You can make the text box larger! Slightly. Bottom right dot arrow thing.
So. Your first paragraph is basically a list of services America renders. What say you to the argument that it is the duty of a state that imposes its will on its citizenry to render those services? There's one potential counter-argument. Another is simply that I pay taxes for those very things; like I said, I consider paying taxes a social contract for which I am rewarded with public works, stable food prices, all your other points. So on. Fair? The third argument, the one that seems slightly selfish no matter how I endeavor not to make it thus, is that I simply don't use almost all of the services you mentioned. Health care, public schools? There are taxes for that, paid in full. Food stamps? Nope. Governmental health care -- well, Aetna is an MCO, so kind of, but certainly not by choice. Public safety along the lines of what you mentioned? Expected, in my opinion. The baseline shouldn't be Iran. Agriculture subsidies, corporate subsidies -- definitely use those indirectly, good point. But I've read a few too many books on the American political process to think that those were put together for the common man.
So in the sense that I take part in the American economy, I owe my country that it is stable. I don't want to come off as a) ungrateful or b) oblivious to the difference between growing up in Equitorial Guinea and the US, as many anarcho-capitalists etc do. No. By far the stronger of the arguments are the former two, in my opinion. But I refuse to feel guilt about not voting because I am offered the opportunity to use many services which I do not need.
The decisions that have to be made every day on that level in terms of economic policy (trade deals, supply routes, sanctions, etc.), security (who do we drone today?), diplomacy- these are all executed with our national well-being in mind. Which doesn't always equal out to your or my personal well-being. But without the one, the other is much less guaranteed.
So let's say the state makes all these nasty decisions, and then we sit all cozy with our property rights and basic freedoms and, yes, relatively strong national security and we say: "I can't condone this, so I'm not voting." Do you see the problem with that?
Okay, what you're getting at makes perfect sense. But ... I'm not convinced that voting for the sake of the "right to criticize" is any nobler than abstention. Especially because before I moved I lived in one of the most gerrymandered areas in the history of the country. Does that ridiculous train wreck give my abstention the moral high ground? Does having the high ground even matter? I do lean pro-government, politically -- far more so than many on hubski -- so it's not like I go around waving a stick in the air (at least no often, and only when I get really mad). But I find it fascinating that you keep equating voting with responsibility, with morality -- when it's not clear to me that voting gives me either of those. It's a wonderful argument and I'm not not convinced -- but the ironclad fact remains that people beyond my ken have basically taken voting on a national level away from me. I don't even really begrudge them that, because I want to avoid the hypocrisy; they're just furthering their own interests.
I mean, yeah, but you'll be hard-pressed to find a place where provided services don't have a cost. Just because you have to buy into national benefit doesn't mean that America is suddenly worse for your state of existence than, I dunno, Russia or Brazil or Saudi Arabia.
We agree this far, we're just hung up on what the cost should be. I wonder. Anyway, I spent last summer backpacking around western Europe; I'd like to live somewhere there, or Canada, or Australia, or anywhere really. My primary motivation for moving is less "get out" than it is to explore, but the "get out" is an underlying current.