The Virtues of Contrary Voting

July 14, 2008

For release July 17 and thereafter

 By Craig Ladwig

A FEW OF US have found peace with the upcoming elections. We have joined the Anti-Usurpation Party, a growing force out here in the flown-over states.

We Usurpians vote against anybody in public office and sometimes even against those demonstrating enthusiasm for public office.

Usurpians, observing the current situation, conclude that those in office — in one way or another, to avoid accountability or to secure advantage — are usurping powers reserved for free citizens and their state governments.

Even so, Usurpians threaten no one. We rarely run for office and never re-election. The prognosticators can count with certainty the Usurpian vote — in any race, regardless of issue or charm, between Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative.

Ours is true bipartisan partisanship. We don’t particularly care, for example, who wins the presidential election; we’ll just vote for his opponent in the next cycle.

How do we feel about having to vote against office-holders doing a good job? Or more seriously, are we afraid we’ll lose our voice in the democratic process?

A recent Rasmussen survey found that the approval rating of Congress — or of all political bodies, would be our guess — has fallen into single digits. The number of people who think Congress is doing a good job can be explained by estimates of those wandering around drunk or, most plausibly, seeking psychiatric care.

IN ANY CASE, statisticians tell us our individual votes are mathematically insignificant. That must be especially true when you take into account the small number of competitive elections. And common sense says that if we cannot reach a city councilman by phone we won’t have much luck with a representative or senator.

Nor does it matter when a candidate happens to win by expressing our position on the issues. Once in office, under the cover of multi-issue legislation, he is free to break any campaign promise.

So, no, we aren’t afraid of losing our democratic franchise. Indeed, Charles Murray, the social scientist, is convincing that it makes no difference for whom we vote so long as the courts allow legislators to reward certain factions and to punish others.

THESE ARE THE FACTIONS, incidentally, that the Founders warned us against. They are not the political parties, exactly, but the infinite number of special interests and other courtesans claiming all manner of right, privilege and earmark in precise numerical ratios without regard for Rule of Law or Constitutional precept.

We Usurpians, then, save our breath and our money. Most important, we remain in good spirits even while following events through the filters of network news or the national press — good enough spirits, at least, to keep working toward a future that will actually work.

We busy ourselves studying the deeper stories, logic and analysis that formed the intellectual underpinnings for what once was our limited government. A generation may need to know that stuff again one day.

And since we aren’t in constant political quarrel with our neighbors, we can live in peace, continuing to believe, to hope and to pray there are sufficient numbers of our fellow citizens who share our devotion to personal liberty and responsibility.

Usurpians unite, or at least stay in touch.

T. Craig Ladwig is editor of The Indiana Policy Review.

The “Anti-Usurpian Party” is a journalistic device and does not exist. Nothing written here is to be construed as reflecting the views of the Indiana Policy Review Foundation or as an attempt to aid or hinder the passage of any bill before the legislature or to further any political campaign.


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