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The Ethics of Voting$
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Jason Brennan

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691154442

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691154442.001.0001

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How Well Do Voters Behave?

How Well Do Voters Behave?

Chapter:
(p.161) Chapter Seven How Well Do Voters Behave?
Source:
The Ethics of Voting
Author(s):

Jason Brennan

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691154442.003.0008

This chapter examines some relevant social-scientific literature that suggests that voters and citizens are often ignorant, irrational, and systematically in error in their political beliefs. Though voters tend to vote for what they believe serves the nation's interests, this does not imply that they are justified in these beliefs or that their beliefs are true. Voters intend to promote the national interest, but that does not imply that they in fact do so. Good intentions are not enough to make good policy. Voters might not know what they are doing. It may turn out that some or many of them are mistaken about what promotes the national interest. If so, then their altruistic intentions do not benefit anyone.

Keywords:   social-scientific literature, voters, citizens, political beliefs, national interest, good intentions, good policy

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