Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Jason Brennan

Who Should You Vote For? My Best Case for Each Choice

When they write about what you should do with your vote, most people pick one side and make a case. But there are a lot of arguments for different courses of action and I think it’s more interesting to lay them out and let you decide which one you think is strongest. These are the very best arguments I can think of for any political choice you might want to make on November 8, consistent with what I know about how policy and political institutions work–I’m not going to pretend that Gary Johnson’s tax plan makes sense or that climate change is a Chinese hoax.

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The Case Against Voting

In the United States, the midterm elections are upon us. Every election it’s the same thing–my Facebook feed is full of messages from friends telling each other to vote. There’s 31,000 flavors of platitude on offer. “Make your voice heard.” “Every vote counts.” “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain.”  P-Diddy famously came up with his own slogan–vote or die:

I’m a grad student in political science. I love reading, writing, and thinking about politics. I used to be all about voting. I voted in 2010, and I called people urging them to vote in 2008. I don’t vote anymore.  Here’s why.

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The Firing Squad Case

Today I’d like to evaluate the firing squad case, a hypothetical scenario used in moral philosophy in an attempt to demonstrate that individuals are morally obliged not to participate in collectively harmful activities. A collectively harmful activity is an activity that is harmful, but is only in aggregate. For instance, driving your car is not individually harmful, but it is collectively harmful–while your emissions will make no difference at all to the future climate of the planet, the emissions of everyone together will make a difference. Let’s have a look at the case.

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