Political life differs from private life. If you vote for a candidate while ignorant about issues, you'll pay no more than a tiny fraction of the price of your ignorance. Not so in your private affairs. If you're dumb when you buy a car, you get stuck with a bad car. You get punished right away.
"And you may look back and say, 'I'm not going to do that again.' ... It's not so much that voters are dumb. Even smart people act dumb when they vote. I know an engineer who is very clever. ... But his views on economics (are) ridiculous."
It's not what people don't know that gets them into trouble. It's what they know that isn't so.
"A very common view is that foreign aid is actually the largest item in the budget," Caplan said. "It's about 1 percent."
Actually, even less. Medicare, Social Security, the military and interest on the debt make up over half the budget. But surveys show that people believe foreign aid and welfare are the biggest items.
So, you ignorant people, please stay home on Election Day. And those of you who do vote, please resist the instinctive urge to give our tribal elders more power.
If Americans keep voting for politicians who want to pass more laws and spend more money, the result will not be a country with fewer problems, but a country that's governed by piecemeal socialism. Or corporatism. We can debate the meaning of those words, but there's no doubt that such central planning leaves us less prosperous and less free.