segunda-feira, fevereiro 10, 2014

The cruel joke of voting

TGIF: The cruel joke of sacralizing voting por Sheldon Richman:
Since the individual act of voting has no practical consequences — even if one’s preferred candidate should win, one would pay only a tiny percentage of any resulting expense; most of the burden would fall on others — the system encourages irresponsibility. An individual voter is like a toddler in a car seat with a pretend steering wheel. Under these circumstances, most people have zero incentive to undertake the considerable effort and expense it would require to become seriously informed. It would mean, not only learning about the candidates, but also studying economics (among other disciplines) in order to judge the candidates’ promises. The overwhelming majority of people are too busy making a living and caring for their families, or otherwise disinclined, to invest so many hours and dollars for so little benefit. That is why people, who are constantly urged to vote, know so little about the political system or the raging controversies.

The “informed voter” is thus a chimera. Since people can’t vote on the basis of serious knowledge, they vote on superficial bases, such as how candidates make them feel about themselves or how well candidates conform to long-held, unexamined irrational biases.
Compare this systemic irresponsibility with the responsibility people routinely exercise in the marketplace and the rest of civil society, venues where their choices and actions really matter because they expect to reap the benefits and pay the costs.

In this light, sacralizing voting looks like a cruel joke, a costly distraction if we value liberty and justice.

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