Monday, November 5, 2018

Rationality Versus Allegiance: A Comment On Voting Habits

     A rational army would run away. – Baron de Montesquieu

     What applies to armies applies with equal force to voters and voting blocs. We know from long experience that the majority of citizens don’t reach their political positions through rational analysis. Rather, they inherit them from their parents, or adopt them for social or commercial advantage, or wear them as persona masks intended to achieve some non-electoral effect.

     This is not the condemnation it might appear. A perfectly rational approach to voting would cause the overwhelming majority of persons to abstain from it. After all, what are the odds? How likely is it that my vote will decide any election? Add the notorious infidelity of politicians to their campaign promises, and just what is electoral victory really worth? So why not forget the electoral charade and choose one’s supposed politics on the basis of personal advantages available thereby?

     (Yes, yes, I know that many citizens refrain from voting. Some of them do so in keeping with the argument above. But the majority of non-voters abstain out of laziness or indifference. A poll of non-voters taken in the Seventies, which asked them “What would motivate you to go to the polls on Election Day?” a healthy plurality responded “A candidate worth voting for.” There’s a moral in there, somewhere.)

     However, there are influences at work other than rationality.

     My thoughts this morning were stimulated by this statement by J. J. Sefton:

     Along with the myth of the blue wave being exploded, when you take into account how completely wrong the polls were in 2016, the nature of polling in general (that they are meant not to measure public opinion but to influence it) and the fact that the past 4 election cycles have seen the Democrats lose something like 1,200 seats at every level down to dog catcher, that the election of Donald Trump in 2016 was the final rejection of Obamanism/Hillaryism, a 24-month economic miracle not seen in decades that underscores the abject failure of Democrat policies and personalities, the campaign of violence and intimidation of the Democrat-Media Complex against this President and those who elected him (Scalise, Kavanaugh, #MeToo, Mueller witch hunt), a series of special elections that were supposed to be the harbingers of Trump's downfall which saw only one or two Dems elected, the fact that Democrats who are struggling in red to purple states (and even some blue ones) are scrambling to cover their embrace of socialism and Joo-Hate as well as clamming up when it comes to amnesty and immigration - the optics of the staged migrant invasion alone are an absolute disaster for the Left - and guns (for the most part) and crucially the Trump factor and his ability to communicate directly with the people and in doing so make the Dems and media look like utter fools, it just makes absolutely zero sense to me that any sane, rational voter would abandon all of this and give a book of matches to a pyromaniac in an oil refinery by voting Democrat.

     Despite all that, it’s virtually certain that millions of Americans will vote for Democrats tomorrow, just as many already have in the early balloting. It’s not about what’s good for the country, or what would be in those voters’ best interests. It’s about allegiances they’re excessively reluctant to abandon.

     An old friend once said to me that he couldn’t bring himself to vote for a Republican without suffering a seizure. He’s black. He regards the Democrat Party as “his party,” unalterably and forever. When he goes to the polls he pulls the Democrat straight-ticket lever and walks away without a moment of thought or regret. Yet he’s fairly intelligent. He needn’t be told that the Democrats and the policies they’ve championed have harmed him and “his people.” He simply can’t bring himself to vote against them.

     Allegiances are like that.

     The long-time partisan – i.e., he who has voted straight-ticket for many years – is as close to being politically unchangeable as a human being can come. Whatever his original reasons for choosing his party alignment, the persistence of that alignment over time has burdened him. The burden consists in this: the difficulty of admitting that his partisanry, if not all partisanry per se, was / is a mistake.

     No one likes to admit to error. “I was wrong” is one of the hardest of all English phrases to master. “I’ve been wrong for decades” is an order of magnitude worse. When the subject is politics, with the implication that the victories of one’s chosen party might have brought harm to millions, the conscience factor creeps in...and then, as Alexander Rose wrote in Pay The Two Dollars, most people would prefer to plead guilty to murder.

     The “rational” voter finds such an attitude incomprehensible. Wouldn’t it be better balm for one’s conscience to admit to error and resolve not to repeat it? This discounts the terrible aversion most of us have to accepting guilt, even when that guilt is widely shared. That Smith’s own vote didn’t “elect the bastards” by itself matters less than that Smith ratified the choice with his ballot.

     A similar attitude can be found among the doctrinaire anarchists. (The true anarchists, mind you; not the assholes that actually espouse socialism, syndicalism, or communism.) An anarchist rejects all government, regardless of its form. He feels that by voting, regardless of how his ballot is cast, he would ratify a system of government. It doesn’t matter that his vote can’t determine who will win or what policies will be followed; the act of voting is itself immoral, so he abstains. Neither does it matter that one party is far more inclined to expand the State than the other. His moral precepts forbid him to participate.

     We can expect to see millions of votes cast for Democrats tomorrow. Many of those who cast their ballots thus will suffer loss or harm due to Democrat policies and perfidies. Moreover, many of those voters are already aware that that would be the case in the event of a Democrat victory. Nevertheless, they will go to the polls and pull the straight-ticket Democrat lever. Their allegiance is to the Democrat Party. They can’t even imagine renouncing it. And there is approximately nothing that anyone can do about it.


Kye said...

Sure there is. Stalin didn't have an opposition party, did he? If the left ever again regains the power it had under Obummer you can bet that between "caravan", regular immigrants, phony street people, the under aged and of course the left's favorite voter: "the dead", no other party will have a electoral presence in America again. We would be luck not to be purged. And if we give the government power over health care we will be. You will receive treatment based on party affiliation upon approval of the party apparatchik of the Deep State which will be the Only State.

Vote like hell my Patriot friends. I'm set to drive over 15 people to the polls during the day. Do your part. Team up with family, friends and neighbors. Get it done! MAGA. God Bless America.

Unknown said...

I'm a monarchist. I abstain from voting for any government that is of this world as my monarch is not of this world.


@John C: You are correct; if the Left gets back in we'll be lucky to be able to live. But that's the problem... even now, with the screaming, calls for violence and death, and actual harassment and attempted murder, too many on the Right can't believe it.