Once in a while, another anarchist will give me shit for voting. It’s often said that an anarchist who votes is like an atheist who prays. In most jurisdictions, I would agree that voting is hypocritical of someone who claims to not recognize the legitimacy of the state. But not in New Hampshire, where I’ve lived for the last four and a half years.
In New Hampshire, anarchists often do more than vote. They volunteer on campaigns and some even run for office. Why? Because for the most part, Granite Staters (That’s what people in New Hampshire call themselves) want low tax burdens and less regulation, so a lot of the taxes and laws that exist in other places are either lower or don’t exist in New Hampshire.
Anarchists (or voluntaryists, not sure if there is a difference) believe all interactions should be voluntary. Regulations force interactions between people, making them involuntary. Like myself, there are many people who moved to New Hampshire for the Free State Project. And some of them have taken to creating a freer New Hampshire by taking part in parliamentary politics, advocating for the relaxing of some regulations and the total repeal of others.
Since regulation produces coerced or involuntary interactions between people, relaxing and repealing even one regulation allows for more voluntary interactions between people. While the New Hampshire government may not be as expensive and bloated as other state bureaucracies, it’s still nowhere near being the limited government wet dream of miniarchists and Constitution-thumpers. New Hampshire bureaucrats still enjoy federal handouts like military assault vehicles for police departments and Congressional earmarks for local public works projects. With each regulation that is relaxed or repealed, New Hampshire becomes that much freer and allows those who believe all interactions should be voluntary to live life a bit more easily.
Yes, I’ve heard the argument that voting implies one’s consent to the system, but guess what? The sophisticated charade of legalized theft under the guise of benevolence will exist whether or not I vote or. If I truly believe that even one person is running for office who will fight to lighten the grip of government and allow for more voluntary interactions, shouldn’t I support that person ‘s campaign in some way, less someone who is pro-nanny state takes their place?
I don’t have the stomach to run for office myself, and sign-waving is something I do sparingly. Knocking on doors? Nope. But if I can support someone who is willing to strip a piece of the coercive nature of the state from my life and my community, the least this parliamentary atheist can do is make a short trip to the altar of the Almighty State, pencil in a dot next to that candidate’s name and walk away.