Democracy and Political Ignorance

Source: Libertarianism.

The podcast explores various ways political decisions in a democracy are made in ignorance.

“The idea of democracy is that the citizens should decide how they’re governed and what policies their government adopts, and they way they do this is via the ballot box. But what if the voters are too ignorant about what makes good policy—or even about the effects of bad policy—to vote well in the first place?”

The recurring problem that leads to political ignorance is that each of our votes is diluted by other peoples’ votes. One vote is so cheap that it has no incentive value to the voter. And because there is no cost associated with voting in ignorance, many people do.

There is no real solution to the problem of political ignorance, according to the podcast. Things that won’t reverse the ignorance include:

  • Mandatory voting
  • Deliberative democracy (townhalls, e.g.)
  • Civics education
  • Technocracy (letting “experts” decide political issues)
  • Restricting the franchise

However, the intractable problem of political ignorance should be a factor in deciding how large and centralized we allow our government to be.

20 thoughts on “Democracy and Political Ignorance

  1. All the more reason for making voting more difficult.

    I would propose a scavenger hunt, starting at the previous year’s polling place with a clue to the next station on the hunt, with 2 or 3 simple clues to follow before reaching this election’s polling place. Nothing too difficult, just enough to make it an effort to vote.

    Those willing to put in a couple of hours effort to find the polls are more likely to have made the effort to be informed.

    Like

    1. So long as the clues are race and gender appropriate, and the whole system can be administered by mail, I see no objection.

      Like

        1. Any restrictions on gun ownership, even by those who are mentally incompetent, and the outrage from the right is loud and clear.

          Restrictions on voting, however, is no problem. Even when the stated objective is to keep Republicans in office.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. My stated objection was to limit voting to those who care enough about it to be informed.

            It is purely coincidence that results in Democrats not being elcted.

            Or maybe not

            Like

    2. “Those willing to put in a couple of hours effort to find the polls are more likely to have made the effort to be informed.”

      That rules out the impatient T**** voting bloc.😇

      Like

  2. The political ignorance I see is people voting for whomever gives them more free money not balancing the fiscal check book. That is what chaps my behind. The Democratic welfare state is a perfect reason for idlers and baby factories to keep on doing nothing but making babies and complaining about some grand conspiracy against them.

    Like

    1. When was the last time the Republicans balanced the “fiscal checkbook”?

      Borrow and spend is not prudent. Paying for what you want through tax revenues is.

      As such, if cheating on taxes is a virtue, then the past president is a paragon of righteousness.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Forgetting the $2 Trillion added to the deficit in 2017 with the Tax “reform” act.

      Freebies to the rich and big corporations are much more damaging. Why? Because, as been proven every time attempted, trickle down DOESN’T.

      Like

      1. Not being the highest corporate taxing country in the world is more in line with promoting job GROWTH than passing out checks to lazy asses who don’t want to work. Didn’t Biden just spend $2 trillion is his first 50 days?

        Like

        1. Yeah, but it didn’t result in growth of anything except stock holders wallets.

          Three time in recent history tax cuts for corporations were passed with the idea that it would trickle down to the rest of us. It still hasn’t and it never will.

          Passing out checks to those who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own and to keep them and the economy afloat until the jobs are recovered. The idea that paying people to not work has been tossed around and proven to be another BIG LIE.

          You seem to believe a lot of those.

          Like

  3. Democracy is not based in the belief that the will of the people is right, but in the notion that the people will be guided in the right direction by bitter experiences.

    And for that, we thank you for Trump and your continued bitterness.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. RE: “Democracy is not based in the belief that the will of the people is right, but in the notion that the people will be guided in the right direction by bitter experiences.”

      In practice there is little evidence that voters learn from their mistakes. Assuming Trump was a mistake, he should not have received more votes in 2020 than in 2016. But he did.

      Like

      1. …”he should not have received more votes in 2020 than in 2016.”

        When the number of votes cast increases by 16% (136.75 million (2016); 158.38 million (2020), even a loser is likely to get more votes.

        So not everyone thought he was a mistake. But a lot more did than didn’t.

        T**** lost the popular vote count in BOTH elections. That fact is not in dispute (or it shouldn’t be). So twice, more voters thought he was a mistake.

        Like

      2. High voter participation thanks to absentee and mail in voting contributed to both candidate totals.

        The will of the people was to keep the GOP candidates they wanted and dump the president.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The point is to not confuse the outcome of an election with “the will of the people.” The very existence of the problem of political ignorance as described in the podcast shows that outcomes and intentions are not necessarily related.

          Like

          1. Then the podcast is silly. Not sure if is as satirical as The Onion, but the “will of the people:” is, and always be what is presently in the minds of the voters. The will of some people in 2016 was for T**** to be president. In 2020, some of those people’s will changed.

            It is not necessarily “political ignorance”. It is just some people are more susceptible to snake oil than others.

            You’re dangerously close to calling all voters stupid, which is no way to win an argument. He word “deplorables” come to mind. As does the phrase “47% will never vote for us.” (paraphrased)

            Liked by 1 person

          2. “…But what if the voters are too ignorant about what makes good policy—or even about the effects of bad policy—to vote well in the first place?”

            We certainly saw the effects of that after the 2016 election. And the carryover to the 2020 when the ignorance of conspiracies superseded the truth about Hugo Chavez’s role in our election. Or Dominion. Or Smartmatic. Or “suitcases under tables”. Or that the VP could unilaterally overturn an election. Or that wearing a mask is unpatriotic but rushing statehouses is not.

            Yeah, I see the point of your author.

            Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s