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.
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.
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
~Reviewed by David H.
If you would like a chance to win a free copy of this book
us by the end of the month. Be sure to include the name of the
book in the body of the email along with your name and address