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THOREAU, Henry David. "Voting" (From Civil Disobedience)

samedi 20 décembre 2008, par ps

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All voting is a sort of gaming, like checkers or backgammon, with a
slight moral tinge to it, a playing with right and wrong, with moral
questions ; and betting naturally accompanies it. The character of the
voters is not staked.

I cast my vote, perchance, as I think right ; but I am not vitally
concerned that that right should prevail. I am willing to leave it to
the majority.

Its obligation, therefore, never exceeds that of expediency. Even
voting for the right is doing nothing for it. It is only expressing to
men feebly your desire that it should prevail.

A wise man will not leave the right to the mercy of chance, nor wish
it to prevail through the power of the majority. There is but little
virtue in the action of masses of men. When the majority shall at
length vote for the abolition of slavery, it will be because they are
indifferent to slavery, or because there is but little slavery left to
be abolished by their vote. They will then be the only slaves.

Only his vote can hasten the abolition of slavery who asserts his own
freedom by his vote.


Cast your whole vote, not a strip of paper merely, but your whole influence.