Vote

By Phil Plait | October 2, 2008 1:02 pm

OK. I love: Leo DiCaprio — yes, I do — and Jennifer Aniston, and Forest Whitaker, and Natalie Portman (sigh), and Sarah Silverman, and Dustin Hoffman. I love Dustin Hoffman a lot.

Why do I love these people?

Because they know what it means to be a true patriot.

I’ll break my own rules here, just this once, and embed a video that has some NSFW language. I’d normally just link to it, but yeah, this is that good, and it’s that important.

Man, I love me some Dustin. He’s awesome. Watch this to the end, folks. Then do what they say.

Edited to add: Apparently there are a few versions of this video floating around out there. As far as I can tell, this is the correct one, pointing to Declare Yourself. I changed this from a different version.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Piece of mind, Politics

Comments (143)

Links to this Post

  1. simplerich » Declare yourself! | October 2, 2008
  2. links for 2008-10-03 | it's about time | October 3, 2008
  1. I still can’t understand the “logic” in not casting any votes because someone is “disgusted with the system” or whatever lame excuses they come up with. I have spent the last 20 years of my life in defense of the Constitution, and it hurts me every time I hear someone say they don’t want to, or care to, vote.

  2. Celtic_Evolution

    OK… that was full of win. And…

    – Even with the 8 o’clock shadow, spider-man still looks 15.

    – Sarah Silverman is simply a genius. Funniest female actress / comedienne out there for my money right now (maybe Tina Fey along with her).

    – Of all the people in that video, the person I’d most love to sit down and have a real conversation with is by far Forest Whitaker.

  3. Mus

    I’ll break my own rules here

    Rules suck.

    Phil, you can break your own rules any time you want.

  4. zeb

    But I don’t want other people to vote. That way it gives me more of a voice!

  5. Jeremy

    The United States of America is NOT a democracy. It is a republic. We vote into office the select few who will make all of our decisions for us. Why is it that way? Possibly because 200 years ago, the typical American did not have the means to learn about politicians as intimately as we are able to now, also possibly because politicians lacked the ability to campaign as widely and thoroughly as they are now. My point is, 200 years ago, America lacked the infrastructure to allow each individual their fair voice. Now we do, and because of this discrepancy, our system is fundamentally flawed. How many politicians would be willing to do away with the system that granted them their office?

    If enough people DON’T vote, one big question that will be asked is, “Why?” However, while the vast majority of Americans are accepting, and participating in the status quo, there is no apparent need or desire (by Americans in general) for any change. That’s why I abstain.

    I’m not bashing the constitution, I’m simply saying that it’s based on a society that no longer exists and needs to be updated to match current social activities and technologies.

  6. Ryan

    I’m not voting this year. It will be the first even numbered year in which I don’t vote. This was something I put a lot of thought into. And it’s a personal decision. I don’t think it’s appropiate for everyone. I need to eventually write it all out in something a little more coherent and ordered so I can simply reference it, but here are some quick major points for me.

    There is no one for me to vote for this election cycle. I’m not going to go into my political objections with both Obama and McCain, but they are many. The closest person to me in the primaries was Ron Paul, but he’s out. The closest person to my beliefs right now is Bob Barr, which makes me sad. And that’s only going by the things he is currently stating / campaigning on. To go by his past track record he is just as bad as the rest of the candidates. And Nader or the guys for the Green, Independent, Constitution, etc Parties are even worse. I could write in a vote, I suppose, or do what I used to do on the smaller races that had no candidates for me and simply cast a blank ballot, but that seems about the same as simply not voting. Now, if there was a None of the Above choice on the ballot, I would totally vote for that.

    My second point is that I no longer trust the process. The massive regulations dealing with ballot access and who can or cannot be on the ballot, as well as the rules on getting a reforendum onto the ballot really serves to undermine the illusion of democracy that the entire system hinges upon. (not that I was ever a big fan of democracy. It’s too similar to a mob rule system. But a better alternative is hard to find and even harder to implement. But that’s a rant for another day.) If you follow the legalization / medical marijuana movement at all this is pretty clear to see. Looking at various legalization referendums that attempt to get on the ballot and the hurdles they have to pass, as well as massive (and often illegal) campaigning waged against them by the sitting government.

    I have some more, but this has gotten far too long already. I’ll just finish with Not Voting isn’t the same as Giving Up. I’m still the most politically active person I know. I donate money to political groups that I support, I write my congressmen on a regular basis, and I’m looking for anything more that I can do.

    Again, this is a personal decision, and certainly not right for everyone. I just thought I should mention it in response to the frustration some people feel hearing about others that do not vote.

  7. Actually zeb, if you want to be precise, you don’t want other people who don’t think like you to vote, because those that vote like you further your interests.

  8. Togan

    I still don’t get why you have to register first … shouldn’t you be able to vote just by being a citizen?

  9. Cheyenne

    Australia has a mandatory voting law. Over 95% of the electorate votes (well, technically they just have to appear at a polling place on election day – they’re not forced to actually vote). What’s interesting is that 80% of the people approve it (I don’t think there is anything that 80% of Americans would agree to. Except bacon. Delicious, delicious bacon…). I don’t think we’d ever do it but it’s interesting to think about what the effects of it would be.

    Another vote for Sarah Silverman being the funniest out there right now.

  10. Dan

    I was hoping Forest Whitaker would swear in this video. Something funny happens when he swears in that odd, breathless way he has of speaking.

    Aside from that, I’m already registered, but thankfully, in Wisconsin, we can register on Election Day at our polling places.

    So, you Cheeseheads have no excuses. VOTE!

  11. Cheyenne

    Togan – They absolutely have to have registration. Many states now have same day registration. Others motor/voter- but they’re all pretty easy and fast to do.

    If they didn’t have registration the amount of fraud would be enormous. You have to make sure people are citizens, able to vote (many felons can’t), that they can only vote once in one place, etc.

  12. What about local issues? In Florida, they have this stupid Amendment 2 (Constitutional definition of marriage). Local School boards? Property tax increases? Funding for a fire department? Why abdicate ALL your voice.

    Sure, the Republic (LOL) vote may be meaningless, but there are THOUSANDS of issues on the ballots out there. Again, I fail to see the logic in totally skipping out.

  13. Daffy

    Larian,

    Our system has been bought and sold by the corporate lobbyists…and No ONE is making any serious proposals to fix that. Our system as a result has been corrupted and perverted; it exists merely to feed the corporate/industrial machine. Voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for evil

    I understand perfectly why someone would choose not to waste their vote by actually casting it.

  14. I was with them on the whole “don’t vote” thing but then they had to screw it up and start pretending that voting was a good thing.

    “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship.”

    Yes, please go and vote yourselves some of my money, and I’ll vote myself some of yours.

  15. Kurt_eh

    I’ve always wondered what would happen if someone legally changed their name to “None of the Above” and ran in an election…

  16. tsg

    I still can’t understand the “logic” in not casting any votes because someone is “disgusted with the system” or whatever lame excuses they come up with.

    Because you don’t want to.

    The system is broken and I’m not going to endorse it by participating in it.

  17. Rob

    US Citizens living in one of the 50 states can vote in the presidential election.

    US Citizens living outside of the US can vote in their state of last residence.

    US Citizens living in US territories cannot vote in the presidential elections.

    To put it another way, in the 2004 election around 2 million US citizens, living in the US, went to vote in their regional elections, but were not allowed a say in who became president.

  18. Jason

    Sorry to disagree with you Jeremy, but our country has become so large that a republic is (IMHO) by far the best form of national government. I’m an educated person with (by IQ measurements, at least) a far above average intelligence. Yet I have to admit that I can’t possibly form an educated opinion on many, if not most, of the staggering number of things our elected federal officials have to vote on basically every day. Honestly, I have a hard enough time staying informed of issues at the local level.

    Personally, I prefer to elect somebody who will (hopefully) who can dedicate his/her time and efforts to represent the interests of me and my community at the national level. But maybe that’s just me.

  19. Erik

    The video kinda contradicts itself. It says “if you care about gun control…” then later it says, “if you care about the first amendment, second amendment…”

  20. Todd W.

    To those who are choosing not to vote because the “system is broken”, what are you doing to change the system? What do you propose as a means of fixing it? Is simply not voting going to do anything to the system, realistically?

    As far as Democracy vs. Republic goes, a democracy, on the scale of nations, works only in theory. Quite apart from voting on distributions from the treasury, the system would get bogged down if every single issue or law that went up for a vote was opened up to a vote by every single person. The plus side of such a situation, though, is that it reduces the influence of lobbyists and would likely do away with them altogether.

    An actual working democracy, like communism, works only in the small scale and breaks down past a certain population threshold.

  21. tsg

    To those who are choosing not to vote because the “system is broken”, what are you doing to change the system? What do you propose as a means of fixing it? Is simply not voting going to do anything to the system, realistically?

    IRV

  22. Todd Ferguson

    All of you who are saying you’re not voting as a form of protest will have no right to complain about things if/when they get worse. If you don’t like the choices, you can write one in. Also, as someone else said, there are always plenty of voter issues/ballot initiatives/whatever they call them in your state to vote on.

    If you don’t vote, then it’s chalked up to apathy and acceptance. If you do vote and write in another choice, then it shows that you care about what is happening, and don’t agree with the options/solutions being given. Maybe it amounts to nothing, but it has a better chance of being noticed than sitting on your fat, lazy ass.

    So, stop your “wah, the system is corrupted and that’s why I don’t vote” crybaby BS and write-in Jon Stewart or Ron Paul or Phil Plait or whomever for president. The reason change doesn’t happen is because people don’t vote. And that’s because change never happens from top down; it’s always bottom up. Vote in all of those local elections. That’s where you might actually find people who are willing to change things or shake things up. Those people will never be elected into national office until they start winning local and state offices.

  23. PP

    Why is this video referring to maps.google.com/vote? Earlier today I saw one referring to http://www.declareyourself.com/ which appears to be the site where this video originally came from.

    Phil, perhaps you could embed the correct video in the blog entry?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olpCyDA4kYA

  24. (worldnet is eating my posts again!!!!!)

    not voting at all is stupid. if you don’t agree with choice A and choice B, vote for choice C. if you don’t agree with choice C, vote choice C anyway: it won’t win, but it’ll make you visible as disagreeing with the system. you don’t vote, no one gives a f**k about you. the voting percentage could sink to 30% and the system would slug along as usual. to my knowledge there’s no law that invalidates a vote when too few people have voted.

    one of the few times I actually wish I had that American passport…

  25. tsg

    All of you who are saying you’re not voting as a form of protest will have no right to complain about things if/when they get worse.

    Says who, you? Who are you?

    If you don’t like the choices, you can write one in.

    Writing-in and voting independent are the same as not voting. Anyone who thinks otherwise is delusional. There are only two people who have any chance of winning this election.

    Also, as someone else said, there are always plenty of voter issues/ballot initiatives/whatever they call them in your state to vote on.

    When the initiatives interest me, I vote on them. I don’t vote for public office.

    If you don’t vote, then it’s chalked up to apathy and acceptance.

    I don’t care what you think.

    Maybe it amounts to nothing, but it has a better chance of being noticed

    It has no chance.

    than sitting on your fat, lazy ass.

    That’s nice. An intelligent argument that’s sure to convince me you’ve actually tried to find out what anybody’s complaints are rather than stick dogmatically to your preconceived notions. “Non-voter = lazy” and you won’t consider any other explanation. That’s reasonable and rational. :rolleyes:

    The reason change doesn’t happen is because people don’t vote.

    Plenty of people vote every election and still it stays the same. How long do we have to keep trying before we say it doesn’t work?

  26. klcthebookworm

    There have been a few elections I missed–for a while there no TV and no newspaper meant not hearing about them before the results were in–but NOTHING can convince me to give up my right, no DUTY to vote. The day I quit is the same day we start the second American Revolution to take back our country.

  27. LMR

    @Erik
    The video kinda contradicts itself. It says “if you care about gun control…” then later it says, “if you care about the first amendment, second amendment…”

    It doesn’t contradict itself because it isn’t telling you HOW to vote, it’s just telling you to make sure you DO vote.

  28. America is only one party better than China!

    I guess you were inspired by your former masters when you made the election rules. The British certainly were some silly ones. Only in the UK more than two parties are in parliament, hmmm!

    If I had to register, I probably wouldn’t vote, but being a citizen in my own nation, I am granted the right to vote without any troublesome paper work, I just get a letter ever 3 or 4 years, depending on how good the government is doing at keeping itself in office, where I can then go down and cast my vote.

    I mean, in Europe is common for untimely elections, not in the US. And that doesn’t smell authoritarianism to you?

  29. Windyshrimp

    I don’t want to vote for a giant douche or a turd sandwitch. Maybe if there was someone running worth voting for, it would be different!

  30. tsg…. that was an utterly nonsensical answer. If you don’t vote, the SYSTEM chalks it up to apathy and acceptance. that should matter to you, if you want change.

    if your excuse for not voting is that you want to protest, but your protest is perceived as acceptance, then your protest is a massive FAIL. At least those who vote for an alternative are counted as weirdos with a contrary opinion.

    the reason nothing changes is that those who want change don’t vote, or vote for a lesser evil to prevent the greater evil. that’s a system for status-quo. you want change, you need a public that actually votes for their opinions.

  31. Bigfoot

    What were they truing to say?

    Seriously, messages aimed at the short-attention-span crowd need to be shorter — I sadly doubt the target audience will sit through this nearly five-minute message.

    Even Kevin Bacon had issues with this!

  32. Christopher Ferro

    I’ll likely vote on ballot issues and maybe some other things, but there is no way I can vote for president AGAIN this year. Neither canididate AGAIN this year remotely has my confidence or interests at heart. For me, there is no “lesser” of two evils. Writing in a candidate? It will get NOTICED? It will foster CHANGE?! I’m laughing (well, I’m not, really).

    CJSF

  33. hmm… what a load of idiocy…. how can it “not be noticed”, if supposedly Ross Perot “stole” the election from Bush I, and Nader “stole” the election from Al Gore? *rolleyes*

    It gets noticed. it’s just that when it gets noticed, people chicken out.

  34. Currently, the vote of the sheeple does drown out the vote of the thinkers. Just imagine if every single dissatisfied voice spoke in unison!

  35. billsmithaz

    @tsg

    >> than sitting on your fat, lazy ass.

    > That’s nice. An intelligent argument that’s sure to convince me you’ve actually tried to find out what anybody’s complaints are rather than stick dogmatically to your preconceived notions.

    To me, it seems that the point is that we can’t have any way of knowing why eligible voters don’t vote.

    – Were they showing their lack of confidence in the system?
    – Were they lazy?
    – Were they stuck at work?
    – Were they sick?
    – Were they passed out drunk?
    – Were they away from home and unable to get to their polling place?

    Not casting a vote as a protest of the system might work, but only if ‘the system’ KNOWS that that’s why you didn’t vote. Otherwise, you’re throwing your vote AND your protest away.

  36. tsg

    tsg…. that was an utterly nonsensical answer. If you don’t vote, the SYSTEM chalks it up to apathy and acceptance. that should matter to you, if you want change.

    The SYSTEM is sentient now?

    if your excuse for not voting is that you want to protest,

    It’s not a protest. It’s not participating, and thereby endorsing, a system that doesn’t work.

    the reason nothing changes is that those who want change don’t vote, or vote for a lesser evil to prevent the greater evil.

    When you continually vote for the lesser of two evils, both get more evil.

  37. Espen

    Hey, lots of commentses here. I didn’t read all, so forgive me if it’s already been pointed out, but the last two times you americans voted for a president…now how shall I put this delicately…you guys really made a boo-boo. It’s not that I’ve lost confidence in you guys or anything…it’s just that…ok I’ve lost confidence in you guys, but…well what do you care.

    If there ever was a time to be abducted by aliens and taken away from this world…*sigh*

  38. Davidlpf

    Yes, I will be voting but in the Canaadian elections in less then 2 weeks. Our elections are short usually four to six weeks not two years.

  39. tsg

    Currently, the vote of the sheeple does drown out the vote of the thinkers. Just imagine if every single dissatisfied voice spoke in unison!

    It would sound like unintelligible white noise. They don’t all agree.

  40. tsg

    To me, it seems that the point is that we can’t have any way of knowing why eligible voters don’t vote.

    I’m trying to tell you. If you are really interested in knowing, try listening. Stop looking to the system to tell you because it can’t.

  41. Law Mom

    Who said you have to like a candidate to vote for him? There are only two de facto candidates, and one of them will win, whether you like him or not. Pick the one that you think will do a better job. There may be thousands of Americans who could do better, but they are not running. So if you hate them both, but hate one 0.001% less, then pick that one.

  42. tsg

    Who said you have to like a candidate to vote for him? There are only two de facto candidates, and one of them will win, whether you like him or not. Pick the one that you think will do a better job. There may be thousands of Americans who could do better, but they are not running. So if you hate them both, but hate one 0.001% less, then pick that one.

    Why shouldn’t I be allowed to vote for the person I think is best for the job instead of second worst and have a chance of him/her winning?

  43. They don’t have to agree to make a lot of noise. As one poster commented, Perot “stole” the election for Bush I, and Nader “stole” it for Gore. That’s “some” noise. What I would like to see is that an election happens, and the noise is so loud that NEITHER major party candidate gets the 270 EV, and all the pundits scurry around trying to figure out what happened. Who cares if NH votes Barr, CA votes McKinney, MT votes for Baldwin, etc. Knock a few of those guys for a loop and enjoy the chaos.

    It’s easy for the system to be “tinkered” with when you only need to fudge a small number. You get millions pointing out the flaws, and “they” will mess up the trail and get exposed. You don’t have to endorse a system to participate in it.

  44. Elliott Nixon

    “The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.”

    -Thomas Jefferson

    Republic > Democracy > Tyranny > Dictatorship

  45. John Foudy

    ““A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship.”

    every election year some libertarian hauls out this ludicrous quote- for once, just once, I want to see an example of a democracy which collapsed because the majority always voted for whichever candidate promised the most benefits from the public till… just one example.

  46. Supra

    To those saying they aren’t going to vote because they don’t like either of the two choices left, well, where were you when we had a lot more then two choices?

    To me, being involved in the political process isn’t showing up an punching a ticket every two years. It’s actually caring enough about your country to participate in the whole process, from start to finish. Not showing up at the end of the party and complaining about the lack of choice.

    Sad.

  47. Elliott Nixon

    In the Weimar Republic, the German people did not respect their constitution, there for it was nothing more than a democracy. And we all know what happen next.

  48. Mr Foudy, would the current US Financial predicament count? ;) (Requisite humour disclaimer.)

  49. “Stop looking to the system to tell you because it can’t.”
    “The SYSTEM is sentient now?”

    if you’re going to argue semantics to avoid the topic, at least try being consistent…

    “It’s not participating, and thereby endorsing, a system that doesn’t work.”

    your non-endorsment is meaningless. like i said, the system isn’t going to change because you don’t take part in it, unless you’re planning to start a revolution sometimes soon? (in which case you might be excused for not voting)

    ” the reason nothing changes is that those who want change don’t vote, or vote for a lesser evil to prevent the greater evil.

    When you continually vote for the lesser of two evils, both get more evil.”

    I can’t figure out if this is a lack of reading comprehension of quote mining. in any case, it’s completely besides the point. i don’t endorse voting for the lesser evil. i find it as stupid as not voting at all. not voting means you get more evil, too.

  50. Law Mom

    You are allowed, but that person won’t win. The chance of McCain or Obama winning is 100%. And it’s ridicuous to think that either McCain or Obama is second worst for the job. They are both in the top thousand or so of qualified Americans, at least. Do you honestly believe that there is no difference between the candidates, that one or the other isn’t better for the country?

    Personally, I am not stressing too much about it. This is not the worst choice I’ve seen in my voting lifetime, by a long shot. If the other guy wins, life goes on. Even so, I certainly have a preference, and will do all I can to make sure he wins. By voting.

  51. tsg

    They don’t have to agree to make a lot of noise. As one poster commented, Perot “stole” the election for Bush I, and Nader “stole” it for Gore. That’s “some” noise.

    The fundamental flaw is that if it fails, the wrong person gets elected. There is some number of voters N voting for a third party candidate where your strategy succeeds and below that number it fails. For every vote less than N, those people suffer with a candidate they would rather not have. For every vote more than N, those people take that risk unnecessarily. Even if you can convince those N people to vote against their better interests, they would all have to agree on who to vote for (by state). And that would have to happen, at a minimum, in eleven states.

  52. eliott, if you’re going to be dragging Nazis into the discussion, at least know your history. the German PEOPLE didn’t have much to do with this. A rich aristocrat with too much power installed a crony he thought he could control (which, btw, he was legally allowed to do); crony promised the people freedom from reparations, which had driven Germany into desolation, and would keep it there for generations to come; crony gave the desperate people convenient scapegoat; crony took over government while loosing the election

    where did the PEOPLE ignore the constitution…? I must be missing something. the weimar republic didn’t fail because it ignored the constitution, but because it was a state to poor and enslaved to succeed.

  53. tsg, the wrong person will get elected anyway (if you don’t agree with either, then they’re both the wrong person). this is a process. and if no one staets the process, and sticks with it through the tough times, nothing will change. opting out is cowardly.

  54. tsg

    You are allowed, but that person won’t win.

    I did specify “and have a chance of winning”. You didn’t answer my question.

  55. “To those who are choosing not to vote because the “system is broken”, what are you doing to change the system? What do you propose as a means of fixing it? Is simply not voting going to do anything to the system, realistically?”

    Striving to create a new system:

    http://www.freestateproject.org

  56. Elliott Nixon

    Not voting is only cowardly if it’s accompanied by a lack of action. If you take your ballot and burn it in front of other Americans it will have a stronger impact than voting for a third party which are undoubtedly suppressed by our binary parties.

  57. “Personally, I prefer to elect somebody who will (hopefully) who can dedicate his/her time and efforts to represent the interests of me and my community at the national level. But maybe that’s just me.”

    If you can find someone matching that definition who is actually running and who will not be corrupted by the massive power given to them… then good luck to you.

  58. tsg

    tsg, the wrong person will get elected anyway (if you don’t agree with either, then they’re both the wrong person). this is a process. and if no one staets the process, and sticks with it through the tough times, nothing will change.

    How long do we wait for things to change before we consider it’s the system that is broken?

    opting out is cowardly.

    Your concern is noted.

  59. tsg, are you sure it would have to be eleven states? Depending on numbers, we could have it happen in just one state. Take a look at the the polling numbers here: http://electoral-vote.com/evp2008/Pres/Maps/Sep15.html

    As you see, on this map, Obama had 268 electoral votes, and McCain had 270. Shift VT to a 3rd party candidate (they are crazy enough to do it) and then what happens? I didn’t say that a candidate hat to make a huge difference in every state (although that would be fun to watch), but there needs to be noise.

    If you are silent, as other posters said, how are we to determine if you are dissatisfied, disinterested, drunk, lazy, or whatever? Sure, posting here I can tell you are not happy, but a silent angry person is nothing. A million vocal angry people, and we got something!

  60. “All of you who are saying you’re not voting as a form of protest will have no right to complain about things if/when they get worse.”

    That’s straight up bull. Let’s first get past your abuse of the word “right,” I think you mean “moral authority.” Even this is wrong.

    I absolutely have the moral authority to complain, since whether or not I vote the system continues to impose itself on my life. If by not voting I can actually opt out of the system, then you’re right, I would lose all moral authority to complain. But that’s not the case, a vote of “no confidence” is still a vote regardless.

  61. Eliott, only if you also tape it, put it on YouTube, and have it go viral. at which point this will qualify as activism, and is at least a valid excuse for not voting. but it still won’t change anything unless it becomes a movement, and people will do it repeatedly. since few things that go viral can hold the publics attention for 2-4 years, it’ll be forgotten the next time there’s an election.

  62. “How long do we wait for things to change before we consider it’s the system that is broken?”

    the system is broken. but inaction isn’t going to change that. is that really such a hard concept to grasp?

  63. tsg

    tsg, are you sure it would have to be eleven states?

    I was speaking in general terms of assuring a victory (leaving not enough electoral votes left even if one candidate got all the rest). Under very specific conditions it could do it with just one, but the chances of it failing are much higher. The chances of Vermont causing this kind of disruption are very slim indeed.

    But, and this is more important (and I am embarrassed that I forgot about it), the other problem is that the 12th Amendment says if no one person has a majority of the electoral votes, the House of Representatives chooses. And if they can’t choose, the Vice-President becomes President. So it fails even if it is successful.

  64. “every election year some libertarian hauls out this ludicrous quote- for once, just once, I want to see an example of a democracy which collapsed because the majority always voted for whichever candidate promised the most benefits from the public till… just one example.”

    Athens and Rome.

    There’s two.

  65. Jadehawk! You are a genius! Let’s get a bunch of videos of people going to the polling station, and instead of them actually casting a vote, they set the ballot on fire, drop it on the floor, and walk out!

    Anyone own, burnthevote.com? I know that I have several very important local issues that I want to vote on, but we get enough folks to just do THAT, would that be enough noise for the folks like tsg, Jeremy, Ryan, Eliott, etc.?

  66. tsg

    the system is broken. but inaction isn’t going to change that. is that really such a hard concept to grasp?

    Who said anything about inaction? I’m just not voting. Drop your preconceptions if you really want to know. If not, stop wasting my time.

  67. aps762

    @tsg – You say the system is broken, but I am not sure I read what you propose to do to change the system or what you desire to happen. If change is not accomplished through voting, then how do you propose changing the current process?

  68. tsg

    Jadehawk! You are a genius! Let’s get a bunch of videos of people going to the polling station, and instead of them actually casting a vote, they set the ballot on fire, drop it on the floor, and walk out!

    My district uses paperless electronic voting machines. Can’t help you there.

  69. somehow I don’t think moving all libertarians to New Hampshire is going to work change anything either, unless you’re also planning on seceding afterwards. but good luck anyway.

  70. “My district uses paperless electronic voting machines. Can’t help you there.”

    Too much toxic smoke from burning those.

  71. “unless you’re also planning on seceding afterwards.”

    I am.

  72. Tetsubo

    I fully endorse the idea that America is run by the a corporate oligarchy. But the *only* means I have of effecting the system at *all* is with my vote.

    Vote.

  73. tsg

    Too much toxic smoke from burning those.

    And a jail sentence to boot.

  74. “I fully endorse the idea that America is run by the a corporate oligarchy. But the *only* means I have of effecting the system at *all* is with my vote.”

    That’s so sad. The only chance you have to change the system run by the corporate oligarchy is through a system that the corporate oligarchy runs. Fantastic.

    If voting could effect change, it would have been outlawed a long time ago.

  75. adam, I just had to check on the map, but your plan basically means Maine would be f**ked. lol. but like I said, good luck… I have absolutely no problem with all libertarians moving to New Hampshire.

    Now if all the evangelicals would move to Texas and secede, too, my problems would be solved :-p

  76. adam, voting does change things. but not in a 2-party system. look at other countries. they change constantly, sometimes for the better sometimes for the worse, because the number, constellation and type of parties varies with time.

  77. Jadehawk,

    I’ll grant you that voting from time to time does change things. However, in the vast of expanse of “things” the changes are infrequent and small. Just consider how much of the government is run by un-elected bureaucrats. Who do I vote for because I’m not happy with the FDA? At *best* my vote can indirectly influence the people who decide who will have influence over the people who hire the people that write regulations.

  78. oh I know, trust me. I’m not a libertarian by any stretch of the imagination, but I understand the problems that come with a non-responsive government that can’t be held accountable. so I’d like to see more direct democracy, but for that, voting is essential.

    and change actually occur quickly. in Germany, the Green Party went from nonexistent to co-governing party in 20 years. The changes that came with that were enormous. And they would have happened even quicker if there were a stronger tradition of direct democracy in Germany, too.

  79. Jason

    Leaving aside the presidential race for a minute . . . in my community there are several seats open on the local school board (not to mention city council, county board of supervisors, judgeships and several municipal bond measures) that may directly impact me and those in my community.

    Encouraging people in my community to vote is important because their votes do matter. Now, I live in California, where Obama is going to win regardless of who I vote for in the presidential election. That being said, please don’t discourage people from voting altogether.

  80. Robbie

    Phil Plait: “Why do I love these people?”

    Because they agree with you politically?

    This ad was stupid. Who cares what these people think? Who are they to tell me to do anything?

    This ad was trying to leverage celebrity to get young people, who, much more often than not, favor left-leaning candidates. Was this ad paid for by the Barack Obama presidential campaign?

  81. Mike C.

    You know, Phil – every time you weigh in with a political message (and, despite the civics lesson, this was a very slanted political message), this site becomes just a wee bit less pleasant to visit.

    There are at least 5 bazillion political websites out there, and I don’t visit a single one of them for science stuff. When I find one of my science sites going political on me, I tend to visit it less often, because that wasn’t what I was looking for.

    When you stick to things remotely related to what you’re good at, you are very, very good indeed. When you wander off the reservation, you become annoying.

  82. Jadehawk,

    I’m not a libertarian either, I’m a voluntaryist. My main problem with voting is actually a moral one and not a practical one (though the practical problems are enormous). The state is by its very definition is an organisation which uses coercive violence in order to achieve its ends. Regardless of how much change voting can or cannot achieve, I cannot morally participate in the processes of an group of people who use violent force (or more commonly, the threat of violent force) to extract compliance out of me and my neighbours. It’s the same reason I wouldn’t participate in the elections of the new mafia don (if such a thing existed). I oppose them on moral grounds and will not support them with my participation.

  83. tacitus

    So, encouraging more people to vote is a bad thing, Robbie, just because they might not agree with you? Hmm.

    Mike C. — there are a bazillion science sites out there too — take your pick.

  84. Mike C.

    “…so I’d like to see more direct democracy…”

    Pity we live in a federal republic, not a straight-up democracy.

  85. WestSider

    My biggest problem with stuff like this and MTV’s rock the vote is that there is nothing about educating yourself before voting. “Just go out and vote” seems to be the message. If someone isn’t going to take the time to study up I’d rather they just stay home.

  86. Elliott Nixon

    Vary good point WestSider

  87. Choosing not to vote for whatever reason is lame. A cop-out. But fine… it’s your right to NOT vote. Just don’t start whining about the process or the outcome if you don’t vote. If you’re not invested in it, then you don’t have any business complaining about it. And the rest of us don’t want to hear the WATB crying.

    And, yes, it takes some cojones to vote (yes, cojones can be used by both males and females)… and some smarts. If you don’t think you’re up to it, by all means, don’t do it. After all, it might be too hard… and we sure don’t want anybody to be challenged by life.

    Mike: it’s Phil’s blog. he gets to say what he likes. Voting is just as important to scientists as it is to everybody else. If you don’t like reading Phil’s opinion, there are other places you can visit that aren’t very taxing and probably won’t scare you, like <here, and here.

  88. Crap, that should be

    and here.

    I think I missed a close bracket…

  89. Charlie Foxtrot

    I’m an aussie, but still – surely “Not Voting” (capitalised because it is ‘making a statement’) is just making the job easier for all the lobbyists that seem to be such a problem in the US?
    If there was a regular, massive, voter turnout – would the Religous Right, Moral Majority, NRA, Oil Lobby, et al be able to have such an influence by promising their pool of voters to any one candidate? A pool that would (should?) be lost among the throng of active interested voters with proper diverse issues to be addressed?
    Until last year, the party I voted for didn’t win for 11 years. But I still damn well voted and had my choice counted against the incumbants – otherwise I would have felt as useless as a Chinese peasant. I can not begin to understand how any American would actively choose to submit as a peon.

  90. Corey S.

    I’d change the message of the video to something like this:

    “So if you care about (issue X), AND YOU EDUCATE YOURSELF ABOUT THE ISSUE, then vote. If you don’t care to take the time to study the issues and know what you’re talking about, stay home. You’ll be doing the rest of the country – including yourself – a favor.”

    People who think the economy needs to be ‘fixed’ but don’t know the first thing about economics shouldn’t vote. That’s why we get protectionism and various other inappropriate government interventions in our (ideally) free market economy.

    So yeah, if you think protectionism is a good thing, don’t vote. If you think the earth was created in six days, don’t vote. If you think Sarah Palin is smart, don’t vote. If you think socialism works, don’t vote. If you think the Bill Engvall Show or Tyler Perry’s House of Payne or Larry the Cable guy or Katt Williams are funny- please don’t vote. Stay home. Your nation needs you.

  91. “Just don’t start whining about the process or the outcome if you don’t vote.”

    So, let me get this straight. Writing “Donald Duck” on a piece of paper and dropping it in a box would grant me the right to complain.

    Fascinating.

  92. Davidlpf

    Donald could probably pronounce nuclear.

  93. Rowan

    Charlie, as a fellow Aussie, I completely agree with your sentiments. I cannot see how not having a vote changes anything, if anything, it will make a situation worse!

    Also, can I ask you American lot what is up with the Amendments? Why does everyone take them to heart so much, for example the right to bear arms? I mean, it was written quite a while ago, and if the situation has changed, shouldn’t something like that be constantly updated? Just a thought…

  94. Don Snow

    Cute video, even if it took half an hour to play it on my browser.

    It’s my civic duty to vote, here in the US of A. That goes for other American citizens, too.

    For awhile, and I still do, favor McCain on a few domestic issues and on some foreign issues. But, he voted the same as Obama on the $700billion experiment. Also, he and the other Senator have like views on immigration. There’s another issue, but I forget, upon which they agree. That’s too many things that they agree on.

    So, I’m back to looking for a write-in candidate, whose convictions match mine.

  95. You’re conflating the ideas of “not voting” and “changing things.” Not voting isn’t an attempt to change anything (at least not on my part). Not voting is simply not supporting the violence in the system. There are many other activities that fall under the “changing things” banner. Each person chooses their own means of improving the world. You choose voting, fine, so be it. But why does that mean that people who choose something else are lazy whiners?

  96. Jim P

    I am all set to vote for Obama and then I see no nothing entertainers telling people what to think. That makes me sicker than throwing 700 billion dollars in the toilet. All I can think of is the fact that our voting system is so antiquated that it doesn’t have the resolution to reliably count an individual vote; even 100,00 votes are within the range of error. So really why vote?

  97. Charlie Foxtrot

    @Adam:
    So how do things changes if the policy makers, the tax-spenders, the leaders of the country don’t give a stuff about you? Why don’t they give a stuff about you?… because you have opted out of using the only lever you have on them – electing them into that job.

    And,if my scratch-calculations are correct, as at 2004 you lot had about 1*million* unused levers.

  98. Charlie Foxtrot

    Whoops – didn’t carry over the decimal…

    *100* million unused levers

    Thats a fair bit of leverage…

  99. Charlie,

    “So how do things changes if the policy makers, the tax-spenders, the leaders of the country don’t give a stuff about you?”

    Well, they already don’t give a stuff about me. And I have news for you, they don’t give a stuff about you either, no matter how often you vote.

    The answer to your question is many faceted and too big for a blog comment. But there are numerous things, including civil disobedience, agorism, secession, education, and a host of others. Why limit ourselves to the small set of options the powers that be deem acceptable for our use?

  100. Robbie

    Tacitus, that’s not what I said. Young people are quite often the least educated and life-experienced among us. What is possibly the outcome besides influencing them to vote how you (whichever way you may lean) wish. In the case of this ad, it is to the left.

  101. Charlie Foxtrot

    Adam,

    jeeez man, people have been sitting around ‘waiting for the revolution to come’ since the ’60s. How many elections have you sat out on since then?

  102. AL

    There will always be people who don’t care. I don’t know why people who don’t care should be encouraged to pay lip service to caring and go out and vote, especially if they are uninformed and don’t know anything about the issues, the candidates positions, or even how to pronounce the candidates names (as is true for several of my customers who like to make political small-talk with me at work by discussing what “John McCrane” and “Baraka Osama” said recently on TV). Encouraging people like that to vote, IMO, will do far more harm than good. Mind you, I am not calling for the end of suffrage for certain groups of people. Everyone of age* should have the right to vote, but we should only encourage those who care enough to get informed to vote.

    *And why do we restrict the right to vote with a lower bound on age? Presumably because underaged people are ill-informed? Well, there you go.

  103. Charlie,

    People have been sitting around for much longer than that waiting for a decent candidate, how many elections will you waste your vote on?

  104. Oh, sorry, forgot to add. 2. 2 elections.

  105. Brotastic

    How about only vote if you actually know you have to register to vote?

  106. Tetsubo

    So Adam, what other practical choice do we have?

    I’m voting. If nothing else I might get the Rep. party out of the White House.

  107. Mus

    not voting because you don’t like the system is like a little kid going to his room and refusing to come out because they canceled “power rangers”.

    It’s useless, it’s childish, and it’s utterly counterproductive. If anyone thinks that people/politicians are actually looking at the voting turnouts and going “oh my gosh! so many people are not voting, they must object to the system. We should change the system!”, they are simply deluding themselves.

    Actually it’s even worse than the little kid, because these issues really do matter and affect people not just in this country, but all over the world.

  108. some NSFW language

    Ah, “labor union”.

  109. ARP1234

    They cancelled Power Rangers?!!

  110. Mrs.Schaarschmidt

    Phil:

    Thank you so much for this! I’ve always been a voter, but I wasn’t paying attention to something very important. I have been married in the last year, and I had so much trouble getting some of my identification changed over that I don’t think that I changed my registration.

    The video sent me to the website that told me that I have to re-register. I’m so glad I saw this. I very nearly and STUPIDLY missed my chance to vote by not paying attention to important details.

    Without your wakeup call, I would have missed out.

    THANK YOU.

  111. They cancelled Power Rangers?!!

    No, sweety. “Jungle Fury” is still going, and “R.P.M.” starts next year. There, there. Sshhh. Calm down now. Want an ice-cream bar?

  112. Gary Ansorge

    Hilarious!!!
    Excellent reverse psychology.
    Unfortunately, all the people I know are really into voting, so this likely won’t affect them but for those who don’t know diddly about the issues, I sincerely hope THEY listen to this.,,,and stay home,,,

    GAry 7

  113. Gary Ansorge

    Rowan:
    The first ten amendments are called the Bill of Rights, because they guarantee a minimal number of rights to minorities in the social system. It is designed to prevent a dictatorship of the Majority over the Minority.

    As far as updating is concerned, that’s what the amendments are all about. THEY are the updates,,,to the Constitution. Since it requires a 2/3 majority vote of the States, such modifications to the Constitution are few and far between, as they should be. We don’t want to indiscriminately, mess with something that works.

    GAry 7

  114. Daffy

    Mus,

    Refusing to vote because the system is corrupt (and it is) is more like giving up television completely because they air crud like “Power Rangers.”

    As I said earlier, voting for the lesser of evils is still voting for evil. The corporate lobbyists are running this country and the idea that your vote matters is a complete lie, designed to keep you from noticing. Why do you think every election year they start talking about gay marriage and flag burning? It’s to keep you distracted.

    Local elections are another matter.

  115. No revolution has ever been accomplished by the sit-at-homers…

    If you think that the electoral system doesn’t allow you enough choice,
    (and if half the people don’t bother, it obviously doesn’t) you will have
    to strife to change the system.
    That can only be accomplished by political activism, which entails much more
    then just voting.
    Go out, speak, organize, get yourself heard, start your own party, run for office.

    It won’t be easy, and there are no guarantees for success, but it is the only thing
    that could possibly work.
    Just not voting is defeatism.

    BTW, neither Athens or Rome were democracies by any modern definition.
    Maybe the problem is that America isn’t either.

  116. giving up television completely because they air crud like “Power Rangers.”

    AKA throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

  117. Mus

    Daffy: First off, I am really sick of all this “lesser of two evils” incredibly trite crap. If I could vote, I would vote for Obama because he will be best for the country (while McCain will be terrible), not because he’s “the lesser of two evils”. Sure, he’s not perfect, but he’s not evil either.

    Secondly, if the point of lobbyists and this conspiracy is to keep you distracted, then how the hell does not voting make it better? If only the people who are “distracted” are the ones voting, then you’re playing right into the lobbyists hands by not voting! The only way to fix it is to NOT be distracted by gay marriage and flag burning and… get this… VOTE for the real issues. Vote, maybe not for the nonexistent perfect candidate, but for the one which is closer to being perfect.

  118. As a follow-up, I’m really tired of people saying that if you don’t vote, you don’t have a right to complain. That’s nonsense. That’s not how it works. Non-voters have just as much right to complain as voters do, and I will continue to vote for candidates who support their right to speak their minds, even if they can’t be bothered to do so.

  119. Joe Meils

    Okay… Eva Longoria’s tight shirt convinced me! LOL (I’ve been registered since July… we’re in a fight here in Arkansas with an “adoption” bill that is essentially an anti-gay bill in disguise. So, I’ve been working against that thing passing for months.)

  120. Blu-Ray-Ven

    yes, becuase we all know that hollywood represents americas values, PALEASE. these haks wouldent know the first thing on how to run a country

  121. actually, I’ve noticed that the libertarian non-voters are committing the same mistake that they’re accusing the voters of: the false dichotomy of “vote” vs. “don’t vote” being the extent of one’s participation in politics.

    political activism might be an excuse for not voting for some, and for others voting might be an excuse for no other form of political activism, but usually that’s not so. and I would imagine taking part in as many forms of participation would make more sense than voluntarily depriving yourself of a means of participation?

    this is why I find pure ideology such a stupid manual for practical action.

    on an unrelated note though, I just realized that privatizing all roads and requiring everyone to pay for every mile of road they use is the single best way of reducing car use. and if it weren’t for the fact that this would completely f**k up the poor (for lack of public transport as an alternative), I’d be all for it.

  122. Daffy

    Mus,

    I didn’t say one word about a conspiracy (and always love it when someone puts words in my mouth). What conspiracy is required? A candidate running for office spews a bunch of rubbish that means nothing to anyone (can you say “gay marriage?”) in order to gain votes by inflaming emotions. What conspiracy? It’s just playing to the mob…and it happens to work.

    I choose not to participate in such nonsense; you can do so all you like. Believe me, I paid my dues on the protest lines and the like…I even ran for office once. And when a candidate comes forth who is actually addressing what is destroying this country, I will be happy to participate again. In the meantime, it’s a meaningless joke…kid yourself all you like; it’s still a meaningless joke.

    McCain is worse than Obama, but they are BOTH avoiding the real issue.

  123. Daffy, there occasionally are 3rd party candidates who do talk about the issues. yeah, they won’t win this time, or next time, but if people don’t start voting for them soon (and not chicken out when it starts working but things get tough), it will never happen. no amount of protesting is going to do anything about the fact that politicians get voted into and out of office. (educating voters on issues ALSO only works when they vote for what they believe, not for the better of choice A and choice B)

    the american system is a 2 party system because people are afraid to vote for what they believe and prefer to go along with the false dichotomy, because it’s safer.

  124. observer

    Vote third party.

    Anyone who votes for obama expecting anything diff is a damn fool -

  125. observer

    And to top it off all the people in this video are morons. Silverman is most disgusting female I have ever heard or seen.

  126. “So Adam, what other practical choice do we have?”

    That’s up to you, you have whatever your conscience dictates. I prefer to work outside the system, since the cards are too stacked against me in the system.

  127. “not voting because you don’t like the system is like a little kid going to his room and refusing to come out because they canceled “power rangers”.”

    That’s a really bad analogy. It’s more like not watching Power Rangers because you don’t like TV.

    “If anyone thinks that people/politicians are actually looking at the voting turnouts and going “oh my gosh! so many people are not voting, they must object to the system. We should change the system!”, they are simply deluding themselves.”

    Nice straw man you have there, does it come in other colours? Nobody thinks that the system will change because of not voting (I can’t speak for everyone, but I’ve never seen this claim made). I don’t accept the legitimacy of the government, so I don’t participate in its practices.

    It’s like a person who was a member of a club but decides to no longer be involved. They may still have the right to vote for club officers and business, but they don’t any more because it’s no longer their club. Likewise, the “system” is yours, not mine. I don’t vote because they aren’t my leaders or my laws.

    With all that said, there are still things that may bring me to vote. A local election where an excellent candidate is running might do it (but I’d only vote in that race) or a very liberty friendly referendum (like secession). But most of the time it’s a vote between two people who want to hurt me. Every candidate is so far away from my values I can’t distinguish them, so I simply don’t care which one wins.

  128. “First off, I am really sick of all this “lesser of two evils” incredibly trite crap. If I could vote, I would vote for Obama because he will be best for the country (while McCain will be terrible), not because he’s “the lesser of two evils”. Sure, he’s not perfect, but he’s not evil either.”

    Evil in this sense is relative. Obama isn’t evil to you because he shares (or claims to share) your values. I view him as evil because he is willing to use violence on me to get his way. That’s evil in my book, but not everyone’s.

  129. “I’ve noticed that the libertarian non-voters are committing the same mistake that they’re accusing the voters of: the false dichotomy of “vote” vs. “don’t vote” being the extent of one’s participation in politics.”

    Where was this mistake made? I didn’t see anyone claim that.

    “on an unrelated note though, I just realized that privatizing all roads and requiring everyone to pay for every mile of road they use is the single best way of reducing car use. and if it weren’t for the fact that this would completely f**k up the poor (for lack of public transport as an alternative), I’d be all for it.”

    Now you’re on to something. I would be willing to bet that mass transit would be huge if roads were free-marketised. Roads are not very economical, and a free market would find some great alternatives. Public transit is subsidised in most of the world, but it wouldn’t need to be if the state would stop subsidising private transit.

  130. Fauxnetikz

    I know there’s already over 130 comments, and no one will ever read this, but I need to throw in my two cents.

    Sara Silverman isn’t funny. She’s just not. I’ve tried watching her show, her standup, when she hosted a show, etc. I’ve watched about 3-4 hours of her material.

    She’s garbage of a comedienne. I’ve pinpointed why: she relies on “shock value.” She realized that some comedians use “shock value” in their jokes, and they’re that much funnier for it. She forgot to notice that the joke has to have some substance first. Her material isn’t “funny with shock value” it’s just “shocking.” Therefore – not funny.

    Not making it any better is her obvious attitude that her jokes ARE funny.

    /sigh

    Just MHO.

  131. Adam, i don’t feel like rereading and quoting, but I believe it came up at least twice or so where the non-voters said things along the line of limiting ones participation to those things the establishment allows (i.e. voting), and another saying something like “your way of participation is voting; mine is something else.”, which sounds to me as if the voter isn’t doing”something else”. which might be true, but might not.

    oh, and public transit still would have to be subsidized, otherwise you’d have fancy, expensive and extensive train systems etc. going between rich areas, whereas there would be a single, crappy bus in the boondocks. It’s like with health insurance. unprofitables not welcome.

  132. “line of limiting ones participation to those things the establishment allows (i.e. voting), and another saying something like “your way of participation is voting; mine is something else.”, which sounds to me as if the voter isn’t doing”something else”. which might be true, but might not”

    Okay, I can see how you might get that impression. I think you’re referring to a couple of things I said. When I said, “You choose voting,” I didn’t mean that to be exclusive. You do choose voting, and in contrast I don’t. It’s not limited to just voting or not voting. Also, as far as being limited to those things the establishment allows, that’s also more than voting (running for office, contacting representatives, holding referendums, and the like).

    That’s all in response to the people who say that voting is either sufficient or necessary to change things. It’s neither.

  133. Jadehawk,

    Also, on the mass transit thing. The opposite is actually true. Recently Chile socialised their mass transit from 3,000 bus/taxi companies to just 10 essentially state run companies. Service quality went through the floor and costs skyrocketed, leaving many of the poorest riders left hanging. It went from a system that served everyone well to one where only the richest could afford a decent ride.

  134. one bad example doesn’t make a whole picture. most public transit in Europe is public and works decently, with the exception of the British Railways which are private and can be only described in expletives not suited for this blog. I prefer systemic solutions to systemic problems. note that the reason I want roads privatized is because it’ll make people stop using them.

  135. and taxi cabs are not a reasonable form of “public transport”

  136. People often point to this or that industry and an example of something “private” and why it sucks. But closer inspection reveals that those things are private in only the loosest interpretation of the word, and that they are really just government run enterprises and are essentially private in name only. Those types of systems are usually worse than their socialised counterparts, but they’re both worse that the free market alternatives.

    And you’re thinking of taxis like they have in New York. Taxis in Santiago are just small busses that don’t necessarily run on a fixed route.

  137. Adam, I understand that. but things like public transport and public health (and water management, too.) are things that are required by all people equally, and cannot run profitably unless unprofitable sections are cut away.

    healthcare cannot run profitably unless people give them more money than they take from it. so if you are a for profit, you stack the deck in your favor and don’t insure those who certainly won’t be profitable. there’s no situation in which those who need a lot of care will be profitable at affordable prices, because they will always be on the “expense” side of the equation. the same goes for other systemic problems (i.e. problems that will affect Everybody). people need to use it, so they have little bargaining power. and so the companies cherrypick their customers to maximize profit.

    public transit is the same. a private system will not serve those areas which have relatively small and poor ridership. it will have commuter buses for the busiest times, but nothing at other times, which is silly considering a lot of people in those areas work odd hours.

    water is the same, too. as much as i’d like to see people be less wasteful with water here (same logic as the limited use of roads), but giving money-makers control over an essential resource will lead to extortion, since you can’t not buy water.

    also, the comparison of rich countries and poor countries on certain of those things just doesn’t work. the overhead costs are much higher in rich countries as opposed to poor ones, where small business can develop, and many small businesses are a good way to deal with low-cost needs. we have high costs, so mostly its large companies which can buy out smaller competition and can cherrypick their customers that are running these things here. they won’t be loosing sleep about not building that one barely profitable line because the opposition might.

  138. I understand what you’re talking about, but unfortunately these are just myths. When markets are allowed to operate, the do provide all of what you’re claiming they can’t. Unfortunately, markets are rarely left to operate freely because there’s a lot of money and power to be had by those who use government to constrain them.

    There’s a really good book on the subject, which dispels these myths much better than I could, called “Healing Our World.”

    http://www.ruwart.com/Healing/rutoc.html

  139. sorry, but the math just doesn’t work. you can’t make profit when you’re providing expensive care. the prices can only go down so far.

    and I’ll take the evidence of existing systems in developed countries, in which both public transport and healthcare in europe both function better than the private equivalent of the U.S.

    I know most of the arguments in that link, and they generally only look at part of the problem. especially the environmental ones (best one i’ve come across: the liberals are responsible for Malaria because they banned DDT; and nevermind that killing all mosquitos would cause an entire ecosystem to collapse)

  140. I understand what you’re talking about, but unfortunately these are just myths. When markets are allowed to operate, the do provide all of what you’re claiming they can’t.

    Evidence for this claim?

  141. That video is really good and neutral, but this sounded quite scary: hope this is studied whether it’s true or not.

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