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Democracy is supposed to be rule of the people, by the people, and for the people.

But is it ?

The public often does a poor job of evaluating the political information they do know and this state of affairs has persisted despite rising education levels, increased availability of information thanks to modern technology, which is mostly the result of rational behavior, not stupidity. ( Recent Referendum In Scotland)

But it is striking that knowledge levels have risen very little, if at all, despite rising educational attainment and the increased availability of information through the internet, cable news, and other modern technologies.

Voters still overvalue anything that supports their preexisting views, and to undervalue or ignore new data that cuts against them, even to the extent of misinterpreting simple data that they could easily interpret correctly in other contexts.

Moreover, those most interested in politics are also particularly prone to discuss it only with others who agree with their views, and to follow politics only through like-minded media.

A truth-seeker should actively seek out defenders of views opposed to their own.

The results of the Scottish Referendum strengthens the case for limiting and decentralizing the power of government.


BECAUSE:  When it comes to General elections without a clear choice there is a small turn out, compared to the Scottish Referendum which had a clear and precise question to be voted on TURNED OUT 85% of its population.

In General Elections most of the public has very little idea of how the basic structure of government and how it operates down to such ignorance and confusion as to which government officials are responsible for which issues.


For several reasons,

BECAUSE: Public ignorance is not limited to information about specific policies.

The problems of political ignorance and irrationality are accentuated by the enormous size and scope of modern governments.

BECAUSE: Voters routinely reward and punish political leaders for events they have little control over, particularly short-term economic trends. Incumbents also get rewarded or blamed for such things as droughts, shark attacks, and victories by local sports teams.

Some people react to data like the above by thinking that the voters must be stupid. But political ignorance is actually rational for most of the public, including most smart people.

BECAUSE: We vote with our feet in the private sector, by choosing which products to buy or which civil society organizations to join.

BECAUSE: Most people don’t precisely calculate the odds that their vote will make a difference.

BECAUSE: Moreover, political leaders and influential interest groups often use public education to indoctrinate students in their own preferred ideology rather than increase knowledge.

BECAUSE: Information shortcuts are small bits of information that we can use as proxies for larger bodies of knowledge of which we may be ignorant. The major flaws are that shortcuts often require preexisting knowledge to use effectively, and many people choose information shortcuts for reasons unrelated to truth-seeking.

BECAUSE: For most of us, it is rational to devote very little time to learning about politics, and instead focus on other activities that are more interesting or more likely to be useful.

BECAUSE: For many, it is rational to take the time to vote, but without learning much about the issues at stake.

BECAUSE: If your only reason to follow politics is to be a better voter, that turns out not be much of a reason at all. The chances OF CHANGE are very small, and act accordingly.

BECAUSE:  The chances of effectively monitor more than a fraction of the activities of the modern state is all but impossible.

BECAUSE:  Voters If things are looking up, they will reward the incumbents at election time. If not, you can vote the bums out, and the new set of bums will have a strong incentive to adopt better policies, lest they be voted out in turn.

BECAUSE:  Voters choose their opinion leaders largely based on how entertaining they are, and whether they make us feel good about the views we already hold.

Add all the above up and it points to that the Current Democracy is too big, too complicated, too influenced by consumerism, untruest,  in a state of confusion with rampant political ignorance.

There is no easy solution to the problem.

The key difference between foot voting and ballot box voting is that foot voters don’t have the same incentive to be rationally ignorant as ballot box voters do.

In fact, ballot box voters have strong incentives to seek out useful information unlike political fans, foot voters who know they will pay a real price if they do a poor job of evaluating the information they get.

So the informational advantages of foot voting over ballot box voting strengthen the case for limiting and decentralizing government.

The more decentralized government is, the more issues can be decided through foot voting. 

It is usually much easier to vote with your feet against a local government than a state government, and much easier to do it against a state than against the federal government. Choosing among the former usually requires far less in the way of moving costs than choosing among the latter.

The other is choosing what state or local government to live under in a federal system – a decision often influenced by the quality of those jurisdictions’ public policy. 

It is also usually easier to foot vote in the private sector than the public. A given region is likely to have far more private planned communities and other private sector organizations than local governments.

Reducing the size of government could also alleviate the problem of ignorance by making it easier for rationally ignorant voters to monitor its activities.

moving costs can be reduced by decentralizing to lower levels of government or to the private sector, and such costs are in any case declining thanks to modern technology.

For example, some large-scale issues, such as global warming, are simply too big to be effectively addressed by lower-level governments or private organizations.

A smaller, less complicated government is easier to keep track of.

Political ignorance is far from the only factor that must be considered in deciding the appropriate size, scope, and centralization of government.

Democracy and Political Ignorance is not a complete theory of the proper role of government in society. But it does suggest that the problem of political ignorance should lead us to limit and decentralize government more than we would otherwise.

The likelihood that political decentralization might harm unpopular racial and ethnic minorities is a myth the opposite is what will happen.

moving costs can be reduced by decentralizing to lower levels of government or to the private sector, and such costs are in any case declining thanks to modern technology.

There are many different forms of democracy, but what makes a democracy different from all other forms of government is the participation of the people in decision-making. Putting power and decision-making in the hands of the people, not catering to the wishes of the wealthy or repressing freedoms.

Information is the currency of Democracy not,

The Vision is the real Democracy

This is what the Scottish Referendum taught us all.

What do you think?