Thursday, February 14, 2008

Voter apathy...

We really shouldn't think of voting as a way to get what we want - to elect someone about whom we are enthusiastic.   If we are lucky enough to be able to do that, great.   But really, voting is a lot like jailing criminals.   We need to vote because if we don't, criminals--politicians who will treat us particularly badly--will be free to do so.

It's a civic duty because we need to protect ourselves from the idiot King Georges of the world, not because we can enact our dreams through some Sacred King.   If we want to enact our dreams, we should just get to work, and not wait for a Sacred King, whom we have elected, to realize them for us.   This will never happen.


Anonymous Perry E. Metzger said...

Well, that's one argument. A second argument (which I will not claim I am sure I agree with) holds that by voting, we're giving our sanction to what bad people do with the power of their offices (including initiating acts of violence), and that if no one voted, there would be no conveyance of apparent legitimacy to either the bad system or to the bad politicians.

Yet another school holds that both of these opinions are sophistry and that (fundamentally) your actions in voting (or not voting) are neither an effective defense against possibly worse choices nor a moral sanction for the possible evil done in your name, because the act of voting is so far detached from the actions of politicians and because an individual vote has so little power.

It is hard to know what position is most reasonable, so I generally just take a nap.

Thursday, February 14, 2008 1:27:00 AM  
Blogger Ted Lemon said...

This is precisely why I propose thinking about it differently. In practice, we never vote *for* anyone. Really, in practice, we generally vote *against* someone. E.g. in the primary I voted *against* Hillary. Why? Because I think she would do the most damage.

The fact is that we *don't* have a choice as to who gets elected. We can't. There's no chance at all that someone we'd really want to be elected to any significant office will be. So on a practical level I don't think it makes sense to think of voting as a proactive ethical choice. Rather, it is reactive, and its function is to prevent something from happening, not to make something happen.

So then I don't think you can be morally contaminated by it: the immoral act is to *not* try to stop the person you think is most evil.

Thursday, February 14, 2008 11:24:00 AM  
Anonymous kimba said...

I'm confused ...

Friday, February 15, 2008 12:46:00 AM  
Blogger Catmoves said...

Many years ago, in the damn near perfect world time, I was truly privileged to be able to cast my vote FOR someone. There were many good men and women running for various offices and sometimes one's choice was so difficult you felt like flipping a coin.
Unfortunately those days are gone, the rust and corrosion of not so honest and deserving people destroy a huge part of the American Dream.
Unhappily, I find myself voting AGAINST people instead of FOR them. For far too many years now. I have noticed that even today I feel like flipping a coin in deciding which candidate doesn't deserve my vote the most.

Thursday, March 20, 2008 1:42:00 AM  

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