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The False Dichotomy of Voting

The False Dichotomy of Voting

A false dichotomy is when one is presented with two options as if those were the only options. American presidential elections present voters with a false dichotomy. This election, we are led to believe that Donald Trump and Joe Biden are the only real options for the next president of the United States. Granted, one of them will win, so, conceding this circular logic, even the naysayers have to admit that “the system” has worked in so far as it will produce a president from one of the two major parties. But this is a false dichotomy because every four years the game is rigged to give voters...

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Hobbits and Hooligans: Revisiting Jason Brennan’s Against Democracy

Hobbits and Hooligans: Revisiting Jason Brennan’s Against Democracy

In case you couldn’t tell through the inescapable barrage of media coverage, we have an election coming up, which means voters are mobilizing. To most Americans, democracy and voting are the pinnacles of freedom. Your vote is your voice, etc. etc. 2016 threw a wrench in some Americans’ confidence in democracy, though. Did Trump break the system? Rather than admit that democracy allowed half the country to foist a new leader on the other half against their will, the election had to be explained away: Russia, meddling, the failings of the Electoral College. Democracy works, proponents...

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The Perfect Amount of Government

The Perfect Amount of Government

In a broad sense, political philosophy is very simple: if you’re not an anarchist, then everything else is just debating the “ideal” amount or level of government. Conservatives supposedly want the government out of their wallets, while liberals want them out of their bedroom. But to debate the right amount or size of government is an admission that 1) there should be a government, and 2) there is a specific degree of activity and/or range of authority that optimizes its function in society. The textbook characterization of the Republican Party is that they’re the party of limited government...

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Get Out The Vote!

Get Out The Vote!

“The State is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everyone else.” ~Frédéric Bastiat, “The State” (1848) “It is practically inevitable that such men should win great influence over the state, because they may view it as means, whilst all the rest, under the the power of the unconscious intention of the state, are themselves only means to the state purpose.” ~Friedrich Nietzsche, Preface to The Greek State (1871) It seems that Bastiat and Nietzsche were onto something that American voters don’t understand. I don’t mean to deride all voters as an...

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The Cost of Politics

In 2016 about 55% of Americans voted in the presidential election. Of those 55%, about half voted for Hillary Clinton and half voted for Donald Trump. That means about 27% of all votes went to Clinton, about 27% to Trump, a small percentage of popular votes to third party candidates, and about 40% of Americans didn’t vote, which could be interpreted as a vote for nobody. If one’s vote is an endorsement, then who are we endorsing when we don’t vote at all? So much of the political process involves candidates and their teams getting you to the polls. Have you ever wondered why they spend so...

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