The Myth of the Rational Voter was Re: [FoRK] What is Reason?

Aaron Burt <aaron at> on Mon May 7 14:57:13 PDT 2007

On Mon, May 07, 2007 at 04:04:38PM -0500, Jeff Bone wrote:
> On May 7, 2007, at 3:41 PM, Aaron Burt wrote:
> >Reading this:
> >I got the impression that the book was a bunch of whining about how
> >those stoopid voters don't understand how Chicago-school neoliberal
> >policies are actually GOOD for them.  In theory, anyway.  *cough*
> I wouldn't characterize it that way;  I'd characterize it as a  
> serious attempt to address one of the thorny problems that's long  
> plagued the application of economic political science to real-world  
> experience.
> Understand:  the thing that's being beat up here is *itself* one of  
> those Chicago-school (figuratively, not literally) concepts:  the  
> classical explanation of how a democracy can theoretically give rise  
> to rational net outcomes given largely, but not exclusively, "random"  
> voting by constituents uninformed on a given issue. <snip>

Ah.  Far more interesting than his essay led me to believe.  (Of course,
he WAS selling the book to Cato groupies, which might explain the pitch.)

If I can slip it into my schedule, I might take a look.  I'm curious if
his take on politics is cynical enough to note that voters choose
packaged products (mostly politicians, sometimes laws) not policies.

The few times that the results actually match the packaging are the
jackpots that keep us pulling the lever on the voting machine.

I just want a system that doesn't reward constant meddling,

Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere,
diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies. --Groucho Marx

More information about the FoRK mailing list