Hypothetical anti-state politics

For my fellow travelers who eschew political participation: would you take a post in the House/Senate/Presidency if you were offered it?  Let's say the seat is empty and there's no one else running for it for some bizarre political reason.  All you have to do is file the legal papers and you're guaranteed to win.  Or let's say the sitting president offers to make you VP and then resign immediately (which, for our foreign friends, automatically makes you the president assuming you meet the constitutional requirements).

Though I also eschew political participation, I believe I would do it.  In the legislative branch my vote would be canceled out by the rest of the legislators, but to have a representative or senator that the media could quote about reading Lysander Spooner into the Congressional Record seems like it couldn't be a bad thing.  Though one mole couldn't bring down the machine, it would be an opportunity for a public forum too valuable to be ignored.  As a senator you could filibuster, well, everything.  Plus it would be great to be able to denounce the office you're in and vote no on everything.

We have already had weak versions of this in Congress, and frankly it hasn't done a huge amount of good.  What about the presidency?

Just imagine the president issues a statement to announce that, like a doctor, his goal is ultimately to make his office obsolesce.  Then he pardons all non-violent drug offenders and millions more convicted of other bogus "crimes".  Then he cancels out all standing executive orders and vetoes everything that crosses his desk.  Obviously the median voter won't be into this revolution for long, but in the scenario you're secure until the end of the term, so that's not important.  You could spend all your time weakening the power of the state without compromising our goals.  You could order government records that it shouldn't have destroyed, or order secrets exposed to show the public the true face of government.  To the extent that it's possible you could recall troops from all over the world (i.e. to the extent that they're there on the president's orders or agreement).  You could fill all the appointed offices that don't require congressional approval with people who share our goals, at least the ones who would participate.

One of us who became president in this way could have a huge long-term effect on making the political system more just, though of course most of the work would still need to be done at the end of the term.

The answer to this hypothetical, in which I expect that most people would answer yes, is the reason why I don't want to expel political participants from the movement entirely.  Not that I have the power to do that anyway.  But what's missing in this scenario is what a waste of time most political efforts are, since realistically we have slim-to-no chance of getting into the office in the first place without compromising 99% first.  If you could get into office without having to acknowledge its legitimacy, at least implicitly, that would be great.  It's just that in the real world that doesn't happen.

Clearly I'm searching for consistency at the margins of my political ideology.  What do you readers think?

Share this

Wouldn't work

I think you'd be impeached within the month.

I'd say tried for treason.

I'd say tried for treason. But hey.

I for myself would try to move towards legal secession. People might not see it coming and it effectively opens a breach to anarchy.

The scenario

He says: "in the scenario you're secure until the end of the term, so that's not important"

which I take to imply freedom from impeachment and from charges of treason. As I pointed out, I think his scenario is too far removed from reality to be all that useful as a tool to explore the margins of his political ideology.

I wouldn't do it. I don't

I wouldn't do it. I don't think people should hold political office because I believe they'll eventually succumb to the temptations of using the power it offers for their own benefit. And I don't believe I'm somehow different than everyone else and therefore above that temptation.

Misses the target

The job of any person who has a job, is to keep the job (and, initially, to get the job). That is the job. If you redefine the job, then you are not talking about the job. Your question is as off the subject as the following:

Quasirandall: "Would you take a job as a garbage collector if you were offered it? Let's say that your job would involve photographing and sleeping with supermodels. So, would you take it?"

That's what your question amounts to. The job of a politician is to get and keep his job (or, by extension, help his associates keep theirs - this takes care of term limits). If you guarantee election, you take away the promises and alliances that are the heart and soul of politics. Take away the pressures placed on politicians and you are not talking about politics any more, but about fantasy. And if we're going to talk about fantasy, I would rather we discussed Hogwarts.

Quick Question

How do I nominate you for the Lysander Spooner Award?


Good commentary so far. Let me add that if such a person were miraculously thrust into the office, I don't think s/he'd be around long enough to start cutting deals. It's possible, I know. Just imagine yourselves in it. Once you announced on day one that you were aiming to obsolesce the office and after you'd done the many things you would be able to do that were consistent with radical libertarianism AND with the legal powers of the presidency, such as unclassifying documents and ending standing executive orders, I don't think Ted Kennedy would appear on stage shaking your hand anytime soon. After you did everything you could do you could just go back to your old life while remaining in office, and have your staff forward you bills to veto. I guarantee that at the end of your term you would be politically spent and wouldn't be around to bribe or influence after that.