03 March 2008

The Irrational Voter

This evening at the gym, I see Josh Groban and Rosario Dawson and a couple of other celebs urging people to vote. I couldn't hear what they were saying, but it is not hard to imagine.

Of course, the whole idea of voting is based on some fallacious notion about probability. You have better odds of buying a winning lottery ticket than you do of casting the deciding vote and I can pretty much guarantee that you are not going to win the lottery. Given that it is simply not rational to think that your vote will make a difference, only irrational people actually vote.

Wait. That seems to explain so much, doesn't it?

10 comments:

LSD said...

You are so right! -You can be sure that what they were saying was not as important as who they are and the flashy production bit.

You know, if you were to take the voting population and make the rational assumption that the below-average-intelligence vote is going to be easier to get than the above-average-intelligence vote, it makes perfect sense for a candidate to aim low! In fact, if they don't, they won't win.

How long before we see the below-average-intelligence group organize? It would form the largest possible minority and could rightly claim discrimination and negative social stigma. A 49% voting block could really move mountains. -All we need is a good acronym.

(I hereby take the essential step of declaring myself to be in the category as a means of inspiring others to step into the light.)

Allen said...

You can pretty much guarantee, Ron, that I won't buy a winning lottery ticket *AND* I won't cast the deciding vote? Damn! Make that Doubly Damned! Here I've been wasting $1.00 3x/week for the past year. And now I'll have heart-break (no, NOT for dinner, you silly!) as I have to reconcile 3 items: I'll not win the lottery, I'll have wasted $156 the past year on lottery tickets, and I'll not be the 'Decider' with my vote.

But wait . . . I now remember . . . GW said he's the 'Decider'.

Just label me Alice, as in Wonderland.

nunya said...

My dad knew what a computer programming language was before most people did. His masters is in computer science, his bachelors is in math, see what I mean? He did that stuff way back when.

I asked him did he trust the voting machines?

He snorted "No!"

So why do I still vote?

Because if enough of us get all up in their faces when we know they stole it, how can they continue to steal?

This was a joke, I'm much more outraged than frightened.

Dave said...

So, I'm not too good at celebrities, it's only recently that I knew what/who a Branjolina is. These celebrities are who?

HRH said...

haha. You are not the first one to call me irrational.

Ron Davison said...

Scott,
Your bravery ought to get you on important political talk shows - like Montel and Jerry Springer.

Allen in Wonderland,
You don't have to take this so hard. You do have a wine cellar, yes?

nunya,
Yes, I should have blamed this sentiment on Bernard, distancing myself from advocacy of such outrageous positions as abstaining from the vote.

Dave,
Josh Groban sings and Rosario Dawson, as near as I can tell, just looks fabulous.

hrh,
you voters are all alike, undeterred by the mocking tone of bloggers.

nunya said...

lol, poor Bernard :)

Sam Crespi said...

so color me irrational! When I think of rational I often think of gray. I've always believed that there are an infinity of possibilities within each moment. On top of that, what is the 'deciding' vote? Is it the last one to come in? Perhaps the deciding vote was the one all those years ago that sent Obama or Hillary or whomever on their path. I do believe that thought is energy, and that there is a kind of flow going on out there which is supported by celebs, local activists, ministers and priests, neighbors and friends who believe voting is powerful. I am SO excited by the younger generation that's signing up in droves. I am unwilling to spread the thought energy that it will always be the same old same old. To a degree that's true, why put energy behind something you don't want?
I also think that the one of the problems we have is that too often we vote someone in and expect them to do wondrous things. We sit back and say now isn't that wonderful! Our man/woman is in there and now we can rest. They need our input, and...hey, we're paying them. It seems to me that a lot of focused citizens were part of bringing an end to the Vietname war.

sam crespi said...

It occurred to me that Democracy is like a house that you've built. Over the years, there are problems that arise, a leaky roof, a foundation that shifts. Do you then decide that building a house means that you're investing in something that's going to crumble? Why build a house? Both the house and democracy are a process that require input, repairs, dialogue about solutions. Hey, you put money and time into the idea of having that house!
If we operate on the premise of being powerless to find solutions; if we refuse to pick up the toolkit the roof will collapse. we are handing over a vote to fear which seems to be how many are casting their votes, or not casting their votes...out of fear that nothing they do matters.
Our house needs a contribution. Democracy needs a contribution.
I think it's amazing considering the vast population America contains - that we've managed to stay somewhat intact for as long as we have. However, there is fear on both sides, republican and democrat. We're acting out of that fear and didn't that help get us to where we are now?

Ron Davison said...

Sam,
Thanks for coming back to R World and leaving behind such thoughtful comments. You are quite right that communities benefit from democracy; the point I was trying to make (at least partly tongue in cheek) is that we individuals simply aren't going to decide an election. In that sense, it may be more the case that it is the community minded rather than the irrational who vote.

nunya,
Poor Bernard indeed – sad of me to make him take the heat for all my less readily digestible ideas. I guess it is the price one pays for being fictional.