Individualist feminist author Wendy McElroy told a large
group of University of Wisconsin students Monday night they should not vote
because it is immoral.
?I am extreme left. I am extreme right. I am crazy,? McElroy
said to start her speech.
She added political consent is the most important thing a
person has. Voting is an act of participation in the government system, said
McElroy, and this gives the government permission to infringe on individual
?Whether or not you say ?yes? is the difference between rape
and an act of sex,? McElroy said. ?The act of saying ?yes? to a political
candidate is so important that it?s essential that you don?t do it.?
McElroy organized her presentation in three parts, saying
voting is wrong politically, practically and morally.
The most important argument surrounding voting is the
morality of it, McElroy said. She said voting is the same as giving up your
rights to make your own decisions. She added this is wrong because not everyone
has consented to give up their rights.
?You can sign over your rights, but you have no right to
sign over anyone else?s rights,? McElroy said.
According to McElroy, voting is also impractical because an
individual vote matters very little.
?You?re as likely to win the lottery as you are of deciding
the winning vote,? McElroy said.
McElroy added the time someone spends following an election
and voting will result in little change, compared to the change one can affect
spending that time volunteering for a good cause.
She said the time spent participating in the voting process
is also wasted because votes are counted inaccurately or tampered with. In
addition, people can be ?defrauded? by unfulfilled campaign promises.
McElroy said politicians need people to vote, no matter who
they vote for, because they need to be legitimized. She said voting is
supporting the rules of the political process and giving it validation.
?An old joke says, ?Don?t vote, it only encourages them,??
McElroy said. ?Governments don?t like to use force. They need your consent.
They need legitimacy.?
McElroy also said she does not agree with the argument that
people should vote for the lesser of two evils.
She turned the phrase and called this argument ?the greater
of two evils.? According to McElroy, people who say it is everyone?s duty to
vote would rather have someone vote for a terrible person like Hitler than to
not vote at all.
?Choosing between two evils becomes a habit,? McElroy said.
?When do you get to choose the good??
She said she did not believe the Bible said to ?go forth and
do less evil.?
UW political science professor Donald Downs, who is a
co-director of the Center for the Study of Liberal Democracy ? the group that
sponsored the event ? said the purpose of having McElroy speak on campus was
?to contribute to the intellectual diversity of the campus.?
?The campus tends to be a little monolithic and we like to
present views that are outside the mainstream,? Downs said. ?You can?t know
something unless you know the counterarguments as well.?