Editor’s Note: In yesterday’s Weekend Edition, Casey Research founder Doug Casey explained why he doesn’t vote. Today, in the second part of his classic interview with International Speculator editor Louis James, Doug explains why democracy is a total sham…
[This interview was originally published on October 22, 2012]
Louis James: The idea of political representation is a myth, and a logical absurdity. One person can only represent his own opinions – if he’s even thought them out. If someone dedicated his life to studying another person, he might be able to represent that individual reasonably accurately. But given that no two people are completely – or even mostly – alike, it’s completely impossible to represent the interests of any group of people.
Doug: The whole constellation of concepts is ridiculous. This leads us to the subject of democracy. People say that if you live in a democracy, you should vote. But that begs the question of whether democracy itself is any good. And I would say that, no, it’s not. Especially a democracy unconstrained by a constitution. That, sadly, is the case in the U.S., where the Constitution is 100% a dead letter. Democracy is nothing more than mob rule dressed up in a suit and tie. It’s no way for a civilized society to be run. At this point, it’s a democracy consisting of two wolves and a sheep voting about what to eat for dinner.
L: Okay, but in our firmly United State of America today, we don’t live in your ideal society. It is what it is, and if you don’t vote the bums out, they remain in office. What do you say to the people who say that if you don’t vote, if you don’t raise a hand, then you have no right to complain about the results of the political process?
Doug: But I do raise a hand, constantly. I try to change things by influencing the way people think. I’d just rather not waste my time or degrade myself on unethical and futile efforts like voting. Anyway, that argument is more than fallacious, it’s ridiculous and spurious. Actually, only the non-voter does have a right to complain – it’s the opposite of what they say. Voters are assenting to whatever the government does; a nonvoter can best be compared to someone who refuses to join a mob. Only he really has the right to complain about what they do.
L: Okay then, if the ethical man shouldn’t vote in the national elections coming up, what should he do?
Doug: I think it’s like they said during the war with Vietnam: Suppose they gave a war, and nobody came? I also like to say: Suppose they levied a tax, and nobody paid? And at this time of year: Suppose they gave an election, and nobody voted?
The only way to truly delegitimize a corrupt system is by not voting. When tin-plated dictators around the world have their rigged elections, and people stay home in droves, even today’s “we love governments of all sorts” international community won’t recognize the results of the election.
L: Delegitimizing evil…and without coercion, or even force. That’s a beautiful thing, Doug. I’d love to see the whole crooked, festering, parasitical mass in Washington – and similar places – get a total vote of no confidence.
Doug: Indeed. Now, I realize that my not voting won’t make that happen. My not voting doesn’t matter any more than some naïve person’s voting does. But at least I’ll know that what I did was ethical. You have to live with yourself. That’s only possible if you try to do the right thing.
L: At least you won’t have blood on your hands.
Doug: That’s exactly the point.
L: A friendly amendment: You do staunchly support voting with your feet.
Doug: Ah, that’s true. Unfortunately, the idea of the state has spread over the face of the earth like an ugly skin disease. All of the governments of the world are, at this point, growing in extent and power – and rights violations – like cancers. But still, that is one way I am dealing with the problem; I’m voting with my feet. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. It’s idiotic to sit around like a peasant and wait to see what they do to you.
To me, it makes much more sense to live as a perpetual tourist, staying no more than six months of the year in any one place. Tourists are courted and valued, whereas residents and citizens are viewed as milk cows. And before this crisis is over, they may wind up looking more like beef cows. Entirely apart from that, it keeps you from getting into the habit of thinking like a medieval serf. And I like being warm in the winter, and cool in the summer.
L: And, as people say: “What if everyone did that?” Well, you’d see people migrating towards the least predatory states where they could enjoy the most freedom, and create the most wealth for themselves and their posterity. That sort of voting with your feet could force governments to compete for citizens, which would lead to more places where people can live as they want. It could become a worldwide revolution fought and won without guns.
Doug: That sounds pretty idealistic, but I do believe this whole sick notion of the nation-state will come to an end within the next couple generations. It makes me empathize with Lenin when he said, “The worse it gets, the better it gets.” Between jet travel, the Internet, and the bankruptcy of governments around the world, the nation-state is a dead duck. As we’ve discussed before, people will organize into voluntary communities we call phyles.
L: That’s the name given to such communities by science fiction author Neal Stephenson in his book The Diamond Age, which we discussed in our conversation on Speculator’s Fiction. Well, we’ve talked quite a bit; what about investment implications?
Doug: First, don’t expect anything that results from this U.S. election to do any real, lasting good. And if, by some miracle, it did, the short-term implications would be very hard economic times. What to do in either case is what we write about in our big-picture newsletter, The Casey Report.
More important, however, is to have a healthy and useful psychological attitude. For that, you need to stop thinking politically, stop wasting time on elections, entitlements, and such nonsense. You’ve got to use all of your time and brainpower to think economically. That’s to say, thinking about how to allocate your various intellectual, personal, and capital assets, to survive the storm, and even thrive, if you play your cards right.
L: Very good. I like that: Think economically, not politically. Thanks, Doug!
Doug: My pleasure.
Editor's note: Corrupt, power-hungry governments aren't the only thing you need to be concerned about today. Doug and his team are predicting a tectonic shift that could crash our financial markets.
He says when it hits, the firestorm will be huge—much worse than what happened to the U.S. economy in 2008. Most people will say it was unpredictable…but there's a legitimate way to start preparing (and prospering) today. You can learn more in this free video.