Thursday, October 9, 2014

Voters are very ignorant, and that should terrify you

Voters are very ignorant, and that should terrify you:

Voters are very ignorant about the basic facts of politics. This is where Americans fall when asked what the US government spends the most on:

Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 13.20.14And here is how the money is actually spent:

Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 13.23.00As I’ve often asked before, how can we possibly expect voters to elect the right people if they know so little about the issues at stake? It’s like asking a blind man to be your ship’s navigator.

Governments have vast powers and responsibilities. Their reach is essentially limitless. And the people who decide what they do are hopelessly ill-informed about the world. Forget the Hayekian knowledge problem – the voter ignorance problem means democracies cannot hope to elect decent governments with the priorities and policies that the voters themselves would want if they were well-informed.

Elite rule might have been the answer, but elites are dogmatic, closed-minded ideologues. No, there does not seem to be any group we can rely on to rule. Voter ignorance should make us extremely reluctant to bring the state in to solve some problem we’re having.

And before you tell me that democracy is the worst system we know of, apart from all the others: Are you sure?