06 November 2012

Election Stuff

∞ I've sent my ballot in for Gary Johnson. I'm not going to bother explaining why. Here are two endorsements I saw recently in my feed reader:
  1. Scott Sumner: Don't Waste Your Vote
  2. Glenn Whitman: To My Fellow Libertarian Voters


∞ I live in Maryland. Clearly my vote will not affect who sits in the Oval Office. But let me give you one reason to bother voting for a third-part candidate or a write-in of your favorite dead philosopher or current minor TV personality.

(Sidenote: w.r.t. the latter, mine is Phil Robertson. What a dude. I think I wrote him in for one of the judge slots, for all that it matters. His name was alongside SB7 write-in regulars such as F.Hayek, F.Bastiast, I.K.Brunel and D.Knuth.)

I loathe the way rights have been ignored in America while popularity continues to matter. I'm tired of seeing an opinion poll that says over half of the country supports a thing being treated as evidence. A government should not be able to do whatever it wants merely because 50.000000000001% of the citizens think it's a good idea.

So all things being equal, I would prefer to live in a country in which neither president received a majority of the vote. It's a lot easier to undermine Majoritarianism if the president gets <50% of the vote year after year. Plus then I wouldn't need to spend four years hearing about some bogus "mandate."

I don't have any ability to choose which of the two major-party bozos is elected, but I do at least have some infinitesimal ability to make sure neither bozo can claim to represent the majority of Americans.

(Yes, yes, not voting sort of sends that message, but it's very difficult to tease that message out of background apathy. A spoiled ballot says what I want to say without ambiguity.)


∞ One of the big referenda in MD this year is Question 7. Currently there are five casinos authorized in Maryland, all of which are limited to video poker only. Q7 would expand this to six casinos and allow table games at all of them.

Somehow I want both these sides to loose, if for no other reason than their ads are so completely obnoxious.

The arguments for it seems to be (1) "keep maryland money in maryland," (2) "create jobs," and (3) education funding. I am swayed by neither neo-mercantilism nor folk-Keynesianism, and I see no reason to believe education spending is the best ROI for extra state spending, so I am completely unconvinced by these ads. The ignorance they display makes me dislike them acutely.

At no point has anyone bothered to say that people ought to be able to go play poker in their own home state if they want to. I would have really responded to an add that has a guy saying "Vote for Question 7. I should be allowed to go down the street and play some cards because — BECAUSE MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS, A$$HAT! I'm and adult and I'll play some cards if I see fit."

The argument against Question 7 seems to consist entirely of "there's no guarantee the gambling revenue will be used for education!" Yeah, no kidding. Money is fungible. So what? What if the state uses it to patch pot holes instead? There's precious little link between the money you put into an educational system and the education you get out of it anyway, so why should I care? Why is people playing black jack only okay if NEA & NFSA unionists get raises?

I'm also concerned that this doesn't legalize gambling, it leagalizes gambling in a very specific place. Literally, it's limited to a few hundred foot radius around a particular intersection. It's a handout to a particular developer. If the quesiton was "Should there be casinos in Maryland?" then I'd pull the lever for "yes" in a second. But "Should this one particular well-connected party get to open a casino in Maryland?" is a totally different matter.

I did end up voting for it, but only because Maryland has gone from no gambling at all in 2008 to table games four years later, so even though this is a very, very marginal improvement that seems to mostly benefit one well-connected group, I'd like to keep the momentum moving in the right direction.

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