This is really interesting, and I have some things to say -- specifically about how I was trying to get across a subtle distinction between America as an ideal and America as a practicality (I failed), but I'm a bit swamped tonight. I'll keep this in my inbox for later.
Quickly, though, a general caution to everyone reading this thread: hubski is not reddit. Clicking "share" next to comments is not upvoting. I understand that the majority of you (all, in fact, except myself and minimum_wage) disagree with the stance that voting is fruitless. However, that disagreement shouldn't be reflected in the number of shares each post has. Don't forget that the purpose of sharing is to acknowledge depthful posts -- not to agree. This phenomenon isn't playing out to a huge extent here, nor does it matter at all in this instance, but I've been seeing this more and more on hubski lately and it worries me, because it's one of the forerunners of site decline. As hubski's average comments per post rises, we simply cannot stop clicking share for all depthful posts and only continue to promote the ones we agree with. That way lies centralization and failure of the site's purpose, eventually.