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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Election Doesn't Matter

“I do not believe that the solution to our problem is simply to elect the right people. The important thing is to establish a political climate of opinion which will make it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing. Unless it is politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing, the right people will not do the right thing either, or if they try, they will shortly be out of office.” - Milton Friedman

Amidst the din surrounding the U.S. presidential elections there is much debate and discussion over which candidate can best lead the nation in the right direction. The right direction to me, unsurprisingly, is towards greater freedom. The question is which candidate can move us there?

None of them.

This is not because of the specific field of candidates we have to choose from this election; this is always the case. As the great Milton Friedman pointed out (quote above), the nature of politics is such that a politician will only be able to do as much as he or she can get away with. No president, no matter how much he or she wanted to, could enact reforms more radical than what the general populace finds acceptable. In the end, all governments – monarchies, autocracies, democracies – can only do what the majority of the populace allows. Even a powerful tyrant, in the long run, cannot resist the will of the majority of people if they are motivated enough to oppose him. It is the ideas that they hold which determine their motivation.

Ideas, not people, run the world.

In our constitutional republic with democratic elections, government leaders are particularly sensitive to the mood of the public. Relatively frequent elections, recall threats, loss of fundraising from would-be supporters, and constant media coverage create a high price for unpopular decisions. Even the ability to change policy after being elected without sufficient popularity is limited – since multiple branches of government are needed to enact policy an unpopular leader will have little luck convincing congressional colleagues to go out on a limb for him.

Why then have we moved away from freedom in many areas? Because in the battle of ideas, temporary comfort, promises of impossible “equality”, lack of self-respect and responsibility, and a desire for the state to impose our tastes upon others by force have had too many victories.

Freedom will not keep without constant maintenance. Freedom is an idea, a concept. Ideas must be continually re-stated, defended against the trends of the day, taught and passed down, communicated and re-communicated in ways relevant to each generation. If we give an inch, the deceptive lures of state-sponsored “comfort”, “equality”, “fairness”, “niceness”, etc. will quickly creep in and gain a mile.

The ideas we hold, the value we place on freedom, our understanding of why it matters, our interpretation of history and the warnings it provides against statism – these are what determine the policies of the nation. Indeed, choose the candidate that seems best. Choose the one that you believe can best restrain the urge to take more power and trample more freedom. But know that in the end it is what you believe, and what others around you believe and how strongly we believe it that will determine what the politicians do.

Is freedom your passion this year, or is it the candidate of the month? The former can truly transform the world forever; the latter can only follow our mood swings. I plan to vote, but I don’t expect my vote or my candidate to change the world - nothing worth having can be had so easily. I hope to change the world with ideas, the candidates will follow.

“I am really sorry to see my Countrymen trouble themselves about Politics. If Men were Wise the Most arbitrary Princes could not hurt them. If they are not Wise the Freest Government is compelled to be a Tyranny. Princes appear to me to be Fools. Houses of Commons & Houses of Lords appear to me to be fools, they seem to me to be something Else besides Human Life.” - William Blake

Posted by Isaac Morehouse on September 16, 2008 in International Politics | Permalink

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Comments


I believe we have all (generally speaking) become complacent in the notion that everything is ok, that our government will take care of us, that we bear no personal responsibility. I believe that while we have been sleep walking through our lives in these notions, that our rights and liberties have been stripped from us one "little" law at a time. I believe that we need to take back what has been stolen from us and that endorsing the present system with a vote is very probably only going to get us more of the same.
I do not advocate violence on any level. But I think that if they threw an election and nobody voted, the good ol boys in Ottawa just might have to reconsider the path we're on.

And I love this quote as regards defending freedom:

If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us
in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down
and lick the hand that feeds you; May your chains set lightly upon
you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.
—Samuel Adams


If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us
in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; May your chains set lightly upon
you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.
—Samuel Adams

Posted by: JC | 2008-09-16 5:21:05 PM


Apparently I liked the quote twice as much as I thought I did :)

Posted by: JC | 2008-09-16 5:22:39 PM


The 'West' free China?

Dream on Isaac, the west is in a cultural war right now where the right wants to remain independent and free as individuals with rights ... and the left hates the right to the point of mental illness as it works to take over, enslave the population and intimidate them into silence.

Ever heard of the CHRC? CBC? LPC? All working in their own way to destroy our way of life. The USA is in the same boat.

We are fast becoming a little China. Until we can resolve the hatred of freedom and enterprise held my the Jejune maniacal left we will have no time or money to worry about the house pet eaters in Communist/Capitalist China.

Posted by: John V | 2008-09-16 5:28:01 PM


John V:

Nice comments...except I can't figure out how it relates to the post, or why I should "dream on". Even if all you say is true, which the post does not take issue with, it still demonstrates that people need to be educated on the value of liberty and until people themselves believe in liberty, change will not occur via politicians.

The post is not about whether liberty is or is not in a good place right now - it's about the fact that real change comes by changing people's views about liberty, not by elections.

Posted by: Isaac | 2008-09-16 5:47:00 PM


"and the left hates the right to the point of mental illness"

I'm not sure...
Is it the Right who suffers from mental illness or the Left ?
Or could it be both ?
If your difinition of the Right is something like the Bush administration & neocons then you're mixing both.

Posted by: Marc | 2008-09-16 5:47:11 PM


Isaac,

I am very sorry, that comment was not meant for your post.

My bad

Posted by: John V | 2008-09-16 5:50:47 PM


"Unless it is politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing, the right people will not do the right thing either, or if they try, they will shortly be out of office."

This why all of the "But if only Harper had a majority things would be different!" goons are soon going to be very disappointed one way or the other.

Posted by: K Stricker | 2008-09-16 7:32:11 PM


I'm not sure...
Is it the Right who suffers from mental illness or the Left ?
Or could it be both ?
If your difinition of the Right is something like the Bush administration & neocons then you're mixing both.

Posted by: Marc | 16-Sep-08 5:47:11 PM

My thoughts exactly. Whether you vote left wing or right wing...you're voting for the same bird.
Global socialism seems to be the goal either way.

Posted by: JC | 2008-09-16 8:02:44 PM


Actually, from what I have witnessed, the further you get from the centre, no matter which direction you are going, the more bunkered, close-minded, unyielding and irrationally hateful these partisan soldiers get.

Until we figure a way to get ALL the politicians to consistently put their country ahead of their parties, western democracy is doomed.

In the meantime, all the rest is just partisan circle-jerking.

Including this election.

Posted by: Canadian Observer | 2008-09-16 8:21:32 PM


so not only has this blog blocked my IP, after I was able to post here and ask why I was banned my comments were deleted and no reason given.
FREEDOM MY ASS MATTHEW. How cowardly can it be folks???

Posted by: Merle | 2008-09-16 10:20:40 PM


I have never ever made threats of any kind here or such or defamed the owners of this blog. So why am I banned??? Do any Libertarians care?
Or do you just spout freedom and then ignore it when its trampelled on???
HYPOCRISY!!!!!
Did someone get to ya Matthew and urge you to ban my IP???

Posted by: Merle | 2008-09-16 10:23:01 PM


Perhaps if you offered an opinion on the thread rather than being confrontational you might have a better standing? And I thought "I" was the resident paranoic here. :)

Posted by: JC | 2008-09-16 10:31:46 PM


I have JC- I call it as I see it sorry.
I have said the consitent attacks on Cdn democracy is BS. Thats my opinion.

Posted by: Merle | 2008-09-16 10:37:16 PM


"If your difinition of the Right is something like the Bush administration & neocons then you're mixing both."

BDS, otherwise known as Bush derangement syndrome is simply one of the more telltale signs of the incredible sickness that has overtaken the far left.

Thanks for providing the evidence of this.

Posted by: deepblue | 2008-09-16 11:55:50 PM


"If your difinition of the Right is something like the Bush administration & neocons then you're mixing both."

BDS, otherwise known as Bush derangement syndrome is simply one of the more telltale signs of the incredible sickness that has overtaken the far left.

Thanks for providing the evidence of this.

Posted by: deepblue | 2008-09-16 11:55:55 PM


"Bush derangement syndrome"

Oh please deepblue,
NOW is the time you deranged fanatical partisans find new ways or new stupid expressions for cheerleading for these far left neocons' driven parties dressed as Republican and Democrats.
This is pathetic.

Posted by: Marc | 2008-09-17 5:12:48 AM


BDS, otherwise known as Bush derangement syndrome is simply one of the more telltale signs of the incredible sickness that has overtaken the far left.

Thanks for providing the evidence of this.

Posted by: deepblue | 16-Sep-08 11:55:55 PM


Not necessarily the far left so much as anyone with eyes.

Precott Bush laundering money and doing business with and for the Nazi's.

https://www.rense.com/general42/bshnazi.htm


George HW Bush speaks on the New World Order
and endorses the criminal UN.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rc7i0wCFf8g

George W Bush:

"A dictatorship would be a heck of a lot easier, there's no question about it."

"What this country needs is another Pearl Harbor"

Naw, these guys aren't criminals...not at all.
You don't have to be far left to be offended by these gangsters.

Posted by: JC | 2008-09-17 6:41:06 AM


JC,

Non stop conspiracy theories, all the way from Bush attacked the US on 911 to the tripe you speak of above is also the fodder of the far left moonbats.

Thank you as well for providing the evidence.

Tell me, do you share a padded room somewhere with Marc?

Posted by: deepblue | 2008-09-17 7:34:21 AM


I agree that the election doesn't matter. Moreover, I doubt any election within in Canada now matters, can or will again much matter, ever since the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion ensured that Health Promotion organizations and their spokespeople achieved natural governing party status at every level of government jurisdiction. This party's governing status is irrevokable due to its political unaccountability, even though its retention and ongoing empowerment is achieved through taxpayer funding, sanctioned by all-political-party support. This ruling "invisible hand" party apparently intends to continue and logically extend its governing powers over every politically accountable politician and political party operating within any country that was signatory to the UN-WHO Charter for Health Promotion, therefore it seems likely that Canadians and Canadian politics are not uniquely imperilled by this non-parliamentary and most undemocratic system of de facto global governance. The ultimate Health Promotion (unelected) governments' administrative branch legislation of "You have the right to die healthy", likewise to be enforced by officials of its (also unelected) Human Rights pseudo-justice branch, predictably looms ahead.

Posted by: Citizen | 2008-09-17 8:55:57 AM


Brilliant post. Far too often people see statism as an answer to statism. Collectivism as an answer to collectivism, etc.
"Freedom is never taken away, it is only given up"
Milton Friedman

Posted by: Condor | 2008-09-17 10:48:20 AM


"Communism will come to America, and you will never even know how it happened"
-Nikita Khrushchev

Posted by: Condor | 2008-09-17 11:01:01 AM


"Conspiracy theories"

If you're too fackin blind to see the so-called "Right wing" Bush administration has expands the size of government like leftists on steroids, you're not "deranged": you're simply retarded.

Posted by: Marc | 2008-09-17 12:36:58 PM


Marc, are you sure you're not conflating government size and government budget? Apart from additional security personnel (the U.S. is at war, after all), where are these "greatly expanded" government workers concentrated?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-09-17 3:00:42 PM


JC,

Non stop conspiracy theories, all the way from Bush attacked the US on 911 to the tripe you speak of above is also the fodder of the far left moonbats.

Thank you as well for providing the evidence.

Tell me, do you share a padded room somewhere with Marc?

Posted by: deepblue | 17-Sep-08 7:34:21 AM


They are facts, not theories. I don't give a damn if you like them or not. Stick your deepblue head back in the sand and you can leave you're deepblue ass exposed for the F**king your getting and you can keep on loving it for all I care.
That's your "privelege."

Posted by: JC | 2008-09-17 10:11:40 PM


JC,

If your not in a padded room with Marc, you should be.

Perhaps you two could help "work out" some of your neurosis and anger issues together.

Careful though, make sure you find one that is "Bush" proof, and where the big bad government can't get you.

As to the rest of your post, yawn.

Posted by: deepblue | 2008-09-17 10:36:26 PM



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