Fred on Voting

Apart from a thinly-veiled insult of Mexicans and a diatribe against "the racial lobbies, defense industry, teachers unions, feminists, AIPAC, big pharma, oil corporations,"[1] this Fred Reed piece induced a hearty "Hell Yeah!" upon reading. An excerpt:

Given that democracy is pointless, and participation in it a sign of a weak mind, what is the wisest attitude toward the government? ...

First, and most important, stop regarding yourself as part of government. Government doesn?t concern itself with you; why should you concern yourself with it? The change of attitude provides both relaxation and perspective.

Next, avoid governmental impositions. There are many. Military service is the worst of them. Don?t go. A little man in Washington, whom you have never met and wouldn?t talk to over a back fence, tells you to kill people who have done nothing to you in a foreign country you may never have heard of. Does this seem reasonable?

Finally, cultivate apathy, which is cheaper than Prozac and works better. You do not worry about what you do not care about. I do not propose a depressed scowl at life, but merely a wholesome indifference toward those forces malign and otherwise over which you can have no influence. ...

A huge gap separates those who, on the one hand, eat their souls up over things they can?t change, and those who, on the other, focus on their friends, family, children. You probably have a sense of what is right, wrong, moral, decent, and just. To these, I say, you owe allegiance. To nothing else.

A wholesome apathy does not mean giving up a love of music or travel or dogs or books or contemplation of starry skies should the pollution clear momentarily. Nor does it mean lack of concern for those around you. It does mean, or more correctly require, moral self-determination insofar as it is possible. ...

To what, then, you might ask, does one owe allegiance? A better question might be: Why should one owe allegiance to any distant group beyond one?s influence? Yes, I know: The dog-pack instinct dominates human behavior. It is why we have wars and teen-age gangs and attach ourselves furiously to football teams. Patriotism, meaning an irrational attachment to whatever country we were born in, comes naturally. But does it come reasonably? To use the tired but effective example, should you be loyal to your country?s government if it begins operating torture camps in, say, Bergen-Belsen or Treblinka or, once more, Guantanamo?

Or should you do what you believe to be right, decline to be herded like cattle, and live decently in the interstices of things? These at least are choices not as humiliating as voting. Those who wash regularly should not stoop to democracy.

I tip my hat and raise my cup to apathy. Viva La Apathy!

fn1. Anyone who has ever played Steve Jackson's Illuminati will find this list of bad guys wildly amusing.

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