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Democracy and Political Ignorance: Why Smaller Government Is Smarter

Democracy and Political Ignorance
By Ilya Somin
Stanford University Press
Retail Price $27.95
B & N  Price: $22.51

Book Description: 

One of the biggest problems with modern democracy is that most of the public is usually ignorant of politics and government. Often, many people understand that their votes are unlikely to change the outcome of an election and don't see the point in learning much about politics. This may be rational, but it creates a nation of people with little political knowledge and little ability to objectively evaluate what they do know.

In Democracy and Political Ignorance, Ilya Somin mines the depths of ignorance in America and reveals the extent to which it is a major problem for democracy. Somin weighs various options for solving this problem, arguing that political ignorance is best mitigated and its effects lessened by decentralizing and limiting government. Somin provocatively argues that people make better decisions when they choose what to purchase in the market or which state or local government to live under, than when they vote at the ballot box, because they have stronger incentives to acquire relevant information and to use it wisely.

Book Bargains Review


After reading this book from cover to cover, I have to admit that the author has a point.  As a whole, we are a nation who is quite ignorant of politics.  This includes myself. I have often found myself thinking "Does my vote really matter?"  The author reminds us that voter ignorance has consequences and that if we want to remain uninformed, we need to be willing to live with the outcome.  The author sets forth the argument political ignorance poses a real threat to the American way of life, but she also offers us solutions.  It is quite a compelling read.

~Reviewed by David H.


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