Nearly 25 years ago, two scholars—Geoffrey Brennan and Loren Lomasky—published a book that was proved prescient by the recent “Brexit” vote. The book was called Democracy and Decision, and one of its central theses was that “democracy” (if you mean majority rule decisions) is simply not up to the task of making good choices for […]
What’s the worst that could happen in the upcoming presidential election? A classic novel takes us to that world gone wrong so that we can see the chilling results unfold step by step.
There are many reasons to vote—or to decide not to vote. As we inch closer to November’s election, you might hear some of the common arguments in favor of voting: It’s your civic duty to vote Other people don’t have the right to vote, so you should exercise your right to vote People fought and died […]
Many public intellectuals and political pundits were surprised by Donald Trump’s ascendancy to the Republican nomination. In my opinion, this is because they succumbed to what has (unfairly) become known as the “Pauline Kael syndrome.” Pauline Kael is the New Yorker critic who was reputed to have remarked after the 1972 Presidential election that “Nixon […]
Each presidential election year—perhaps this year more than most—we hear from friends, family, and celebrities the familiar refrain of, “If he/she wins, I’m moving to Canada!” Actress Lena Dunham is just the most recent example of this, claiming that if Republican Donald Trump is elected she “really will” move to Canada. The prevalence of this […]
A perennial complaint about democracy in America is that too large a portion of the electorate is poorly informed about important political issues. This is the problem of the ignorant voter. This problem was exacerbated in the current presidential election cycle by the large number of candidates vying for the Republican nomination that made keeping […]
What if I told you that some people were better than others? I don’t mean better at tennis or better at singing or better at math. I mean a better breed of person, entitled by nature to exercise authority over you. I’m guessing you would reject that claim, possibly even find it insulting. I would […]
The 2016 presidential election season is in full swing: get your popcorn ready! As public choice economist, I absolutely LOVE this particular election season! Why, you might ask? I love this election because my training in public choice—a field of economics which applies the basic principles of economics to politics—leads me to look at our […]
Ever wonder why presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump sound so similar despite being from different political parties? Both rail against free trade, the establishment, and harken back to a mythical time in the country when there was a chicken in every pot and an American manufacturing every product we use. In the video […]
The following post by Bryan Caplan appeared over at EconLog on March 1st, 2016. In 2007, I published The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies. Every presidential election year, people ask for an update, and I normally say, “Nothing’s changed.” But 2016 really does look like an outlier. My thoughts: 1. […]
It’s election season and you’re ready to vote. You’ve carefully researched the candidates and their platforms, so you’re pretty certain your vote will be an informed one. But before you cast your vote at the polls, take some time to reflect on these four cognitive biases, or traps, and how they impact your voting decisions. […]
As the election cycle starts to heat up you may begin to realize that most politicians sound the same, except for a few rhetorical differences. Why is that? Professor Diana Thomas investigates.
What should you read between now and Election Day? If you’re only going to read one political book, you should make it Jason Brennan’s The Ethics of Voting. If you’re going to read a second, I nominate Bryan Caplan’s The Myth of the Rational Voter. If you’re going to read a third, you should read […]
Some decisions, such as the selection of a government representative, are made by democratic means. However, decisions like which religion to follow are left to each person to choose for herself. Which decisions should be made by a democracy, and which decisions should be made by the individual. When should society make the distinction between […]
Yesterday was Election Day and many exit polls reported historically low voter turnout. This follows a trend of low-voter turnout in recent elections. In 2014, for instance, voter turnout was the lowest since World War Two. In the video below, Georgetown economist Jason Brennan explores whether citizens should be forced to vote in order to […]
I have been making a mistake for most of my life. See, I’m an economist, and one of the things that attracted me to economics is the notion of the “ideal economy.” Of course, there are valid objections to the use of markets. There are people who cheat and commit fraud, and there are problems […]