Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The elusive voters and virtues

Living in a democracy puts strange demands on a human being. One of the strangest of them is the regular imperative to vote - every few years, elections happen, and as a citizen you are expected to take part when they do.

One aspect of this is that the impact of one particular individual vote is negligible. It is very rare that an election ends with just the one vote making all the difference - most of the time, the difference tends to be measured in the hundreds of thousands. A vote either for or against tend to be swallowed up in the grey mass of other such votes. Votes and voters are legion, for they are many.

Yet, they are also one. Individual. Singular. And it is in every case up to the individual to arse themselves to their voting stations and make their vote happen.

This imperative is ethical in nature. Ethical as in virtue ethics. Virtue as in "you do it because it's good in and of itself, and that is all the incentive you need to do it".

The imperative to vote can thus be summed up like this: it makes virtually no difference whatsoever what you vote for, but it makes all the difference that you do.

Democracy is confusing.

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