Voting for Comments

I urge everyone to use the voting system in the comments section to:

  1. Vote up comments containing facts with sources.
  2. Vote down ad hominem attacks directed at anyone.
We all share the same goal of minimizing the amount of suffering in the world.  Name-calling is completely unproductive.  Ad hominem attacks cause to the emotional limbic system to steal the cognitive reins from our rational prefrontal cortices.  This process makes primates out of philosophers.

Voting for Politicians

Note that I am not encouraging anyone to vote in an actual election. Many people vote for the for the lesser of two evils with the belief that their vote will be more likely to affect the outcome of the election.

Should I vote?

Self-interested Answer: no, you might die.
There’s less than a 0.00001% chance that your vote will be the tiebreaker that decides the outcome of a national elections.You are more likely to be injured in a car accident driving to the polls (0.002% chance).  Hence, if you are trying to make a practical improvement in your life and those of your loved ones, it is much more rational to just stay home on election day.
civic-minded answer: yes, if you’re more informed on the issues and candidates than the average voter.
However, if you have a relatively informed opinion on the ability of the candidates to reduce suffering in the world, you should exercise your irrational desire to vote. At least then you can say that you’re part of the solution and not a part of the problem.  But if you do this, you should vote based on your civic duty to express your opinion about who would be the best person for the job.  It’s quite likely that this person will either be running on a third-party ticket or (most likely) will not even be on the ballot.