Early voting has been going on for a week already. We’re a week away from the end of this most unpleasant of all presidential campaigns ever. News out this weekend makes it appear certain that both major party candidates ought to be in prison, rather than anywhere near the White House. Nevertheless, one of these two is likely to be our next president. It’s too awful to dwell on.
Today I’m just sharing a few words from the quote file on voting. I was surprised to see how many times I’d collected economist Thomas Sowell’s words on this topic. But there are other contributors as well.
image from here
Without a sense of responsible citizenship, voters can elect leaders who are not merely incompetent or corrupt, but even leaders with contempt for the Constitutional limitations on government power that preserve the people's freedom.—Thomas Sowell, “Is Democracy Viable,” 3-1-2011
Politicians can solve almost any problem -- usually by creating a bigger problem. But, so long as the voters are aware of the problem that the politicians have solved, and unaware of the bigger problems they have created, political "solutions" are a political success.—Thomas Sowell, “Random Thoughts,” 10-17-2011
If you’re not paying attention, it’s your patriotic duty not to vote.—John Stossel, 1-12-2012
The cult of youth politics in this country, generally speaking from the left, is that young people, simply because they are eager and they are passionate, they must also be right. That is not a democratic understanding of politics. That is not a civilized understanding of politics. Barbarians are enthusiastic and excited. Civilized people in a free society who take their citizenship seriously—they may be passionate, but they don’t simply vote on their passion. Or, if they do vote on their passion, their passion is informed by reason.—Jonah Goldberg (interview around 8-3-2012)
Let's stop and think, if only for the novelty of it.
—Thomas Sowell, “Entitlement Reforms,” 8-28-2012
During his 1956 presidential campaign, a woman called out to Adlai Stevenson: “Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!” Stevenson called back: “That’s not enough, madam, we need a majority!”—Adlai Stevenson quoted in “The Decline and Fall of the American Empire” in Rabbi Pruzansky’s blog 11-7-2012
All the opportunity for self-government through the rule of the people depends upon one single factor. That is the ballot box…. The people of our country are sovereign. If they do not vote they abdicate that sovereignty, and they may be entirely sure that if they relinquish it other forces will seize it, and if they fail to govern themselves some other power will rise up to govern them. The choice is always before them, whether they will be slaves or whether they will be free. The only way to be free is to exercise actively and energetically the privileges, and discharge faithfully the duties which make freedom. It is not to be secured by passive resistance. It is the result of energy and action….
Persons who have the right to vote are trustees for the benefit of their country and their countrymen. They have no right to say they do not care. They must care! They have no right to say that whatever the result of the election they can get along. They must remember that their country and their countrymen cannot get along, cannot remain sound, cannot preserve its institutions, cannot protect its citizens, cannot maintain its place in the world, unless those who have the right to vote do sustain and do guide the course of public affairs by the thoughtful exercise of that right on election day.—Calvin Coolidge
If you don’t understand the issues, but want to do your patriotic duty, then stay home on election night, whether in the primaries or in the national election in November. Uninformed voters turn elections into a game of playing Russian roulette with the future of America.—Thomas Sowell, “Grow Up!” 2-1-2016
I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election, and advised them
1. To vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy
2. To speak no evil of the person they voted against, and
3. To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side.
― John Wesley, The Journal of John Wesley, October 6, 1774
When a citizen gives his vote to a man of known immorality, he abuses his civic responsibility and he betrays the interest of his country.—Noah Webster
It’s amazing to me how many people think that voting to have the government give poor people money is compassion. Helping poor and suffering people yourself is compassion. Voting for our government to use guns to give money to help poor and suffering people is immoral self-righteous bullying laziness. People need to be fed, medicated, educated, clothed, and sheltered. If we’re compassionate, we’ll help them, but you get no moral credit for forcing other people to do what you think is right. There is great joy in helping people, but no joy in doing it at gunpoint.—Penn Jillette
Govern wisely, and as little as possible—Sam Houston
“It is the duty of the patriot to protect his country from its government.”—Thomas Paine
A sick society must think much about politics, as a sick man must think much about his digestion; to ignore the subject may be fatal cowardice for one as for the other. But if either comes to regard it as the natural food of the mind—if either forgets that we think of such things only in order to be able to think of something else—then what was undertaken for the sake of health has become itself a new and deadly disease.—C.S. Lewis