Today we discuss the Dish’s view on how to properly conduct yourself in a democratic republic. Lesson one: Cast an informed vote.
Conor, take it away:
First, the cost of casting an informed vote — one that distinguishes rationally between a variety of complicated public policy positions and sifts through a lot of campaign lying — is much, much higher than the cost of buying a lottery ticket. Casting an informed vote requires hundreds of hours of attention, often to highly trivial and/or highly tedious subjects. Second, the monetary value of avoiding the Iraq war is not $1 trillion for an individual voter. That benefit is spread across the present and future taxpaying population! Even if the expected social value of your swing-state vote is $100,000, the individual value would be that divided by several hundred million. So the individual expected benefit would probably be less than a cent.
Of course, one might have strong moral reasons for opposing the Iraq War, and those are difficult to quantify. But that was also the point of the original post: that we don’t vote for our “rational” individual benefit. We vote for plenty of good reasons, though.
Sure, yes, we vote for “plenty of good reasons.” They’re just reasons that pertain to “highly trivial and/or highly tedious subjects.” Subjects as trivial and tedious as, who’s got the better health care plan! And who’s more likely to drive the country off a fucking cliff! And how to convince people that voting against their economic interest out of racism and xenophobia doesn’t make sense!!!
I miss Andrew. Even though he’s a dick, he’s at least got some dignity.