This Should Be Easy

If you want to follow along (see comments).

Do you grasp the ignominy of it all? Americans; and the greatest political statement you can make for yourself is to go into a pathetically flimsy booth once every two to four years and have your one in 300,000,000th say in your own affairs.


Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. Kyle Bennett on February 22, 2008 at 14:07

    I started to comment over there, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. The differing premises are so deep, so fundamental, that getting them to even understand the issue, let alone to a point where they could be convinced, could not happen through conversation alone. The kind of "aha" moment that would be required generally requires a crisis of some kind. And no one commenting there, including Larry, struck me as intellectually curious enough for that crisis to be the abstract kind.

  2. Kyle Bennett on February 22, 2008 at 14:22

    OK, I changed my mind, I found a brief piece of my mind that I thought might get through to Larry in some small way.

    I saw the Bastiat, it's too long and dense to have any impact on anyone not already open to it. Throw a small shiny object at people, and they'll catch it out of curiosity – throw a grand piano at them and they just get the hell out of it's way.

  3. Kyle Bennett on February 22, 2008 at 19:58

    He still hasn't approved my comment, or maybe he deleted it. It was short, very polite, and a response to him, not to the other commenters, so if he does delete it, it says a lot about him.

    Aside from that, he reminds me a lot of Kim.

  4. Frank N Stein on February 22, 2008 at 18:41

    I went there and read the comments. This is why I usually refrain from engaging in serious debate over the internet, preferring snark and mockery. Their eyes glaze over when faced with having to think in principles, and they really don't want to consider that perhaps the things they take as purely good (democracy) are not as shiny as they believe. So instead of trying to teach a pig to dance I make fun of the pigs for rolling around in their own filth. Elitist? Well ok, but being somewhat of a snob on these matters is a lot less hurtful than thinking a vote is a perfectly fine way to commit theft by proxy.

  5. Richard Nikoley on February 22, 2008 at 14:12

    You're probably right.

    I just dropped a Bastiat bomb, and if that doesn't get anyone to think, nuthin' will.

  6. Richard Nikoley on February 22, 2008 at 14:30

    Yea, I normally refrain from such large meals at once. But it's not that important in any case.

    I think the first time I commented over there, it took a day or so to show up. Larry probably has it set up to moderate first timers.

  7. Richard Nikoley on February 22, 2008 at 18:57

    Frank: you've explained your values perfectly, rationally, non-contradictorily.

    I just can't help myself, sometimes. And, you never know. But it's probably the case where it plays out exactly like that, usually.

  8. Kyle Bennett on February 23, 2008 at 09:59


    the baseline of the effort people will take to change the system of governance.

    I wrote to Larry, in my deleted-or-yet-to-be-approved comment that he had two unstated premises: a) effective effort requires voting, and b) voting can be effective.

    You at least stated a, and edged a little closer to b, and both premises are implied in the above statement. I believe both are wrong. But more to the point of your post as a whole, the missing context in "change the system of government" is: for whom.

    The context that seems to be assumed is: for everybody (in the US at least). The context I work in is: for me, and for that subset of friends, loved ones, compatriots, and others I care about who want the same kind of change I do.

  9. Kyle Bennett on February 23, 2008 at 11:06

    It's in terms of organization and reason that actual accomplishment can get done.

    True, and that's been the brightest silver lining to come out of the RP effort. That organization will likely endure, in some measure, and have some influence. I question some of their goals, but we'll see.

    The federal government HAS to be changed. […] [it] has the nearly unlimited resources and authority

    That quote skews the context of what you said a bit – I took the liberty of juxtaposing those two points more closely to illustrate what I see as the futility of doing what you suggest. The reason you give for the necessity of changing it is the same reason I would cite for the impossibility of changing it.

    I'm not sure if you got my point, but the context I'm talking about is far smaller than a state, it's essentially individuals. It's an extreme long-shot as well, but it's at least theoretically possible, and allows for a greater range and finer granularity of marginal benefits short of full success than the electoral process does.

  10. Richard Nikoley on February 22, 2008 at 22:28

    Larry's essential argument (assertion, from his comment):

    "Voting is our duty."

    You know, like killing for the state, if that's what they want, or paying taxes. Or any number of other things.

    Everyone belongs to everyone. "All your duties are belong to us."

    Disappointing. Actually, unsurprising, but the guy has made a name for himself by being straight up and that can go any number of ways, I suppose — including the du Toit way, which it seems you were perceptive about, Kyle.

    I had imagined even chances that he'd say to those who'd responded, something to the effect of, "well, what are you going to do about it. Don't come crying to me."

    My unfortunate destiny. Destined to see some glimmer of enlightenment by means of a person dealing with one thing right square in the face (in this case, personal finance), only to learn that the very same person is completely and utterly incapable of peeling back even one more layer of life's onion.

  11. trevalyan on February 23, 2008 at 07:33

    I disagree with you on what voting is or isn't, Mr. Nikoley. You think the act of voting justifies theft. Given the major candidates, I can hardly object to that viewpoint. I personally consider voting to be the basic test of what people believe, and how far they can go to change things. Oh, the principles measured can be reduced to "Black man good, white man bad," if that's how far things are fallen. The system itself can be corrupted from voting machine to qualifications for registering. But everyone talking about "civil war" and "non-compliance" just make me wonder: what are they pretending?

    "Because revolution — armed uprising — requires not only
    dissatisfaction but aggressiveness. A revolutionist has to be willing to
    fight and die — or he's just a parlor pink. If you separate out the
    aggressive ones and make them the sheep dogs, the sheep will never give you

    Dial all the phrases down from "fight or die" to "exert effort," and you get what Mr. Winget is trying to say. I feel that democracy is a test of seeing the baseline of the effort people will take to change the system of governance. No government ever regards lack of voting as a sign that people may have their own principles- they regard it as a sign of surrender of effort. By imprisoning people for drug use- and getting a bipartisan "consensus" for it- they show that non-compliance with the agreed upon rules can and will be punished purely at their whim. The whim which decides a coke-addled moron can rule for eight years, as opposed to being imprisoned for them, if all he has are the right connections. Government has no respect for non-compliance.

    Force needs to be met with your resistance, not just your non-compliance. Your political will means what you wish it to mean. Which is why I supported Ron Paul, and will work to find a better candidate to support next time. And work to find the chinks in the armor of liberal and conservative government in the meantime. Hell, after showing people how supine the Democrats have been to Bush's will, you'd be surprised how many people have stopped trusting either party entirely, and are willing to support an alternative.

    PS: None are so blind as those that will not see. Kyle has the right of it on the Bastiat bomb: it's overloading them with concepts before their minds are open to it.

  12. trevalyan on February 23, 2008 at 10:42


    We'll have to disagree, then. I agree with you in that individual voting is about as effective as watching a TV show. It's in terms of organization and reason that actual accomplishment can get done. It's the same reason Obama is stomping Hillary Clinton right now- not so much the reason, but definitely the organization.

    As for the context of who we change government for, Kyle, you are absolutely correct. The federal government HAS to be changed. It's the centralized system governing the entire United States that has the nearly unlimited resources and authority (by our standards), therefore by definition it's the part that needs to be fixed. Simply working at a local or state level will have few results, if any.

    Put in another way: the ultimate power a state holds is secession if they don't like the rules. The plausibility of a state using such power should explain why control of state government really isn't worth much.

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