“I have solved this political dilemma in a very direct way: I don’t vote. On Election Day, I stay home. I firmly believe that if you vote, you have no right to complain. Now, some people like to twist that around. They say, ‘If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain,’ but where’s the logic in that? If you vote, and you elect dishonest, incompetent politicians, and they get into office and screw everything up, you are responsible for what they have done. You voted them in. You caused the problem. You have no right to complain. I, on the other hand, who did not vote — who did not even leave the house on Election Day — am in no way responsible for that these politicians have done and have every right to complain about the mess that you created.” - George Carlin
As we’ve discussed in both of our recent Lions Of Liberty Election 2012 Roundtables, there really isn’t much good that voting can do in this election. Regardless of how any single person in this country votes, the winner will represent ever increasing spending and debt, government control of health care, eroding civil liberties, a growing police state, and a policy of foreign aggression, all financed by Federal Reserve money creation. This is not by accident. As evidenced by covering months of endless shenanigans in the Republican Primary and at the Republican National Convention, it is clear that the process to choose the final two “lesser evils” is tightly controlled. Not only is a vote statistically insignificant, even disregarding that there is no evidence whatsoever that politicians in any way keep their promises. The phrases “read my lips, no new taxes” , “humble foreign policy” and “immediately close Guantanamo” spring to mind, not to mention the well-documented flip-flops of Mitt Romney. And after his “after my election I have more flexibility” comment was caught on tape, who on Earth can have the slightest idea what a second Obama term would bring? All things considered, it may very well be that the most informed voter is the one that sees the entire system as a scam, and chooses to opt out of the process all together.
The non-voter will constantly hear the argument “well if you don’t vote, you can’t complain”. This is an argument that makes little sense to those that understand the ideas of liberty, and realize that the results of the election will in no way advance these ideas. The Voting Advocate will claim that if we don’t participate in this ritual, we are “doing nothing” and therefore have no right to express our opinions. I of course reject this ridiculous notion.
So how then, can you advance the ideas of liberty without voting? I’ve come up with a few things you can do to take a small step towards creating a more free society in the time it would take to cast a vote. Without further ado, here are 7 ways you can endorse liberty without voting.
Unplug from the Matrix, Cancel Your Cable
It’s been about 4 years since I’ve had the steady flow of cable coming into my household. Since then I’ve felt infinitely more clear minded and productive. It used to be that if I were home, the TV would be on. Inevitably I’d get caught in the “57 channels and nothin’ on” loop, and ended up wasting half a day away flipping through channels.
Watching coverage of the 2008 election may have been my breaking point. Ardently following the viral campaign of Ron Paul, the stark contrast between media coverage and reality finally convinced me that I didn’t need to pay to be brainwashed anymore. The internet has made this easier than ever. I get all of my news from a wide variety of sources and am able to come to my own conclusions instead of being fed partisan dribble from the likes of MSNBC and Fox News. When I do want entertainment, I use the [amazon_link id="B005CLPP84" target="_blank" ]very inexpensive Roku player[/amazon_link] to stream content from Amazon, Hulu and Neflix.
All around I spend less than I ever did on cable, with the added bonus that I don’t waste hours of my day sucking up propaganda. This leaves me more time and motivation to read books, exercise, play with my dog, spend time with friends, and dozens of other things that are more productive than wasting away in front of the Idiot Box.
A call to the cable company shouldn’t take more than 10 or 15 minutes, depending on how long they put you on hold and how many “special deals” they throw your way to try to keep you as a customer. But stay strong – with a freer mind you’ll be all the more equipped to help build a freer society.
The internet has made learning about the ideas of liberty even easier. Of course, we arrogantly feel this site is a great place to start! But spend some time clicking through our “Liberty Friends” section. There is an abundance of free material on the internet, whether it be from decentralized forums like the Daily Paul or the extensive free articles and books that can be found at The Ludwig Von Mises Institute.
For those just getting started you can read an article from this 30 Day Libertarian Reading list. For those that want to take their learning to another level, you can sign up for an online course at the Mises Academy, such as the recent course I took on Anarcho-Capitalism, or purchase a subscription to Tom Woods’ Liberty Classroom.
Taking one of these small steps in understanding the ideas of liberty will only take a few minutes, and you’ll reap the rewards. And let me share a secret with you. It’s actually fun to explore about the concepts of liberty and to learn history free from Statist propaganda. And if you’ve already cancelled your cable, you’ll have plenty of time to learn in the coming months!
Educate Someone Else
Again, the internet has made this easier than ever. For those people that are maybe too bashful to start up a conversation with their neighbor, coworker or just a random person in line at the store, fret no more! Nowadays it is so easy to start your own streaming radio show (like the excellent “Agree to Disagree” from good friend of our site, Brian Engelman at The New American Media, your own YouTube channel, or your own blog (visit WordPress or Blogger, they are easy and free to set up) or website. This very site started as just a running email chain between friends, which then became a blog and has now blossomed into this lovely website you see today (thanks to our web designer, Tommy John Studios! Check ‘em out!).
You don’t need to be Murray Rothbard to effectively spread the ideas of liberty. Simply broaching topics with people such as the Federal Reserve or the use of unmanned drones both abroad and domestically can begin someone down the path towards seeing things in a new way. The election is a great time to do this. If someone asks you who you are voting for, what better time to point out the fallacies in the “lesser of 2 evils” logic?
So instead of trekking to the voting booth and waiting in line, make Tuesday the day you start that blog, make that first YouTube video, or just talk to a friend or stranger. One article, video or conversation can spark a fire in someone’s mind, and start a chain reaction starting them on their own journey towards liberty. And enough of these chain reactions can change the way societies think.
Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is, Give Charity
What more appropriate time to demonstrate the power of private charity than in response to the recent Hurricane Sandy? As we have seen with many recent stories like the 11 year old girl who supplied power to Sandy victims and donated the proceeds to the Red Cross, private commerce and charity are much more capable of assisting people in times of need than the centralized planning that comes from Government. While egotistical politicians like Governor Christie and President Obama prance around as saviors , organizations like Feeding America, which delivered 2.2 million pounds of food to people in need partly thanks to donations from such “evil” corporations like Wal-Mart and PepsiCo, are actually on the ground quickly getting assistance to where it is needed most.
There are many private charities that are out there helping people that are suffering from the effects of Hurricane Sandy. What if you don’t have any money to spare? There are other ways you can help people. For instance, we all have blood! There are always blood drives all over the country, and they are very easy to find.
Whether it’s money, food, or blood, taking 15 minutes out of your day to help assist people in need will do far more good and help the cause of liberty far more than punching a hole in a piece of paper.
Reject Fiat Money, Buy Some Gold Or Silver
With the way the Federal Reserve is creating new money like there’s no tomorrow, an ever expanding debt and tens of trillions of dollars worth of unfunded Federal liabilities , it is inevitable that over time the value of the dollar will continue to fall. The safest store of wealth has historically been precious metals like gold and silver. This is because they are rare, difficult to recreate, and stand the test of time. As I’ve told many friends and family, “If you don’t own any gold or silver, you don’t have any money”.
Again thanks to the internet, buying gold and silver has become easier than ever. Sites like APMEX are very simple and you can lock in a price before taking delivery. Other sites like GoldMoney offer fully audited storage facilities outside the United States. I also like to peruse Ebay for deals, particularly on junk silver. These are pre-1965 U.S. coins which still contain 90% physical silver. The good thing about junk silver is that they are still legal U.S. tender, so they are less likely to be confiscated if such an event occurs in this country, and will likely always be accepted as legal tender if nothing else. The fact is that over time, gold and silver retain their value, while all fiat currencies inevitably fail. Gold and silver have never, in the course of history, been worth nothing.
In ten minutes you can setup an account at APMEX or you can make a quick silver purchase on Ebay. Or check out a local gold and silver coin dealer, they are plentiful and have the added bonus of being able to deal directly in cash. Whatever route your take, helping secure your financial future will do worlds more good than casting a vote.
Get Prepared, Take A “Prepping” Trip To CostCo
If we learn anything from Hurricane Sandy it should be the importance of being prepared. Even with days of advance notice, many people were still completely unprepared for the storm. Many people had no backup plan for a prolonged loss of power or water. This led quickly to shortages at stores and long gas lines. And many of these people are literally screaming to the government for help.
“Preppers” are often derided as “kooky” or “strange”, and yet nobody is laughing at the people who had generators and plenty of food and water at hand for the onset of Hurricane Sandy. No matter where one lives, there is a threat of some kind of disaster almost anywhere be it hurricane, tornado, floods or earthquakes. And natural disasters aside, there is always the threat of a currency collapse or major economic event that makes it difficult to access basic needs. So instead of heading to the polls, perhaps take a trip to your local CostCo and stock up on some essential items.
At the very least, it’s important to have a steady supply of water. Stock up on 5 gallon jugs or fill 2 liter soda bottles and stock them up in a closet or garage. The human body can last a couple weeks without food, but 3 days without water and you’re done. Do you have regular medication you need? Stock up on vitamins and try to get as much extra supply of any prescription drugs (legally of course) that you need as well. At CostCo you can buy huge 20 lbs bags of rice, beans, and many assorted canned foods. Even items that some may find less palatable such as sardines or Spam (I love them both as dearly as liberty, personally) last a long time and will taste a lot better if you haven’t had access to a store in a few days.
Don’t be caught unprepared. Gathering up some extra food and water and a few essential supplies does not have to be expensive, and if disaster does strike there is no price you can put on being prepared. Only being prepared will put you in a position to help others in need. Don’t just talk about how we can’t rely on the government to help us. Act on it, and get prepared today. It will do a lot more good for yourself and society than any vote could.
Reject Statist Food, Start A 30 Day Primal Challenge
As I’ve come to trust less and less government’s advice on everything over the years, I’ve done much more research into nutrition. Not much of a shock, it’s become more and more clear that government has been perpetuating many myths about food. The “Standard American Diet” now consists largely of grains and carbohydrates, while rejecting fat as an evil that will give us all heart attacks. But modern grain is a relatively new addition to the human diet that we are not well adapted to, and a focus on grain has been the cause of problems such as diabetes and obesity in many Americans. The human body was designed to function by burning fat, but the dietary shift to carbohydrates causes the body to burn sugars, and store fat. Luckily, this is a process that can be reversed.
About a year ago I decided to give “eating primal” a try. I had been having a lot of stomach issues and decided I could try it for a month. After a rough few days, I quickly noticed a major difference in how I felt. I had more energy. Instead of being constantly hungry and needing to snack throughout the day, I would only eat a couple times per day. The stomach issues disappeared. My own personal study was confirming everything that I had been reading: eating a “primal” diet is simply the way to go.
Now I’m not a food nazi by any means, nor do I strictly stick to this diet. I simply use it as a guideline. When I go to the grocery story I generally buy only primal items (grain free, mostly veggies and grass-fed meat), but this doesn’t mean I never make exceptions. Sure I’ll have the occasional slice of pizza, piece of cake, or night out for drinks with friends. The difference is that these are exceptions, not my standard way of eating. And the best part is that I don’t feel that I’m missing out an anything. I eat burgers, bacon, chicken and veggies in so many different delicious combos and I’m still coming up with new ways to mix them all together, all while feeling better and running 10-15 lbs. lighter than I used to. It may be slightly more expensive to eat healthy, but as this wise young man pointed out “we can pay the farmer, or we can pay the doctor”. And adding yourself to the market will only help to broaden it and entice others to enter, thereby creating more competition and lower prices.
Eating primal may not be for everyone, and many may question the benefits of the diet. But surely there’s no harm in trying it out, right? So why not take a few minutes to read up on primal eating, go to a local farmer’s market or chain store like Whole Foods, and start a 30-Day Primal Challenge? With Obamacare on track to cause higher prices and less quality of care, it’s more important than ever to be responsible for our own health. One of the simplest ways to do this is to change the way we eat. When your body is healthy, you will be in a greater position to help yourselves and others, and have a clearer mind to help advance the ideas of liberty.
Whether or not you choose to go vote, it’s important to help yourself and society on our own outside of the system of government. It’s my hope that this article has given you a few ideas on ways to get started.
Do you have any ideas of your own to add? Leave them in the comments below!
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