Monday, March 2, 2020

Choose Your Own Adventure - Voter Edition

Choose one of the following ideological menu items by candidate:

Welcome to big-government democracy. Democracy is better than the rest, but the strong-state version has big shortcomings that are widely underappreciated. This is not an argument against voting. Let's assume that your vote counts; in fact, let's assume it is the only vote that does. If we assume a strong, powerful government that will be called upon to play a role in most affairs, we are doomed to a world filled with disappointment. This is true even for you, the sole voter. Surely this, a small sampling of each candidate's views, has conflicts with your own preferences. If not, let me present you with a longer list to certainly reveal disagreement.

Beyond you there is the rest of us. If we can find someone for each of the four candidates whose interests align at least in the strongly opposes and strongly supports positions, we will therefore have the ingredients for at least three disappointed people. But the problem is deeper than that. Each issue above is but a category unto itself filled with a myriad of nuanced issues. I would imagine the three candidates who strongly support government involvement in education have important differences in how they would effectuate that desire.

It should be clear from this alone that the will of the people is a silly mythVoting doesn't count in two fundamental ways: (1) in any typical election you can be reasonably certain your vote will not determine the outcome, and (2) even if your vote did determine the outcome, you could be reasonably certain that outcome would be disappointing.

If all you do is vote, the best you can hope for is a political climate that is conducive to the changes you want and resistant to the changes you oppose. In that sense it is like standing in an open field as a storm approaches hoping that lightning does not strike you.

Rather than just vote, I recommend thoughtful advocacy, approachable engagement (pick your battles but be prepared and respectful enough to kindly offer your disagreements), a willingness and ability to change your mind, but also a fundamental resistance to the power and growth of the state. The more we ask the government to do, the more we demand to be disappointed. 

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