Brad Miller

Praying and Voting: Abdication of Responsibility or path to Prosperity?

In Liberty, True nature of the State on February 18, 2012 at 1:09 am

Is voting and prayer the opposite of personal responsiblity? Do both actions seek to obtain through force of things that are not obtained through voluntary exchange? Is the supplication to God and Government anathema to the Free Market, Natural Rights and Individual Liberty?

I ask this because I want to get to the heart of why other people seem not to want to be free. There seems to be an almost universal notion that voting and prayer are primary ways of improving your lot in life. Is this type of thinking the reason I am not Free? Does this belief in the reception of things not “earned” the reason why so many people do not consciously pursue a course that would in fact better their lives. And in doing so negate the need for larger and larger State control of resources.

Voting on its surface is taught in the government-owned schools as everyone’s duty. There are campaigns by famous rappers “Vote or die”. WTF? What are we voting for? Does it really matter how we vote? The only reason people vote today is to 1. Get something for nothing or 2. Force others to act in a certain way in order to curry favor with God who will “bless” the Nation and indirectly “bless” those advocating for forced behavior modification.

There is no place in the voting scheme for those who want less government and more freedom. I want nothing from others except what I earn on the open free market through voluntary exchange. For me to gain what I desire I must improve my skills and offer a product or service that someone wants to purchase. If I am not satisfied with the enumeration it is my duty to myself to use rational thought to either abandon my current line of production, make the product cheaper in order to sell to more folks or improve it so it garners more from the buyer.

Voting is a fraud. They want us to feel like we are a part of the machine. They want us to feel like we did our part and our side will win next time. The dirty little secret is that there is only one side, only one Party: THE GOVERNMENT PARTY. And all Voting does is to exemplify Bastiat’s definition of Government which is: ” Government is the great fiction in which everyone endeavors to live at the expense of everyone else.”

And voting is the process by which this appropriation takes place. Franz Oppenheimer wrote that there are only tw0 ways in the world to get things; either through political means or economic means. Government is the political means and the free market is the economic means. Voting is used to secure things by political means which always means by force and coercion. On the free market individuals voluntarily exchange something they value less for what they value more

The argument can be made that when you pray for something is asking God to use force to obtain it for you.  If you look at it logically within the frame-work of the free market and a knowable universe, if you pray for something you did not earn through economic means that only leaves the political means, the coercive forceful way for the attainment of what you desire. Prayer is the supplication to God. It is the act of asking for something from God. And in this thought experiment God is the “force” in which to take from one to give to another.

Some have written that the concept of God most of us grew up with is based  upon on a tyrannical concept much like the Government based upon: Submit or die. In other words hell is used as a means to “force” people to think and behave in a certain just as Government uses the threat of physical death if you don’t Submit to their Earthly edicts.

Now I can see the point in praying if the prayer is like the one Mother Teresa Prayed: “I Pray not to be successful but to be faithful”. If it is about self-improvement prayer can be a means to instill those thought patterns upon the self conscious and thus effect future behavior. That is taking the personal responsible angle. Pray to be better but know that it is still your responsibility to think and to act. You can not escape this and you can’t blame others for your failings.

This maybe at the heart of the type of thinking that makes people feel like they can Vote or Pray their way to making others behave as they wish. I believe that these individuals actually blame others for their failings and seek a more powerful force than themselves to extract retribution on those who have caused their current situation. Whether its the Rich who oppress them or the homos who marry and in doing so call down the wrath of God on all the citizens of America. (Which of course I believe is insane)

Now I blame government for a lot of ills, especially the Federal Reserve, the IRS, the State Dept, the Military etc. But nothing they do allows me to abdicate my responsibility for my thoughts and my actions. I alone must experience the resulting joy or suffering caused by my actions. Praying and Voting can not change that. (The State is still the biggest obstacle to every indivdiual who wants to have more choice in how they live their life, and in doing so the State does limit a person’s ability to act – To Govern always means to LIMIT!!!)

I believe that there is a lot more to thought than we have yet to uncover and I believe that the entire Universe is connected. So there maybe something to “praying” in which your thoughts and desires are transmitted and even transmuted into matter. I don’t know. All I know is that Thought is the most powerful force on Earth and maybe in the Universe. Human thought is incredible if you think about it. (Which when I think of thoughts examining thoughts it makes my head hurt) Everything you do is because of the thoughts that you have. Every action has its birth in your thoughts. Who you are is because of your thoughts.

“As a man thinketh in his heart so he is.”

Now having said that there is nothing produced on Earth for Human consumption without Human Behavior which as Mises wrote is always “purposeful”. Rational action to substitute a less satisfactory state for a more satisfactory state is the purpose of Human Action. Which the value of what constitutes a more or less satisfactory state is an individual judgement and one of the reasons why collectivism is always doomed to fail.

Now with each purposeful action there are consequences and every individual must bear those. Every individual enters into every transaction (every action) expecting to gain a psychic profit, which is another way of saying that they believe, which is the only thing that matters, they expect with each action to substitute a less satisfactory state for a more satisfactory state.

When a lot of folks pray and vote they are attempting to forego the consequences of their previous actions and gain psychic profit without exchanging anything in return. Their thoughts are on obtaining without the means to acquire. The Preachers and Politicians are all too happy to provide the means and it is simple and painless to do requiring almost no effort the part of the voter and the parishioner.

So is that why people don’t want to be free? Is is because no one wants to  take full responsibility for their actions?
Emerson was not a big fan of praying for personal gain. His take was that action was the best prayer. He gave an example of a farmer weeding his garden as an example of effective prayer in his awesome essay Self-Responsibility. I would recommend everyone reading when they are feeling down. You can’t get something for nothing.

Have most of us forgotten this? Have most of us decided to abdicate our responsibility for suffering the consequences of our actions and in doing so given up the right to enjoy the successes of our actions as well?

Ayn Rand would have framed this debate as being between rational thought vs. irrational thought. The popular notion of voting and prayer are both irrational forms of thinking because they allow individuals to believe they have escaped the Universal Law of cause and effect. Which of course is impossible.

I want to be more free. But in order to do that I need others to want to be free. I don’t want to coerce anyone to want to be free that would be a negation of the concept itself. And I don’t want God to alter the physical laws of the Universe to deliver a Bugati into my driveway out of thin air or make a women I have feelings for love me. . These are mere fantasies. This type of prayer degrades a my ability to rationally view myself and  the world. And this limits myability to improve my lot in  life . This is why a lot of folks who don’t believe this turn to Voting and Praying. They are promised by Preachers and Politicians that they can escape the Law of Cause and Effect and get something for nothing.

I want everyone to be free and successful. I believe the best way for that to occur is when man acts rationally, doesn’t seek to make supplications to God or Government to appropriate goods or services without a mutually benefical exchange. (Which all voluntary transactions are.)

By the way only 33% of the colonists wanted to secede from Great Britain, 33% didn’t and 33% didn’t care. Today in America that means we would need 100 million people to want to be free.

A lot of folks want to be free but are fearful of it. They hear they should be self responsible but don’t understand the concept. They hear they should be able to take care of themselves but they don’t know how.

My next post will be all about the link between Confidence, Competence and Freedom. Every thought we have pushes the world towards more or less freedom. From this day On I am being optimistic about the cause of freedom and start organizing 100 million Americans who want to be free. But it all starts with me and the thoughts running around the 7.8 lbs lump of grey matter in my skull. And so it does with you.

You can not prosper in the long run without pursuing your rational self-interest. And you can only do this by using your God-given gift of Reason and that is the only true path to prosperity.

Brad Miller


  1. Very thought-provoking. Thanks for getting these ideas out there.


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