If You Don't Vote, You Can't Complain... Really?

Recently in a discussion, my concerns were dismissed with one simple line.

 I was told that if I did not vote I had no right to bitch about the direction of this country and its effects on my life. Really? Is that true? If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain?

This got me thinking: What right do I have to complain about a system I refuse to participate in?

I choose not to vote, but not for the same reasons you might think. It has more to do with a conflict of moral principles.

I'm a firm believer in the non-aggression principle, which (in a nutshell) says that it is morally wrong to initiate force. Here’s the inherent problem: The entire reason the government is even able to do the things it does is through taxation which is in direct violation of the non-aggression principle in that taxation is indistinguishable from theft. The government lays claim to the fruits of our labor against our wishes. There is no opportunity to opt out of taxation and is therefore coercive by its very definition. Where there is no choice, there is no freedom.

If I were to vote, I would be a willing participant in a system of evil – putting myself at odds with my principles and my conscience.

I realize what I'm saying here can be very disorienting (and even infuriating), because I was once there too. I have argued this point ad-nausium with many people and the facts keep coming back to smack me in the face. I can't argue with truth, and the truth, as it turns out is that Taxation is Theft.

As Confucius said, "The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name."

Interestingly enough,

As it turns out, included under the protections of the first amendment, voting is not expressly included.

Unlike the right to free speech and other rights, nowhere in the a US Constitution does it say outright that any of us has a right to vote. It does say that members of the US House of Representatives and Senate are elected by the People. And it says a person can’t be denied the right to vote because of her age, race, or sex. But that’s about as far as it goes.
— http://government.lawyers.com/your-right-to-vote.html

I choose not to vote as a method for showing my dissatisfaction with the political system.

But here’s the good news:

The fact of the matter is, there are numerous ways to change the world for the better that don't involve voting in a US election. It's kind of a false dichotomy that is presented when someone says you can’t bitch if you don’t vote. There are a number of ways I participate in the political process including a refusal to vote, running an alternative media website, discussing important issues in a public forum (via our YouTube channel and Facebook Page). This article from boundless.com covers a ton of alternative to voting that can have an impact.

I think it’s dangerous to paint yourself into a corner that forces you to feel powerless unless you vote. It closes your mind to other alternative methods to ways you can change the world. It allows you to throw up your arms and say, “Oh well, I tried,” and never give it a second thought until the next election cycle. You are not voting as a way to pay for your right to bitch about how messed up everything is.

You are voting. I am not.

We can both bitch equally.