Party Choices Suck!

Sep 29, 2008 by

I have already mentioned that three years ago my lovely wife and I were stuck halfway across the country waiting to find out if our home was one of those submerged by the engineering failures of the levee breach, we stayed with my good friend Sean Hastings and his wife Jo, and that I am once again staying with them for a few days. What I have not mentioned is that my hosts are both examples of that rare and beautiful political animal, the wild libertarian, and that this always leads to some interesting political conversation.

Sean is the author of a book entitled, “God Wants You Dead,” which details his views on politics, religion, racial groups, and all other ideas that divide human beings into groups so that they may do battle with each other en masse. It is a humorous and interesting book with a lot of interesting ideas, and I strongly recommend that you read the whole thing, whether you buy a copy or just download it for free from some file sharing site. (Don’t worry – Sean doesn’t believe in intellectual property. The message is the important part.)

But briefly put, the main theme of the book is that people are individuals, should think for themselves, and should never identify themselves as part of any group. That to do so, is to surrender your mind to others, making you obligated to believe everything that your group believes – to accept the “party line” without critical thought. Such thinking is what so often divides people into two waring camps.

[Sean has created a T-shirt based on an illustration from his book which perfectly fits election season and illustrates this point nicely in pointing out the frustration we all often feel in participating in a two-party political system.]

But even if we agree that the current two-party system doesn’t work well, what can we do about it? Voting for a third party candidate is at best throwing away our vote, and at worse is a vote for a “spoiler candidate” tht will help give the election to the major party candidate we dislike the most. So we all find ourselves faced with the logic that voting for the lesser of two evils is a smarter choice than voting for the third party candidate we actually admire. Thus the inadequacies of the two-party system are perpetuated.

I have many friends who are either Libertarian, Green Party, or just fed up with current parties and the lobbyists controlling them, and discussing this problem with Sean yesterday, I became acquainted with an alternate voting system known as IRV – instant runoff voting – that eliminates the problem of spoiler candidates and could break our current two party system. It would probably require a constitutional amendment to get IRV implemented at a national level, but a movement to implement it in local elections first might demonstrate its advantages to people and bring about the needed collective desire for change to eventually bring it to elections at the federal level.

Here is a cute video that describes how it works:

Loki, HumidCity Founder

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