QUARTZ: Ethicists say voting with your heart, without a care about the consequences, is actually immoral

Ethicists say voting with your heart, without a care about the consequences, is actually immoral

A friend of mine shared this article asking for input from her friends, many of which happen to be educated in philosophy, ethics, theology, and/or social science. It’s a valuable read in this political climate.

This was my response:

  1. The first ethicist, Jason Brennan, sets up a premise before making his ethical claim. We’d have to agree on that premise before agreeing to the claim. His premise is that “the purpose of voting is to produce outcomes”. I’ve had some interesting conversations with California Republicans who feel their presidential vote absolutely has no OUTCOME whatsoever. So, I have problems with that premise.
  2. Ilya Somin provides a formula for deciding the most ethical voting practice. I think it’s laden with subjectivity so not overly useful, though it’s an interesting exercise I don’t find it valuable to actual ethical decision making or behavior.
  3. I like Michael LaBossiere approach because he basically says there’s two camps: Utilitarianism (do what works) versus Deontological (do what’s right).

I believe the national conversation for Bernie voters comes down to that fight between the Utilitarians and the Deontologists. Is voting for Hillary because she is the only one who can beat Trump the “moral” thing to do; or am I betraying my own values by the very act of voting for Hillary.

In the end, I think there’s room for both types of ethical decision making. But the consequences of each have serious ramifications. Let no one think for a second that choosing the lesser of two evils is OK for a presidential race. In the long term is just opens things up to get worse and worse. On the other hand, let no one think that if we “stick to our guns” and vote our conscious — risking the chance of a Trump win — that we would have a “good” outcome.

Then on the other hand, if by voting our conscious we signal that we won’t put up with crappy sold-out options, we might have short-term pain, but start a long-term revolution.



Author: Matt Cromwell

I'm Head of Support and Community Outreach at GiveWP.com and Impress.org. I'm the author of several popular free plugins and Lead Admin of the Advanced WordPress Facebook group (which boasts over 30K members). I blog often at mattcromwell.com, givewp.com, wordimpress.com, and mediatemple.net.

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