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Peikoff on upcoming election

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As I stated in another post , it seems there are four things one can 'do' with their vote: simply not vote, vote for Romney, vote for Obama or vote for a candidate of neither major party( included here are write in votes). I want to see the current administration out of office. I see the only option is to vote for Romney, none of the other three alternatives diminishes the advantages enjoyed by incumbents.

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I want to see the current administration out of office.

That's not a sufficient description of what you want. It could mean that you want the current administration replaced by Hitler's corps, it could mean that you want the government disbanded, the world to end, etc. etc.

To avoid confusion, you should be more accurate (i.e. you want Obama replaced by Romney, like Dr. Peikoff). Then we could have a conversation on what makes Romney better or worse than Obama. Personally, I think Peikoff exaggerates the harm any lame duck President can do, and understates the harm a Republican President who's party also controls Congress, can do.

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I want Obama out because of what I understand to be his motivating philosophy, and as evidence his choices for people he put into power in the executive office. To not see their naked socialism and recognize it as such is a little baffling to me. Collectivists of all various ilks seek power in order to further their agendas. While vanilla candidates from other parties may not be ideal, not voting against a known, proven, dedicated collectivist is I think a position I can't wrap my head around so to speak.

As far as I understand it, to truly cast a ballot against Obama one must cast a ballot for Romney, all other scenarios are equivalent to not changing any advantage an incumbent candidate enjoys

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Oh and Benghazi, the administration is wholly responsible for the the deaths of Americans. There is ample evidence they had realtime knowledge of the events, a non covert special forces unit on call that could have moblized 85 personnel and chose not to. Just a concrete example of why I want to end his tenure.

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But I think the point is that Romney is not simply a "vanilla candidate," but is also a known, proven collectivist who seeks power, and is at most, millimeters apart from Obama; and secondly, that participation in electoral politics is being vastly overvalued as a strategy for liberty, if not constituting a positive harm.

Regardless of whether one agrees with that point of view, it is easy to see that if one held such a view, it follows that voting against Obama by voting for Romney makes little sense.

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I want Obama out

You're missing the point. "I want Obama out" is not a meaningful expression of a change in the state of reality. This isn't a drawing you made as a five year old, where you take an eraser and just erase the President.

You don't get to erase Obama by voting, you only get to replace him. So, I ask again: Do you want to replace Obama with Romney?

And that's how reality works in general. Being against something is easy, being for something is harder, but every time you're against something, you also need to be for something in its place. Otherwise, you're not dealing with reality, you're dealing with a magical realm where eliminating something you dislike automatically results in it being replaced by something better.

Edited by Nicky
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secondly, that participation in electoral politics is being vastly overvalued as a strategy for liberty, if not constituting a positive harm.

Why would participation constitute positive harm if *someone* will always be voted into office?

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Why would participation constitute positive harm if *someone* will always be voted into office?

Of course someone will get voted into office whether we participate or not, until such an alternative exists, but I think that over reliance on electoral politics is harmful, to the exclusion of non participatory methods which focus on building such alternative institutions themselves.

Rand seems to have teetered on both sides of over emphasizing the importance of democratic participation at times, and placing what I think is the correct emphasis on the importance of building alternative institutions at other times.

Edited by 2046
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It would have been great if Peikoff could back up his assertions with some evidence.

The rest of you may know about Obama intimately enought to understand what peikoff is saying, but I don't.

For instance, why is Obama any worse than LBJ or FDR? Why do we think he is anything but a pragmatist with some black-christian/post-marxist background?

Edited by Hairnet
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There seems to be an idea among Oists that voting in national elections is futile, given the state of today's culture and the near impossibility that either the democrats or the republicans would put forward a rational platform. I wonder if this holds to local elections? School board elections(the ones that directly affect the value of your home), state seats, congressional seats? Is there a point where it becomes mundane or trivial enough that the candidates' irrationality need not be scrutinized?

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The person with a similar post /topic on this site spoke to Peikoff's piece about the election.

In it she said the Oist voting block was so small that it basically doesn't matter how one votes. True enough in the grand scale of things as they are. But later made a comment to the effect that Oists should not vote until GOP or somesuch put candidates on ballots that would actually support individual rights and capitalism. How could an insignificant block withhold support and yet at the same time exert influence?

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By the way in our current political system , you sure can be against and not particular for as far as the voting is concerned. Its a constitutional republic that democratically elects our representatives/leaders. Non participation even on an individual level does little to change reality either. I doubt we can "vote in " change. To have the type of candidiates I would want to vote for requires a cultural paradigm shift.

Edited by tadmjones
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There seems to be an idea among Oists that voting in national elections is futile

In this thread, no one said that. On the contrary, I believe that voting in this election is important. Important enough to not just act on a childish, contrarian whim by casting a vote for an unspecified entity, just to try and get someone out of office.

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... ... she said the Oist voting block was so small that it basically doesn't matter how one votes.
If Objectivists are an insignificant minority, then any particular voter is a minority of one. That particular voter can make the same argument: that his vote does not really count. After all, there are hardly any elections where one guy wins by a single vote. The principle behind going to vote is to consider it as being a principle. So, if I support Obama, I would go vote for him on the principle that if every one of his supporters did so, he would win, and if everyone of his supporters thought "my vote doesn't matter" he would lose. So, while there is a sense in which my one vote cannot elect this genius back to the Presidency, there's another sense in which it is all that matters: the sense where I act a certain way, and others who agree with me do so too.

This does not imply one ought to vote. Nor does it imply that one ought to vote for one of the major parties.

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If Objectivists are an insignificant minority, then any particular voter is a minority of one. That particular voter can make the same argument: that his vote does not really count. After all, there are hardly any elections where one guy wins by a single vote. The principle behind going to vote is to consider it as being a principle. So, if I support Obama, I would go vote for him on the principle that if every one of his supporters did so, he would win, and if everyone of his supporters thought "my vote doesn't matter" he would lose. So, while there is a sense in which my one vote cannot elect this genius back to the Presidency, there's another sense in which it is all that matters: the sense where I act a certain way, and others who agree with me do so too.

This does not imply one ought to vote. Nor does it imply that one ought to vote for one of the major parties.

I agree I plan to vote for Romney in this election , on the principle that only a vote for Romney will actually increase the chances of Obama losing. It is not a principled vote for, or endorsing the Republican platform. Its unfortunate (understatement) that these are the choices.

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If Objectivists are an insignificant minority, then any particular voter is a minority of one. That particular voter can make the same argument: that his vote does not really count. After all, there are hardly any elections where one guy wins by a single vote. The principle behind going to vote is to consider it as being a principle. So, if I support Obama, I would go vote for him on the principle that if every one of his supporters did so, he would win, and if everyone of his supporters thought "my vote doesn't matter" he would lose. So, while there is a sense in which my one vote cannot elect this genius back to the Presidency, there's another sense in which it is all that matters: the sense where I act a certain way, and others who agree with me do so too.

This does not imply one ought to vote. Nor does it imply that one ought to vote for one of the major parties.

The more I read about prescriptive Objectivist voting advice, and the more I think about it, the more interesting a subject it becomes to me.

The argument for voting for Obama (or for Romney) seems to be: any vote cast for a "more appealing" third party candidate (philosophically speaking) will be a waste, because it "does not really count" in the context of the modern American political scene. We have one real choice to make: Republican or Democrat, and thus we should select the best of those two choices.

And yet the further context, which seems just as real to me -- though you seem to argue against it here on "principle" -- is that my vote for Obama or for Romney matters just as much as my "wasted vote" for any third party candidate. Which is to say that it does not matter. For example, I live in Oregon, and my state is going to vote for Obama. What difference will it make to the national scene if I vote for a third party candidate in Oregon? Even in a swing state, I can hardly imagine any scenario where an election would turn on my personal vote...

If the response is, "well, if everyone took that attitude, then...", I suppose I would say that if everyone "took my attitude" with respect to politics, then we wouldn't have this problem in the first place. Everyone does not and will not "take my attitude," and that is context, too.

I think it's fair to say that if I was selected, perhaps by special Supreme Court injunction, to cast the one and only tiebreak between Obama and Romney, then it would possibly behoove me to try to suss out which of the two would be the lesser evil. Though even there, if they are close enough in their opposition to liberty -- as I suspect is the case -- then perhaps it wouldn't be worth my time even then, and I would do just as well flipping a coin. But barring that, I see no good reason not to vote "my conscience," by which I mean whatever candidate I actually think should take office, if any such creature actually exists. While I'm cognizant of the fact that "my candidate" can hardly win in 2012 America, I also recognize that, living in Oregon as I do, my state's electoral votes are already as good as cast -- and further, that the current difference between Republicans and Democrats is so small as to not be worth my time to study further.

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And yet the further context, which seems just as real to me -- though you seem to argue against it here on "principle" -- is that my vote for Obama or for Romney matters just as much as my "wasted vote" for any third party candidate.
No, I did not mean to imply that. I was focusing only on the single idea of "being a minority".

That's why I added the (admittedly inadequate) caveat to my post, saying: "This does not imply one ought to vote. Nor does it imply that one ought to vote for one of the major parties.

Firstly, I can easily see someone conclude that Romney vs. Obama will make little net difference, particularly over the long haul. In that case, it would not make sense to vote for either.

Second, I agree with what you say about any particular voter's context. If a particular voter knows that his district/state (or other lowest unit to which votes get aggregated) will surely vote one way or the other, then his vote has no practical meaning: the surer one is of this, the less relevant is the individual vote.

Putting it all together, I'd say that if one is in a "swing district" within a "swing state" and if you actually do think that Obama or Romney will be better than the other in their long-term impact, then it makes sense to vote for that person. Here too, I would make an exception: if you really think both candidates have crossed some line that you have drawn in your mind -- where they stand like two cannibals asking you which of them you wish to eat you -- there's no reason to vote for either.

I'd summarize things thus: if I am going to wake up the day after not voting in the election,and I see Mr. XYZ has won narrowly, and narrowly in my "effective district", and if seeing this I'm going to dislike the outcome and wish the other guy won, then I ought to have voted.

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No, I did not mean to imply that. I was focusing only on the single idea of "being a minority".

That's why I added the (admittedly inadequate) caveat to my post, saying: "This does not imply one ought to vote. Nor does it imply that one ought to vote for one of the major parties.

Firstly, I can easily see someone conclude that Romney vs. Obama will make little net difference, particularly over the long haul. In that case, it would not make sense to vote for either.

Second, I agree with what you say about any particular voter's context. If a particular voter knows that his district/state (or other lowest unit to which votes get aggregated) will surely vote one way or the other, then his vote has no practical meaning: the surer one is of this, the less relevant is the individual vote.

Putting it all together, I'd say that if one is in a "swing district" within a "swing state" and if you actually do think that Obama or Romney will be better than the other in their long-term impact, then it makes sense to vote for that person. Here too, I would make an exception: if you really think both candidates have crossed some line that you have drawn in your mind -- where they stand like two cannibals asking you which of them you wish to eat you -- there's no reason to vote for either.

I'd summarize things thus: if I am going to wake up the day after not voting in the election,and I see Mr. XYZ has won narrowly, and narrowly in my "effective district", and if seeing this I'm going to dislike the outcome and wish the other guy won, then I ought to have voted.

Agreed.

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