My Point Exactly


In the course of making “The Case Against the Case Against Voting,” Tim Lee argues:

Of course it would be nice if there was a political system that magically removed certain issues from the realm of collective decision-making. But no such system exists, or is likely to ever exist. After thousands of years of political experimentation, it seems pretty clear that some institution is always going to have a monopoly of force, and some human being or group of human beings is going to have the ultimate authority over how that force is used. We have strong evidence that the best (or least-bad) option is to disperse that authority as widely as possible through an election open to the general public.

This is the Big Theme of most of my work on virtual worlds, Internet governance, and jurisdiction. Going online does not eliminate the possibilities for control; it merely rearranges them. My Sealand article is ultimately about the failure of democracy on Sealand; the recurring theme of my virtual worlds articles is that coercive technical power is an inherent feature of any online space. These systems can be more or less free, and more or less fair. But if they are, it’s because of human institutions and social norms—like the ones about voting.

Please vote today. And please vote thoughtfully, on every race and ballot proposition before you: national, state, and local. This is important.

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