a thoughtful web.
Good ideas and conversation. No ads, no tracking.   Login or Take a Tour!
comment by mk
mk  ·  3527 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: If politicians want millenials to vote, it's time to start bribing us

    Does maleness have anything to do with it, or are you using the term in a different sense?

No, although the maleness fits, 'paternal' maybe more apt. Still, the maleness of these political power structures plays a role in how they are perceived and how they act.

It's a sad that people can easily grasp how their one vote means so little, but can't understand that acting despite that fact means so much.





wasoxygen  ·  3527 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    It's a sad that people can easily grasp how their one vote means so little, but can't understand that acting despite that fact means so much.

Can you sell that point to us? The idea that Performing Action X is meaningful because performing Action X is not meaningful is a bit hard to follow.

What is different about voting compared to, say, donating a penny to a worthy cause? Other than the fact that the penny is actually worth 1¢ of support to the cause.

mk  ·  3527 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I think that most people that recycle understand the motivation generally, but it goes beyond simply 'being a part of something bigger'.

Actions or the lack of action resonates. When you vote, people around you know one more person that votes, so you normalize the behavior. When you vote, you are more likely to follow the outcome of the vote, and the actions of the candidates that win. When you vote, you will see what local ballot initiatives are shaping your community. When you vote, you need to settle in your own mind issues on State referendums. When you vote, you view the world in a way that is different than if you didn't.

Voting is essential to a democratic way of life.

wasoxygen  ·  3526 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Recycling is a good example. This is my practice:

• With aluminum, I am almost religious about recycling. Trashing a soda can makes me feel guilty. I understand that refining aluminum is very energy-intensive, and recycling aluminum is very efficient.

• With plastic, I am less conscientious, but I will throw a soda bottle in the green bin rather than a trash can if it is convenient. I am not sure if the energy used to recycle plastic is greater than the energy used to landfill it and make new bottles.

• With paper, I resist recycling. I will walk past a recycling bin to put a newspaper in a trash can. Growing trees specifically to bury them may not be a practical approach to carbon sequestration, but as long as people are already shredding trees and delivering the pulp to my doorstep, and there is already a giant, hermetically-sealed hole in the ground somewhere, and handlers and trucks carrying my banana peels to that hole, it seems better to add my newspaper to that long-term storage rather than consume more energy to reduce demand for trees which suck carbon out of the atmosphere.

I may well be mistaken about the beneficial effects of my habits, and would like to understand these complex systems better. But I can be fairly certain that every ounce of aluminum that I recycle gets recycled. The effect of my actions is directly proportional to my effort.

The incentives aren't worked out perfectly, so it's sort of a positive externality in that I merely get a good feeling for "being part of something bigger" or "doing the right thing" while the recycler actually gets to profit from my Coke cans. But it's enough for me to know that my small actions make a small difference.

If the recycle bin were actually dumped into the landfill with mathematical near-certainty and in every observed instance I would feel I am fooling myself to get any satisfaction from recycling.

It seems to me that all of the benefits you mention could be had without taking the trouble to vote (and are far from guaranteed when people do vote), or else depend on a vote "counting" by possibly altering an election outcome.

mk  ·  3526 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    Growing trees specifically to bury them may not be a practical approach to carbon sequestration, but as long as people are already shredding trees and delivering the pulp to my doorstep, and there is already a giant, hermetically-sealed hole in the ground somewhere, and handlers and trucks carrying my banana peels to that hole, it seems better to add my newspaper to that long-term storage rather than consume more energy to reduce demand for trees which suck carbon out of the atmosphere.

That's very interesting. I'd love to see an analysis.

    It seems to me that all of the benefits you mention could be had without taking the trouble to vote (and are far from guaranteed when people do vote), or else depend on a vote "counting" by possibly altering an election outcome.

Perhaps that's true, but I think generally speaking, those benefits are realized. At least, that's my experience in my social circles. Most of my friends and colleagues that are US citizens vote, and there clearly is a culture that comes with it.

user-inactivated  ·  3527 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    No, although the maleness fits, 'paternal' maybe more apt. Still, the maleness of these political power structures plays a role in how they are perceived and how they act.

If you think 'paternal' is more apt, then maybe "paternalistic" was the word you were looking for, not "patriarchal".

    It's a sad that people can easily grasp how their one vote means so little, but can't understand that acting despite that fact means so much.

That one word -- despite -- is the fine line between action and inaction for most people. It makes people think of scenarios they'd rather not think of, because it means their actions might conflict with their beliefs.

If it takes pandering to get people to vote the first time, they might do it on their own the second time.

mk  ·  3527 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    If it takes pandering to get people to vote the first time, they might do it on their own the second time.

Perhaps, which illustrates the problem. My impression is that millennials believe that they are voting on behalf of the politicians, when in fact, they are voting on behalf of themselves. The politicians, media, (and probably many other factors), have created a illusion of a top-down power structure, when in reality, it exists upon the whims of those that vote.

user-inactivated  ·  3527 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    Perhaps, which illustrates the problem. My impression is that millennials believe that they are voting on behalf of the politicians, when in fact, they are voting on behalf of themselves. The politicians, media, (and probably many other factors), have created a illusion of a top-down power structure, when in reality, it exists upon the whims of those that vote.

So... we've identified the problem (that most millennials are under an illusion), and we've also found that traditional education on the subject doesn't work in lifting that veil (perhaps because the millennials are as a group too cynical to believe you). You can lament about how it's a sad state of affairs that traditional education doesn't work all you like, but that doesn't help solve the problem of low voter turnout.

And yes, pandering to the young gets them to vote for the wrong reasons, but is that worse than not voting at all? Get them used to it first, then tell them the real reason behind why they're doing it.

mk  ·  3527 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    And yes, pandering to the young gets them to vote for the wrong reasons, but is that worse than not voting at all?

No, but I doubt that politicians will do it any time soon. Millenials have less money, and a track record of less-engagement than other voting blocks. Same problem, lack of incentive.

user-inactivated  ·  3526 days ago  ·  link  ·  

So we have a chicken-and-egg problem, it seems?