Do We Have A Political Obligation?

Inkwell Institute

Professor’s Classroom

Subject:  Political Theory

Paper #8A

(this is a re-post from several months ago)

This begins my week or so of post that relate to the approaching mid-terms…..

As I write my posts, from time to time, one idea morphs into more ideas and so on….as I was writing my recent series on political theory I thought of another issue that compels me to write about….that is the political obligation of the people…..in the beginning of the debate along these lines, back in the 16th century, your political obligation meant that you will obey the rules and laws of the state, the political authority….. (a post in the making)…….but I think it has evolved since the original debate….now it is the so-called obligation that Americans have to vote…..

I knew this one would be a bitch and so far I am spot on……there are complicated parts of this issue that I will try to simplify….to me it is a fascinating debate but then I enjoy politics……everyone is not that lucky or maybe that should be that…… mentally ill…..

Let us go back to the classical definition, well as far back as Plato, at least, one of the earliest of the political philosophers, in his Crito, he addressed the subject of obligation…..basically, it is what the person must do for the protection of a political authority, the State…….men would obey laws and rules for which the State protects the man.  Most political philosophers were concerned with man’s relationship to the authority….but how do we come by this obligation?  First, we have it as part of our self-interest and then a forced obligation, which is basically that it is the law of the land and you WILL obey or face the consequences…..as I have said…political obligation is a complex idea that will keep us political philosophers busy for a millennium trying to find the answer…..hopefully, there is a little clarity here…..

Now what about a more modern definition–while political obligation will keep the philosophers busy, what about the common man…..the man on the street?  To Billy Bubba the political obligation is the one to vote….a person that does not vote is un-American….why?……it is the duty (obligation) of every Americans to cast his/her vote……simple huh?

Hate to say so, but the idea that it is an obligation to cast a vote is dumb….for lack of a more appropriate word……the truth of the matter is that voting is NOT a political obligation more like an exercise in futility…..okay, think it is an obligation, then let us look at the exercise of voting…..

First if voting is truly a political obligation then education on the issues is an obligation….in reality the average American voter is ignorant of the issues, with the exception of the one that means something to them, i.e.  guns, abortion, etc……beyond the single issue there is ignorance with the voter, for the most part….

In a representative democracy voting serves one purpose…….to legitimize…..the act of voting in this atmosphere is not the “magic wand” that the elites claim it is….they control who and what is the rule of law…in reality the people have little say….an occassional poll or questionnaire from the Rep is only to give the appearance that they care of the opinion of those ruled…the agenda was set when they decided what party and what issues were to be their main focus….

So do we have a political obligation?  In the classical sense, yes we do….we must and I emphasize the word MUST, give up some personal freedoms to secure protection by the State…..and in the more “modern” sense then the answer is NO!  We have no obligation to vote, especially under representative system of governance…..it is apparent that the American people do NOT feel they have a political obligation for on an average of 50% of us actually car enough to vote on any given issue…if Americans had more of an insight to political thought then they would also agree…..but the propaganda machine of both parties work overtime, especially close to an election, to try and force people to turn out and vote for them…..Do We Have A Political Obligation?