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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

As a young and naive man, I “knew” what was right and voted accordingly. As I grew older and more sophisticated, I discovered such things as tactical voting and a perceived duty to support the election of the least-worst option with the best chance of victory, regardless of how slim the differences might be.

Now, middle-aged and faced with the consequences of those decades of “enlightened pragmatism”, I once again find myself voting my conscience, while turning a deaf ear to the blandishments of the machine. I have a vague notion that this sounds like some Buddhist proverb, or something.

– Samizdata commenter ‘the other rob’, who seems to be on a roll lately.

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7 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • the other rob

    Doubly flattered as I am to have provided a SQOTD on two successive days, it’s very clear that many folks here don’t necessarily cleave to my method of expressing my disillusionment with the two “main parties”.

    I thought that it might be interesting to look outside our libertarian circle, to an author named Charlie Stross. While his works are popular with many of the commentariat, he has made no secret of his disdain for libertarians, as he understand us.

    Nevertheless, here’s what he wrote in “The Revolution Business”, book 5 of his “Merchant Princes” series:

    “Huh. My tutor told me their king-emperor is elected, that the people choose him. Is this not so?”

    “It looks like that, yes, but it’s not so simple. The little people are presented with two contenders, but the ruling elite would never tolerate the candidacy of an outsider. Sometimes a contender tries to look like an outsider, but it’s purely a rabble-rousing pretense.

    Self proclaimed libertarians are not the only people who are dissatisfied with two party machine politics. We, here, may be part of a broader church than we think.

  • Paul Marks

    Give me the name of the candidate who
    has any chance of defeating the enemy of capitalism and supporter of social jutice who goes by the name “Barack Obama”.

    Is the name of this candidate Gary Johnson?

    If Governor Johnson gets more than 1% of the vote then I am Edmund Burke.

    The time to get a better candidate than Mitt Romney was during the nomination process.

    Some libertarians worked very hard to get a better candidate than Mitt Romney (several Rebublican candidates had libertarians working in tbeir campaigns – not just Gary Johnson and Ron Paul, but also Michelle Bachmann, and even some support for Hermon Caine and Rick Perry) – but those who did not have only themselves to blame.

    Also Romney was actually quite clever – for example he did not make terrible blunders in the debates (as Rick Perry did) and he did not destroy his chances by going on the Glenn Beck show and telling absurd lies about historical statists such as “Teddy” Roosevelt (Newt Gingrich is a professional historian – his blatent falseification of history was just unaccaptable to many people).

    In British terms Romney “played a straight bat” – he made no terrible blunders and just kept going (day after day, month after month, indeed year after year).

    Of course he did not have the msm after him then.

  • the other rob

    Getting into a disagreement with the PMO is rarely a winning strategy. Nevertheless:

    You are entirely correct about how despicable Obama is.

    You are also correct that Romney, while far from being the best choice of candidate, is marginally less despicable than Obama.

    It’s just that I can no longer bring myself to vote for the marginally less despicable candidate. I’ve spent decades doing so and all that I have to show for it is a succession of bastards taking high office and fucking it all up.

    You are, of course, correct that Johnson is unlikely to win. But, as the whole thing turns to shit (which it will whichever of the two is elected) I will at least be able to console myself with the fact that I, for one, voted against ruin.

    There’s no hope any longer – though some might arise in the future. For now, the best one can aspire to is to go into the abyss with clean hands.

  • Laird

    I don’t know, rob, somehow it seems that when we’re falling into the abyss it won’t really matter how clean our hands are.

  • Paul Marks

    Battle and war it is then my friends – if I may be so bold as to call you friends. For if our blood is to mingle together it might as well be as friends.

    The time of the cutting of throats and the blowing off of heads draws close.

    Ah well – it was no fun getting old anyway.

  • the other rob

    Delighted as I would be to call both you and Laird friend, Paul, I have no stomach for violent revolution. History shows us that, with one or two exceptions, the trend is for revolution to turn to tyranny.

    As Jerry Pournelle is fond of saying, if something can’t go on it will stop. The current excesses will, eventually, stop – perhaps not this year but in four, eight, twelve or however many years.

    Of course the question is, how might we limit the further damage that will be done in those years? It seems to me that a vote for Johnson, if it hastens the eventual rejection of the two interchangeable parties, will do more to limit the harm overall than a vote for Romney would.

  • the other rob

    I don’t know, rob, somehow it seems that when we’re falling into the abyss it won’t really matter how clean our hands are.

    Oh, the cleanliness of our hands always matters, Laird. Also, our underpants – imagine the shame of being carried into an ambulance with less than pristine skivvies!