Friday, May 22, 2009

The Case for Libertarianism – Part One “The Wasted Vote Syndrome”

In my many conversations with non-Libertarians I have often heard voters state that they would support Libertarian Candidates but are afraid of "wasting their vote". This is one of the great myths surrounding Libertarian Candidates.

What is a "wasted vote"?

Some would say that a "wasted vote" is a vote not cast. Based on current voting trends, this certainly makes a great deal of sense.

Another "wasted vote" is that vote which is cast solely out of habit. It is not unusual to hear a voter say, "My Great-Grandfather always voted for Party X, my grandfather and my father always vote for Party X, therefore, I'm voting for Party X." It reminds me of the phrase "Those who fail to learn from the mistakes of the past are destined to repeat them." So I ask, if your great-grandfather was a horse thief, and your grandfather and father are horse thieves, should I trust you to look after my horse?

Others might argue that a "wasted vote" is a vote for a candidate that has absolutely no chance of being elected, i.e. a Libertarian or other minor party or independent candidate. By voting for one of the two major parties they feel that their vote might actually make a difference. For many of these voters they feel that even though each candidate is far from ideal, one is a little less onerous than the other. The problem here is quite obvious; the lesser of two evils is still EVIL! What does it matter if we have tax and spend elected officials as opposed to borrow and spend elected officials in charge? Either way, our nation's economic health is placed in jeopardy. Let's not even begin on the threats to our precious rights and the rule of law. Evil is Evil.

All it takes is the courage of your convictions, the desire to stand up and vote for the candidate who cares more for this nation, its Constitution and its people instead of building a career on the taxpayer's dime or maintaining the "Statist-Quo", a candidate who is principled, a candidate who belongs to the only Party of Principle, a Libertarian.





Kenn said...

Had Obama won by one vote, my vote for Bob Barr would have been wasted.

Ed Angleton said...

You're missing the point, the lesser of two Progressives is still a Progressive.

Eric Rowe said...

Actually, I think Kenn's point is pretty good. The wasted vote argument presupposes that a vote cast for a major party candidate is more likely to make a difference in the outcome of the election than a vote cast for a third party candidate. But in a presidential election this presupposition does not hold true. The likelihood of any single person's vote in a presidential election is so infinitesimally small that you can safely vote for whichever third party candidate you want and rest assured that you have made no less of a difference than you would have had you voted for a major party.

Ed Angleton said...


Again you're presupposing that there is a real, discernable difference between the the candidates of the two major parties. No matter who gets elected we're going to get higher debt, higher taxes (either now or later to pay for the debt) and attacks on our Constitutionaly guaranteed rights.

There is something to be said in voting one's concscience regardless of the outcome, and not picking a candidate just because they represent one of the larger parties. They've had their chance and look at the job they've done, but that's the subject of another post in the series.

Patriot Paul said...

'waste', like 'beauty', is in the eyes of the beholder. The argument basically goes to the heart of the 'reason' you cast your vote. Very subjective. Sort of like one man's trash is another's treasure. The party of 'principle' is no more important than the person of 'principle'. To thine own self be true.

Joe Hauptmann said...

I would also argue that a vote for a Libertarian is less wasted than a vote for the lesser of 2 evils, in that it conveys information to the other candidates. It says that a main party candidate will have to change his/her position towards liberty in order to have a chance for your vote.