The Best Answer to Voter Ignorance? Smaller Government!

George Will has an interesting column
Democracy and Political Ignorance: Why Smaller Government is
, by George Mason University’s Ilya Somin. Somin –
who explained to Reason TV in 2012 why
he thought the individual mandate was unconstitutional
and a
threat to liberty – contends that citizen ignorance is a major
problem because it leaves government power essentially unchecked
and unaccountable.

As Will summarizes:

Voters cannot hold officials responsible if they do not know
what government is doing, or which parts of government are doing
what. Given that 20
percent thinks the sun revolves around the Earth
, it is
unsurprising that a majority is unable to locate major states such
as New York on a map. Usually only 30 percent of Americans can name
their two senators. The average American expends more time becoming
informed about choosing a car than choosing a candidate. But, then,
the consequences of the former choice are immediate and

A typical argument is that such rational ignorance on the part
of voters can be remedied by getting voters to become more
knowledgeable. Somin goes in a different direction, says Will:

A better ameliorative measure would be to reduce the risks of
ignorance by reducing government’s consequences — its complexity,
centralization and intrusiveness. In the 19th century, voters’
information burdens were much lighter because important federal
issues — the expansion of slavery, the disposition of public lands,
tariffs, banking, infrastructure spending — were much fewer.

Read the whole thing.
 And watch Somin discuss Obamacare

from Hit & Run

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.