From the facebook thread for my last post:

Jon Pretty replied with:

I’m not going to vote. The expected utility of me voting is infinitesimal. In the unlikely scenario that my vote decides the election, it will change just a single representative. What practical difference does that make? Virtually nothing. Sure, the turnout will be one vote higher, but that’s even less relevant.

If I believed voting was useful, I’d play the lottery; one where I’m even less likely to win, and where the winnings are small enough that they wouldn’t change my life in any noticeable way.

People sometimes ask me “what if everyone thought like that?” Well, they don’t, and I rely on that fact, so I’m not going to encourage everyone to think like me. If more people did think like me, I’d think differently and I’d start voting, because my vote might actually have more chance of making a difference then.


And my reply:

The basis of modern civilization is lots of people doing things that have no strong net benefit to them that on aggregate make things better for everyone. e.g. for a trivial example, the net effect of not littering is small, but the aggregate effect of even a relatively small percentage of the population littering is large. Choosing to opt out of those small things because you trust other people to pick up your trash for you is a selfish attitude which I can not allow to spread.

And the thing is, you think you’re being unique with your “What if everyone thought like that? Well they don’t”. They do. You’re not even in a minority here – electoral turnout for the EU elections is generally completely pathetic in the UK. About 65% of the population didn’t vote in the EU elections last time.

And this turnout is not uniformly distributed. Extremists are more likely to vote than non-extremist, so your wishy washy “I’m not going to vote because it doesn’t make a difference” bullshit is basically you participating in the statistics of handing power to awful people. Sure your individual contribution to it is infinitesimal, but your attitude of apathy is the same as most of the others responsible, and by both practising and promoting that attitude you are selfishly making the world a worse place.

So, in short, yes I’m going to fucking judge you for not voting. Go vote.

Your Russell Brand studied “Oh but I’m not allowed to be special so why bother” political apathy does not impress me. Go fucking vote.

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