“Politics is very hip in comedy at the moment, so I thought I’d have the Pub Landlord try and do it. We’ve got Russell Brand going around telling everyone not to vote, which, I think, isn’t far off a fascist idea. That’s not his intention, obviously. He’s trying to show the powers-that-be. But fascists are very keen on people not voting.”
That’s the comedian, Al Murray, in an interview with communitarian website spiked.
Now, I like Al Murray a lot (I used one of his jokes in a title). But saying that non-voting “isn’t far off” a fascist idea, is, frankly, ridiculous. And not only because there are plenty of genuinely fascist (that is, corporatist) elements in modern society to criticise; not only because there are plenty of innocuous things apart from non-voting (wearing uniforms, say) that, given a generous enough interpretation, could be called “not far off” being fascist.
No. Mainly it’s because fascists actually do tend to be “very keen on” people voting. If they weren’t, why would they go to so much trouble rigging elections? In fact, all rulers depend on the consent of those they rule to stay in power; they need legitimacy. And that is what elections, rigged or otherwise, are for. This is why voluntaryists oppose voting.
To be fair to Murray, he’s far from being alone in this error, which is especially prevalent in Britain. A depressing intellectual legacy of the second world war is the reinforcement given to the alleged link (possibly unbreakable in the public consciousness) between liberty and democracy. Like siamese twins, you can’t have the one without the other. As everyone knows, fascism is their polar opposite and mortal enemy; given the political law of the excluded middle “if you’re not with us, you’re against us”, to be against democracy is to be for fascism. Naturally very few people are willing to be tarred with this particular brush, and so majorities will likely continue to oppress minorities “legitimately” via the State for a long time to come. Thanks a lot, Hitler(!)
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