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I voted for Ralph Nader, and I will again

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Mar. 23rd, 2003 | 12:11 am
mood: chipperchipper
music: Theme from Dr. Who, Tom Baker era, in my head

I've been following a debate that I've seen going on many places: the meaning of votes cast for Ralph Nader.

It seems intuitively obvious, but I couldn't tell you why until just now. I think I've finally figured out my answer, with levels upon levels of implications, to those who are angry with Nader voters:

The ends don't justify the means.

I voted for Nader because I wanted him to be president. Voting for anyone else would be against my personal ethics. If you don't vote on principle -- or if you don't vote, on principle -- then you are gaming the system just as corruptly as those who record false votes on behalf of graveyard residents.

As always, there's more I could say about this....
--
Triple Entendre

The ends justifying the means is an example of the fallacy called Appeal to Consequences. Arguments made to in support of this fallacy tend to fall under the Fallacies of Distraction, particularly the False Dilemma.

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Comments {3}

dr. pangloss

(no subject)

from: denshi
date: Mar. 23rd, 2003 01:57 am (UTC)
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Would that be similar to a Fallacy of Chromatic Dilemma?

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Elphie

political systems and the like

from: elphie
date: Mar. 23rd, 2003 03:32 pm (UTC)
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I think this problem happens because our voting system is poorly designed. An ideal voting
system would result in each vote for a certain candidate moving the outcome closer to the
beliefs of that candidate. Since our system doesn't always do this, which could be mostly
fixed by some kind of instant run off voting and/or proportional representation, it means those
whose ideal candidate does not have a chance to win either have to vote for the candidate that
doesn't not share their beliefs or move the outcome towards one that is less desirable to them.
I think cases can be made for both actions, it is an inherent flaw in the system that one has
to make that choice. I hold the belief that is better to take an action that has the best
real world effect is better than voting for my ideal candidate but it is easy to see someone
believing in the reverse. I think "gaming a system" that cannot do what it is supposed to
do is justifiable, even necessary.

Unfortunately from a game theory perspective our current system will always revolve around a
two party equilibrium since you maximize your influence in the system by joining together with
a group that is slightly more than 50% of the people (which gets you almost all the power). The
remaining 49% or so will do the same, and then try to get power by enticing the people most like
them in the other group to join them. So we see campaigns and politics that all appeal to the
middle 10-15% of the country on the political spectrum trying desperately to entice them to join
one coalition or the other. Even worse both groups in power greatly benefit from the system so
they will resist changing it with all their power. I don't know if it possible to change the
system short of revolution.

If we had a system with proportional represenation, where a group that was like 20% of the
population got around 20% of the power, then all these problems with melt away, although the
fragmenation of the body politic can cause other problems as we see with governments like say
Israel.

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(no subject)

from: tequilanolime
date: Apr. 2nd, 2003 03:19 pm (UTC)
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I also voted for Nader. If everyone who wants him in would have given him their vote, he might have had a fighting chance. Unfortunately, another factor in his loss tends to be that our generation of pepetual adolescents (who make up his largest supporters) is too apathetic about world issues. Too many people do not vote because they don't see it making a difference. And then they wonder why the world is run by middle-aged Republican males.

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