OT - Gas to hit 4.00 - Vote for Ron Paul - dropping out?

Levi Pearson levi at cold.org
Fri Jun 27 22:51:21 MDT 2008

Von Fugal <von at fugal.net> writes:
> I see where you're coming from, and I've already conceded that sometimes
> it can make sense *if* you actually wouldn't mind who you're voting for
> in office (as apposed to _not_ that other guy). You should understand my
> context in this argument which is that both major candidates are very
> distasteful to me, and I believe they should be distasteful to most
> people. So distasteful as to not warrant a vote either way. It is
> against this I plea that citizens not vote out of fear for one or the
> other, but with a mind towards real change. If you want to argue that
> one or both the main candidates aren't that bad, go right ahead, but
> don't tell anyone to consider compromise between two bad choices when
> there are other choices.

OK, take this hypothetical situation.  Candidates A and B are the
viable ones, and C is a third-party issue candidate that you happen to
support.  You really don't like A *or* B, but A happens to support
some policy or whatever that you find extremely distasteful.  So,
here's what I see as the rational options:

If you live in a swing state, where the election between A and B is
likely to be somewhat close, it makes a lot of sense to vote for B,
even though you don't like B.  You are, essentially, voting against A
and the extremely distasteful policy of A's, but I stand by the
assertion that this is a fully rational and useful thing to do in this

If you live in a swing state, but you decide after all that A's
distasteful policy isn't quite so bad, so you don't have a strong
preference between A or B anymore, then it definitely make sense to
vote for C.  You essentially are saying that you don't care which of
the viable candidates gets elected, but you would like to see C's
issue adopted by a major party in the future.

If you live in a state that is dominated by supporters of A or B, you
may as well vote for C here as well, since your vote is unlikely to
affect who is elected.

I hope that this hypothetical situation has made my position clear.
It is still in disagreement with what you said (i.e., you should never
vote *against* a candidate), but I stand by the assertion that the
above voting strategies are rational.  I also believe that, given no
preference between A or B and the absence of C, it may be rational to
not cast a vote at all.

> If you had to chose to eat between a dry turd and a wet turd, or a long
> shot ice cream pie, well then the ice cream pie wouldn't be a long shot
> becaues everybody loves ice cream.

This 'turd and food' analogy is too ridiculous to warrant a serious

>> The unpopular candidates would still lose, but rational actors would
>> have less information to work with.  This doesn't seem beneficial to
>> me.
> The 'information' is counter productive.

So you say.

> Only if you think the the one you voted for would do a decent job. If
> it's merely a 'less bad' job than the other, that's where I dissagree.

Okay then, we disagree.

> *Always* vote for a candidate you can agree with. Anything less is
> selling short. If you can agree with one of the viables, then go ahead.
> Go out on a limb once a while and shoot for the moon, even if you miss
> you'll land among the stars.

Yay, more silly aphorisms.  You realise that's not an argument, right?

> No really, if I thought there was a compelling reason to vote for one
> over the other, I would consider it. I thought there was a compelling
> reason to vote bush over gore, and then bush over kerry. I was burned.
> I'm not playing with fire anymore.

So, you made some bad decisions, and now you retreat to the 'safe'
route.  That's your prerogative, of course, but don't pretend that
everyone else should necessarily follow the same course of action.
We're all adults, and it's up to us to determine how we should vote.


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