she doesn’t actually need their vote. In which case, force, then, not cooperation, is the operative root behind the actions of the elected official. Which again demands that voting is not really relevant at all, but is actually a metaphysical declaration that at one’s root, will, and therefore consciousness itself, shall be rendered moot, and that one must be compelled by force alone to outcomes desired by the authority.
If social outcomes–if the social organization of human reality is a matter of who may compel the behavior of others by force, and this the premise behind voting, then voting is irrelevant. Voting for someone is irrelevant. Who rules is irrelevant. Authority–not ideas, not people, not cooperation–is the method of organizing human existence, in which case authority is the foundation of reality. The context of the individual–of self-awareness, free will and choice–is an anathema to the authority/submission politic. The life of the individual ceases to be the context. The frame of reference of the individual is not the yardstick of morality, conceptual efficacy, and truth. Rather, death, the absence of such a context, the absence of such a frame of reference, the absence of self becomes the measurement by which a moral and true society–that is, reality–is gauged. And yet it doesn’t take an Aristotle to spot the implicit contradiction and predict the inevitable disaster.
And so, even though I began this article by using the minority vote as an example of how voting itself undermines and contradicts its own meaning, relevancy, and purpose, I think I have illustrated how, because of the authority/submission politic necessarily demanded by voting and the self-denial that authority must command to be consistent with its premises, no one actually gains by conceding and instituting the vote as the means of establishing social, political, and economic structure. Further, I think that I have established that no one is ever, nor can they be, actually represented by he or she who is voted into office, because what one thinks, from the frame of reference of oneself, which is their only frame of reference, is irrelevant. And that to vote, whatever the outcome, is to concede that one–the individual–does not actually possess the metaphysical ability–that is, that natural ability–to apprehend reality and existence enough cast a vote in the first place. For to vote for someone to represent you is to concede that someone else must, and is able, to be you, for you. In which case, of what relevancy are you?
None at all.
If you can somehow exist and shall exist and manifest your own life by proxy, then there is no relevant context for you qua you. Which makes you–the root “is” that is you–of zero value. You qua you are actually a stumbling block to reality, and a hole in your own existence.
To vote is not to cooperate. Cooperation nullifies the relevancy of voting because cooperation affirms the infinite value of every individual, which then denies the authority/submission politic implicit to voting. There are no losers in cooperative exchange. There are no “minority” participants, no “lesser” contributors. No one is collectivized in this a way, or in any way. There is no sacrifice of “minority” participants to authority by election, only everyone’s fundamental self-interest.
Further, cooperation implies the freedom of individuals to not cooperate, and freedom from punitive measures as a consequence of non-cooperation, because the innate metaphysical value of the individual, even absent his or her cooperation, is still affirmed and established as the moral and rational standard.
But there is no freedom to opt out of the outcomes of a vote once one has cast it. Because at the heart of voting is, again, the idea that an individual can be represented. And the idea of representation bespeaks of a metaphysical premise which says that the individual is somehow able to exist by proxy. And to deny the outcome of the vote, to not submit, is to deny the premise. And therefore to deny he or she who was elected to represent oneself is tantamount to self–denial. And those who deny self are walking contradictions, and can expect to have no say in anything at all because they have forsaken themselves, which is: the authority of the official in power because of the vote, which they have conceded and to which they have agreed to submit by casting a vote in the first place. Those people should expect nothing but to be considered and treated as as enemies of a society and reality founded upon the authority/submission politic via the vote.
In conclusion, I submit that voting and cooperation are mutually exclusive because they imply utterly opposing metaphysical premises with respect to those individuals governed by the outcomes of elections. To vote is to assume that one may be represented by another who is absolutely outside oneself, which is an impossible contradiction. But there is no such representation in cooperation. To cooperate, everyone must represent themselves, and all of us must recognize the infinite worth of one other, as individuals.
But as always, judge for yourselves the veracity of my arguments. I am open to all ideas.
Link to audio:
In this article I will present to you an argument which questions the practical relevancy of voting. I consider this a “devil’s advocate” perspective, because I do NOT consider myself an anarchist…that is, one who denies any and all efficacy of government. And though it may seem that I have convinced myself one way or another on this, I assure you I have not. I have pondered the question of the true value and efficacy of government and have not been able to utterly conclude and convince myself that government cannot work. Indeed, I would submit that given the right context government can be exceedingly beneficial, and there are objective examples of this which can be cited. Many of my close friends are politically active and I by no means intend to disparage their interest or their opinions.
This article is one regarding, particularly, voting, not necessarily government qua government as we currently observe it. However, in order to address that topic I needed to examine what I believe can be argued is the fundamental premise which underwrites government currently (but not necessarily absolutely, and not necessarily initially or innately) and proceed to make my argument from there. So that’s what I did.
But I admit that my premise may be flawed, and though it may sound like it, I am by no means suggesting that voting is necessarily inherently useless or perpetuates a malevolent system or idea. This is only true if we accept the premise, which we may not. And if the premise is true. Which I concede it may not be.
“Does voting really matter?”
Wait. Before you answer, let me put it another way:
Does it really matter who gets elected? And don’t think transiently. Think ultimately. Think: does it matter, when the premise of government has realized its ultimate purpose and necessary conclusion, who holds office and who does not? For every premise must lead to a practical outcome, and this outome is inevitable if the premise is consistently underwriting and perpetuating the apparatus of that which is established upon it. Which of course it will be, for otherwise that which has been established upon the premise will deviate so far from the premise that it will no longer fit the definition or practical description of that which has been established. In other words, as long as government as we know it currently is defined as “government”, instead of something else, or “government”, but qualified by a definition which is markedly different from what is observed, then the premise will persist. Which means the conclusion must necessarily be realized.
I guess I should pause here and ask: what is the premise which underwrites government? Do you know? Have you given it much thought? If not, don’t worry. Most people haven’t. Oh, certainly people have ideas and opinions about what government should and shouldn’t do for and to people, how big or small it should be, and what kind of power it should possess for the purposes of structuring people’s lives, and what kinds of institutions it should be able to legally establish on behalf of certain constituents, or itself, or what offices should exist and for how long the terms of these offices should be. In other words, many people have ideas and opinions with respect to government after the premise. But this isn’t the real issue…meaning it isn’t the root issue, or even, really, and ultimately, the operative issue. And further, government isn’t really rooted in the nature of itself, but…
The real issue is the nature of man. Of you and I. Of the individual over which the government will rule, or for which the government will act on his or her behalf.
So I ask again: what is the premise behind government?
Think about it.
Okay, that’s enough time. Do you have it? No? That’s okay, I will tell you what the premise is.
The premise is that man, according to his nature, must be governed. That at best, man free from the compelling force of a central authority will necessarily, again by nature, organize an existence inferior to that established through government. And it will be so inferior that it must fail eventually, because the nature of man is to consider himself an individual first, entitled to the full sum and substance of what is procured and expressed by that existence, which thus must lead to the individual subjective cognitive definition of existence which in turn must lead to chaos, and the wild and unfettered exploitation and destruction of humanity at the hands of itself.
And because of this premise regarding man’s nature, governments are established (by men, a contradiction never really addressed) to create an “objective” and “organized” society so that man will not dissolve into a sea of anarchy and an orgy of sin, but will flourish and prosper in peace and plenty, and will survive to pass on this objective and benevolent existence to his children, who will, under the authority (to compel by force) of government, also experience such prosperity.
In other words, and to put it more precisely. Man needs governing because he will literally destroy himself without it. Man thus needs government to create an organized reality for him, to ensure his survival and to promote his well being. And what this really means is that man, himself, individually, is fundamentally insufficient to his own existence. He possesses neither the innate epistemological adequacy or the metaphysical singularity–the fundamental Ability–which can amount to anything efficacious, relevant, or moral at all. Therefore:
Man qua man = the death of man
Which means that man qua man = the absence, or the the NOT, of man, meaning that to exist as man is to, in fact, contradict man.
And therefore, according to the premise of government then…
Government = the life of man; which means the TRUTH of man
Governement = the true and actual existence of man, and thus the efficacy and relevancy of man
Government = man; or Government IS man, FOR man.
And because this is the foundational premise of government, the reality is–and this will scandalize–that in the matter of the democratic voting by the people for their public representatives it simply, ultimately, does not matter WHO gets elected. For he or she who represents the people–the collective–cannot by definition represent the individual. Indeed, the very title “public representative” or “public servant” reveals the inherent contradiction. There is no “people”, no “public”–it’s an abstraction that has been infused by false metaphysics with some kind practical efficacy. But this efficacy is also false, for what is wholly abstract cannot have any benevolent or rational effect upon man’s non-abstract experience. The “public” is an ideal. The individual is what’s real. Thus, a public servant cannot by definition serve individuals. A public servant serves the ideal. He or she serves the abstraction of “public”.
And what is the purpose of an abstraction? The purpose of an abstract concept is to affirm and promote that (he or she or they) which utilizes it in service to their practical organization of the environment in order to realize a desired outcome. We use abstractions like “left” and “right” and “over” and “beyond” and “miles” to get where we want to go. SImilarly, the government uses the abstraction of “public good” to go where it desires to go. And it desires to go, always and ever, back to where it started: the premise. Man needs governing. Man can only really efficaciously and truly exist through government. Government’s existence IS man’s existence. (And isn’t this the notion we all seem to concede at some level and to some degree–that humanity perishes without government?) Thus, man must be compelled to the affirmation of that which is his only true self: the government.
To be a public servant then is not to serve the individual, but to serve the government, which is the material establishment of the abstraction of “public”. Individual existence, according to the premise, must be subordinated to the governing representative in order that true existence–public, collective existence, determined and defined according to the dictates of governing authority which wields self-legalized force as the ultimate means of compelling individual submission and represents the abstract (“transcendent” is actually how it is described) ideal of “public”–can be realized. Once this objective is finally fully realized, we are assured that paradise will be manifest.
Now, it is no surprise that the philosophical–especially metaphysical–premise which affirms government could very well mean that the worst kinds of people will seek positions in it. And because the inherent authoritarianism of government can be said to cater to those with proclivities towards authoritarianism–because they are the ones who naturally thrive in such an environment–it is to be expected that most people in positions of public power might likely trend, personality-wise, to the antisocial side of the psychological spectrum. Thus, to be suspicious of politicians and political candidates is both a natural and rational mindset for people.
However, it would be a bit shortsighted to turn this natural and perfectly understandable suspicion into a cause by which we might engage in entertaining the notion that it actually makes a difference who we vote for and who we don’t; who is elected and who isn’t.
Because when it comes right down to the root of things, it is NOT the nature of people that is the problem. It is the nature of government–or rather the philosophy from which government springs. It doesn’t matter WHO is governing, because the outcomes are predicated ultimately not on what these individuals do or don’t do, or what their personality is or isn’t, but on the metaphysical premises which necessitate government in the first place. You see, government is not erected upon itself–it doesn’t spring from its own vacuum. It is merely a logical extesion of the aforementioned premise. Because man needs governing, there will be government, and it will fundamentally look a certain way, and it will fundamentally act a certain way. It will root all of what it practically accomplishes upon the necessary right it assumes to compel individual behavior by force, because this is what is demanded by the premise.
To put it another way, the problem isn’t the hypothetical malevolent or psychologically immoral government official–indeed, we just as well might assume that all officials are in fact benevolent and well-intentioned. But the be the benevolent official cannot redefine the premise (or can he or she? You decide.). Government renders such benevolence moot according to its nature. No matter how well-intentioned a government official is, his or her actions will be given categorical moral and practical value by the absolute philosophical context of government. There is no such thing as “good” individuals in government. Because government has nothing to do with individuals.
Now, occasionally government will act in spite of the root premise, and individuals will benefit from the altruism. When the rights of personal property are upheld; when dangerous criminals are removed from society and neutralized; when peace is brokered between nations and war averted. These are good things, and government is rightly lauded for them. But eventually the government working from the premise will create so many opportunities for it to act in spite of itself that these altruistic acts must inevitably decline, and then finally be eschewed altogether. For government cannot act in the interest of its own demise…by definition it cannot act out of the assumption that it has no right to act. And since act it must, to its own end, according to the premise which validates its very existence, act it will. In other words, these acts of altruism will eventually be seen, when enough opportunities for them arise, as either existential threats to government, or a means by which its mandate to rule can be further realized through manipulating them. And at this point, functionally, they no longer occur at all.
So…why vote then?
To limit government?
No. To say the government is too powerful and that we need to elect person x, y, or z to curtail it is a contradiction, because what we are really saying is that the government needs to limit its power BY its power. That is, we accept the contradiction that government can restrict government. If the government uses its power to limit itself then its “limitation” is really an extension of its power.
The argument can be convincingly made that if one was really free then it wouldn’t matter who they vote for because no one would have the power to compel their behavior by force. And the corollary to this then is that if they are not really free and the government can compel their behavior by force then it likewise doesn’t matter who they vote for. Either way their life is fundamentally a product of what the government says they can and cannot do.
Further, since we have no frame of reference for freedom in the truest sense (freedom from compelling force), I submit we can never actually vote on “issues” related to the people, which must and can only find practical relevancy at the individual level. For these things only rationally exist in a context of freedom from force, and government by nature is the antipode of this. Thus, we can never vote for what we think would be in our best interest, because ultimately our interests are besides the point.
When all is said and done, and regardless of whatever reasons we may conjure up for ourselves, and even if we truly believe those ideas, we all pay our taxes and obey other laws because if we don’t we will find ourselves in prison. And since this fact is constant and unchanging across elections, again I ask: does voting matter?
It’s a good question.
Is the individual a direct function of the society or is society a direct function of the individual? The answer to this question will determined how a society functions, as well as the “logical conclusion” of the society with respect to the life or death of the denizens within it. That is, depending on which format we choose, the conclusion will either be a perpetual realization of freedom and life for humanity, or humanity’s destruction.
The conclusion, you see, is inevitable; we should not waste our time trying to think of ways we might prevaricate around the necessary end to the premise. One way or another, and sooner or later, the logical conclusion of a given premise will be realized; and in this case, the metaphysical premise will dictate the outcome, truly life or death, of the individual–of the society of individuals–which holds it. The premises accepted and employed in a society with respect to the ontology of man is, in fact, what defines reality for him.
Never mind the specious logic of the Objectivists or the Empiricists…there is no such thing as an “objective reality OUTSIDE of man”…at least, not in the idealistic sense they describe, where the environment “outside” of human beings possesses its own self-contained definitions, purposes, and relevancy. Another self-evident problem with the notion of “objective reality outside of man” is that it thus implicitly avers that man is not, in fact, objectively real; and by this they man that man’s consciousness is inherently subjective–not possessing the inherent capability of ascertaining the “objective truth” of the material universe “outside of him” (though they will claim otherwise–that man IS able to apprehend reality via his senses; an impossible notion given that, according to the root idea, there is an absolute distinction between reality “outside” of man and man’s conscious mind (presumably, the place where his senses end and his consciousness begins)). Which…if you believe this, any Objectivist or Empirical assertion you hold is irrelevant by definition. If you are not objectively real, then any notion to which you ascribe has no functional bearing on, well…anything.
Contrary to this, I assert that all of reality (what is real in the meaningful, relevant sense to MAN, which is the only sense which matters, because man is, absolutely, and only, HIMSELF; for that is his context, period) is a function of how we define man. Either man is fundamentally his own singular existential reference…meaning, your conscious awareness of SELF is the absolute and immutable frame of reference for your existence, and for all that you can claim is real (it must be real TO YOU, or it cannot be defined as real at all), or your awareness is a direct function of something “outside” of you…some other absolute and immutable frame of reference, like the “laws of physics/nature which govern”, or “God’s divine/sovereign Will/Plan”. In the societal sense, speaking of geopolitical nation states, the immutable frame reference and compelling force is the authoritative mandate of the appointed proxies of the Collective abstraction, which may be referred to as the “common good”; the “people”; the “nation”; the “tribe”; the “country”; or some social demographic (“minorities”, “disadvantaged”, “business elite”, “aristocracy”, “middle class”, “workers”, etc.).
Every person has, I submit, in his or her mind, already conceded the metaphysical “cause and effect” relationship in one direction or the other. Every human being who has reached awareness–who possesses the ability to articulate a distinction between himself and his surroundings–has embraced either the idea of the individual as a function of the group/collective/society or the the group/collective/society as a function of the individual. Another way of stating it, is that every individual has conceded to the idea that he or she is a direct extension of his/her surroundings–his/her group affiliation (and these affiliations can be defined and categorized in many ways, but in this case, I mean “society”, or “nation”, etc.) or vice versa.
The ostensible, and completely spurious compromises people make as they integrate the mutually exclusive dichotomy (SELF vs. Collective Society) are nothing more that equivocations upon the inherent and necessary contradictions present as individuals attempt existence within the social structures of a collection of human beings all governed by a central ruling authority which possesses, above all, and at its very irreducible foundation, the source of all its power, a monopoly of force (violence) to compel individual outcomes in service to what it propagandizes as “the good of the many”, but what is in reality simply its own power and wealth. Because, you see, in reality there can be nothing else to which the monopolizers of force can compel the citizens. Its all about the logical and unavoidable conclusion, the idea of which I began the article, proceeding from the metaphysical/ontological premise: “what is man?”. I will explain this in greater detail later in the article.
Both the fundamental individualist and the fundamental collectivist will entertain various contradictions in a lifelong, but futile, effort to avoid the inevitable destruction of a society ruled by a government intent on serving the “common good”, which is purely an abstraction and does not actually exist in any material or effectual sense, which is why such a government must eventually destroy the very individual citizens it claims to represent. For example:
The law-abiding individualist will pay his taxes, obey stop lights even when there is no one else around, consent to warrant-less inspections and interrogations at sobriety, immigration, and public safety checkpoints; he will vote for his rulers in an ostensible display of democratic “freedom”, applauding this brazenly collectivist activity as a patriotic obligation to which all Americans are bound in order to honor the altruistic sacrifice of the Founding Fathers. He will pledge allegiance to an anthropomorphized rectangular piece of cloth and dye, asserting irrationally that it somehow has a distinct and inherent value apart from his own individual presence in society, not understanding or not admitting that any such symbol only has meaning insofar as individuals find perpetual and absolute value to and for themselves in the society it represents, and that it literally has no relevancy beyond this. He will consent to being pressed into military service for the sake of protecting his “nation” as though the nation has any value for him once its rulers demand that he kill another human being in service to it, or to openly and actively support those who do, under threat of violence (incarceration, seizure of property). He will fund schools for the masses because he accepts that it is in the best interest of “society” if its “individual” citizens–again, ignoring the contradiction–are educated so that they, collectively, can compete with the rest of the geopolitical collectives of the world. He will say “yes” when asked if he is an American, or a Unites States citizen, when crossing borders, as though such information is fundamentally relevant to anything at all except the irrelevant and irrational idea of abstraction (society/country/nation) as reality—as though being a direct function of a group does anything but contradict his own unique and distinctive existence. Yes, the individualist will do all of these things because that’s what a good, law-abiding individual does. He concedes the contradiction that being a good individual means complying with the strictures of society as dictated by the purveyors of force (rulers) who compel him in service to the “community”; which he also understands (and yet implicitly denies), being an individualist, has no relevance beyond his own unique existential frame of reference: himSELF.
The collectivist, on the other hand, will also speak of the virtues of the vote. The good, modern American neo-Marxist known as today’s democratic party affiliate, will vehemently deny that our society cannot possibly be totalitarian, you see, or inherently destructive to the very essence of individuality, because each one of us gets a vote. Each one of us gets a “say”. Indeed this Marxist will even declare that it is our individual duty to vote our “free” conscience for those who will rule the collective, and force us into compliance with its mandates which are dictated by the monopolizers of force, even though at the very root metaphysical/ontological level, the collective can have no actual interest in the individual beyond their forced sacrifice to its abstract ideal. And because we have the “right” to vote, and the “right” to speak, there must be, so the loose logic goes, inherent deference to the individual amongst the collective of society.
The collectivist will respect the rights of everyone to choose their own way, to employ their own expressions of morality and truth, so long as it poses no relevant or substantive affront to the epistemological and moral plumb line of the “common good”, as he arbitrarily defines it He will tell us that each one of us can do whatever we want, and assemble and discourse with whomever we choose, so long as we don’t “discriminate” against whatever societal group the collectivist has deemed “special” or “protected” according to their subjective criteria. In America the special groups which are seen as those to which a forced deference must be compelled by the ruling authorities have ranged anywhere from the business elites and early American aristocrats, military service members, and various Christian denominations, to the poor, the racial minorities, various non-Christian religious groups, and non-hetero sexual orientations. And yet the collectivist either does not see or willfully ignores the irony and contradiction which says that one has a right to assemble and discourse and exchange value with anyone they choose and yet may not discriminate, as if there is no equivalency between the freedom to assemble and freedom to discriminate.
The collectivist will extol the virtues of the middle-class Main Street shop owner and then in the same breath will decry that shop owner when he or she will not serve, with his own time and his own property, members of some arbitrary “protected” class, and will demand government violence for the purposes of compelling that individual shop owner, with his or her “rights” of assembly and affiliation, into compliance with the collectivist “moral standard”.
The collectivist (even a “libertarian” one) will make overtures to the rights of individuals to worship as they choose, and yet will cry for the blood and incarceration of government workers who refuse to comply with a given demand that they affiliate, through their government post, with this group or that because it violates their religious conscience. And instead of asking the more important and relevant question of why a government employee is in the position of having to violate his or her religious conscience in the first place (as though government has any rational business being involved in any relationship between individuals where no direct violations of human beings are occurring) they will cheer when violence is meted out against the individual who dares oppose the collective will.
But none of these equivocations, from either the individualist or the collectivist, unravel or parse the fundamental metaphysic involved in the root premise. And this is because there is no such thing as compromise between, or an integration/intersection of, the ideas that man is SELF and man GROUP. There is no middle ground. There is no vacuum of space which separates you, the individual, and society. One is a direct and uninterrupted function of the other. Period. Any attempt to reconcile them practically will always result in the destruction of humanity, because once you compromise the individual metaphysic, you have no choice in the end but to compromise the individual himself. There is no other outcome. It makes no difference how much you desire or plead for there to be another outcome; how much you dream, or demand it. Once you have chosen your premise, there are no other choices possible with respect to the necessary existential conclusion. If man is not himself, he is nothing…he is not, and he is dead. All will and choice is, from that moment on, fundamentally irrelevant. A metaphysical, ontological premise will NOT be denied its conclusion. It does not matter what you think or do or say or how hard you work. Once you’ve conceded the irreducible, there is nowhere else to go except where it will lead you. The premise you concede about what you are at your foundation determines your end. You get either death or life. And that, as they say, is that. The only way to avoid the necessary end of one irreducible premise is to concede its rank and polar opposite.
If you are SELF, then SELF is what you will reap. You will reap the necessary reality of the singular, irreducible context and standard of truth and morality: YOUR infinite existential, metaphysically singular context of YOU, alone. Infinite and forever. Life everlasting. If you are NOT SELF…if you are “group”, then you will be sacrificed. Death everlasting, starting from the very moment you decide that you are not, in fact, you at all. That you, as an extension of the group, cannot possibly have a frame of reference for anything, because you are material and group is abstract, and there is no way for one to experience existence from the context of the other, because they are entirely exclusive. Your only obligation is to become empty, so that what you “really” are–the collective–will “live”. Whatever that means. Because, well…you cannot really know, can you?
The foundation of human conceptual thinking is, I submit, comprised of two basic categories. The first is the material concept, and this category is comprised of the visceral “objects” humans can sense…the physical environment/universe, if you will, or what some empiricists, rationalists, and Objectivists might call “objective reality”. To an extent, this is a satisfactory description. It’s a bit narrow and lacks depth in terms of the metaphysics, but it will do fine for our purposes here. Concepts in this category would be your concrete nouns: tree, cat, car, skyscraper, Huey Lewis and the News, etc. The other category is comprised of the abstract concepts…those things which are not visceral, and cannot be observed. Blue, left, fear, joy…as well as other, more complicated and arcane abstractions, such as mathematics, metaphysics, politics, public relations, doctrine, and the laws of nature.
With respect to “collectives” what is too often and falsely assumed is that the “collective” or the “masses” or the “group” is a material concept to be found in objective reality when in fact it is an abstraction. Government, the Church, the Nation, the Race, the Workers, the People, Society…these are not material, but abstract. They are immaterial.
In other words, there is no such thing as a group, per se. The nation or the community or society doesn’t actually exist in material reality. The “people”, “the community”, “society”, the “Church body”, doesn’t take up space. It doesn’t have volume. It cannot be touched or felt or seen. It isn’t there, is the point. What I am saying is that once you remove the individual human being, there can be no group…no collective. For the individual person is the only actual, physical component of any group. There is no such thing as a “society” which doesn’t begin and end with the individual. Subtract the person, and the collective becomes meaningless, and therefore, impossible.
Thus, all collectives are a direct function of the individual, not the other way around. So, to ask an individual to make concessions to the group is to ask what is material…or, better said, to ask what is real to sacrifice itself to what is not. To ask an individual to provide (often at gunpoint by the monopolizers of force) a measure of his property to a group of “others”, based upon a collective commonality that cannot be exactly and equally applied to each individual within that collective, is inherently irrational and must therefore be destructive. It is impossible, you see, because there can be no collective equality when the collective is comprised of metaphysically and ontologically distinct, and infinitely so, individuals. What I mean by this is you cannot make equal that which is infinitely and singularly distinct and fully of itself. Each human being is distinctly himself, at the metaphysical level. At this level–at the level of being–there is no connection to another. It simply does not exist. Each person is utterly themselves; the beginning and end of their own essence; existence; being; IS. The idea of “equality” amongst group members then is impossible because it cannot be rationally applied. You cannot apply an equality of individuals without violating the singularly individual metaphysic. And this violation occurs when the collective metaphysic is applied to individuals, making them a function of GROUP, not of SELF. And once this is done we are forced to concede that the individual person is not an individual at all, but is in fact a direct function of the abstraction of “group” (“nation”, “society”, “race”, “community”, etc.). With respect to your individuality then, what is declared “real” is the abstraction of GROUP. What is not empirical–what cannot be sensed; what is not, in fact, physical, becomes the “real” truth, and you, as a physical, singular self-aware agent, becomes the abstraction. The illusion. The absolute servant of the collective “reality”. He who thinks and observes himself as one, is not, in fact, himself. He is everyone. He is all. He is society.
But how can it be rationally argued that the collective is not in fact fundamentally grounded in the individual? How does the collective exist once the individual is removed? How is it possible to arrive at EVERYONE from a metaphysic which demands the existence of NO ONE (no individual)? How do you get a group of people when the most basic and smallest component from which that group is derived is eradicated from the existential equation?
Well…you don’t. It is impossible, full stop. And this is why ALL nations, governed by a central authority responsible for governing on behalf of the “people”, and “society”, and the “common good”, no matter how ostensibly benign, no matter how rationally sound its Constitution may seem, no matter how benevolent its intentions are, must inevitably dissolve into the oppression, exploitation, and eventual murder of the individual on a mass scale. Once each one of us becomes a metaphysical function of an abstraction like “society”, there can be no society at all. We all must be sacrificed to society, because our self-evident individual material presence, and our undeniable singular conscious frame of reference–the existential reference of SELF–becomes a rank offense and affront to the collective of society. The abstraction is absolute. IT, not the individual, is the infinite metaphysical singularity. Only it gets to exist, for “real”. And as long as there are individuals out there saying the word “I”, its fullness cannot be realized. Humanity must be destroyed so that the fullness of the “truth” of the collective can be realized.
A common refrain from those with left leaning politics is the idea that “without society” the individual would and could not be in a position to acquire the wealth and assets which they wish to commandeer at gunpoint (via the State’s monopoly of force (violence)) in order to redistribute it to the arbitrarily selected “special” classes. This argument is nothing more than an appeal to the Marxist collectivist metaphysic I discussed above. You see, the basis of this argument is the idea that the individual needs society–that it is the abstraction which allows for the existence, survival, and prosperity of the actual, physical, visceral individual human being. Of course this is so obviously fallacious it is a wonder this argument gets any traction at all. But nevertheless, and unfortunately, it does.
Since the collective, or “society”, is impossible and irrelevant without its requisite smallest component–the individual–it is the apogee of sophism and irrationality to argue that somehow the individual, who rightly and reasonably employs the apparatus of “society” to his own benefit, affirmation, protection, and prosperity, is somehow, in turn, obligated to sacrifice himself to society…an idea which could have no relevance and certainly no practical application absent his existence. Nevertheless this is the socialist/Marxist/collectivist ideology rooted in the requisite collectivist metaphysic. It is the idea that somehow, that which cannot exist without the individual, and is in fact a direct and categorical product of the individual’s own mind, has some right to demand of its creator an ablution and an offering.
Obviously what is an abstraction, “the people”, or “society”, cannot possibly demand penance and property from the individual human being, and this is why the abstraction’s proxies must act in its stead. Whenever a politician demands that this person must be robbed of his property in service to the group, or the “greater good”, know that this property cannot in fact go to any end except the whims and contrivances of those who are using their position as the monopolizers of force to “serve” on “behalf of the group”. Remember, “group”, be it the “poor” or “disadvantaged” or “those without healthcare”, or “minorities”, or “single moms” is an abstraction, and these merely direct derivations of the primary group abstraction, “society”, or “nation”, or the “people”, or the “country” (which is why leftist politicians always conflate forced private property redistribution to the poor as of general benefit to “society”–for the “poor” is merely a sub-collective with direct roots in the primary collective of “nation”, or “America”…there is no actual distinction in their eyes). What is an abstraction has no need of material goods, nor can it even be in the existential position to accept any such goods, be them labor or money. Those rulers who represent the group as its human proxies, on the other hand, can. And they do. As I stated in my last article, the Collective which is represented by its human proxies, the governing authorities, is already the epitome of existential perfection. It is already the Standard of Truth and Morality by which all else is measured. It has no need of anything…it dictates terms. Its only requirement is that all individuals–all who utter the word “I”–be sacrificed and consumed in service to itself. It’s inexorable need and objective is for its infinity be absolute and unchallenged. Its human proxies–its “leaders”, “rulers”, “governors”–exist to make that happen. They are the “authority” which “stands in its stead”. They are the ones who absorb the life and property of the individual because, as far as you and I are concerned, there is no difference between them and the Ideal of the Nation; the People; the Society.
But the truth is that society collapses unless the individual is free to exploit it to its own ends, and this is because “society” is an abstraction–it is not human beings; and we need to be clear about this. Society is a direct function of the individual’s mind, devised specifically in order to make it easier for he or she to realize their individual and personal and singular existence upon the earth as they see fit. It is individuals coming together voluntarily to exchange value for value in service to individual life and well being; to ensure that each one of us manifests ourSELVES upon our world and our universe as we see fit, and of, by, and to ourselves. Society belongs to us, we do not belong to it. The Race, the Workers, the Nation, the Party, the Church, belong to us. It is of us, and for us…individually; alone and unique and equally unequal. The individual must always and only gain from his affiliation with and presence within society according to his own standards–his own ideas, his own objectives, his own goals, his own desires, his own purposes, his own schedule, and no one else’s. Always and utterly, every minute and every second of every day, forever. There can be NO loss for the individual, ever, to “society” in his eyes. Because once that happens, its all over. The minute man is compelled to lose something–to suffer a net and un-reimbursed debt–in service to “society” the metaphysics are flipped completely on their heads. Once man is asked to give without any gain to the “group”, he has become a function of the abstraction. What is has become what is not. You are no longer you. You, and all you know, are a lie.
Man is Self, and “society” is his abstraction he must use for his own individual, perpetual gain, as he desires and defines for himself. Any other understanding or application of the idea of “society” is a rank corruption. It is a lie, and it can do nothing and will inevitably do nothing else but erase its human progenitors from the face of the earth.
If you are like me, you cannot even bring yourself to suffer a single minute of a single political “debate” because you understand that the nature of such showmanship is purely obfuscation. And it need not even be conscious…it simply is by the nature of the collectivist philosophy which underwrites the notion of a central governing authority. Which, by its very nature, appeals to its AUTHORITY to act “on behalf of the people”.
Ah, but since the “people” is, and can only be, referred to in the collectivist sense–because no democratic government claims to represent the interest of just a person (“you” or “me”, individually)–then acting on behalf of the “people” (collective) really means acting on behalf of itself. Why? Well, because it alone possesses the mandate of force necessary to compel the group’s collective will upon society…which is to say, the environment. And this mandate has been given to it by the collective, by the majority group, and not by any one person, or one citizen, in general. Because any ONE person is, by definition, too small a minority to “elect” that which is being tasked with perpetuating upon the environment the will of the group. It’s not your will, or any individual will, it cares about, because no such individual will has anything to do with a government that is elected by the people in the collectivist sense, which is the only sense the term “people” can have when we start talking about government…which is the Authority which acts on behalf of Group; and there is no such thing as a group of one. That is an obvious contradiction in terms. This means that such an Authority can never act in service to YOU, yourSELF.
Your only hope then, once you’ve acceded to this governing Authority, is that it acts is in such a way that you happen agree with its actions; or that you are un-offended by them. But by no means can you assume that the government acts on behalf of YOU as an individual, since it does not recognize YOU, individually, but only the collective it represents–which, being an abstraction, has nothing actually to do with YOU in the ontological sense at all. To vote then for a government to rule on behalf of the collective, which you as an individual must then by definition be completely and perpetually at metaphysical odds with, presents a very dangerous and intransigent existential dilemma. You have, by conceding to the premise that man is, metaphysically (at the very irreducible heart of being) a function of the group, abdicated your ownership of Self; and moreover, you have abdicated the REALITY of Self. You have denied your own fundamental material and ontological and self-evident Truth in favor of an abstraction. You have rejected your own ability to interpret reality for the impostor of reality given to you by those called to rule you on behalf of the “people”, or “society”, or the the “workers”, or the “disadvantaged”, or the “nation”, or the “kingdom”, or the “church”, or the “common good”. You have willingly placed yourself inside the iron maiden of existential entrapment and have assumed as “truth” and as “benevolent” and as “moral” the idea that you, as an individual, are entirely insufficient to life. You have agreed that you no longer get to be, in fact, you.
At any rate, since these politicians are vying for the job of ruling you, it seems odd that they would need to, fundamentally or relevantly, procure your permission for such a position. You see, being ruled is, in fact, the polar opposite of being asked. If you are asked, you can say no. If you are ruled…well. Try telling the IRS that you no longer permit them to draw taxes from your wages; try telling the politicians in Chicago that the gun on you hip is moral and justified because you simply chose to opt out of the article of city law which prohibits such items on your person. Go ahead and see what happens when you try to “opt out” of the government you get to “freely” vote for; you get to “freely” choose; which “represents” “you”. I’ll be sure to write you in prison; maybe send you a carton of cigarettes to barter for a week of chastity. Or to smoke afterwards, whatever suits the situation.
To freely vote to be ruled is a contradiction in terms. This is patently obvious. Even if you assume that you have some say in how you are to be ruled (you don’t, if you are being rationally consistent to the idea of a governing authority which acts on behalf of the group), the fact is that since you cannot opt out and still be recognized as a free, legitimate, actual, relevant, moral, and equally ontologically valid self-aware being, voting to be ruled according to the ideas of the COLLECTIVE, even if you happen to agree with them, still must subordinate your individual identity to the identity of the group. And since the group’s identity can only be manifest by the authorities “elected” to enforce it (that is, to make it “real”; that is, to manifest the group”s identity on reality; that is, to define reality), it is NEVER truly your will which is being expressed and rendered, but the collective’s. And the logical conclusion of this is that the individual MUST be subordinated to the collective will. And this cannot be done voluntarily because the individual cannot, by definition, from his singular frame of reference (his individual metaphysic) apprehend the reality of the collective. Reality is a function of the collective, not the individual. And those tasked with rendering reality are the proxies of the group, and no one else. And those proxies are the rulers. And rulers rule by authority, and authority is force, and force is violence. Period. Full stop. And their authority is a direct function of the abstraction of the Collective, to enforce Collective Will UPON individuals, since it cannot enforce it upon the Collective, itself being a direct function of it. The Collective and its ruling Authority are, in effect, one and the same. They are corollaries. They are sympatico. It is not then the Collective which needs ruling, it is the individual. The Collective is ALREADY the epitome of perfection. It has no need to be ruled; it only has need to RULE. And what does it rule?
And you don’t see the destruction bearing down on you like a rolling thunderstorm just over the horizon because you are too busy worrying about who to vote for, and cheering the idea of “government of and by the people” as though its some kind of rational tribute to liberty. But here’s the truth. There is no “people”. There is only you, and me, and he and she. And we are not a collective, we simply are Self. To vote to be ruled by a government committed to the electoral outcomes of a collective is to deny your very nature as a being of One.
And just how long do you think it takes before those in power recognize this dynamic, and realize that the collectivist philosophy to which they (and most of the citizens they “represent”) subscribe must place an insurmountable barrier between the individual and the collective which they have been called to represent? Just how long do you think it takes them to realize thus that the individual citizen cannot possibly have any relevant or legitimate any say in the governing of the collective, be it through voting or any other means, because he is by definition contradictory to the GROUP? Well, a casual glance at history will reveal the inexorable slide of every nation in every continent on the face of earth into the smoldering ruins of collectivist ideology (socialism, Marxism, fascism, feudalism, theocracies, monarchism, even democracies like, say…America). History would seem, then, to indicate that it takes very little time at all. In fact, in my opinion, I’d say it takes on average less than two years after the formation of any society ruled by a central governing body before anything but an illusion of “representative” government, “elected” and doing the “will of the [individual] people”, remains. And maybe even less than that.
Above, when I mentioned political debates at the very beginning of this essay you’ll have noticed that “debate” is in quotes. This is because, to me, political debate is more like a grand advertisement for a product I don’t really need (a centralized juggernaut of force) but which I’m told I must have if I want to “fit in”. And in this case “fit in”, means to possess an adequacy to my own existence. In other words, if I don’t have some massive central governing apparatus with all its requisite leaders and rulers to define reality for me (e.g. tell me what to eat, to drink, to drive, to smoke (or not), who I can marry, when my kids are “properly educated”, and by what method, etc.), then I am doomed to death–the product of my inherent depravity. In the religious sense, depravity means that I am the abstraction of evil in its visceral, material incarnation, and thus can do no good except I that am compelled by threats and force by God’s ministerial proxies “standing in His stead”. In the political/governmental sense, my depravity is summed up by the generally unspoken but almost universally accepted notion that: Man MUST be governed; for without the collective (the group), led by its elected officials (the arbiters of the collective’s authority, which simply means that they rule, ultimately, by force) man cannot hope to survive.
The simpler translation of this is: as an individual man does not possess the inherent tools to exist. He needs the collective; and the collective, being purely an abstraction (because individual human beings are the only material, tangible, and visceral components of ANY group), needs its human rulers to manifest its authority (force) to regulate society (to define collective “reality”) in material reality in order that the infinitely depraved individual can survive.
Oh, what irony we live with! The logical conclusion of this is: we must destroy the individual’s identity entirely in order that the individual may live. The individual doesn’t actually exist (and fundamentally cannot exist) because he possesses no relevancy to reality except that he be sacrificed to the Collective, in order to (ironically, and contrarily) ensure his survival. For remember, the assumption in a democracy, though it is not openly admitted as such, is that man must be governed; thus, he cannot by nature provide any relevancy to reality because he is insufficient to his own existence as an individual. Reality, you see, must be rendered only by the authority of the collective; because, again, it is impossible that the individual can render it because the individual, left to himself, MUST die off.
In fact, man’s death as an individual is so assured that one cannot make an argument that man as an individual can even be born at all. For his insufficiency to existence is an infinite product of his very root nature; it is infinite ontological depravity; infinite existential insufficiency. And because of this, it isn’t possible that man can be rationally considered as having any innate ability to be born as an individual AT ALL; since individuality and existence are, according to the operative collectivist philosophy, mutually exclusive. There is no birth into existence for that which is infinitely insufficient to existence. There is no birth into existence for that which is infinitely unable to exist in the first place.
In other words, the collectivist metaphysic (and the root of all collectivist economic philosophies (socialism, Marxism, fascism, democracy even, dare I say)) demands, horrifically, that the real “abstraction”–the real “illusion”, is the individual. The only “true reality” is the collective, which, through its agents of authority–rulers, leaders, officials, etc.– subordinate the abstract individual to the collective reality. What YOU as an individual sense…what you as an individual claim to “know” from the singular existential frame of reference of SELF, is a lie. Or an illusion. Or a dream. You have no say about reality because you, alone, individually, cannot possibly grasp reality by nature. Your sole responsibility then is to subordinate yourself to the collective; or, more precisely, to those whom the collective has “called” in order to meet you in your illusion–the individual human “authorities” which have been “elected”, or “appointed” or “called” or “divinely established”, or whatever, who have the human “form” you can recognize in your delusion. And the reality is that all forms of such authority are ultimately rooted in force (violence) because, in your illusion and your infinite individual state of depravity, you cannot be trusted to actually ACT of your own volition in service to the “truth” of the collective. For you, being infinitely depraved as a product of your infinite individual existence have no frame of reference for the understanding necessary to exercise volitional obedience. So, even though ostensibly it looks as if your rulers are reasoning with you, and willing to reason, and entreating your vote, this is purely for show, whether they consciously know it or not. Reason is utterly irrelevant when you have no choice but to obey. Once they are elected, you either obey their collective mandates, or you, at best and if you are lucky, will find yourself deprived of the lion’s share of your material possessions. In the end, however, the ultimate conclusion of such a system is always much, much worse, as history bears witness. The sacrifice of the individual to the collective–which really means its human governing proxies–always becomes literal when all is finally said and done.
Take a long, pensive gaze at the dusky horizons of the past…look upon the smoldering civilizations littered across the crimson wastelands of human collectivist history. It is always real blood spilled when those in power finally wake up and realize that there is only one “perfect” way to go about manifesting the “truth” of their “calling”.