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Do Voters Have a Moral Duty to Be Informed About Politics?

In a recent paper excerpted by Bryan Caplan, Brown philosopher Jason Brennan argues that the answer to this question is yes, and even suggests that poorly informed citizens have a moral obligation not to exercise the franchise:

Irresponsible individual voters ought to abstain rather than vote badly. This thesis may seem anti-democratic. Yet it is really a claim about voter responsibility and how voters can fail to meet this responsibility. On my view, voters are not obligated to vote, but if they do vote, they owe it to others and themselves to be adequately rational, unbiased, just, and informed about their political beliefs. Similarly, most of us think we are not obligated to become parents, but if we are to be parents, we ought to be responsible, good parents. We are not obligated to become surgeons, but if we do become surgeons, we ought to be responsible, good surgeons. We are not obligated to drive, but if we do drive, we ought to be responsible drivers. The same goes for voting.

Concluding that voters have a moral duty to be informed about politics doesn't require one to also believe that government should deny the franchise to the poorly informed. One can believe that all adult citizens should have a right to vote, while also holding that they have a duty to either become adequately informed or refrain from using that right. The latter obligation may not be enforceable by the government; but that doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. We have many moral duties that cannot or should not be enforced by law. Consider, for example, our moral obligations to our friends. If I betray a friend's trust, the government does not and should not punish me for it. But that doesn't mean that it's a morally acceptable thing to do.

If ignorant voters were choosing leaders and policies only for themselves, there might be no ethical problem with their being ill-informed. They would bear the full cost of their ignorance. Unfortunately, as John Stuart Mill pointed out, to vote is to wield "power over others." The politicians elected by ignorant voters will rule over all of us, knowledgeable and ignorant alike. The ethical voter therefore has a responsibility to his fellow citizens as well as to himself.

Unfortunately, the evidence suggests that the vast majority of citizens are both poorly informed about politics and often highly biased in their evaluation of the information they do know. If citizens do indeed have a duty to either become informed about politics or refrain from casting a ballot, most of them aren't living up to it. I have argued that this is perfectly rational and not a sign of voters' "stupidity." But rational conduct isn't always morally defensible conduct.

I'm not yet completely convinced that citizens have a moral duty to become informed about politics or not vote. Even if they do, it might be overriden by other moral imperatives in some cases (e.g. - if you can't become informed about this year's election because your time is taken up by other pressing moral duties, such as the need to care for a sick relative who requires round-the-clock attention). It's also difficult to determine exactly how much knowledge should be considered sufficient to meet the average voter's moral obligations to fellow citizens. However, I am sympathetic to the general outline of Brennan's argument as I understand it so far. I look forward to reading his paper in detail once I get my hands on the full version.

Jon Roland (mail) (www):
Their moral duty goes further than making an informed decision. To quote myself:

Political corruption begins with every voter who votes his pocketbook instead of for what's good for the country. There is little difference between the selling of his vote by an elected official and the selling of his vote by a voter, to whatever candidate promises him some benefit.
— Jon Roland, speech during his campaign for Congress, 1974

We have a duty to vote for what is best for the country, and it should be noted that the Republican slogan "Country First" seems to express that idea.
9.13.2008 3:31am
a. depaul (mail) (www):
I think people have a moral duty not to vote if the only reason they're doing it is to get a free "Vote or Die" t-shirt from P. Diddy.
9.13.2008 3:37am
Asher (mail):
I guess I'd ask two, somewhat sketchy, questions:

1) can't it be argued that there are effective information shortcuts, such as candidates' party affiliation, that enables uninformed voters to make reasonable choices, where reasonable is defined as choosing a candidate whose views most closely mirror the voter's own policy preferences?

2) Does the information that high-information voters possess ultimately make much, if any, difference in their choices? Or are even these voters' minds mostly made up by other factors - height, race, personal appeal, blind allegiance to party, etc.
9.13.2008 3:39am
Jon Roland (mail) (www):
Voting by party affiliation seems to be based on the delusion that the nominee of a major party has undergone some kind of screening process, similar to that which presidential candidates do. But all too often the party nominates the only candidate who files, with no option to exclude him with a rule like that of the Libertarian Party, of always having "None of the above" (NOTA) on the nomination slate. Some of the people who have gotten on the ballot as major party nominees are not qualified by almost any standard.

Part of being an informed voter is to know whether the candidate was screened, and how.
9.13.2008 3:51am
Asher (mail):
Oh, and most damaging to this argument, I think, is the following. We know that more educated voters tend to skew Democratic. I don't know about more politically informed voters and how they vote, but there's probably a close correlation between education level and information. At this very moment, with McCain beating Obama overall, Obama beats McCain among postgrads by 18 points. Now, maybe the tendency of more educated voters to be more liberal is actually a product of their education making them more knowledgeable and informed. But, suppose the explanation is something else - for example, suppose that higher education systemically biases people leftward. Or, maybe people who opt for higher education tend to be more liberal for whatever reason. In that case, this so-called moral duty, if actually acted on, would leave us with a liberally biased electorate.
9.13.2008 3:56am
JBL:
The main problem with requiring voters to pass a test before they can vote is that I would trust neither the government nor the electorate to design the test.
9.13.2008 4:13am
Lex:
I get the sense what Brennan means is that voters should be informed about the stuff of public policy. But a lot of people think electing a leader is mostly about sizing up their character--what makes them tick, their temperament, what sort of guts or wisdom or leadership capacity they have. Or whether they're basically a phony.

In my experience, educated people are interested in candidates as proxies for their pet policies. They are not that interested in whether their party's guy is or isn't a phony; they're interested in getting their judges elected, adjusting taxes in the right way, or whatever. But, on one view, "sizing up" a potential president (or other official) is more important than making sure you're up on their stance on tariffs. Ironically, it's a "moral" judgment sneered at by those who feel morally entitled to govern the uneducated masses.
9.13.2008 4:13am
Hedberg:
If an individual voter has almost no chance of influencing the outcome of an election and it is therefore rational to be an ignorant voter, doesn't it follow that the immorality involved in being an uninformed voter is trivial? Surely a moral imperative cannot be anything more than trivial if there is virtually no rational basis for choosing the moral behavior over the immoral.

If it is immoral to be an ignorant voter, it seems to me to be the moral equivalent of overtime parking or spitting in the ocean.
9.13.2008 4:27am
trad and anon:
Eugene actually convinced me of the merits of party-line voting five years ago. I have a different preferred party than he does, but I still find his argument convincing. So if a voter is well-informed enough to know which party will better represent their views (which is really easy), I don't think there's a need to become much more informed beyond that, at least for general-election voting.
9.13.2008 5:07am
Chris Chittleborough (mail):
I'm Australian, and voting is compulsory here. (To be precise: you have to submit a ballot, or you'll be fined. You do not have to fill in the ballot properly. In some elections, over 10% of the ballots are invalid.) On the other hand, voting takes place on Saturdays, not on a weekday.

(Slightly off-topic: it seems to me that the main effect of this is that organizations which have a natural ability to Get Out The Vote are much less important in Aus politics than in U.S. politics.)

Anecdotal evidence suggests that more Australians pay some attention to politics than do Americans, and there is hard evidence (going back decades) that more Australians follow and understand basic economics than in other nations. So I wonder if compulsory voting leads to increased "political literacy". IMO, it does make for a healthier political climate (because the parties and the journalists have to reach out to mass audiences, not just those of us who enjoy politics).

Obviously, Libertarians have objections with compulsory voting. Being only somewhat Libertarian, I say the pragmatic benefits outweigh those objections.
9.13.2008 6:31am
Rosooki:
Voting party-line only makes sense because party politics prevail. Can't we ban political parties?

It is the two-party system that makes lazy uninformed voters, because voters choose a candidate's 'brand' rather than his or her actual qualities. People would be forced to find out what a person is actually about if the candidate didn't have a logo on the forehead.
9.13.2008 6:32am
Darrin Ziliak:

We have a duty to vote for what is best for the country, and it should be noted that the Republican slogan "Country First" seems to express that idea.


Indeed.
Using that metric, we should explictly reject John McCain, as he's proposing even larger tax cuts in aggregate than Obama, despite us being involved in two wars and the ballooning national debt.

Your argument for electing Obama is quite persuasive.
9.13.2008 7:34am
BladeDoc (mail):
The problem with this argument is that there is no useful definition of "informed" that anyone will agree upon. For example, assume I am essentially a one issue voter -- I hate government in general and will vote for the individual I believe will shrink (HA!) or at least limit government growth. Why should I be "informed" about any other issue?

I may be making unwarranted assumptions when you unpack this argument made by a Brown University philosopher what you'll find is "The unwashed masses need to be made to understand that the progressive platform is better for them and if you don't get it just SHUT UP and STAY HOME!"

And Darrin even if you don't think we're on the right side of the Laffer curve, even if you don't think that dropping corporate taxes (higher here than most "socialist" countries, and even if you're not a fan of "starving the beast", it's hard to believe that you can't think of any other option to balance the budget than to raise taxes. Hint -- the money goes in, the money goes out.
9.13.2008 8:24am
p. rich (mail) (www):
Many principles fail in the transition to practice, largely because all human institutions are flawed, as are all humans. Pragmatism then dictates that life be a search for "good enough".

Modern education largely fails to educate on the founding principles of our country and the workings of government and economic systems. Democrats would fight, have fought, the imposition of any qualifications for voters - not because Dem voters are so well educated (as a group they are NOT), but because so many would fail to pass even the most basic of tests. The Democratic Party in its present form could not exist in a country populated by objective, informed citizens who actually understood the issues and voted "best for the country".
9.13.2008 10:08am
Jay Myers:
Indeed, we all have a moral duty to be our brother's keeper but that doesn't require us to believe that the government should force us to fulfill that duty. Now if only someone would explain this concept to Obama and his liberal ilk.
9.13.2008 10:17am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
As I mentioned in a similar thread, "politics" could be restricted to the backroom dealing and the struggles to get and remain in public office.
Or it could stretch out to contain history and current events only peripherally connected with politicians.
Problem is, most folks have some familiarity with at least one issue in the latter category. So, notwithstanding their not understanding of how the government gives F&F an economic advantage, some of them know farming. Some know war. Some know roads and sewers. Some know insurance. Some know transportation. Some know energy production. Some know social work and the actual issues of poverty.
The "informed" model is that of a professor or other superior being using his spare time to become informed. Sort of an avocation. For some reason, it does not include really knowing things by virtue of working at them for a living.
Funny, that.
And, of course, this avocation model means that the professor or other superior being knows less about anything than the people--usually quite a number--who actually work in the field in question.

The connection between the professor or other superior being and the people who actually do stuff is so evanescent that the professor or other superior being has no clue how little clue he has.

Funny, that.
9.13.2008 11:03am
corneille1640 (mail):

The main problem with requiring voters to pass a test before they can vote is that I would trust neither the government nor the electorate to design the test.

The main point at issue appears to be more the moral obligation to be knowledgeable about voting, not whether government should require voters to be informed.
9.13.2008 11:06am
corneille1640 (mail):

The problem with this argument is that there is no useful definition of "informed" that anyone will agree upon. For example, assume I am essentially a one issue voter -- I hate government in general and will vote for the individual I believe will shrink (HA!) or at least limit government growth. Why should I be "informed" about any other issue?

Perhapbs. But basing one's vote on whether a candidate will shrink government or limit its growth requires quite a broad range of knowledge: how will a given candidate try to shrink government? can he feasibly do so given his party and his political know-how? will he shrink it in some ways but make it grow in others?
9.13.2008 11:09am
corneille1640 (mail):
One advantage to voting by party is that, even if the person you vote for hasn't been through any reliable "screening" process and may even represent views antithetical to your own, at least you'll have a somewhat clear idea of the constituency the candidate will have to pander to while in office. If it's a question of voting for a legislator, you have some idea of how electing that person will contribute to the way the relevant house of congress is run.
9.13.2008 11:12am
Bob from Ohio (mail):
People wonder why the country is anti-intellectual. Brennan gives us another example. Elitest, smug nonsense.
9.13.2008 11:27am
iambatman:
Responsibility is soooooo elitist! Why should I take time out from beating my wife to learn about foreign policy or the budget? I already know all I need to: that one guy's a secret Muslim and the other guy is a brainwashed commie.

Only Ron Paul can save us with the truth about 9/11 and the gold standard because if we make more gold it will balance that there budget and buy more oil.
9.13.2008 12:43pm
Mark Rockwell (mail):
What is a moral duty?
9.13.2008 1:47pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Oh, and most damaging to this argument, I think, is the following. We know that more educated voters tend to skew Democratic. I don't know about more politically informed voters and how they vote, but there's probably a close correlation between education level and information. At this very moment, with McCain beating Obama overall, Obama beats McCain among postgrads by 18 points. Now, maybe the tendency of more educated voters to be more liberal is actually a product of their education making them more knowledgeable and informed. But, suppose the explanation is something else - for example, suppose that higher education systemically biases people leftward. Or, maybe people who opt for higher education tend to be more liberal for whatever reason. In that case, this so-called moral duty, if actually acted on, would leave us with a liberally biased electorate.
The explanation is something else: an extremely disproportionate share of graduate degrees are for public school teachers, who are doubly liberal (union members, government employees).
9.13.2008 1:52pm
Mark Rockwell (mail):
Can we all agree that it is a good idea to cast an educated vote--collective action problems notwithstanding.

People who cast uninformed votes, relying on something they read in a mass email forward or whatever, don't seem to raise any kind of "moral question" (whatever that means), but they do seem to raise a pretty strong argument for authoritarianism. If we are incapable of ruling ourselves through the casting of educated votes, then we can't really complain when our leaders take matters into their own hands and solve our problems all on their own.

So who cares about morals? Voter's interests and preferences are revealed in their preparation to vote. E.g. do you want a guy who says God will tell him what to do; or who drinks the same beer as you; or do you want someone who has X, Y, and Z policies? But maybe voters don't want to come up with solutions--maybe they just want someone they respect to do it for them? It's more-or-less a system of our own design.
9.13.2008 1:59pm
Roy Haddad (mail):
<i>If an individual voter has almost no chance of influencing the outcome of an election... doesn't it follow that the immorality involved in being an uninformed voter is trivial?</i>

No, because the very small chance of affecting the election is balanced by a very large change in circumstance for everyone in the country (and perhaps many others outside). Essentially, voting well is an altruistic act.
9.13.2008 2:02pm
Mark Rockwell (mail):

Oh, and most damaging to this argument, I think, is the following. We know that more educated voters tend to skew Democratic. I don't know about more politically informed voters and how they vote, but there's probably a close correlation between education level and information. At this very moment, with McCain beating Obama overall, Obama beats McCain among postgrads by 18 points. Now, maybe the tendency of more educated voters to be more liberal is actually a product of their education making them more knowledgeable and informed. But, suppose the explanation is something else - for example, suppose that higher education systemically biases people leftward. Or, maybe people who opt for higher education tend to be more liberal for whatever reason. In that case, this so-called moral duty, if actually acted on, would leave us with a liberally biased electorate.

The explanation is something else: an extremely disproportionate share of graduate degrees are for public school teachers, who are doubly liberal (union members, government employees).



So, is the argument, then, that educated voters tend to skew to the left, ergo encouraging voters to be educated is a bad idea?


... wat?
9.13.2008 2:04pm
Assistant Village Idiot (mail) (www):
Asher, David M. Nieporent's comment is correct. There is no liberal skew for those with more education once you take postgraduate education degrees out of the mix - and there are good reasons to take them out.
Analysis here

I had the same suspicion that others had here, that "informed" could have a very slippery meaning. My two sons adopted from Romania follow politics very little. Before their first election we had them sit down and read party attitude summaries. They decided that Libertarians were the farthest from the communists, the Republicans second-farthest, and so vote for a libertarian when there is one, and a Republican if there's not. That seems quite sensible to me.
9.13.2008 2:16pm
JBL:
It may not possible to agree on exactly what constitutes an informed voter, at least not in a way that could be meaningfully enforced. And so the moral component (though significant) is vague.

It's easier to argue that politicians have a moral duty to be informed, and it is possible to create some criteria for an informed politician. We may not agree on what our goals ought to be, but whether a particular policy is likely to achieve its stated goals is a largely empirical question. A requirement that legislators be reasonably informed about the real-world consequences of their actions seems reasonable, as does a requirement that they be honest about those consequences throughout the legislative process.

Holding politicians accountable would reduce the amount of misleading rhetoric, which would probably lead to a more informed electorate.
9.13.2008 2:47pm
pete (mail) (www):
Your fried Kyle told me you don't understand the importance of voting: Vote or die
9.13.2008 3:26pm
David Warner:
"Can we all agree that it is a good idea to cast an educated vote--collective action problems notwithstanding."

No, not an educated vote. Too passive voice. A knowledgeable vote, yes, I can agree on that, mere information being insufficient.
9.13.2008 3:41pm
rrr (mail):
I too would wand a definition of "informed." In today's climate, for too many, "informed" is simply code for "thinks the way I do." It seems to me, given all the variables, that voters have a responsibility to be as informed as they want to be. I'm not impressed nor swayed by elites defining degrees of, er, informness.
9.13.2008 3:42pm
LarryA (mail) (www):
It's also difficult to determine exactly how much knowledge should be considered sufficient to meet the average voter's moral obligations to fellow citizens.
The catch is not in deciding how much knowledge is needed, but on what subjects. I, for instance, believe that gun rights are not only a key issue, but that knowing a candidates' positions on the right to keep and bear arms is a fairly accurate predictor of how much they value individual liberty. The mainstream media disagrees.
Political corruption begins with every voter who votes his pocketbook instead of for what's good for the country.
No. If people cast intelligent votes based on what is good for them personally, we end up with what's good for the country. After all, a well-run country benefits almost all voters. But voting on behalf of the country can end up being a vote against individuals.

An example: Parental controls for TV. The vast majority of parents believe they have the information and technology to individually control what they and their kids see on TV. Therefore they should vote against additional controls. However, many voters are convinced that other parents lack the ability to control TV, therefore they vote for controls they think other parents want, but which in actuality few if any parents need or want.

The problem is that while you have a good idea of what you need, you really cannot know what every other individual needs. Unless, of course, you are one of the nanny-state types who think everyone should need exactly what you want.
Can we all agree that it is a good idea to cast an educated vote
Yes. Now we have to agree on what "educated" means. Which issues, which sides? There's a pretty good faction in both political parties who believe that anyone who votes against their programs must just be uneducated, since the programs are the One True Way To Run The World.

Recent example on these pages, concerning belief in intelligent design.

My final analysis of the question notes that in almost all U.S. elections the typical voter ends up with a very limited list of viable candidates in the primary, and one R and one D in the election. Therefore party-line voting and single-issue voting provide all the knowledge really required to choose the lesser evil.
9.13.2008 3:46pm
arg11 (mail):
If it's the case that only informed voters should vote in elections, then most pundits and academics should refrain from voting in municipal elections because they have little more than superficial involvement in local politics.
9.13.2008 3:49pm
Perseus (mail):
Do Voters Have a Moral Duty Be Informed About Politics?

That formulation seems to conflate the good man with the good citizen.

On my view, voters are not obligated to vote, but if they do vote, they owe it to others and themselves to be adequately rational, unbiased, just, and informed about their political beliefs.

In other words, only philosophers should vote. But philosophers (qua philosophers) don't want to vote.
9.13.2008 4:35pm
Jon Roland (mail) (www):
LarryA:

If people cast intelligent votes based on what is good for them personally, we end up with what's good for the country.

Actually, we don't. We would get socialism, runaway inflation, and the breakdown of society. One of the most important insights provided by public choice theory and the work on iterated prisoners' dilemma simulations is that what is rational for each of many players may be irrational for the group as a whole. That is the basis for the concerns of the Founders that civic virtue was critical for the execution of a constitutional order.

Few college-educated persons are taught to appreciate the difficulties of intervening in complex social systems without incurring adverse unintended consequences, or to be suspicious of any simple solution as more likely to be counterproductive. See Counterintuitive Behavior of Social Systems, by Jay Forrester.

I find many "working class", non-college-educated persons often are more informed about candidates and issues, because their education has included the practical problems of making a living and perhaps running a business.

However, I would like voters to be able to pass a test on the basics of government, starting with the Constitution, provided that I composed the test. I have had a hand in doing that for high school textbooks across the country.
9.13.2008 4:36pm
LarryA (mail) (www):
Actually, we don't. We would get socialism, runaway inflation, and the breakdown of society. One of the most important insights provided by public choice theory and the work on iterated prisoners' dilemma simulations is that what is rational for each of many players may be irrational for the group as a whole.
Perhaps then we should rephrase the question; not whether voters should be educated regarding the issues of an election, but whether they should be educated on government as a whole. Then folks would understand that voting for socialism, runaway inflation, and the breakdown of society isn't in their individual best interest.

Perhaps my reaction was because too often "vote for the good of the country" = "vote for bigger more restrictive more socialistic government."
9.13.2008 4:45pm
Asher (mail):
So, is the argument, then, that educated voters tend to skew to the left, ergo encouraging voters to be educated is a bad idea?

No, no. Suppose that the reason educated voters tend to skew to the left has nothing to do with their being educated - there's no causation there - it's just some sort of cultural bias that correlates with receiving higher education. That is, people who opt to get such education are already liberals. Then, if you say that there's a moral duty that less educated voters stay home, and less educated voters actually act on that, it follows that you end up with an electorate that's culturally biased against voting for conservatives. Personally, I'm skeptical that the votes of higher-information voters are actually that informed. You can be the most informed voter in the world, but it will still often be the case that your vote is determined by something having nothing to do with your information - you're prejudiced against people who wear their small-town backgrounds on their sleeve, you have great disdain for evangelicals, you're a racist, your parents raised you to vote Republican, you subconsciously prefer the taller candidate, etc.
9.13.2008 5:28pm
Jon Roland (mail) (www):
There appear to be two main sources for the "liberal" bias of the college-educated:
1. They are indoctrinated by liberal academics and fellow students. See this for a report on how the American Constitution Society tries to indoctrinate law students.
2. Guilt over having advantages over less gifted or educated persons, and a desire to assuage that guilt by trying to help the disadvantaged, without critically examining whether one's efforts are misguided and perhaps counterproductive.

Much of the liberal bias of academics seems to stem from (2), and they attempt to assuage their guilt by recruiting students to becoming intervenors, but without the experience many libertarians have in transitioning from liberalism of trying to practice noblesse oblige in the real world and experiencing blowback.
9.13.2008 6:37pm
Assistant Village Idiot (mail) (www):
Asher, thank you for your clarification. Agreed.
9.13.2008 7:44pm
David Warner:
Jon Roland,

"Much of the liberal bias of academics seems to stem from (2), and they attempt to assuage their guilt by recruiting students to becoming intervenors, but without the experience many libertarians have in transitioning from liberalism of trying to practice noblesse oblige in the real world and experiencing blowback."

I would concur and add that this dynamic has evolved into a disturbingly effective means of perpetuating privilege, as the best and brightest of the rising classes are sucked out of their communities and indoctrinated in value systems inimical to their advancement.
9.13.2008 9:11pm
epeeist:
I am a pretty informed voter (maybe not by standards on this board, but compared to the general populace!) and I try to vote my conscience, but like all of us I have biases.

Given how often, and how much, politicians change their mind, isn't "how much do I like/trust candidate X" arguably much more "rational" than "how much do I like the stated positions of candidate X (given they may not bother with following through with any of them)?"

Not to mention the argument that isolated cases aside, one's individual vote is unlikely to have any effect on the outcome, how can one say it's any more "rational" to vote any more than it is "rational" to buy a lottery ticket?

I prefer the expanded set of categories in the excerpt linked to, though I still don't fully agree with the premise (and I don't mean merely because of logical proofs that a perfect democratic voting system is impossible because of non-transitive voter preferences or the like, if that's the correct term, i.e. someone may reasonably prefer A to B, prefer B to C, but still prefer C to A).

Rationality is also not an objective standard. If one person thinks abortion (pro-choice or pro-life) is the most important issue, someone else thinks earmarks is, another corporate tax rate, another sending a message about race is, someone else thinks sending a message about gender politics is, I would probably personally disagree with making any "one-issue" decisions, but at least could understand and consider the person's choice "rational" if they place a heavy value on such an issue.

If most voters could keep a reasonably open mind and be reasonably well-informed, I'd be ecstatic. I don't mind people who have limited time or ability to become well-informed and do the best they can. What kills me is people who, regardless of their IQ, are UNWILLING to pay attention to anything that might change their mind.
9.14.2008 4:25am
Ken Arromdee:
So, is the argument, then, that educated voters tend to skew to the left, ergo encouraging voters to be educated is a bad idea?

No, it's that you're confusing cause and effect. If educated people skew Democratic because jobs that require education are associated with unions and big government, then increasing the number of educated people without making their jobs government funded and unionized shouldn't increase the number of Democrats.
9.14.2008 1:06pm
David Warner:
Civic duty, yes. I'm not so sure that duty is a moral concept at all.
9.14.2008 1:24pm
Pat C (mail):

1. They are indoctrinated by liberal academics and fellow students. See this for a report on how the American Constitution Society tries to indoctrinate law students


That is, for 1000 people at the start of their college education, n% are liberal. At the end of their college education, n has increased. This increase (or possibly decrease) should be measurable. Has anyone done so?
9.15.2008 7:21pm
Jason Brennan (mail):
Hi everyone,

Thanks for the comments and the post. I just noticed this.

Note that the excerpt above doesn't give my argument. It's from an introductory paragraph.

If you'd like to see the paper, you can email me and I'll send it to you. (Bob from Ohio would then be in a position to judge if the argument really is nonsense or not. It is certainly elitist, though I don't know if it's smug.)
9.15.2008 7:31pm