Friday, October 24, 2008

It's Time to Put My Thinking Cap On

Because a casual perusal of the following has left me confused:

Tell 'em, pt. 2:

Your individual vote for president -- the marked ballot itself, I mean, the thing you turn in that gets counted -- has no practical significance. The result of the election will be the same whether your ballot gets lost or not...To vote is not to choose an officeholder...On this analysis, Zippy's observations of the negligible "influence one's vote has over the outcome in national elections," while true, are irrelevant...The immediate object of a vote is not to influence the outcome in national elections, so the fact that a vote doesn't influence the outcome doesn't tell you very much about the vote itself.

Read the whole thing.

(Via Disputations.)

Grrr... I'm going to having to read the previous posts, go to the links, read them and then sit down and think about all this. I have internalized the idea that voting is a sacred obligation in a democracy. When I vote I'm always imagining that it's possible that my vote might make the difference.

I vote from the conviction that it could happen that the election is decided by one vote and so I need to take my vote very seriously. I'm not clear how all this analysis might affect that vision. I'm not sympathetic to the idea that my vote "has no practical significance" (though it's true that I've never actually participated in a one-vote decision). Such an idea would certainly have made spoiling my ballot less unpalatable or even justified simply staying at home.

Democracy is hard. No wonder the Barbie-level thinkers of the world tend to choose some form of dictatorship.

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