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Old 10-05-2008, 11:13 PM
aleeds aleeds is offline
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 3
Default Re: Free Will: In Defense of Not Voting

The philosophy: Where possible, one should not engage in an action that harms others if abstention requires low costs to oneself, therefore one should not vote badly.

Duh. This required a paper?

The political science: Some democratic theorists (Schumpeter, etc.) long ago pointed out that people cannot be expected to choose well between two candidates. (In case you had any doubt, the razor thin margins by which presidential elections are decided these days are clear evidence for the essential randomness of the outcomes.) Collective decision making through these kinds of voting systems really doesn't result in a meaningful choice. The exception is when an incumbent has already royally screwed up. In that case, pretty much anyone can recognize that it's time to kick the idiot out.

Schumpeter concluded that it's participation that matters, since it holds the system together by kicking disasters out of office, cycling maniacs out via term limits, and keeping politicians moderately attentive to the populace and the populace moderately loyal to politicians.

Any philosophical commentary on voting "well" or "badly" begins with a basic misunderstanding of the function of democratic systems. As a result, this paper is not only obvious in its conclusions but also irrelevant.
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