I am amazed that the latest New Yorker contains a fair, knowledgeable and informative review-essay of Jason Brennan’s Against Democracy, Ilya Somin’s Democracy and Political Ignorance, and Bryan Caplan’s The Myth of the Rational Voter. The author, Caleb Crain, has done his homework and he engages seriously with the literature. Here is one bit but read the whole thing both for what it says and what its publication in the New Yorker says about our times.
Brennan has a bright, pugilistic style, and he takes a sportsman’s pleasure in upsetting pieties and demolishing weak logic. Voting rights may happen to signify human dignity to us, he writes, but corpse-eating once signified respect for the dead among the Fore tribe of Papua New Guinea. To him, our faith in the ennobling power of political debate is no more well grounded than the supposition that college fraternities build character.