The Volokh Conspiracy
Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent
The interdisciplinary journal Critical Review has just published a symposium on my book Democracy and Political Ignorance: Why Smaller Government is Smarter. The symposium includes commentary and criticism by prominent scholars, such as Matthew Landauer (University of Chicago), Melissa Lane (Princeton), Josiah Ober (Stanford), Benjamin Page (Northwestern), and others. It also includes my reply to the critics, (also available here). Here is the abstract for my reply:
The participants in this Critical Review symposium raise many insightful criticisms and reservations about my book Democracy and Political Ignorance: Why Smaller Government Is Smarter. But none substantially undermine its main thesis: that rational political ignorance and rational irrationality are major problems for democracy that are best addressed by limiting and decentralizing government power. Part I of this reply addresses criticisms of my analysis of the problem of political ignorance and its causes. Part II assesses challenges to my proposed solution.
Stanford University Press will soon publish a much-revised and expanded second edition of Democracy and Political Ignorance, which addresses several of the issues raised in the symposium in greater depth, as well as incorporating a substantial amount of other new material. The problem of political ignorance may be even more significant during the present election cycle than it usually is.
Unfortunately, the articles in the symposium, with the exception of my own, are not available for free online to the general public. However, academics and students can download them for free at the Critical Review website, if your institution has a subscription (as most universities do).
I am grateful to to Critical Review editor Jeffrey Friedman for arranging the symposium, and to the other participants for their excellent contributions.