Thursday, 22 September 2016

The case for (& against) voting


Libertarian Bryan Caplan is a non-voter. Libertarian David Henderson votes. They both reckon they’ve got killing arguments for their position.

“My honest answer [against voting] begins with extreme disgust,” says Bryan Caplan. And when you have to choose between Grotesque or Corrupt, who wouldn’t be disgusted with the choice? But Caplan’s not even talking about  the candidates, he’s talking about the voters as well:

When I look at voters, I see human beings at their hysterical, innumerate worst.  When I look at politicians, I see mendacious, callous bullies.  Yes, some hysterical, innumerate people are more hysterical and innumerate than others.  Yes, some mendacious, callous bullies are more mendacious, callous, and bully-like than others.  But even a bare hint of any of these traits appalls me.  When someone gloats, "Politifact says Trump is pants-on-fire lying 18% of the time, versus just 2% for Hillary," I don't want to cheer Hillary.  I want to retreat into my Bubble, where people dutifully speak the truth or stay silent.

But he does recognise that politicians do listen to votes, especially protest votes; and he would vote, were the odds sufficient:

If I had a 5% chance of tipping an electoral outcome, I might hold my nose, scrupulously compare the leading candidates, and vote for the Lesser Evil.  Indeed, if, like von Stauffenberg, I had a 50/50 shot of saving millions of innocent lives by putting my own in grave danger, I'd consider it.  But I refuse to traumatize myself for a one-in-a-million chance of moderately improving the quality of [domestic] governance.  And one-in-a-million is grossly optimistic.

David Henderson finds this underwhelming, pointing out that “he wasn't saying that other people shouldn't vote; rather, he was saying that he found voting ‘traumatising’" and would prefer the “inner peace” of abstinence. He quotes a commenter who expresses his own view, that of someone who writes to influence people’s opinions :

If you're an influential opinion leader, voting isn't just about your single vote. It's about setting an example.

For myself, it’s generally always simple: Don’t vote, it only encourages them. So I only vote when I want to do that.

Which means, in the current council elections, staying at home and using the ballot paper for kindling. Because who would want to encourage any of the big-spending monument-building options on offer in Auckland.

And for some people, bless ‘em, the options are even worse:



1 comment:

  1. Oh the humanity. That ballot paper should be enough to make more people leave Chch than the earthquakes did.


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