Voting is a lousy way to express yourself

If your voting can’t determine the outcome of an election, attempting to determine it is a poor reason to vote. Plus, it takes time and money (for gasoline) that could have gone to something that would have actually made a difference.

Observe that I ruled out only one reason for voting: to determine the result. My argument says nothing about other motivations, such as feeling good or identifying with a particular community or getting a sticker to display to your co-workers.

The point is that casting a vote is hardly a way to express oneself that counts. It’s a really poor way to “speak out.”

This all has deep implications for the political system. Since the individual act of voting has no practical consequences — even if one’s preferred candidate should win, one would pay only a tiny percentage of any resulting expense; most of the burden would fall on others — the system encourages irresponsibility. An individual voter is like a toddler in a car seat with a pretend steering wheel. Under these circumstances, most people have zero incentive to undertake the considerable effort and expense it would require to become seriously informed. It would mean, not only learning about the candidates, but also studying economics (among other disciplines) in order to judge the candidates’ promises. The overwhelming majority of people are too busy making a living and caring for their families, or otherwise disinclined, to invest so many hours and dollars for so little benefit. That is why people, who are constantly urged to vote, know so little about the political system or the raging controversies.

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