Tag Archives | Democracy

Number Three

The wheel turns, and from above
the passing people look like dots;
how many problems would a shove
resolve? From here to Stephansplatz
the twanging strings still moan and soar;
beneath the streets we’ll meet once more.


Flipping the Bird

Earlier this week, DC Universe posted a poll asking viewers to vote on whether or not Jason Todd should survive his “50 story plunge” at the end of the previous episode of Titans. With a nod to the famous 1988 poll in which readers voted to kill off the character’s comic-book incarnation, the text read “This isn’t the first time that Jason’s fate was left to the whims of others” – which made it sound as though DC would actually allow the poll results to determine the outcome (though many commenters have been skeptical).

Well, once today’s new episode went online and the poll closed, a new message appeared on the poll page: “Check out the latest episode of DC Universe’s ‘Titans’ to see if your speculating was correct – did Jason Todd survive his fall?” (emphasis added).

In other word – you thought you were making a difference with your vote? Ha ha, you were just speculating about an already-determined outcome.

The original 1988 poll, which actually did determine the outcome (though the results were reportedly skewed by one reader making hundreds of calls).


Still Not Voting

Two years ago to the day, I wrote this piece on voting, winding up with: “And that’s why I’ll be boycotting the vote this Tuesday.”

Looking it over today, I don’t see anything I disagree with. Hence I’ll be sitting this election out too.

Mind you, I hope the Democrats end up with enough seats to stymie Trump. Until we can manage to dissolve government in the economic organism, divided government is second best, especially when the president is unusually bad. All the same, for the reasons I explain in the linked post, I think I make a greater contribution to the public good by not voting than by voting for the lesser evil.


The Stamp of the Whatleys

Tom Whatley is running for reelection to the Alabama legislature. His campaign slogan is: “ONE OF US.”

Which irresistibly reminds me of ….


Home, Home, Home From the Sea

I’m back from the Alabama Philosophical Society annual conference – the first time in three years that I’ve been able to make it back there. The forecast was for rain all weekend, but happily, while there was heavy rain on the drive down and light rain on the drive back, the weather in Pensacola was fair and sunny.

I gave a paper on labour exploitation from a left-libertarian perspective. I got to hang out with my friend Irfan Khawaja, whom I haven’t seen in quite a few years; he was there to give a paper on the ethics of voting. Irfan and I chatted on such subjects as “Randians be crazy,” “libertarians be crazy,” “cops be crazy,” und so weiter.

Roderick T. Long and Irfan Khawaja - photo credit Irfan Khawaja

Roderick T. Long and Irfan Khawaja – photo credit Irfan Khawaja


Against Greatness

[cross-posted at C4SS and BHL]

We’ve been hearing a lot lately about making America “great again” – from a man who seems not to care how many people’s liberty he violates in order to pursue his conception of national greatness.

In this context, I’m happy to announce the Molinari Institute’s latest t-shirt, which features a quotation from Jeffersonian political activist Abraham Bishop, one of the most radical of the American founders:

“A nation which makes greatness its polestar can never be free.”

Thanks to Sheldon Richman for introducing me to this line, which comes from an 1800 antiwar speech titled Oration on the Extent and Power of Political Delusion; here’s a bit of context:

A nation which makes greatness its polestar can never be free; beneath national greatness sink individual greatness, honor, wealth and freedom. But though history, experience and reasoning confirm these ideas; yet all-powerful delusion has been able to make the people of every nation lend a helping hand in putting on their own fetters and rivetting their own chains, and in this service delusion always employs men too great to speak the truth, and yet too powerful to be doubted. Their statements are believed – their projects adopted – their ends answered and the deluded subjects of all this artifice are left to passive obedience through life, and to entail a condition of unqualified non-resistance to a ruined posterity.

Bishop’s other works include an attack on church-state unions and a defense of the insurgent slaves in the Haitian revolution (showing himself, in that connection, a better Jeffersonian than Jefferson himself, who sided with the slaveowners). Bishop also championed women’s education and was an early critic of the Constitution. So he wasn’t an anarchist? Well, nobody’s perfect.


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