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The Greater Of Two Choices

I love this idea that voting for anything but the two officially sanctioned parties is a "wasted" vote.  The sheer stupidity exhibited by people who subscribe to this theory shows the utter lack of independent thought, and the profundity of indoctrination, apparent in this person spouting this rubbish.

Let's begin with the very simple deduction that, according to the "wasted vote" theory, even if you vote for the 'loser' of the two official parties, you have wasted your vote.  The theory clearly implies that any vote that is not for a winner is wasted, therefore a voter must discern which of the two offcial choices will win, and then vote for that candidate, so as not to waste a vote.  It further implies that any opinion that is not held by the majority is not valid.

The Wasted Vote Theory tells us that opinions can be "winners" or "losers," and of course everyone wants to be a "winner."  Thus opinions, rather than being closely held and logically defensible positions on any given set of ideas, are instead runners in a race in which only one can cross the line first.

This concept is an extension of the Calvinist idea that only people and ideas that are blessed by God can win any given contest.  It was the underlying philosophy of duels, in which God would strike down the lying bastard through the auspices of the morally just dueler through Divine Guidance of the sword or bullet.  In this view, too, winners of wars are seen to be morally superior, even though there are truckloads of examples where this theory falls flat.

In polemics and philosophy, this view is called Moral Equivalency, and can be rather quickly dismissed with any number of actual and hypothetical situations.  This is the common view that justifies any action by the United States since the established "end" of the Cold War, since the US is widely seen to be morally superior to the Soviet Union by virtue of not having collapsed first.

Moral Equivalency is also the ruling paradigm behind most allowable cancer treatments, in that it is assumed that healthy cells are stronger and will last longer in a poisonous environment than "sick" cancer cells.  Therefore, the patient is brought to the brink of death in the hopes that the morally inferior cancer cells will die first.  The insanity of this concept should be readily apparent to anyone with half a thought.

But let's take a simpler example.

Let's assume there is an online poll about Spaghetti:
Do you like spaghetti?

  • (a) Yes
  • (b) No
  • (c) Don't know/Never tried it 
Some percentage will choose (a), (b) or (c), with (c) likely being the smallest subset of people taking the poll.  Let's assume that (a) represents Party A, (b) represents Party B, and (c) represents all the other choices available.

The most statistically likely outcome is that one of the three choices will have at least one more vote that the other two, so a dead tie is unlikely.  Most people taking the poll will likely have an opinion, and will thus choose (a) or (b).  Some number of people who would choose (c) will not want to "waste" their vote, so they change it to one of the first two, depending on which they perceive to be the "winner."  We can also assume that some subset of (a) or (b) voters will do the same, since psychologically they want to feel part of the "winning" group.

Since spaghetti is a widely available food enjoyed by a great number of people, there is an increased likelihood that it will "win" the poll.  We can further assume   We can further assume that a number of people who chose (a) will have done so because they have a need to feel included in the "herd," and to have their "choice" validated by the greatest number of people.  Thus, even though they hate spaghetti, or have never tried it, they still feel included in the YES group because they selected based on their need to be a part of the majority.

There is no way, then, to have a true and fair poll, especially in a system where there are only two dominant choices.  I have only explored a couple of the many complex reasons why people make selections in polls, but it is plain to see that at least some part of those being polled are not making selections based on their real opinions, but rather on perceptions and desires with regard to feeling included and justified for their selections, regardless of how much or little they actually believe what they have expressed.

In the end, we can safely assume that some number of people casting a vote are doing so, not because they believe in the opinion they are expressing, but because they are gambling on which choice will give them the greatest sense of being on the side of the majority/winner, and thus morally justified, even though they don't actually believe in the "winning" opinion.

The person who chooses not to vote at all is therefore not "wasting" a vote.  They are, in fact, showing the integrity of their opinion in that they do not believe that any of the choices are correct and will not select one just because they want to feel included in some group or another.  It is often not a popular choice, since most people are of the opinion that having a right to vote means that it must be exercised only in the voting booth, and is meaningless if a check mark is not recorded in one column or another.

The prevailing attitude that one must select the lesser of two evils, when one is presented with two bad choices presents a moral hazard.  Since both choices are evil and will lead to bad outcomes, one becomes personally and morally responsible for those outcomes no matter which choice is taken, since one participated in the process in any way.

The person who refuses to vote, therefore, has expressed the opinion that all of the choices are wrong and he or she does not want the moral and ethical responsibility of choosing one side or another, or even participating in the process in the first place.

Clearly, if the vast majority refused to vote, none of the choices could claim victory and the outcome would be just as decisive and victorious as if they had actually placed a tick mark on the ballot.  Therefore, the Null Choice is just as valid and equally expressive of an opinion as any other.

The combined effect of expediency, lack of integrity and moral equivalency is precisely what has led the world to the point of self-annihilation and mass stupidity.  Choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil and the only moral alternative is to make no choice at all.

People like Adolf Hitler have risen to great power because of the principles of Lesser of Two Evils and Moral Equivalency.  When confronted with nothing but bad choices, one is bound by morality and integrity not to make a choice at all.

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