Advocates of individual rights sometimes debate whether it’s better to vote for the Republican, or to abstain altogether (or vote for a third-party candidate with zero possibility of victory.)
I like the way Ayn Rand put it back in 1972, the last time (other than 2008) when we had an unblinking socialist on a major party ticket. “If there were some campaign organization called ‘Anti-Nixonites for Nixon,’ it would name my position … The worst thing said about Nixon is that he cannot be trusted, which is true: he cannot be trusted to save this country. But one thing is certain: [George] McGovern can destroy it.”
In that sense, I’d say I’m an “anti-Romneyite for Romney.” With Obama in office, we’re going down the tubes for sure. We may well go down anyway with Romney, and Romney is no radical for capitalism (i.e. freedom) and individual rights. Radical U-turns in economic policy are what’s required to truly save America. But if there’s any time left to buy, perhaps Romney could buy it.
Given a choice between sure destruction and probable destruction, I’ll take probable destruction—while still fighting for survival, as much as possible. So long as there’s essential freedom of speech, there’s some measure of hope to persuade people to partially or completely reverse course from Obama’s single-mindedly disastrous course.
As economic conditions worsen, which they will on our increasingly socialist course, the risk of losing freedom of speech will heighten. It can happen in America, and I believe it’s inevitable once the government can justify it due to the rioting and destruction likely to occur in a collapsing economy. The more fervent and consistent leftists, such as Jane Fonda, already talk openly of using the FCC to deny broadcast licenses to non-leftist entities such as Rush Limbaugh and Fox News. One way to guard against the end of free speech is to have divided government. Democrats always control the agenda, whether Republicans are in charge or not. You could have a Republican Congress and President but it’s still divided government, for this reason. Let them fight each other rather than infringing on our liberty more than they already have. This is no substitute for a real, pro-freedom and pro-individual rights candidate. But it’s all we have, for now.
Also, voting for Romney is an opportunity to vote against Obama. Sometimes a negation is the most important thing. Obama is associated more with the irrational ideas of socialism, welfare-entitlement statism, anti-American pacifism and irrationalism than anyone ever to hold the office of President. A defeat of Obama would be a decisive defeat for socialism and send (for a change) a decent message to our government. To me, it seems imperative to vote against him, even if we have (as usual) no consistent or reliable advocate of individual rights as a viable alternative. If Romney wins, you can feel ecstatic for about 5 minutes, and then get back to spreading the idea that on our current course (Republican or Democrat to date), this country is simply not going to make it.