A question comes to mind when reading all of the posts on Ed Felten’s Blog Freedom to Tinker and the several posts of Tim Lee at Tech Liberation Front, about the many security flaws in the Diebold electronic voting machines.
Given the likelihood for widespread fraud, and the loss of transarency, to our elections, what is to be done?
Granted it would be preferable to wait, and let the processes of the free press, and our democratic institutions to take action, and eliminate these machines, but is that really the best course of action, given the reality that this process may be extremely slow and not achieve results before the 2008 elections?
One could make the case that the time has come to take direct action against theses machines, which are instrumentalities for the elimination of democracy.
Certainly, in the past, items that were a less threat to our democracy have resulted in some violent action, and even war. Perhaps these voting machines are more of a threat than Saddam ever was.
My own natural inclination, influenced greatly by my non-violent Mennonite heritage, is that violence is never justified, especially against people.
But what if that violence were only directed towards machines, with the aim of preserving democracy, would violence pehaps be justified then?
It woud be a simple matter to smash, say the screens of these machines, rendering them inoperative, without bodily hurting anyone. Would that type of limited action be justified? Would a moral citizen, who wants to preserve democracy, have a duty to commit such an act?
I ask this question.