15 Sep 2008

"It Doesn’t Matter Who[m] You Vote For, Just Go Vote!"

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So I heard two radio DJs urging the other day. This never made sense to me, even putting aside my objections to the modern system of government. Shouldn’t the true fan of Civics 101 say something like, “Go educate yourself and then vote!” ? I mean really, what good does it do to urge people to go vote, when these are the very people who are going to be the most ignorant? Let’s “think like an economist” for a moment here. Those DJs are going to influence only the group of people who were otherwise going to not vote, but needed to hear two knuckleheads on the radio give them a guilt trip about it. How politically informed is this group of people likely to be?

In fairness, I suppose you could have a worldview where The Man relies on voter apathy to get his way, and any normal person dropped in a voting booth would likely thwart The Man’s intentions just by showing up. Ah, not so fast: Our wonderful system is rigged so that there are only two “serious” choices. So to make this worldview work, our DJs would have to think that in every race, there is one obvious candidate who is evil, while the other is good, and that the millions of people who vote in the evil person (because the wholesome, good, average folk stayed home on election day) are evil too.

Nope, I don’t think that’s it. I think the whole system is rigged so it doesn’t matter who you vote for. (Yes yes, “for whom you vote” would have been more proper.)

I would like to debate one of these “Get out the vote!” people. I’d ask, “Suppose there is someone who wakes up from a 5-year coma on Election Day. Should he go vote, or do you admit that maybe it would be better if he stayed home and deferred to everybody else?”

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