Why Political Ignorance Undermines the Wisdom of the Many


Hélène Landemore’s Democratic Reason effectively demonstrates how cognitive diversity may potentially improve the quality of democratic decisions. But in setting out the preconditions that democracy must meet in order for voters to make collectively well-informed decisions, Landemore undermines the case for voter competence more than she strengthens it. The conditions she specifies are highly unlikely to be achieved by any real-world democracy. Widespread voter ignorance and the enormous size and complexity of modern government are severe obstacles to any effort to implement Landemore’s vision. Better-informed decision making is more likely to be achieved by allowing a wider range of issues to be decided by “voting with your feet” instead of at the ballot box.