A Friendly Wager Over Voting
The question of whether to vote or not to vote has provoked nearly endless discussion among libertarians, and no doubt it will continue to do so for a long time. I come down on the side of not voting – I think it is useless in terms of liberty, and serves no purpose other than to increase the perceived legitimacy of the coercive State.
However, rather than making any arguments for one side or the other, instead I propose we make a friendly wager between us. You will no doubt find that my terms are generous, and I assure you that I am indeed sincere. This is an open offer to any person who may wish to accept it, and I intend for it to be open in perpetuity; I will honor it at any time and in any jurisdiction as long as I live. Of course, I can only engage in one wager at a time, but I am willing to make this wager election after election, as often as I can find a partner.
The procedure for the wager is this:
On election day, I will write my votes down not on a ballot, but on a slip of paper. I will take a position on every issue and will mark a name for every office on the ballot. I will seal the paper in an envelope and deliver it to you. After the election is over and all the votes have been counted, you will open the envelope and review my choices.
The question upon which we are to wager is this:
Would any of my selections have changed the outcome of the election if I would have cast a ballot (that is, would any of my selections have elected someone who was not elected, have passed something which failed, or vice versa)?
The terms of the wager are these:
If the answer is yes, then I will do two things:
1. I will give you or your estate $10,000 in cash once per year every year for the remainder of my life, with the first payment coming immediately.
2. I will admit my error and will become an advocate for voting for the remainder of my life.
If the answer is no, then you will give me $10 in cash.
The average life expectancy for a person of my gender and age is 48 additional years. Thus, if you win you can expect to collect nearly $500,000 from me over the next few decades. Your potential reward is 50,000 times your potential loss. This is a very generous offer indeed.
Who will accept my wager? Surely if voting is anything near as effective as its advocates claim, I will have many hundreds of people who would find my terms acceptable.
You may accept my wager in the comments below.