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Thread: Democracy and Political Ignorance: Why Smaller Government IS Smarter by Ilya Somin

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    Democracy and Political Ignorance: Why Smaller Government IS Smarter by Ilya Somin

    Retired vacation reading long anticipated. I am on Seabrook Island, SC, near Charleston, to ride 'bicycle' but it is raining, so I d/l'ed subject book to my KINDLE.

    The prologue to the Introduction is from James Madison, "Letter to William T. Barry, Aug 4, 1822," in Writings, ed Jack N. Rakove (New York: Library of America, 1999), 790.

    A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance. And a people who mean to be their own Governors must arm themselves with the Power that knowledge gives. --James Madison

    As I say, "Good people ought to be armed as they will, with wits and guns and The Truth."
    I am responsible for my writing, not your understanding of it.

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    Why political ignorance is rational

    WHY POLITICAL IGNORANCE IS RATIONAL Political ignorance is rational because an individual voter has virtually no chance of influencing the outcome of an election—possibly less than one in one hundred million in the case of a modern U.S. presidential election. 6 A recent analysis concluded that in the 2008 presidential election, American voters had a roughly one in sixty million chance of casting a decisive vote, varying from one in ten million in a few small states to as low as one in one billion in some large states such as California.(William H. Riker and Peter Ordeshook, “A Theory of the Calculus of Voting,” American Political Science Review 62 (1968): 25–42; Andrew Gelman, Nate Silver, and Aaron Edlin, “What Is the Probability That Your Vote Will Make a Difference? Economic Inquiry 50 (2012): 321–26. The economist Anthony Downs formulated the theory of rational ignorance back in the 1950s. See Anthony Downs, An Economic Theory of Democracy (New York: Harper & Row, 1957), ch. 13. 7. Andrew Gelman, et al., “What Is the Probability that Your Vote Will Make a Difference?”, 322–24.)
    I am responsible for my writing, not your understanding of it.

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