Friday, July 01, 2016

Ethicists say voting with your heart, without a care about the consequences, is actually immoral Olivia Goldhill June 26, 2016

Olivia Goldhill
June 26, 2016

Finding a candidate who embraces your values is understandable, crucial even. But fervent idealism, which places support for a certain candidate above all practical consequences of that support, is foolhardy. According to ethicists, it’s also immoral.

“The purpose of voting is not to express your fidelity to a worldview. It’s not to wave a flag or paint your face in team colors; it’s to produce outcomes,” says Jason Brennan, a philosopher at Georgetown University and author of The Ethics of Voting. “If they’re smart, they’ll vote for the candidate likely to best produce the outcome they want. That might very well be compromising, but if voting for a far-left or far-right candidate means that you’re just going to lose the election, then you’ve brought the world further away from justice rather than closer to it.”


“As a citizen, I have a duty to others because it’s not just me and my principles, but everybody,” says LaBossiere, who favors the utilitarian approach. “I have to consider how what I do will impact other people. For example, if I was a die-hard Bernie supporter, I might say my principles tell me to vote for Bernie. But I’m not going to let my principles condemn other people to suffering.”


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