By Olivia Goldhill
Originally published June 26, 2016
Here is an excerpt:
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.”
Ilya Somin, a law professor at George Mason University, says it’s important for voters to balance their principles with the consequences of their actions. He suggests creating an equation to multiply how much one favors a candidate by that candidate’s chances of having a positive impact.
The article is here.