It’s not entirely my fault I’m an idiot

Now and again, you read one of these “Oh my God, the voters in this country are so stupid!!!” pieces.  The last one I remember was last September, and now Alexander Burns at Politico has a new one. I say what I said before: yes, there are many uninformed voters; however, it is actually very hard to be an informed voter. I mean, I think of myself as an informed voter–who doesn’t?–but the truth is to have any business making these decisions I’d have to spend all my time researching the issues. And that’s just not practical.

As I’ve said before, the alternative is to accept summaries of issues by reading a few experts, and vote based on what they tell you. But that’s also very dangerous because

  1. Sometimes, even experts are wrong.
  2. Experts are also corruptible.
  3. Sometimes, half the experts say one thing, and the other half say the opposite. (This is especially true in economics)

It’s easy to say “people are uninformed”. But when you think about it, it’s extremely time-consuming to be well-informed. Moreover, political parties try very hard to convince their members that the opposing parties are nothing but a lot of morons led by a few villainous overlords. Consequently, the party system ensures that both sides will always think the other, since it believes in all the opposite policies, is woefully and willfully uninformed.


  1. You go with the party that at least says they’re for the same things you are. It’s up to you to prioritize what’s important. A good economy with high paying jobs or a few greedy bankers making paupers of everyone else.
    Unfortunately too many voters proritize keeping women from contraception and abortions over their economic interests.

    1. You’re exactly right. But that’s what so troubling to me–I think a lot of these voters *know* they’re voting against their economic interests, and are basically saying “I’m willing to ruin my own job prospects to keep women from having these things.”

      To me, that’s even worse than if they had simply been duped into voting against their self-interest.

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