The other day I was at dinner with two neighbors, commemorating our survival of Hurricane Gustav. The conversation turned to politics, which was unfortunate because I’ve done a good job in the past few weeks of completely ignoring the presidential race. I’m fed up with the campaign and all of the pandering to prejudice and ignorance that is the staple diet of any political contest.
People are ignorant, and politics does little more than remind me of how supremely ignorant we as a nation are. Anyway, back to the dinner conversation. One of my friends said she wouldn’t vote for Obama because he wasn’t good for the economy. I asked her why and she said because he would raise taxes too much. She asked me who I was voting for, and I replied truthfully that I had decided that I would no longer vote in political contests.
Why not? Especially in this important presidential race?
Well, I replied, apart from my baseline disgust for political elections, I don’t feel like I’m competent to pick the right person to lead the country. I agree that whoever can help the economy would probably be the best bet, but I don’t know enough about the economy to make that determination. Even if I did, I would have to know how to decipher the candidates’ proposals (filtering for the pablum that is spewed out to confuse voters). The conversation the drifted off into an exhortation of my ‘obligation to vote.’ Blah, blah, blah…
Anyway, yesterday I saw that Scott Adams had paid for a survey of economists to tell him (and anyone who was interested in the results of the survey) who would be the best candidate. As he puts it:
“This summer I found myself wishing someone would give voters useful and unbiased information about which candidate has the best plans for the economy. Then I realized that I am someone, which is both inconvenient and expensive. So for once I asked not what my country could do for me.”
The survey results are here if you are interested, and many of you will be. But I suspect most of you will be interested only to see if it confirms your firmly established notion of who is the best economic candidate. Which is why I remain committed to my position as well. I’m not voting because I refuse to participate in a process in which a majority of the people are committed to ignorance. Our political leaders do not seek to make us smarter; they are happy to capitalize on our commitment.
Only nature can intervene, and it will. The only question is: how long will it take for nature to do its job? My guess is a lot sooner than we think.