The concept of democracy within a compulsory monopoly of governance is a farce, but truth is, the more voters are involved in a democratic system, the more absurd and pointless the farce is and the less libertarians should be concerned with it.

I’m a US citizen who has never resided in the US but happens to be eligible to register for the NY absentee ballot, and this is the first presidential election I’m eligible to vote for, though registering is a much more complex procedure in my case than it is for the average voter. As it is, my opportunity cost for voting (especially in federal elections) is much too high. I don’t think voting in of itself is immoral, but I will be abstaining from voting this year. Here is why this is okay – not just for me, but even if you’re in a position where it’s easier for you to vote:

As libertarians we stand for transferring control and responsibility over one’s life and decisions to the very individual who owns said life. In other words, we stand for true self-ownership and its logical implications.

There are many ways to go about accomplishing this, ranging from academia, entrepreneurship, technological innovation, politics, and the many different combinations of these. We’d be wrong to ignore or underestimate any of them, or ask that other libertarians do not get involved in them.

But when it comes specifically to the area of politics, libertarians that are fighting on that front need to realise that in order to make libertarian ideas viable, in order to convince communities to experiment with them, and in order to create the cultural climate that is necessary to even start convincing people at a significant scale… We need to REDUCE the scale that IS considered significant.

That’s right, before we can transfer control and responsibility TO the individual, we need to transfer it TOWARDS the individual. To abolish the State overnight would require changing the brains of most citizens overnight. The reason we’re not capable of doing this is not because our arguments aren’t convincing, they absolutely are, but because they are totally lost in a supersized constituency where the opportunity cost of voting is so high, and each individual vote is worth so little, that most people who even bother to vote don’t do so based on the quality of the arguments that they’ve heard, or might have heard had they had any real incentive to even pay attention.

That’s why I would rather vote for a pro-localism/devolution/state’s rights/[whatever you want to call it] socialist, than a libertarian who thinks he can free the markets from Washington D.C.; we shouldn’t be looking at the white house for freedom, not now, not ever.

I don’t think devolution will come from up above either. We need to elect politicians at the state level who are willing to disobey and refuse to cooperate with the federal government, and demand to be transferred more powers from it. Then we need to elect politicians in county governments who are willing to do the same thing towards the state government. So on and so forth until we reach a point where individual acts of civil disobedience actually count for something and aren’t almost instantly silenced.

Ultimately, not only do we individually have virtually no power over who will take over the federal government, but it doesn’t even matter who does, as we can’t ever truly and durably be free while we depend on the US federal government to grant us our freedom, which is why if you’re a politically involved libertarian, you should be focusing your efforts elsewhere than on federal offices.

Though I dislike many things about him and his campaign, I still think Gary Johnson would be the least destructive president out of the 4 options that are present on most ballots, so if voting were compulsory as it is in Austrialia, or if voting were made a simple and quick enough process as to drastically reduce my opportunity cost, I’d vote for him out of principle (I would demonstrate that I value less destruction over more). But that being said, I don’t delude myself for a single second into thinking that a President Johnson would actually make any lasting or significant changes in terms of the status of self-ownership in the United States of America. His campaign is not only less likely to be successful than that of LP candidates running at more local levels of government, but it is also significantly less important.