Saturday, November 13, 2010

Ronald Dworkin on one of those great mysteries

Ronald Dworkin asks, "Why do so many Americans insist on voting against their own best interests?"  Both of the two possible answers he identifies ring true:
[1] They might mean, first, that their new government is not theirs because it is not remotely of their kind or culture; it is not representative of them. Most who think that would have in mind, of course, their president; they think him not one of them because he is so different.

[...]

[2] All their lives they have assumed that their country is the most powerful, most prosperous, most democratic, economically and culturally the most influential—altogether the most envied and wonderful country in the world. They are coming slowly and painfully to realize that that is no longer true; they are angry and they want someone to blame.
But Dworkin need not have been so wordy. He could simply have pointed out that Americans are people, and that idiocy is part of the human condition.

1 comment:

Steelman said...

People often vote to protect the interests of those they wish they were, or think they could become. They're looking out for their best fantasy, future selves, and for the imagined wishes of our righteous founders.

Reality check:
1. Most of us won't become rich entrepreneurs, sports stars, or captains of industry. We shouldn't be acting to preserve the lifestyles of the rich and famous we will never be.

2. The founders of our nation embodied some of our wistful nostalgia, as well as the greed, racism, and elitist privilege that some of us claim to be exorcising from our current government with each vengeful vote.