Sunday, March 8, 2009

1919 – The year of shame in Sweden

The year 1909 a bill was passed in Sweden that gave the right to vote to men. Ten years later women got the same right. Although the stipulation that men needed to do compulsory military service in order to vote and that the equal rights didn’t come until 1924, I do think that those primary years of letting first men and then women vote were the horrifying ones. Why did we make those laws so anyone could vote about their neighbor’s income? Don’t get me wrong, voting is for the most part a better way of governing then complete dictatorship, but there are too many flaws built into the system and even if it is the ‘best’ solution, it doesn’t make it ethical. On this day, International Women's Day, we should also look at what the right to vote.

What does it really mean “to vote”? Pretty much anyone you talk to will tell you that this is a right for every human and we should be able to choice who governs us and, more importantly, to choice another ruler if the first one fails. They will also tell you that “one man, one vote” is the democratic way and that this notion brings equality to citizens, no one is worth more than the other, and everyone can only cast one vote each. This nonsense we get taught in school, journalists celebrate it and politicians from every spectra of the political sphere will tell you that this is the most important thing there is. “If you don’t vote, you shouldn’t complain!” – is a normal sentence heard before every election. And if someone choice not to vote they are told about other countries where they don’t have the right to elect their leaders. All of this is said and spread around without any regard to any alternative and no one ever thinks about what the consequences might be.

Voting should be a very restricted “right”, if even existing at all. And if you are reading this you will immediately think I’m some fascist bastard or a reactionary conservative fool. I’m not. And as I said, voting and democracy is the best of the solutions we know of from history. Accept for socialists and some religious freaks no one wants the dictatorship back. But this doesn’t mean you should lay back and think everything is great and it doesn’t put a “morally correct” shimmer over voting like we are led to believe. Voting is in reality only two things; one is to decide what should be done with our collective money and how much of your income someone else should rule over. So when you are voting you are not only voting what your money should be used for, but also your neighbors’, the single mums and everyone else in your particular society. And, secondly, you are making a choice about who will make decisions for you. Even if you don’t think this is too bad, which you should, the next fact might get you to reconsider. The one who get elected and will rule you for the next couple of years is the one who sounds best, he/she who say the best phrases and delivers the solutions that attract most voters. In fact, no one can ever be elected without making promises and sometimes even making outright lies. And those promises; saving the poor; higher pensions; better minimum wage, or whatever they may be, you are paying for. So you are putting your money in the hands of someone who promise you to do something for your money. How is that a good thing? Why can’t you decide for yourself? Especially when this “someone” also needs his/her wage and his/her secretaries, aids and administrators also needs wages, all of which you are paying for.

But if this isn’t something that makes you question the morality of voting, how about the fact that it is never the majority that decides? Yes, that’s right. As far as I know, not one single democratically elected government has ever had the majority behind them. This is because those who are not “fit” to vote, those that don’t vote and those who voted for the “losing side” is by far the majority. Not even if you had 100% turn up and if you count away those who are not eligible to vote, you don’t find a single government with a majority vote. I bet they never told you that in school?

And if this isn’t enough for you, most decisions are not made by the ones you vote into office, no, instead decisions are made in committees or by none elected beaurocrats. Even if the government hire these people or give them instructions how to work or what issues that should become laws or directives, it’s still not the ones you voted for that makes most of the work.

But all of this is nothing compared to what voting really can lead to and has lead to before, namely voting can justify dictatorship, cannibalism or any other atrocity you can think of. As long as the “majority” votes for it, it’s okay. If a village consisting of 100 people, 51 of those are Nazis, 49 are Jews; you can maybe get the idea of what voting might be used for. Let’s remind us that Adolf Hitler actually got voted into office and that we today have a dictator in Venezuela that has tricked his people to vote for dictatorship. But it doesn’t need to be those obvious maniacs you are voting for. It can be more subtle than that. If you in every election vote for the one that promise you most things, in the end, were do you think the country will end up?

So it is a shame that women can vote. Even if you don’t think this and believe I’m some nutcase, please at least think about the realities of voting and the problems of democracy. It’s not as simple as politicians tell you; they want that office with the high wage and to control what goes on, so don’t let that fool you.

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