The Obligation to Vote Revisited

A couple of weeks ago, on Election Day, I wrote a somewhat wordy and maybe convoluted post arguing that under certain circumstances, we have a moral obligation to vote–not a legally enforceable obligation, but an obligation nonetheless. It’s possible that the conditions that I set out in my post are never or rarely met, but my primary aim was to defend the conditional involved, and only secondarily to reach the consequent: if certain conditions are met, among them the imminent electoral advent of fascism, one has an obligation to vote (against fascism). Continue reading

Fascism and the Obligation to Vote

Worried about the election? Ha, ha, me too! While we’re waiting to learn the fate of our country, I figured I’d kill some time by running a thought by you that I’ve been meaning to blog for awhile, but never had the chance to–until tonight. Oh, the irony. The question is whether the prospect of fascism for your polity gives you the obligation to vote. I kind of think it does. But you tell me.

Imagine that you have the right to vote, and that you care about the common good of the polity in which you have that right. Now suppose that, all things equal, fascism or the prospect of fascism would grievously subvert the common good. Presumably (all things equal), your caring about the common good gives you an obligation to promote it somehow. You would, I’d think, flout the demands of justice if you just sat there observing the real prospect of fascism, and did nothing about it–or even did something about it less efficacious in stopping its advent than some more efficacious option in your power. Continue reading

Run It “Like a Business”

I worked at banks for 16+ years, and I would like to see our PPS finances run like a business.
Rita Rafalovsky, candidate for Board of Education, Princeton Public Schools (PPS)

A candidate for Board of Education in my town, a banker, is running on the age-old slogan that the local school system ought to be “run like a business.” There are many ambiguities in this claim, but no need to chase them all down. It seems a sufficient objection to the slogan, and to any campaign based on it, that the public schools aren’t a business. So it makes no sense to try to run them as if they were. The more sensible approach might be to identify the kind of institution they actually are, or should be, and run them that way. Imagine walking into a business establishment and announcing that it ought to be “run like a school.” That would  obviously be absurd, but it’s no less absurd if you turn things around. Continue reading