So and so recently defeated so and so in a municipal election in Ottawa, my hometown, a few months ago. When I asked a friend a day or two before election day who they were going to vote for they replied that it was none of my business. The response may have been more polite then I just wrote, I am unsure. I do not remember how I replied at the time, but I have thought about the statement since and am unsure if I agree.
In my mind when you vote in a government election you seem to be giving at least some moral consent to one group of individuals to use violence against another. When most people vote what they are indicating by their actions is a declaration that, “If you get into power, and I hope you do, I will support your efforts to use or threaten to use violence against innocent individuals.” Most people do not think this at the time as they see government as a beneficial and altruistic institution that naturally evolves from human cooperation. When one claims who they vote for is personal, one is taking the position that they do not want others to know which violent government activities they give their moral support to.
“I neither confirm nor deny my past support for the current group of megalomaniac robbers in power. It is not your business to know if I supported or opposed the ascension to power of the people who are presently threatening you with violence.”
Is it the business of the people in Iraq or Afghanistan, who have lost families, friends, homes and businesses, to know which Americans and Canadians support the wars, civilian bombings and general state terrorism perpetrated by their respective governments? It seems hard to justify secrecy of the vote when such atrocities are being committed by officials willingly elected by a populace.
Is it not my business to know if my neighbours, friends, family members, coworker give moral consent to a group of people that wish to take my belongings under the threat of violence, disallow me from acting in various nonviolent ways, such as drug use, and practice policies that lead to civilian deaths, torture and economic ruination around the planet? Why not?