Among the most dangerous myths of the modern world is that a majority of people have the right to impose their will upon everyone else. It has even come to a point that it is now a controversial view to deny communists and fascists “voting rights.” This, of course, is an entirely flawed premise. There is no such thing as voting rights.
You do not have the right to assault me, steal from me, or violate any of my rights which are implicit in private property. This standard applies to all individuals and groups. Whereas you do not have the right to violate my rights, you and a friend of yours do not have the right to violate my rights. Being in the majority does not make your cause any more or less unjust. If a group of people teams up to violate the property rights of a smaller group, they are still violating the rights of a smaller group.
All rights stem from property rights. It can be logically deduced and axiomatically supported that I am the owner of my body. Whereas I own myself, I have the inherent right to mix my labor with unowned resources to make said resources my own. These resources become my private property. Whereas I am the sole owner of myself and my private property, no individual, no matter how powerful; and no group, no matter how massive, has sovereignty over myself or my property. To claim otherwise is to claim that other people have a property stake in me. It is an ascension to the idea that people may own another human being.
The State, being a territorial monopolist on the use of initiatory force and ultimate decision making, as defined by sociologist Max Weber, immediately comes into contradiction with private property. Whereas the State claims the right to initiate force on individuals, it engages in the violation of private property rights. The State in every manifestation is unjust.
This is the case for a democratic State as well. In a democracy (or a representative democracy, democratic republic, or constitutional republic), the State invokes the will of the people as its source of legitimacy. This is among the most despicable notions. According to this theory, the people are naive enough to beg the State to exploit them. It is self-evident that we are not the government.
If one partakes in voting, they are requesting that the State use violence against those who disagree with the voter’s worldview. By voting for more government, one is engaging in a form of initiatory force. Voting is violence and democracy is the oppression of those who dwell within the minority opinion. Voting, in practice, is two wolves and a sheep deciding what to have for dinner. Voting is the people choosing who will be violating the people’s right to private property, and how they will do it. Voting is initiatory violence and an assault on private property.
Can a Libertarian Vote?
While voting is, in fact, violence, it is absolutely permissible for a libertarian to vote. Libertarianism does not condemn all violence. Libertarianism, however, condemns initiatory violence. Whereas the State is a monopoly on initiatory violence, a libertarian, therefore, has the right to vote for less government in order to mitigate the damage one may experience due to State violence. In the sense of voting for less government, one is voting in self-defense. So long as one is not a pacifist, it is entirely permissible to vote for less government.
Voting for more government, however, is beyond the scope of libertarian ethics. To vote for Hillary Clinton over Rand Paul, for example, would be a violation of the private property ethic. Some libertarians take this a step further, claiming that voting is consenting to the State. This is far from the case. Voting for less government is not consenting to the State, it is fighting against the growth of the State. Libertarians are in a position where they either have to fight or submit, and voting is a means by which one can fight.
Advocating Universal Voting Rights is Suicidal
Since voting is not a right, libertarians have no obligation to make voting a universal concept. It can be argued, however, that the libertarian ought to restrict voting as much as possible, making it an end goal to even ban themselves from voting. To extend the “right to vote” to more people, however, is to extend the “right” to use State to violate the property rights of other people. It is with this in mind that it is entirely reasonable to restrict suffrage as much as possible.
People with explicitly anti-freedom ideologies should not vote. If a resolution emerged which would ban fascists and communists from voting and/or running for office, it would be entirely reasonable for a libertarian to support this resolution. But this does not go far enough. It would be an entirely libertarian proposal to claim that individuals who receive more money from the State than is stolen from them should be restricted from voting. This would include welfare recipients, whether that be through unemployment, social security, medicare/Medicaid, or government employment.
If the victims of taxation are surrounded by voters who live off of the State, then it is only logical to conclude that government spending will increase, and so will taxation. If we were to restrict net tax recipients from the suffrage, we would witness a sudden drop in the size of government, and a newfound adherence to private property.
In other words, voting is not a right; voting is violence. The fact that this needs to be said only demonstrates a Great Leap Stateward among libertarian circles. It is only permissible to use violence in self defense. Voting for more government does not meet this standard. The only legitimate vote is a vote against government.