Recusancy is not difficult to justify. For one thing, a single vote is supremely unlikely to affect the outcome even in local elections. “Ah,” you say, “but if everyone who argued that voted, the results would in fact be different!” Unfortunately, since the Reform Bill of 1832, purchasing the votes of every eligible elector in common-law jurisdictions has become ruinously expensive. This would not be the case if we adopted a scheme called “Demeny voting” that would allow parents to vote on behalf of their minor children; under such an arrangement by the next presidential election my household would likely have a 6 or 7 to 3.93 advantage over the average American family, and we would skip to the polls whistling the Te Deum.

Meanwhile, the public enthusiasm that surrounds voting is out of all proportion to its actual consequences, to say nothing of its reputed benefits. What you choose to eat for breakfast on Election Day is vastly more likely to have a meaningful effect on your life than your vote for any candidate. I and millions of others cannot remember a single thing that George W. Bush or Barack Obama or Donald Trump have done that improved or even meaningfully altered our lives, but we can remember dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of life-enhancing morning meals eaten in diners or at McDonald’s or our own kitchen tables.