If you haven't read Mr. Nowicki's article yet, here it is:
"I loathe democracy"



To the editor ...
From Ronn Neff, senior editor of TLD

I share Andy Nowicki's contempt for democracy, but unlike him I enjoy elections. I find them high entertainment. In 2000 I actually stayed up until 3 o'clock in the morning with my junk food and beer and other snacks waiting to learn the outcome.

So that is not the point on which I wish to differ with Mr. Nowicki. He writes that "the Gore forces attempted to steal the presidency through judicial fiat." That is probably true. It does not follow that the Bush forces did not likewise attempt to steal the presidency through judicial fiat. Indeed, I submit that — setting aside the question of theft — it is not at all clear which side was the more underhanded.

It often asserted that Albert Gore won the popular vote, as though it were incontrovertible. It is not. It's just that the Electoral College system spared us the hundreds, thousands, of recounts that would have been necessary if the president were elected by popular vote. The quirk of the Electoral College allowed us to skip over all the big-city ballot-box stuffing and other fraud, and brought everything down to Florida. Only in Florida were reports of voter fraud (including keeping people from voting or even getting registered) widespread. I am, of course, aware that Bush supporters claim that those reports were all refuted by this or that study, but I see no reason not to regard those refutations as thoroughly as corrupt as the reports themselves. (Those who compile such studies have an interest in maintaining the illusion of the state's legitimacy, too.)

To put it another way, there is no reason to take sides in that fight. We outsiders have no reason to believe that either side was acting in good faith.

Or to look at it another way, if Jeb Bush didn't pull every trick available to him to get his brother elected president ... why didn't he?

And while Mr. Nowicki is as right as can be when he says, "Liberals simply have no scruples when it comes to the task of defeating conservatives," it is equally true that conservatives have no scruples when it comes to the task of defeating liberals. We have seen what their scruples look like time and time again (and not just recently) when matters come to foreign invasion and war, "law-and-order" scorn for individual rights, and corporate subsidies (domestic and foreign). In Congress, they will keep floor debate going for hours if they need to, to get a bill passed. Or they will shut the debate down if that is what is called for. They are as devoted to justifying means by pretended ends as liberals are.

Secession from the culture of death is heartily to be desired. But establishment conservatism is no more likely to be our ally in that effort than is establishment liberalism. And to prevent it, the "two pinions of one great bird of prey" would show themselves to be much more united than red and blue shapes on a map will suggest.

September 20, 2004

Mr. Nowicki replies

In 2000, we know that Al Gore's forces

a) went to court to attempt to disqualify "butterfly ballots" in one Florida county — even though they knew those ballots had already been approved by the Democrats prior to the election — in a cheap attempt to hold a "re-vote" and thus score more votes from those who had given their vote to Nader or (presumably accidentally) to Buchanan the first time;

b) demanded a hand recount only in the four counties that were most populated with Gore voters, again in a cheap effort to rack up more votes;

c) disingenuously chanted "count every vote" ... while making every effort to disqualify votes from military personnel (more likely Bush-voters) on absurd technicalities; and

d) with the connivance of the (Democrat-appointed) Florida Supreme Court, circumvented clearly worded state law on the time appointed to undertake a recount without time-constraints, thus obtaining as much time as they needed to throw out as many Bush votes as possible and count as many "dimpled" or "pregnant" chads for Gore as possible.

All of that, I suspect Mr. Neff would allow. Yet he asserts that Bush's forces were probably just as dirty and underhanded because a) charges of disenfranchisement against black voters might be true, and b) Bush's brother was the governor, and thus must have done something illegal or untoward to help George W. attain the presidency.

Both a) and b) are pure conjecture and, in my estimation, weak conjecture, compared to the above-mentioned facts pertaining to Gore's gang. I understand the "pox on both your houses" perspective of the anti-state commentator (in this case, Mr. Neff) toward the two major parties. And I certainly don't mean to be taken as a Bush apologist. That the Democrats are vile, corrupt, and lawless certainly doesn't make the Republicans admirable. But where is the evidence that Bush's people behaved just as nefariously in 2000 as Gore's did? I don't see it.

September 21, 2004

Mr. Neff replies

Mr. Nowicki says of two of my comments: "Both a) and b) are pure conjecture and, in my estimation, weak conjecture...."

(a) That voter-registration records were tampered with to exclude large numbers of black voters — who, it is supposed, would have voted for Gore — is not a conjecture and certainly not a weak conjecture. It may be false, but it cannot be dismissed merely as conjecture. Its partisans have their evidence, which merits examination from anyone interested in the details of causes of the outcome of the Florida vote in 2000. I am not. But it is not merely a conjecture.

(b) That Jeb Bush did something underhanded was not a conjecture; it was a question, which remains to be answered: If he didn't do something underhanded, why didn't he? Because he is too honest? Because he didn't know how? If the evidence cited to support (a) has merit, I think there is a prima facie reason to believe that Governor Bush had something to do with it — though probably in a "deniable" fashion.

In fact, the reason the Gore team comes out looking so bad is that the Bush count was ultimately upheld. The count the Bush team were demanding had its flaws, too. (The final irony is that at least one unofficial recount showed that the Bush count was the only recount that would have won the election for Gore.) Both candidates had scores of supporters on the ground prepared to take the results to court. This, too, is a fact, and evidence that Mr. Nowicki should take account of. Both candidates anticpated a close enough vote in Florida that there would be bases for legal objection. Because GWB was declared the winner, it was Gore who had to go to court. If Gore had been declared the winner, it would have been GWB who had to go to court (with what outcome one cannot guess). Precisely on what basis would have depended on what was available. (If the butterfly ballot had not been available as a pseudo-basis for Gore's complaint, something else would have been.)

That is, I am insisting that neither of the two candidates had any respect for the so-called democratic process. It is simply an accident of history that Gore was both the initiator of the judicial process and the loser of the election, not a testimony to his (or his party's) greater nefariousness.

September 28, 2004

Mr. Nowicki replies

Since I don't think wrangling over semantics (what constitutes "conjecture" versus what is simply "a false allegation") would be especially helpful, I will accept that I misused the former term when I really meant the latter in regard to the supposed disenfranchisement of some blacks in Florida. Put simply, I strongly doubt that Republican operatives tried to keep black people from voting in that state in 2000. If there had been a scrap of truth to the allegation, I don't think the media would have left Bush alone; he would have been forced to withdraw in disgrace from the presidential sweepstakes. We all know how eager the media are to dismiss conservatives as racists and bigots, and this would have given them an actual case with which to perpetuate their enlightened stereotype. (Of course Bush and most Republicans aren't true conservatives, but that is immaterial here; the mainstream media believe they are conservatives, and thus are always looking for ways to portray them as Klansmen in suits.)

Mr. Neff's assertion that the Republicans would have behaved in roughly the same deplorable manner as Gore's did had the positions of the two parties been switched (with Bush's team behind by 900 votes rather than ahead) is, I think, conjecture, since there is no way of knowing — without access to an alternate reality — where such a course of events had taken place. I, however, dispute the claim. I don't think Republicans know how to play as dirty as Democrats. Moreover (and this is similar to my above point), I don't think the media would have let them get away with such dubious schemes as trying to count "pregnant" chads, trying to dismiss ballots after the fact, and asking for hand counts with no timetable only in counties where Bush voters were believed to predominate. Had Gore been ahead after two recounts, the pressure would have been on the Bush forces to call it quits; had they persisted, they would have been attacked as right-wing fascist zealots who were trying to subvert democracy.

I think Mr. Neff severely underestimates the "weenie" factor when it comes to Republicans. Having been tarred and feathered as the party of hate toward blacks, Hispanics, homosexuals, and women, the GOP has generally not responded with outrage at the ad hominem nature of the allegations. Instead, they have fallen over themselves to show how "inclusive" they really are, and what a "big tent" they really have. They want to be seen as "nice guys," and thus are prevented from being as ruthless as the Democrats, who care more about winning than about following the rules, and who in any case will always be perceived as "nice" because they will always be better liked by the left-wing lapdogs of the press.

October 9, 2004

I now close this correspondence between Mr. Nowicki and Mr. Neff.

Nicholas Strakon

I can't agree with Mr. Nowicki. Whether or not you vote, your taxes go up, the draft is restored (whether through the front door of the Selective Service System or the back door for those who can't get a job at Wal-Mart), your property is "forfeited" if they find a leaf of grass in your room, and a long string of etc's.

In fact, if you don't vote, the chances of these horror shows go up. The problem is not that people vote but that they vote for Idiot 1 or Idiot 2 (Bush or Kerry; it doesn't matter). If more people voted for the likes of Ron Paul or Ralph Nader, we just might see a few changes around here.

Paul McDowell
September 21, 2004

Mr. Nowicki replies

I'm not necessarily against voting, though I think it's pointless. What irks me is the self-righteousness of many voters, evidenced in those grating "I Have Voted, Have You?" buttons that they wear on Election Day. If those folks want to vote, they should go ahead, but I wish they would spare me their misplaced contempt for those who choose not to.

In any case, I'm not sure why the chances of "horror shows" go up whether one votes or doesn't. People haven't voted the state the amount of power it currently has; the state has grabbed that power, and it continues to grab more power. No amount of elections could put a stop to that evil trend.

September 22, 2004

An interesting idea just struck me, and I thought I'd solicit Mr. Nowicki's take on the idea, after reading his article "I loathe democracy."

I'm still a registered voter, though I've only come to the realization of its futility (to say nothing of its immorality) over the last few years.

What if every registered voter who now understands this were to enter the polling area in November, put his name in the book to get the ballot, and simply turn in the card untouched (at least in places where they're still using punch cards).

I'm not sure how the machines work, and I probably never will, but the idea of going straight to DONE or FINISHED without selecting anything strikes me as an equally interesting option, regardless of the increased ability to "rig" the system (as if it could be rigged anymore).

This is not a defense of the process but merely an odd way of letting "them" know that the process is no longer acceptable while wasting their time and energy on the process of actually counting "NO" votes in much the same way as the entire system wastes our time and energy on everything else.

Sure, they can count the number of registered voters voting vs. the number who don't, but perhaps the method described above might be seen as a little more poignant and vocal for some.

Imagine ... one day, a 20 percent voter turnout. Whoops, or is it 10 percent? Gee, people actually showed up at the polls, but look at all these empty ballots. People would finally wake up and say, "What is the government, anyway? Where did they get the right to rule?"


Kurt J. Tischer
September 21, 2004

Mr. Nowicki replies

Mr. Tischer does have an interesting idea, but I'm not sure that it wouldn't backfire. People who write in votes for nonexistent candidates such as Mickey Mouse are often cited approvingly in media outlets: "Well, it's wacky, but it just goes to show what's so great about democracy — you can make your voice heard! blah, blah, blah..." In this case, if the point of the exercise were to strike a blow against the democratic system, I'm not at all sure it would be taken that way. The pro-democratic propagandists would take it as an indication that "the voters have had enough; they want better candidates," or something equally as lame. Thus, the original idea of the enterprise might well get lost in the hubbub.

September 22, 2004

Nicholas Strakon nibs in

I'm sure Mr. Nowicki is right about those Mickey Mouse votes, in view of the System's relentless droning that "it doesn't matter whom you vote for, only that you vote!"

The System, of course, is quite correct in its droning — for once it's telling the truth. It doesn't matter which Mickey Mouse pol you endorse; it matters only that you show up and, by participating, endorse the System itself. I wish more voting-addicts would meditate upon that and then repudiate the System by staying home on November 2.

September 22, 2004

To Mr. Nowicki's original article.

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