Freakonomics is on our side, at least against voting :
Still, people do continue to vote, in the millions. Why? Here are three possibilities:
1. Perhaps we are just not very bright and therefore wrongly believe that our votes will affect the outcome.
2. Perhaps we vote in the same spirit in which we buy lottery tickets. After all, your chances of winning a lottery and of affecting an election are pretty similar. From a financial perspective, playing the lottery is a bad investment. But it's fun and relatively cheap: for the price of a ticket, you buy the right to fantasize how you'd spend the winnings - much as you get to fantasize that your vote will have some impact on policy.
3. Perhaps we have been socialized into the voting-as-civic-duty idea, believing that it's a good thing for society if people vote, even if it's not particularly good for the individual. And thus we feel guilty for not voting.
Of course, they don't go so far as to use this as an argument against democracy, or understand its anti-individualist implications... but it's a start.
Cafe Hayek reports that "more than half of those polled in a Zogby International poll think Wal-Mart is bad for America".
The majority, or 56 percent, picked: "I believe that Wal-Mart is bad for America. It may provide low prices, but these prices come with a high moral and economic cost for consumers." Thirty-nine percent agreed that "Wal-Mart is good for America. It provides low prices and saves consumers money every day."
Their conclusion :
My hat is off to the unions and Wal-Mart's competitors. Through a relentless media campaign, they have achieved something I would have thought nearly impossible. They have managed to convince a majority of Americans (assuming the poll is well done) that a company that has lowered prices throughout the retail sector, employs a million people and that has created tremendous wealth through the innovative use of technology is actually a bad thing.
It's a sad state of affairs, but not surprising in a collectivist culture where the good of the individual is desecrated.