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Epigrams for Election Day

Photograph Source: Bill Smith – CC BY 2.0

Election Day can be the longest day of the year. Especially if the presidential race remains undecided late into the evening, neither Xanax nor vodka may be enough to kill the pain. In lieu of other sedatives, following are some cheerful lines which might blunt the impact of the prattling on CNN or MSNBC or Fox News, though there is no known antidote to the piety of PBS panelists.

VOTING

*The most dangerous political illusion is that votes limit politicians’ power.

* If presidents are lawless, then voters are merely designating the most dangerous criminal in the land.

*Nowadays, we have elections in lieu of freedom.

*The defects in any system of choosing rulers outweigh the risks of letting people run their own lives.

*People are entitled to far more information when testing baldness cures than when casting votes that could lead to war.

*What’s the point of voting if “government under the law” is not a choice on Election Day?

*Having a vote does nothing to prevent a person from being molested by the TSA, spied on by the NSA, or harassed by the IRS.

*Politicians are increasingly dividing Americans into two classes – those who work for a living and those who vote for a living.

*Voting for lesser evils makes Washington no less odious.

*Politicians have mandated warning labels for almost everything except voting booths.

*On Election Day, Americans are more likely to be deluded by their own government than by foreigners.

*Politicians talk as if voting magically protects the rights of everyone within a 50 mile radius of the polling booth.

****

DEMOCRACY

*Modern democracy pretends that people can control what they do not understand.

*We have a drive-by democracy where politicians wave to voters every few years and otherwise do as they please.

*The more power politicians capture, the more illusory democracy becomes.

*A democratic government that respects no limits on its own power is a ticking time bomb, waiting to destroy the rights it was created to protect.

*The surest effect of exalting democracy is to make it easier for politicians to drag everyone else down.

*The Washington Post’s motto is “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” But democracy also dies from too many Iron Fists.

*The phrases which consecrate democracy seep into Americans’ minds like buried hazardous waste.

*Rather than a democracy, we increasingly have an elective dictatorship. Voters merely designate who will violate the laws and the Constitution.

*Democracy unleashes the State in the name of the people.

*The more that democracy is presumed to be inevitable, the more likely it will self-destruct.

*America is now an Attention Deficit Democracy where citizens’ ignorance and apathy entitle politicians to do as they damn well please.

*Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.

*Americans now embrace the same myths about democracy that downtrodden European peasants formerly swallowed about monarchy.

**Instead of revealing the “will of the people,” election results are often only a one-day snapshot of transient mass delusions.

*Nothing happens after Election Day to make politicians less venal.

****

LYING

*A lie that is accepted by a sufficient number of ignorant voters becomes a political truth.

*America is increasingly a “Garbage In, Garbage Out” democracy. Politicians dupe citizens and then invoke deluded votes to stretch their power.

*Promising to “speak truth to power” is the favorite vow in the most deceitful city in America.

*Truth delayed is truth defused.

* A successful politician is often merely someone who bamboozled more voters than the other liar running for office.

*The biggest election frauds usually occur before the voting booths open.

“Politicians nowadays treat Americans like medical orderlies treat Alzheimer’s patients, telling them anything that will keep them subdued. It doesn’t matter what untruths the people are fed because they will quickly forget.

*When people blindly trust politicians, the biggest liars win.

*Secrecy and lying are often two sides of the same political coin.

*The more powerful government becomes, the more abuses it commits, and the more lies it must tell.

****

GOVERNMENT ETC.

*America is rapidly becoming a two-tier society: those whom the law fails to restrain, and those whom the law fails to protect.

*Idealism these days is often only positive thinking about growing servitude.

*It is naive to expect governments to descend step-by-step into barbarism—as if there is a train schedule to political hell with easy exits along the way.

*The first duty of today’s citizen is to assume the best of government, while federal agents assume the worst of him.

*America needs fewer laws, not more prisons.

* Washington pundits fear cynicism like medieval Popes dreaded heresy.

*Every recent American commander-in-chief has expanded and exploited the dictatorial potential of the presidency.

*Many people reason about political power like sheep who ignore the wolf until they feel its teeth.

*Political saviors almost always cost more than they deliver.

*There is no such thing as retroactive self-government.

*The arrogance of power is the best hope for the survival of freedom.

* Washingtonians view individual freedom like an ancient superstition they must pretend to respect.

*Paternalism is a desperate gamble that lying politicians will honestly care for those who fall under their sway.

*Citizens should distrust politicians who distrust freedom.

* P.T. Barnum may have been thinking of Washington journalists when he said there’s a sucker born every minute.

A version of this article was first published by the Mises Institute.

James Bovard is the author of Attention Deficit Democracy, The Bush Betrayal, Terrorism and Tyranny, and other books. Bovard is on the USA Today Board of Contributors. He is on Twitter at @jimbovard. His website is at www.jimbovard.com  This essay was originally published by Future of Freedom Foundation.

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