Art Carden  

Some Election Day Reading, Watching, and Listening

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Crime, Education, and the NLSY... The "it doesn't matter" theori...

1. Jason Brennan, "The General Challenge to People Who Believe There's a Duty to Vote"

Brennan argues that it is disrespectful to call non-voters "free riders" on good governance. Abstention, however, can be an exercise in virtue. The non-voter who recognizes his or her limitations refrains from helping impose bad governance on others.

1a. Alberto Mingardi, "Non-voting is a right too"

Econlog co-blogger Alberto Mingardi discusses this earlier post from Brennan.

2. Art Carden, "Battle of the Speeches"

At the margin, we should lift up commercial innovation and downplay politics. From the standpoint of human flourishing, Steve Jobs unveiling the iPad was more important that Barack Obama's 2010 State of the Union Address.

3. Stephen Davies, "Visions of History: Ways of Seeing the Past"

This is an hour-long video lecture, and it's one of my favorites. Davies, with whom I co-taught at an IHS seminar in 2009, points out that we usually view history through the lenses of power. When people think about "important dates" in history, they think about the dates of battles or elections or assassinations. They don't think about the dates like "when the first Ford car rolled off the assembly line" or "when the shipping container was first used" or "when the iPhone/iPad/whatever was unveiled."

4. EconTalk with Bryan Caplan on The Myth of the Rational Voter.

One could argue that the well-informed have a duty to vote because it moves the preferences of the median voter and, therefore, raises the quality of public policy. For the individual, however, I suspect that appreciably moving the median has about the same probability as casting the decisive vote.


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COMMENTS (3 to date)
Pajser writes:

Art Carden: "One could argue that the well-informed have a duty to vote because it moves the preferences of the median voter and, therefore, raises the quality of public policy. For the individual, however, I suspect that appreciably moving the median has about the same probability as casting the decisive vote."

Dangerous but relatively small Soviet army unit invades USA. You give advice to good American soldiers: don't fight, because probability that you'll individually make decisive influence is small. What happens if good American soldiers accept your advice? USA fight against Soviets with bad soldiers only?

Why libertarians consistently have the problem with that? Other people do not have such problems.

Dain writes:

Pajser,

War is a seemingly immutable fact of life everywhere and always, with a great deal at stake. Mass democracy is hardly the same.

Also soldiers are at least as motivated to have each other's back, so not doing one's duty is actually deadly (perhaps the officer corps alone is actually motivated for ideological reasons). Can you really say the same about voters?

Jim Glass writes:

"The General Challenge to People Who Believe There's a Duty to Vote"

I can't help but refer to this, the result of mandatory voting in Brazil (combined with taxpayer financed election campaigns)...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-n6hvPP06Rs

Enjoy. The defense of voluntary voting rests.

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