Freiman: How Is Voting Like the SAT?
I recently had the privilege of reading an advance copy of philosopher Chris Freiman‘s Why It’s OK to Ignore Politics. (You may know Chris from such nerdtastic venues as Unreasonable Anti-Rawls Memes). Here’s one highlight on the cost of voting.
Yes, Freiman concedes, merely going to the polls and filling in your ballot takes an hour or so. But filling in the ballot intelligently takes many years of time. Here’s why:
Merely voting may only take an hour or so at periodically available, formally arranged times, but voting with care takes a much larger commitment of time and energy to politics. By analogy, it’s false that “answering SAT questions with care” is an easy thing to do simply because the SAT only requires a few hours at periodically available, formally arranged times. The real investment takes place long before the test. Similarly, the real investment in voting with care takes place long before the polls open. Doing it with care is costly, which in turn soaks up more resources from other moral endeavors.
Nov 11 2019 at 10:28pm
Yes, thought unlike with the SAT, it’s OK to bring a cheat sheet with you into the voting booth. So multiple people can pool their efforts.
Nov 12 2019 at 8:48am
Felicity Huffman disagrees.
Nov 12 2019 at 1:15pm
It’s even worse than the SAT. Even when you’ve ascertained the right answers to all the issues, there is the game-theoretic uncertainty of whether voting for the right candidate is best in the long run. Maybe a one term President Sanders/Trump would usher in a Neo-Liberal/Socialst golden age.
Personally, for me participation — voting, blog-commenting, donating, canvassing — is regret reduction. If I win, I’m happy; if I lose, I did my best.
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