Boots & Sabers

The blogging will continue until morale improves...


Everything but tech support.

0723, 08 Sep 14

Self-Interested Voters

Paul Fanlund in The Capital Times seems to think that he has stumbled upon some great revelation here.

The key sentence to me in Frum’s treatise on how the GOP must broaden its appeal was this one: “What boomers mean when they call themselves conservative is that they have begun to demand massive cutbacks to special programs that do not directly benefit them.”

Frum goes on to explain: “Boomers’ conservatism is founded on their apprehension that there’s not enough to go around — and on their conviction that what little resources there are should accrue to them.”

Well, duh. This is certainly true. But it is also true of ever type of voter. The vast majority of voters vote for their own self-interest. Whether it is because they want free birth control, free health care, lower property taxes, less regulation, free Obama phones, cheap immigrant labor, or anything else, most voters vote for what they personally want out of government. Very few vote for the larger interests of society. 

Fortunately, this is precisely why our nation was set up to balance competing interests for limited resources. That bulwark has been eroded over the years with things like the 17th Amendment and the shift in power toward the Executive branch, but it is still somewhat intact. Our founders understood that it was human nature for people to vote for their self-interest. It was as true in Athens as it was true in Philadelphia as it is true today.

So while Fanlund may think that the Republican voters voting in their self-interest is some sort of scandal, he misses the fact that Democratic voters do the exact same thing. He also misses that this is completely normal.


0723, 08 September 2014


Pin It on Pinterest