I’m pleased to announce my book The Ethics of Voting (Princeton University Press) is now published. You can read the introduction here.
The main positions I defend in the book are:
1. There’s generally no duty to vote.
2. People can exercise exemplary civic virtue and pay whatever debts they have to society (if there are such things) without participating in politics. Political participation (and knowledge) is nothing special when it comes to civic virtue.
3. If people do vote, they have strong obligations to vote for what they justifiedly believe will serve the right ends of government, or otherwise they must abstain. This holds true even though individual votes are inconsequential. (I expanded and revised my argument from”Polluting the Polls”, as, for example, I realized that it didn’t cover cases of people voting for the right things for the wrong reasons, and it didn’t handle bad fringe voting very well.)
4. It’s okay to buy, trade, or sell votes, provided you don’t violate #3.
5. If social scientific work on voter behavior is correct, then most voters probably qualify as bad voters per my theory.
I’m going to be on CBC radio (I think on Sunday Edition) this weekend discussing some of these topics in light of the likely elections in Canada.