Steve Horwitz has a great piece in the Freeman that I wish I’d written. The tl;dr: Voting isn’t all there is to political participation. This is an idea that’s been bouncing around in my head as I’m constantly remound that I’m now an American citizen (sorry everyone else in the world…) and that this November I’ll be eligible to vote for who I think should foster anti-American sentiments internationally (Republicans) or domestically (Democrats).
The other day I said I’d consider voting but I couldn’t recall whose name I’d write in (turns out it’s Willie Nelson*). But my usual response to any question about whether I’ll vote is “No, it just encourages the bastards.” When that’s countered with “blah blah blah civic engagement blah blah” I retort with,essentially, Horwitz’s point: My vote is not going to change the outcome**, but I can contribute value by trying to convince my students that economics matters and that a vote for third party candidate (even a Green Party vote) does more good than a vote for the big two.
I don’t know where I picked up that idea, but if I’d remembered, I would have posted his piece here before he did. Even better would be if I could just list a repository of everything I’ve ever read (or heard) in some public place and just write and write without worrying about citing anything.
*Seriously though, Willie Nelson almost certainly wouldn’t get involved in wars, would scale back the drug war, and any silly domestic policies he thought up would get crushed by Congress… he’s actually not a bad write-in candidate for those in liberal/libertarian circles who like Bernie. Side note: why is there not a serious uptick here?
**I actually could have voted in a local election last November. One of the candidates that someone I know worked for was exactly tied until absentee ballots were counted. Had I voted against that candidate it wouldn’t have changed the outcome, but it would have made at least one politician very uncomfortable. Still, that’s ex post, and ex ante my decision to not register was correct.