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I am voting for myself for president out of self-interest

Posted by  $  jbrenner 2 years, 11 months ago to Politics
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Inspired by the discussion linked above regarding reasons why an Objectivist should vote for Trump for president, I have decided to completely reject those premises.

I was told I wasted my vote when I voted libertarian for president in 2000 in the State of Florida where Bush beat Gore by 555 votes. Several friends said I should have voted for Tweedledee so that we wouldn't get Tweedledum for president. What we got was a month-long lawsuit brought by Tweedledum to try to "discern" my vote that cost the stock market 15%.

While I agree with Gary Johnson on the big picture, he has done just enough to make me not want to vote for him.

I have decided to write in myself in my vote for president. I am the only person who can govern me. As for the rest of you, given the opinions expressed in this forum, I should hope that each of you would vote for yourself, too. I have no interest in governing any of you either.
SOURCE URL: https://www.galtsgulchonline.com/posts/99fcb729/an-objectivist-gives-4-compelling-reasons-to-vote-for-trump~nxcdsh3a5fg3lhxpdp6qupg2fu


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    Posted by  $  SarahMontalbano 2 years, 11 months ago
    If I was religious I'd thank god that my age means I can't vote in this election. In any case, your ingenious solution never occurred to me and I think that's what I'd do if I were eighteen this election cycle. None of the candidates are good. But I hate when people around me implore me to vote for Trump because he's better than Hillary, or Hillary because she's better than Trump. A lesser evil might just take us to hell slower, or in a different way, but I still can't condone it.
    I wonder if enough people write in their own names, we can create a movement? Or at least, perhaps, get a paragraph on page 10 of the New York Times?
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    • Posted by CircuitGuy 2 years, 11 months ago
      I have been following policy on-and-off for 25 years, and at the presidential level it always comes down to the lesser of two evils because we're electing a person who's kind-of-sort-of okay to >50% of the people.

      To me this normal and expected. I wish there were some way to decrease what the gov't and the president could do. Now the kind-of-sort-of okay person has to promise to fund cancer research, help pay for decent nursing homes and medical care for the old, help pay for college, make arrangements for childcare, help people take time off when they have a baby, help people buy a house, fight a war on drugs, and do something about all the troubled regions of the world, negotiate complicated trade deals, and stand up for various minority groups. If the gov't weren't doing any of that, the presidency would be less important.

      I don't know how to get there, so I have to vote and donate accepting the gov't and presidency as they exist today. Making the best out of an imperfect situation is shooting par in this world.
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      • Posted by  $  CBJ 2 years, 11 months ago
        Re: “at the presidential level it always comes down to the lesser of two evils because we're electing a person who's kind-of-sort-of okay to >50% of the people.” Not this time. More than 50% despise both of them, and most of the remainder despise one but not the other. The winner is likely to get substantially less than 50% of the vote, and many voters will stay home in disgust. I think a major political crisis is possible once this election is over, as a huge number of voters will refuse to accept the outcome regardless of who wins.
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        • Posted by term2 2 years, 11 months ago
          We have a crooked establishment hack on one side and someone who is anti-establishment and who "polls" say is hated. Doesn't that mean to you that the vast majority just want a less crooked version of the establishment? The likely winner will be Hillary, and people won't like her but they will get their freebie goodies and their crony deals they paid for already to her
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          • Posted by  $  CBJ 2 years, 11 months ago
            On an even-money bet I would pick Trump to win.
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            • Posted by term2 2 years, 11 months ago
              I hope you are right. He has my vote.
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              • Posted by Bethesda-gal 2 years, 11 months ago
                He has my vote too !
                And I think most of Trump's hatred is derived from comments that, yes, he did say, but that the media has chosen to do their free advertising for Hillary and promote edited versions of his statements over and over.
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                • Posted by term2 2 years, 11 months ago
                  Trump is hated by the establishment who benefit from the cronyism embodied by Hillary. I have listened to a lot of his speeches and noted that what he says is NOT what is reported. For example, he didnt say to toss out all muslims. What he said is that UNTIL we can find a way to separate out the terrorists from the non-terrorist muslims, we should NOT take any people in from muslim areas infected with terrorists. I mean, whats wrong with that?? Its not a blanket ban based on religion, but until we can tell if they are terrorists, why let them come to the USA.
                  Check out immigration or even visitation rules for Canada and Australia. They dont seem to have terrorism rampant up there, and for good reason. Its very hard to even come in as a visitor. A simple DUI or pretty much any other conviction will bar you from getting a visa. You cant come in without a return airline ticket, and if they do a background search when you arrive, you are instantly deported.

                  And Obama/Hillary wants to bring in thousands of Syrian refugees without even checking them out? I dont want one living next to me. If Hillary wants one, let her give a spare bedroom in HER house to one or more.
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                  • Posted by Bethesda-gal 2 years, 11 months ago
                    YEP !!! Exactly ! When anyone asks, with their eyes bulging and their hair on fire: WHY ARE YOU VOTING FOR TRUMP ?!?! All you have to say is: Because he's not the Establishment, and Hillary is ! And then you can watch them explode because they fancy themselves as anti-establishment ! Haha. :)
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    • -1
      Posted by ewv 2 years, 11 months ago
      The election isn't about condoning anything, sanctioning or supporting policy, who you personally "like", or "making a statement". It determines which of the two candidates will be in power for the next four years and all that implies about future impacts. One of the two of them will be in power no matter what else you do. The choice between the two of them is the only choice you have and the only choice relevant when voting. Nothing else matters in the voting both. If you think it doesn't make any difference then don't vote. If you see how it does or could then vote accordingly and explain to others why, one at a time. Making dramatic speeches about voting for yourself or any other antics are irrelevant to the election, not ingenious.
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      • Posted by  $  SarahMontalbano 2 years, 11 months ago
        This sounds a lot like pragmatism- to me, philosophy matters. And both philosophies of the candidates are the same, and both will lead to destruction. By casting my vote either way- and this is my opinion, not yours - I would be voting for the policies these candidates support.
        Quite frankly, my speech was not meant to influence you into taking the course of action jbrenner suggested. It was humor mixed into lamentation about the sorry state of affairs. I'm going to contact Bill Gates about making a sarcasm button for my use.

        Sorry, in case you didn't catch it, that was sarcasm too.

        Edit: Corrected "Gated" to "Gates." Dumb phone.
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        • -1
          Posted by ewv 2 years, 11 months ago
          The election is not to choose philosophy, it determines which of two candidates will be in power. There is no other choice in the election. Both candidates are the result of philosophy already chosen long ago and is not subject to change by the election. There are no philosophies named on the ballot, only the candidates today that are already the results of previous choices of what to believe. Choices not only have consequences, they have consequences over time and cannot be instantaneously reversed. The problem of saying 'I told you so' is that it means it's too late -- though not necessarily for a better long range future.

          Changing the kind of candidates over time requires changing the dominant philosophy, and that cannot be done on the ballot or in the time-frame of the ballot or of an election cycle. The place to advocate for better philosophy, other than what is available either in the Pragmatist deal-maker who is half open to listening when he's not tweeting or in the dedicated nihilistic socialist power seeker is not available on the ballot. But the choice between the results of their difference to our lives now and for the next 40 years is.

          Making a choice from what is available is not a sanction of either. Moral choices can only be made within alternatives available in reality, and must be made there, not in imagination of what should have been. The necessity to make choices in reality that make a difference to your life is what gives rise to the need for morality at its foundations. If there were no choices that made a difference there could be no morality, and practicing morality does not consist in ignoring the reality of limits on choices available in favor of fantasizing.

          Choosing between two candidates, one of whom will be in power no matter what you do, is not condoning or sanctioning anything either of them does. It is a recognition that in the context of the election it is the only choice you have and that what they do affects your life and makes a difference to it. Recognizing those facts is not Pragmatism. Ignoring the need to defend yourself as best you can and to advocate for a better philosophy and to fight for better policies between elections, and then pretending at the last minute that the election is the place to 'make a statement', is fantasy in the name of morality worse than Pragmatism.
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      • Posted by  $  2 years, 11 months ago
        I did not view voting for myself as ingenious, nor was I "making a statement". I will vote for downballot politicians because there have been cases in my county where certain offices did come down to a vote or two, on at least a couple of occasions. As for voting for myself, I was trying to inject a little humor into an otherwise sad state of affairs. Apparently, some people appreciated the humor, and you did not.

        I know that the only person you would be satisfied with governing you is you, and that was my point.
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        • -1
          Posted by ewv 2 years, 11 months ago
          Sarah called it ingenious. In general, the same argument against voting takes different forms heard over and over, such as "making a statement", "can't condone", etc.

          The election is about choosing between two given candidates, one of whom will be in power, and that is all. In particular it isn't about who will "govern" you personally, or to what extent, or if that is a proper function of government at all. The only choice available in the election, the one between the two candidates that the election will decide, is limited to what the political system is imposing.

          I don't find anything humorous about it at all, gallows humor or otherwise, but disliking it doesn't imply any fantasies about what the election is not about or that there is no difference in outcomes of what happens to the country between the two candidates. This is serious.
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          • Posted by  $  2 years, 11 months ago
            Yes, this is serious, but you have presented a false dichotomy of choices. No one is being forced to stay here. Retiring to an island paradise is a viable option.
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          • Posted by  $  CBJ 2 years, 11 months ago
            Yet you seem to think there will be a "difference in outcome" that depends upon whom you personally vote for. You are not "choosing between two given candidates," since your individual vote can't possibly affect the outcome. This leaves you free to choose the candidate that most closely aligns with your views.
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            • -1
              Posted by ewv 2 years, 11 months ago
              Obviously the votes are counted as the sum of all individuals who vote, not whatever each individual wants alone which is contradictory and makes no sense. Every individual who votes affects the outcome because they are added together. That is inherent in the concept of 'election'. The sophistry that contrary to the meaning of 'election' your vote can't determine the outcome by itself is Rationalization on behalf of fantasy voting ignoring what elections are and what the results are for, namely which of (normally, as in this case) two candidates will take power.

              In addition to your own vote you can advocate for others to make the best choice available (including in primaries, but we are past that now). Better election choices over time come from better understanding from the spread of better ideas, not fantasizing at the last minute on election day. Meanwhile we are faced with a very specific limited choice between two candidates, one of which will definitely take power no matter what you do. Which one is the subject of the election.
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              • Posted by  $  CBJ 2 years, 11 months ago
                Every individual who votes affects the outcome only if the election is decided by one vote. Otherwise, one vote will affect the margin of victory but not the outcome. For you to affect the outcome you must (a) live in a swing state, (b) the swing state must determine the outcome in the electoral college, and (c) the election in that state must be decided by one vote. If you live in California, it’s a certainty that your vote will not affect the outcome of the election at all, so how does it make sense to vote for any candidate other than the one who most closely aligns with your views? Doing so won’t help your “top two” candidate and it won’t represent your true viewpoint. What it will do is further entrench the two-party system and insure that you are presented with the same kind of two-candidate choice the next time around.
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                • Posted by Steven-Wells 2 years, 11 months ago
                  I live in CaliDemocratfornia, so my presidential vote will not influence the outcome for my state.
                  It does influence the recorded demographics that may aid future candidates of better morals/skills to get on the ballot. With an otherwise worthless vote, if it’s infinitesimally better for future candidacies, I’ll vote for the somewhat flawed Gary (having an Aleppo moment) Johnson rather than the orange buffoon, Donald (the psycho) Trump or the first woman antichrist, Hillary (the gangster) Clinton [or the ludicrous vegetable Jill (the potted palm) Stein].

                  Still, I might consider writing myself in for the President slot for the fun of actually voting for a moral, rational, freedom-loving candidate. In a variation of such a gesture, in 2008 I voted for myself for the US House of Representatives. However, that was not a write-in vote—I was on the official ballot. To the nearest integer percentage, I pulled 5% of the vote away from the unbeatable Demoncratic candidate. I later received an encouraging email from a fellow who said he always voted Democratic, but I was his first Libertarian vote.
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                  • Posted by  $  CBJ 2 years, 11 months ago
                    You beat me. When I lived in California in 1982, I received 3.6% of the vote for State Assembly and my wife received 4.3% of the vote in a congressional race. Both of us ran as LP candidates.
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                • -1
                  Posted by ewv 2 years, 11 months ago
                  Elections are determined by adding the votes for the candidates, not "one vote". Telling people not to vote because their vote won't determine the outcome by itself is sophistry. Rationalism manipulating words without regard to their conceptual meaning to stop people from voting is destructive.

                  Voting for a candidate based on the difference between the two of them is not support for what he does and is not a sanction as "most closely aligning" with one's own views. It is simple recognition of the facts that the difference makes and one of them will be in power.

                  If someone lives in a state that is so far gone that it is known in advance to vote for Clinton, then he knows in advance that his vote won't make any difference, just as surely as he knows that one of the two candidates will win. But he cans till try to persuade others.

                  The candidates and their parties are entrenched because of the dominant philosophy that has spread for over a century. Throwing away votes on fringe candidates who won't win regardless of the difference between the two, one of which who will win, does not change that and will not provide better candidates in the future. The goofy "libertarians", this time two 'liberal' Republicans, are an embarrassment, not something to publicly endorse.

                  Please read Ayn Rand and why she advocated spreading the right philosophical ideas to effect cultural and therefore political reform. A-philosophical libertarianism and conservativism are hopeless, as illustrated by the anti-conceptual here-now-election nonsense spouted every four years with their anti-intellectual cries to avoid meaningful votes without regard for what an election is and why the candidates are what they are.
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                  • Posted by  $  CBJ 2 years, 11 months ago
                    Promoting your philosophy, persuading others and voting your convictions are not mutually exclusive activities. But how is persuading others to vote for Trump or Hillary going to promote Objectivism? If the Libertarian candidates are not to your liking, fine, but if I were in that position I would confine my persuasive activities to promoting the Objectivist philosophy itself, not trying to convince others that a vote for Clinton or Trump is in any way a rational expression of that philosophy.
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                    • -1
                      Posted by ewv 2 years, 11 months ago
                      You don't persuade anyone without giving reasons. Persuading others to vote a certain way does not, for all the reasons already given, mean the politicians represent Objectivism.

                      Voting one's conscience does not mean fantasizing and ignoring what an election means and what it's impact on life is here in reality. Don't separate philosophy from dealing with reality. Applying philosophical principles of rationality and self-interest does not mean fantasizing during an election.
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                      • Posted by  $  CBJ 2 years, 11 months ago
                        It’s not fantasizing to realize that (a) my candidate is not going to win, (b) my vote won’t change the outcome, and (c) the more votes for my candidate, the stronger will be the objective evidence that more and more people are dissatisfied with the two-party system and its candidates. This is cold, hard realism.

                        Fantasy is supporting and voting for Trump or Hillary and thinking that doing so will advance the cause of liberty in any way.
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                        • -1
                          Posted by ewv 2 years, 11 months ago
                          There is no more evidence that more people are dissatisfied with the "two party system", nor does it matter because most people are "dissatisfied" with politics without knowing what is right and what is required.

                          A third or fourth party that might eventually win in the future is likely to be as bad or worse than the current ones because they are all based on variations of the same false premises. This is a matter of the proper philosophy dominating a culture, not counting parties.

                          Everyone knows that neither candidate is popular beyond his own minority of devoted followers. Neither that nor fringe candidates will change the fact that one of them will win and that they will have different impacts on us in how they use government.

                          No one has said that either Trump or Clinton would "advance the cause of liberty". Stop equating voting with endorsing policies. Voting for one of two candidates because they make a difference to your life in how they exploit government power is not endorsing any of it

                          Thinking that voting doesn't matter in the election because your sole vote doesn't by itself determine the election and that voting for a fringe loser does matter are both fantasy, not "cold hard realism".
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                          • Posted by  $  CBJ 2 years, 11 months ago
                            Re: “There is no more evidence that more people are dissatisfied with the two party system".

                            “Americans are unhappy with both parties, exit polls show”
                            http://www.pressherald.com/2014/11/05...
                            “Neither Major Party Cracks 40% Favorability in Latest Poll”
                            http://www.gallup.com/poll/181985/nei...
                            “Poll: Most young Americans dissatisfied with political parties”
                            http://www.denverpost.com/2016/08/06/...

                            Gary Johnson received 1% of the vote in 2012 and will be receiving multiples of that percentage in 2016. That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement of the two-party system. I think its days are numbered, and good riddance..
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                            • -1
                              Posted by ewv 2 years, 11 months ago
                              People have been dissatisfied with both parties for years. Your voting for two 'liberal' Republican former governors does not show more dissatisfaction.

                              You left out addressing "nor does it matter because most people are 'dissatisfied' with politics without knowing what is right and what is required ... This is a matter of the proper philosophy dominating a culture, not counting parties." A-philosophical libertarians and conservatives making a publicity stunt out of a fringe candidate is not an answer. Meanwhile we have a real election in which one of two candidates will win and it makes a difference to us here in our real lives.
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                              • Posted by  $  CBJ 2 years, 11 months ago
                                The Libertarian Party would not have done the arduous work of achieving ballot status in all 50 states for a mere “publicity stunt”. And the two former Republican governors are much more libertarian than liberal. I doubt that Gary Johnson’s list of Supreme Court picks would have any overlap with Hillary’s.

                                There are many philosophical libertarian activists within the LP, and achieving “the proper philosophy dominating a culture” depends in part on the difficult task of political education and outreach.
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                  • Posted by Steven-Wells 2 years, 11 months ago
                    I am certain that my 1 vote for president will make no difference in the electoral college result for my state (CA). I had originally intended to vote for Gary Johnson to increase the Libertarian vote total, which has separate relevance from the immediate national effect.

                    Were I convinced that the actual election would come down to me based on a pragmatic choice, I'd vote for the awful Trump, who would not have the personal motivation to do the damage that the despicable Clinton would certainly cause.
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  • Posted by preimert1 2 years, 11 months ago
    The only way to waste your vote is to not use it.
    Vote your conscience and devil take the hindmost.
    I believe that inspite of its gradual erosion our
    Constitutuion is still robust enough to carry us through four years of whoever becomes president .
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  • Posted by  $  blarman 2 years, 11 months ago
    Wouldn't that be a great country? A country where it didn't really matter who was voted into any particular office because the people themselves governed themselves to such a degree that elected representatives were figureheads? That would be my kind of world. Fantastical? Probably. But ideal? YES!!!
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  • Posted by  $  CBJ 2 years, 11 months ago
    If everyone wrote in "John Smith," he might actually win. It would be interesting to see how election officials would figure out which John Smith should become President! :-)
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  • Posted by  $  DriveTrain 2 years, 11 months ago
    I flatly disagree with the standard "lesser of two evils" argument. In an era in which two lousy candidates yet retained a rudimentary respect for America's core Founding ideas and institutions (such as: the Constitution and the fundamental human rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights,) that pragmatic view would carry more weight. But the "choices" shoved before us in 2016 are no such candidates.

    If you haven't already, I urge you one and all to read Robert Bidinotto's April 28 blog post "A Vote for # Neither," here:
    http://bidinotto.blogspot.com/2016/04...

    I'd thought of quoting its closing paragraphs here, but the whole post is quotable.

    In a Hobson's Choice situation, any protest vote is going to be a protest vote only, not a viable stab at picking a winner - so it's a grasp at the best possible value to be had in such a situation: retaining a clear conscience. I can't speak for anyone else, but a vote for either of the two Democrats or for the Libertarian would not allow that. So I will be bringing a pen.
    .
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  • Posted by bsmith51 2 years, 11 months ago
    If you were in the book, Atlas Shrugged, and you could vote against Directive 10-289, would you not do it? Would such action not be in your own self-interest? Now remember you're not in a book, and consider Hillary's recent statement to voters:

    “It’s not just my name on the ballot. Every issue you care about – think about it, because in effect it’s on the ballot, too. The next 40 days will determine the next 40 years.”

    We all know that she refers to the Supreme Court.

    If a vote for Trump does nothing but prevent Hillary from determining "the next 40 years," that's good enough for me, for now.
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  • Posted by ArtIficiarius 2 years, 11 months ago
    As of Friday, 23 Sept., the Convention of States Project has held a simulation of a Convention of States (would be: for the Purpose of Proposing Amendments to the US Constitution to the States).

    I would have gleefully impoverished myself to attend had I been asked. It is better to correct the problems than to place yourself in harms way.

    I have been warned (see the works of William L. Livingston) that should an engineer or hard scientist be elected to any office, that person would be stoned by the political animals (Do you hear me Allosaur?).

    Chad should have been aborted in the first trimester.
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  • Posted by term2 2 years, 11 months ago
    Right NOW. It's either trump or we get Hillary. That's the fact and a vote other than for trump will result in pure disaster. It's a matter of slowing down cronyism and socialism. Hillary will totally institutionalize both of those. Trump isn't going to be able to return us to a constitutional republic, BUT he will slow the decline
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    • Posted by  $  2 years, 11 months ago
      Is it a matter of slowing down cronyism and socialism? Or is time to either shrug, leave, or start a nonviolent revolution?
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      • Posted by term2 2 years, 11 months ago
        I want a little more time to do the latter, and for that I need a Trump to slow things down somewhat. Hillary will advance Obama's agenda even faster than he did. I dont want the dollar to be completely ruined so fast, as that will cause tremendous problems for all of us.
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        • Posted by  $  2 years, 11 months ago
          I have been planning for shrugging, leaving, or starting a nonviolent revolution for years, as documented here in the Gulch.
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          • Posted by term2 2 years, 11 months ago
            Shrugging is easy- just stop trying to make something with your life. Leaving is looking like a better idea all the time. Nonviolent revolution wont work with the NSA and other safeguards this government has. They will just kill it. We have to strangle the current government by denying it money. That means forcing them to have a balanced budget and no more borrowing, period.
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            • Posted by  $  2 years, 11 months ago
              Shrugging is only easy when you have enough money to retire. I am getting close.
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              • Posted by term2 2 years, 11 months ago
                I suppose true shrugging means that you essentially stop contributing to the state. That means paying little or no taxes at all, including sales taxes, income taxes, and property taxes. Hard to do when in the USA they tax everything that you do unless you live in the woods somewhere undetected and grow your own food, and dont need to travel except on foot.

                I resent paying any taxes at all at this point. I buy as much as possible online from out of state retailers to avoid the sales taxes. I have old cars so I dont have to pay sales tax on new cars. I do have to register the damn things and pay registration fees though.

                Even internet service is taxed locally here in Las Vegas, as are utilities, phone service, and nearly everything except perhaps food that you cook yourself.
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                • Posted by  $  2 years, 11 months ago
                  In the immortal words of George Harrison of The Beatles:

                  Let me tell you how it will be
                  There's one for you, nineteen for me
                  Cause I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman

                  Should five per cent appear too small
                  Be thankful I don't take it all
                  Cause I'm the taxman, yeah I'm the taxman

                  If you drive a car, I'll tax the street
                  If you try to sit, I'll tax your seat
                  If you get too cold I'll tax the heat
                  If you take a walk, I'll tax your feet
                  Taxman!
                  Cause I'm the taxman, yeah I'm the taxman

                  Don't ask me what I want it for (Aahh Mr. Wilson)
                  If you don't want to pay some more (Aahh Mr. Heath)
                  Cause I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman

                  Now my advice for those who die
                  Declare the pennies on your eyes
                  Cause I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman

                  And you're working for no one but me
                  Taxman!
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                  • Posted by term2 2 years, 11 months ago
                    I had forgotten that. SO TRUE. It really is getting to me that we all just accept what the statists are doing.

                    I realize they have ultimate power over us, just as the nazis had power over the jews, and we cant do much more than passively resist and shrug to a degree at least.

                    I really get a kick out of the government wanting to 'broaden the tax base". There isnt much they dont tax one way or another these days.

                    When you have a party at your house, they want to tax the food that you serve, because its not just for your consumption. Amazing.
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