Do you feel like you’re the only person at your office without an "I Voted!" sticker on Election Day? It turns out that you're far from alone – 100 million eligible U.S. voters never went to the polls in 2016. That’s about 35 million more than voted for the winning presidential candidate.
In this book, Christopher Freiman explains why these 100 million need not feel guilty. Why It’s OK to Ignore Politics argues that you’re under no obligation to be politically active. Freiman addresses new objections to political abstention as well as some old chestnuts ("But what if everyone stopped voting?"). He also synthesizes recent empirical work showing how our political motivations distort our choices and reasoning. Because participating in politics is not an effective way to do good, Freiman argues that we actually have a moral duty to disengage from politics and instead take direct action to make the world a better place.
- Makes the case against a duty of political participation for a non-expert audience
- Presupposes no knowledge of philosophy or political science and is written in a style free of technical jargon
- Addresses the standard, much-repeated arguments for why one should vote (e.g., one shouldn’t free ride on the efforts of others)
- Presents the growing literature on politically motivated reasoning in an accessible and entertaining way
- Covers a significant amount of new ground in the debate over a duty of political participation (e.g., whether participating absolves us of our complicity in state injustice)
- Challenges the increasingly popular argument from philosophers and economists that swing state voting is effective altruism
- Discusses the therapeutic benefits of ignoring politics—it’s good for you, your relationships, and society as a whole.
Table of Contents
1. In Pursuit of Political Wisdom
2. We’re All Partisan Hacks
3. The Costs and Benefits of Political Participation
4. Fairness and Free Riding
5. Political Abstention and Complicity in Injustice
6. The Morality of the Message
7. Political Ignorance is Bliss
Christopher Freiman is Associate Professor of Philosophy at William & Mary. He is the author of Unequivocal Justice (2017).
"Why It’s OK to Ignore Politics isn’t just a wise, witty work of philosophy. It is a fantastic self-help book. And the more the title shocks you, the more you need to read it."
Bryan Caplan, George Mason University
"This is a terrific book addressing something of interest to a lot of people. It's clear, fast-paced, compellingly-argued, and delightfully contrarian. By the end, Freiman actually makes a strong case that being politically active is not just unnecessary, but morally wrong."
Michael Huemer, University of Colorado Boulder