Your right to vote does not mean you have the right to anything you want.

It’s easy for a candidate to say, “free health care for all,” or “free college for all.” And it’s easy to cast a vote in favor of that policy. It happens every election, unfortunately.

But when you vote for something for nothing — whether it’s a cell phone, a college degree or a million dollar subsidy for your business — you’re violating the rights of somebody else. Plain and simple.

Why? Because for you to get something for free — or even reduced cost — someone else will have to pay.

In America, even today we still have a somewhat robust private sector. It’s weaker than ever, but it still exists. In practice, the taxes and regulations imposed on businesses get passed along to customers. So in a way, everyone is taxed, in the end, because the cost of living is higher for everyone, thanks to what politicians do to businesses. And politicians do what they do to businesses because we keep telling them to do so, via voting.

“Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority,” wrote Ayn Rand. She also wrote:

“The right to vote is a consequence, not a primary cause, of a free social system—and its value depends on the constitutional structure implementing and strictly delimiting the voters’ power; unlimited majority rule is an instance of the principle of tyranny.”

Everyone wonders why we don’t have better candidates. And everyone wonders why we don’t have better people in government.

The answer is obvious. When you vote for people to do uncivilized things, you get uncivilized people to do those things for you.

Until or unless Americans face this fact, nothing will resolve itself.

If you look at your “right to vote” as holding a gun to a stranger’s head, in order to give you the benefits, goods, subsidies, or advantageous regulations you want, then you’re really acting like a criminal. You’re hiding behind that election curtain to do what you’d never permit yourself to do in the light of day. The truth hurts, but let’s finally face it. The truth will liberate you, and set us all free.

The only legitimate function an election serves is to install officials to perform the proper functions of a government. The proper functions of a national federal government include keeping us safe from violent and fraudulent persons. That’s all the U.S. Constitution ever promised, in the beginning. Elections are a way to hold these officials accountable.

Elections were never supposed to decide things like how much “my share of the economic pie” will be. That’s where we went wrong. It started before any of us were born. It happened during the progressive movement of the early 20th Century, the New Deal of the 1930s, the Great Society of the 1960s, and many things since. But we’ve got to stop it, sooner or later. Otherwise, we’ll find ourselves in the equivalent of a civil war, if not actual civil warfare. That’s what happens when government uses some citizens, sacrificing their rights and property, for the sake of others.

If and when civil warfare or strife happens (and I suspect it has already started), just remember: It all started with the wrong idea that you may vote away others’ rights. Challenging that idea is the only way forward.

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Dr Michael Hurd

Dr. Michael Hurd is a psychotherapist, columnist and author of "Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (And How to Tell the Difference)" and "Grow Up America!" Visit his website at: www.DrHurd.com.

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