Sunday, November 02, 2008

Sunday Open Thread: Election Edition

So, how are you voting on Election Day and why?

33 comments:

Mitch said...

Already voted - not so much for McCain as anti-Obama

Steve Rodgers said...

None of the above!

Piz said...

McCain sucks. Obama's worse. A whole LOT worse. I'm convinced he will establish dictatorship if he can. So I'm voting for...ugh...McCain.

Anonymous said...

Basically I abstained but felt like I could make a point that "Change" really is needed; so I voted early for Bob Barr as he was on the ballot, excluded from the debates, and has a platform that has some very reasonable individual-rights, small-government, and sensible-economic ideas. His party is no more confused, irrational, or non-philosophically based than the two main parties, and probably has more hope of being reformed by attracting freedom-of-speech and church-state separation advocates.

Andrew Elstner said...

It's hard for me to reconcile the voting vs. non-voting argument. The non-voters argument is usually something like, "I don't vote. Don't encourage them!"
That's all fine and good, but at no point, EVER, will our politicians say to themselves, "Y'know, less and less people are participating in the voting process. This must be a signal from our constituents that we should reform our tyrannical ways." It will always be interpreted as voter apathy.
Then again, I can't bring myself to vote for anyone currently running.
And doesn't this mean that ultimately I'm just sitting around complaining? I want to be pro-active about downsizing our tyrannical government, I'm just having trouble finding the best method.

Andrew Elstner said...

It's hard for me to reconcile the voting vs. non-voting argument. The non-voter's argument is usually something like, "I don't vote. Don't encourage them!"
That's all fine and good, but at no point, EVER, will our politicians say to themselves, "Y'know, less and less people are participating in the voting process. This must be a signal from our constituents that we should reform our tyrannical ways." It will always be interpreted as voter apathy, and to me seems a near worthless tool. If you don't vote, the state will never know why you didn't and will always make assumptions in its favor. I suppose you could not vote, and then send letters to all your representatives explaining why you didn't. Although that too seems laughable considering for instance, what little regard our representatives had for our overwhelming concern and opposition to the recent housing/Wall St. bailout.

Yet I can't bring myself to vote for anyone currently running.

Still considering Barr as a means of putting a tiny dent in the two party system.
But if I don't, doesn't this mean that ultimately I'm just sitting around complaining? I want to be pro-active about downsizing our tyrannical government, I'm just having trouble finding the best method.

-Andrew

Andrew said...

Grr! Apologies for the double (and now triple) post. [embarrasing]

Paul Hsieh said...

Election? Is there an election coming up soon? I wish it had been publicized on TV!

Seriously, I've already sent in my mail-in ballot abstaining in the Presidential race, for the same reasons as given by Leonard Peikoff and Craig Biddle. (I did vote Democratic on the various lower races and I also voted on the numerous state ballot initiatives).

However, when the Republicans lose (and I hope they do), it's also important to follow-up on that by explicitly tell them that they lost because they were *too religious*.

In the post-mortem, they'll hear lots of voices telling them that they lost because they were *not religious enough*. If that's the only message they hear, then the next time they'll put up more Huckabee-clones in 2012.

On the other hand, if they recognize that they alienated many voters who would have normally supported them but abstained (or voted Democratic) due to their alliance with the Religious Right, then we may have a chance at moving them in the right direction.

There are indications that this is already taking place in the Colorado Republican Party, which is polling badly due to their promotion of various "social conservative causes". Some CO Republicans are starting to realize that this strategy will doom them to a permanent electoral minority status, and they are starting to ask if that's really where they want to go.

This same internal debate needs to take place throughout the entire Republican Party. And we can make it happen if we're willing to send them that message.

Here are a few examples of the e-mails that several of us in Colorado have sent to our local and state Republican Party officials.

We will be sending them similar messages after the election as well:

http://www.seculargovernment.us/blog/2008/07/gop-platform.shtml

I hope others will be willing to do the same at their own local/state levels!

mtnrunner2 said...

(as commented on NoodleFood, but with spelling corrections)

I voted, but did not cast a vote in the presidential race.

http://funwithgravity.blogspot.com/2008/10/no-obama-no-mccain.html

I have been digesting information all year, and yet I was still unable to determine who was the worse candidate. If I had any inkling that either one was decidedly worse for this country in the long term, I would have voted for the lesser evil. Since I could not determine this, I did not want to sanction either one, because they are both awful.

Initially I was leaning towards Obama as a way to fight the long-term aspirations of the Religious Right, but as time went on, I became more and more appalled at the consistent and self-righteous altruism Obama preaches. He is simply far worse than I first suspected, and this muddied the waters. He is someone who consistently and passionately advocates sacrificing the good for the sake of a zero. I simply cannot confidently assert that he would be less bad than McCain, even with addition of Palin and the Republican Party's fundamentalist faction.

Gideon said...

I abstained, on both the Presidential and congressional level.

Anonymous said...

I abstained. Whatever very minor differences in style between Messrs. McCain and Obama (there are no differences in substance between them), it is my view that to vote for either is to vote for the further advancement of Fascism in America. I will have no part in that.

malcontent said...

I'm abstaining from the presidential election and taking it candidate by candidate for all the rest.

We do have to make a very strong stand against religion in the Republican party at every chance we get. However, I think there's no hope for the Republican party; they're entirely too entrenched in religion.

Doug said...

Great post Paul!

I too predict that Barack Obama will win by a huge margin. Unfortunately, since the Democrats tried their "embracing faith" strategy this election (just recall how Obama, Clinton and Edwards would all wear their faith on their sleeves during the primary), there will be many important voices in the Democratic Party concluding that faith-based politics is good for Democrats. Thus, it is especially important to get the Republican Party to have the internal debate that Paul Hsieh spoke of. If the Republicans fail to shift away from faith by the next major election cycle, then there will continue to be no alternative to vote against religion. The Democrats certainly are not turning back.

z said...

I'm not voting. When it comes to Republicans, they get better when they are the underdog, opposition party. I'm pretty sure Obama will win big in this election. The Republicans will then stick to arguments about cutting spending and cutting taxes. When repubs are in power, they are very irresponsible. Republicans are better at being an opposition party.

Burgess Laughlin said...

I voted a couple of weeks ago in Oregon's mail-in election. For the first time in my life, I voted straight Democratic Party. And I do mean Party. I expect to vote "wholesale" in the future too.

My criteria were, from most important to least:

1. Using Dr. Peikoff's DIM hypothesis, as presented in 2004 and 2007, and concluding (with little confidence) that the circus tent of disintegrators and mostly secular misintegrators and outright nihilists in the DP would be less destructive over the long-term (20-200 years) than the resurgent Christo-Fascists.

2. Examining each party's position on freedom of choice in abortion, my litmus test, if such as thing is valid. The RP is anti-choice. The DP is partly and superficially pro-choice (at least for now). So, I leaned toward the DP.

3. Applying this general rule when the two parties are roughly equally awful: Vote the in's out and the out's in. That goes for the presidency. Congress is almost evenly balanced, so I decided to make a clean sweep and vote all-DP--this time.

I completely agree with Dr. Peikoff and Mr. Biddle's analyses of the two candidates--as far as those analyses went. They didn't go far enough. Political analysis should not treat candidates as if they were untethered astronauts floating in a vacuum. It is institutions and movements, not isolated individuals usually, that stamp philosophy onto a culture. So, I chose to support the end-of-the-road left (though it does contain up-and-coming elements such as the Environmentalists).

The three indicators pointed toward the DP--but the indicators were wobbly.

Picture: chaos. Method: make the best analysis I can with the inadequate tools available, and make a decision. I hold no anger toward those who voted otherwise in this zoo event. I might stop voting altogether. I stopped reading the news in August and my blood pressure dropped a lot.

Michael Spitler said...

I have the day off Tuesday, so I will probably walk in to the local voting center to vote. As far as how I will vote, I intend to write in Micky Mouse as my Presidential vote and vote straight Democrat except for where they are incumbents. In particular I am very disgusted with my district's rep Dan Lungren due to his voting for the bailout bill both times. A true RINO if there ever was one. It would give me great satisfaction to see him thrown out of office, though that would be a small comfort.

I mainly vote because of the ballot issues, and I intend to vote against Prop. 8. The religious wackos cannot be allowed to change our constitution to forbid gay marriage, that would be a terrible blow to freedom. What disgusts me most is that props. like that are heavily supported by Eastern European immigrants. These people have the gall to come to the US seeking more freedom yet want to deny freedom to a certain group of people because they are different. I remember reading one newspaper story where one of them had the nerve to declare that equal rights for homosexuals is a violation of their religious freedom! Bastards.

mtnrunner2 said...

Burgess wrote:
"Political analysis should not treat candidates as if they were untethered astronauts floating in a vacuum. It is institutions and movements, not isolated individuals usually, that stamp philosophy onto a culture"

I agree even though I abstained. IMO that would be to make the mistake of using pragmatic standards, i.e. so-and-so will harm this or that legal issue over the next 4 years, etc. While this is important, it does not acknowledge the long flow of history as stemming from fundamental principles.

I attempted to hold that long term as my context. Although I clearly saw Bush/Kerry in those terms, I was unable to frame the current candidates as clearly, maybe due to Obama's religiosity and because his altruist fervor appears to run deeper and more anti-value than Kerry's. As a movement, this makes him and his ilk more threatening. Regardless, since I don't wish to simply take someone's word for what to do, but wanted to see it for myself, and couldn't, I abstained. For me, it was not so much a positive choice as a fallback position.

I probably should get my hands on whatever is available regarding the DIM hypothesis; that probably would have helped.

Anonymous said...

A friend sent this one to me, a letter to the Denver Post:

"As anyone who has read the Harry Potter novels knows, they revolve around the conflict of Harry and his friends against an unspeakably evil sorcerer called Lord Voldemort, who mobilizes legions of followers -- the "Death Eaters" -- to aid Voldemort's return to power over the world. Harry and company are blocked repeatedly in their attempts to warn people of Voldemort's return by the by the obtuse Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge, who literally refuses to acknowledge it, as if this will somehow make the danger go away.

In a symbolic sense, there you have the election facing us: After the fall of the Soviet Union and the discrediting forever (some thought) of communism and socialism, we are witnessing its return in the form of Lord Obama, who stands for not a single individual right and seeks only one thing: the power to rule over the collective by means of an undefined and indefinable "change"; his legions of Death Eaters who will do anything to bring him to power so that they might worship him; and the clueless Cornelius McCain, in denial about the nature of what he is facing, even while himself embracing the same power of the state, albeit in slightly different form.

As Ayn Rand said, in any contest between two opponents sharing the same basic premises, it is the more consistent one who will win. I see the Mark of Voldemort hanging over us by 4 points.

Robert LeChevalier"

Enough said. I decided to not vote for anyone about a year ago.

Ed Cline

Anonymous said...

Objectivists, if you want to send a message of dissatisfaction, vote Libertarian.

As Andrew Elstner pointed out, an abstention will not be recognized. But a surge in votes for third parties will. And a surge in Libertarian votes will suggest to major party candidates that they did not take individual rights seriously enough.

Fellow Objectivists, please save your arguments against the Libertarian Party. I'm sure we're all familiar with them. What I'm advocating is not the *election* of a Libertarian politician, or that Objectivists should publicly endorse the Libertarian Party. What I'm saying is that in the privacy of the voting booth, voting for a free-market candidate (who can't possibly win) sends the right signal to the other parties.

Burgess Laughlin said...

mtnrunner2: "I probably should get my hands on whatever is available regarding the DIM hypothesis; that probably would have helped."

The hypothesis, even if it turns out to be mistaken, is very stimulating for specialists.

Suggestion: Consider waiting until Dr. Peikoff's book comes out, apparently in early 2010. That will represent his final thinking in a long, long development; and it will represent his most polished presentation of it too.

His 2007 OCON discussions are available on CDs. I took 31 pages of single-spaced notes, from two listenings--and I still did not "get" some parts (as I was recently embarrassed to learn).

It is intense material. It requires very close listening, and (for me) quite a lot of starting and stopping, to go back over material that was key . . . such as definitions.

I would recommend the CDs mostly to individuals specializing in history or philosophy of history or some similar field (such as professional intellectual activism) for one's central purpose in life.

The book should be much more accessible for a broader audience (but only for intellectuals--full-time or avocational--and not even all of those will be interested). The hypothesis is for those fascinated with the problem of what drives history and how.

Doug said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Doug said...

An anonymous poster wrote:

"Objectivists, if you want to send a message of dissatisfaction, vote Libertarian." and continued to say "[V]oting for a free-market candidate (who can't possibly win) sends the right signal to the other parties."

Given the awful Libertarian stance on foreign policy, I recommend that all Objectivists not vote for the Libertarian party. The Libertarian Party is more than laissez-faire economics. They are a package deal that includes:
* Suicidal foreign policy of non-interventionism.
* Opposition to immigration.
* Hatred of Abraham Lincoln.
* Free market economics. (This is probably the only good quality.)
* In many cases, an implicit advocacy of anarchism.

I would even argue that the Libertarian stance of foreign policy is the essential, defining issue of the party, as it is the one where they will make the most progress in changing the culture (for the worse) if they were hypothetically brought to power. If anyone questions the extent of emphasis that Libertarians place on foreign policy, I recommend googling for the "Ron Paul reading list". A significant portion of his recommended readings pertains to his view of foreign policy.

Of course Ron Paul is a member of the Republican Party, but he is the ideological posterchild of the Libertarian Party.

Doug said...

To add more emphasis on my previous comment:

When you vote for the Libertarian Party (LP), you are not sending the signal that you approve of free market economics. Instead, you are sending that signal that you approve the entire package that the LP offers, relative to the other parties. Given that this package contains a suicidal approach to foreign policy, it is just not worth it for the economics.

Jim said...

I'm voting mostly write-in.

President - Donald Rumsfeld
Vice President - George Allen
House - Myself

However for Senate, I am supporting the Republican candidate (Jim Gilmore) who defeated the religious right candidate during the nominating convention. We already have one Democrat senator, so who needs two. Also, as part of a commission, Gilmore has been doing work on terrorism policy.

Andrew E. said...

"* Suicidal foreign policy of non-interventionism."

Yes, non-intervention, as in the **definition** of Laissez-Faire Capitalism that bans the use of force, in particular, the going-to-war-for-business-interests, ie: fascism, mercantilism, etc. Are we seriously still arguing over the definition of non-interventionism vs. isolationism? Nutshell: huge difference.

What America needs to worry about is America's security interests, not "spreading democracy" at the point of a gun on the taxpayer's dime. We have a right to defend ourselves, not a right to imperialism (again, on the taxpayer's dime). Whatever happened to going after Al Qaeda? Iraq? Really? That's where we're fighting them? How about Saudi Arabia, Syria and Palestine? Our Foreign policy is a joke.

"Hatred of Abraham Lincoln."

Wait, are we talking about the man who usurped the authority of the Constitution and claimed powers not expressly granted to him by the Constitution? While any sane man is of course against slavery, surely you must also understand that the civil war, contrary to what public schools preach, was not fought entirely over slavery, but State's rights. Slavery would've failed eventually as it is of course inferior to a Capitalist system, as our founders knew.
Lincoln claiming extra-constitutional war time powers as a means to an end, seems to me to be difficult to defend.

Thomas said...

Ed Cline said:

"A friend sent this one to me, a letter to the Denver Post:

"As anyone who has read the Harry Potter novels knows, they revolve around the conflict of Harry and his friends against an unspeakably evil sorcerer called Lord Voldemort, who mobilizes legions of followers -- the "Death Eaters" -- to aid Voldemort's return to power over the world. Harry and company are blocked repeatedly in their attempts to warn people of Voldemort's return by the by the obtuse Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge, who literally refuses to acknowledge it, as if this will somehow make the danger go away.

In a symbolic sense, there you have the election facing us: After the fall of the Soviet Union and the discrediting forever (some thought) of communism and socialism, we are witnessing its return in the form of Lord Obama, who stands for not a single individual right and seeks only one thing: the power to rule over the collective by means of an undefined and indefinable "change"; his legions of Death Eaters who will do anything to bring him to power so that they might worship him; and the clueless Cornelius McCain, in denial about the nature of what he is facing, even while himself embracing the same power of the state, albeit in slightly different form.

As Ayn Rand said, in any contest between two opponents sharing the same basic premises, it is the more consistent one who will win. I see the Mark of Voldemort hanging over us by 4 points.

Robert LeChevalier"

Enough said. I decided to not vote for anyone about a year ago.

Ed Cline"

That's the best analysis of the election I've read so far.

Does anyone know a link to the webpage it was originally on? (So I can link to it from my blog.) Or, would it be ok for me to quote it and link to this comments page?

Anonymous said...

For Thomas of Derbyshire, England, who wanted more info on the Robb LeChevalier Harry Potter analogy, here is Robb's blog address:

http://robbservations.blogspot.com/.

Robb has already put it up on his site.

Ed Cline

Bruce V. Bracken said...

I'm leaning towards Bob Barr, or writing myself in.

azook said...

I wrote in Tom Stevens, the Objectivist Party candidate. As many arguments as there are for not having an Objectivist Party (mostly along the lines of, we shouldn't isolate ourselves but work to educate current parties) it was clear that any vote was going to be either against my conscience or a token non-vote, so I figured I'd vote with my conscience all the way and vote Objectivist.

Doug said...

Andrew E. wrote:

"Yes, non-intervention, as in the **definition** of Laissez-Faire Capitalism that bans the use of force..."

A foreign policy of non-interventionism, as the Libertarians use it, essentially amounts to not taking any military action unless in direct retaliation to an attack or to obviate an imminent attack. Libertarians often describe the following (possible) U.S. policies as examples of "interventionism":

* Supporting Israel in its war against Islamic extremism.

* Launching a preemptive strike against Iran's uranium enrichment facilities.

* Supporting Britain against Nazi Germany during World War II.

* Supporting South Korea over North Korea.

* Supporting Taiwan as a sovereign nation independent of China.

* Pronouncing moral judgment in any conflict that does not actively involve the U.S. armed forces.

All of these policies are perfectly consistent with a foreign policy of rational self-interest (i.e., one based on Objectivist principles), but are antithetical to a foreign policy of non-interventionism.

To forbid any of the aforementioned policies is to inhibit a government's ability to protect the rights of its citizenry and to properly identify evil and destructive enemies.

Laissez-faire capitalism, properly defined, is the political system fully compatible with protecting individual rights. Thus, a foreign policy of non-interventionism is utterly incompatible with laissez-faire capitalism. Instead, a foreign policy of non-interventionism is only seemingly compatible with laissez-faire capitalism if laissez-faire capitalism is to improperly based on a floating assertion that "the initiation of force is evil" without having an underlying philosophy to indicate what force is, how it can be initiated or why it is evil.

Needless to say, both Isolationism and Neoconservativism are also awful and impractical foreign policies.

Anonymous said...

doug, you're full of it.

First of all, I know a lot of libertarians, and I can't think of even one who, if asked "What is the defining issue of the Libertarian Party?" would answer "foreign policy."

That is almost as stupid as claiming that Ron Paul represents the Libertarian Party.

If the number of votes for the Libertarian Party were to double, no analyst would conclude that this was the result of a change in people's attitudes towards American foreign policy. They would interpret it as a call for smaller government in general.

But these pale in comparison to your dumbest comment, when you claim that a vote for the LP means approval of their entire package. I guess everyone who voted Democrat must support the White House Initiative on Asian-American and Pacific Islanders, since that's officially part of the Democratic Party agenda.

Doug said...

My claim is that the LP is more likely to influence the present culture (for the worse) on foreign policy than on any other issue.

Moreover, when you vote for a LP candidate, the candidate brings *all* of his views with him into office, not just the ones you like. Deal with it.

Anonymous said...

Hey doug, how about you read the post you're responding to. What I said has nothing to do with some long term effect of the LP on the culture, or what would happen in an LP member got elected. I specifically wrote:

"What I'm advocating is not the *election* of a Libertarian politician, or that Objectivists should publicly endorse the Libertarian Party."

Hell, I even added emphasis. If basic literacy is a problem for you, you should get a new hobby.