The Myth of the Rational Voter was Re: [FoRK] What is Reason?
<jbone at place.org> on
Mon May 7 07:27:13 PDT 2007
On May 7, 2007, at 12:28 AM, Albert S. wrote:
> I like your exposition on the political implications
> of accusing others of non-reason.
I plugged this book here earlier, pre-publication, just on the basis
of familiarity w/ the author; I finally received my copy last week
and it's WELL worth the read.
Summary --- the often discussed "dilemma of democracy" is the
question of how a group of mostly-ignorant (on the relevant issues)
voters can, though democratic processes, produce desirable
governmental outcomes. The usual escape hatch is this: if you
assume that the choices made by ignorant voters are randomly
distributed, then they will tend to cancel each other out --- and
hence the educated voters, acting rationally, will cast votes that by
comparison have more weight, and the desirable outcome is therefore
The problem is this: there's a huge amount of evidence to suggest
that the ignorant voters do not in fact vote randomly. They appear
to have systematic biases that indeed are "non-rational" --- i.e.
effecting outcomes that are demonstrably not in their own best
jb sez check it out.
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