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Revered libertarian publication tells people not to bother voting 10 days before election

Reason Magazine has an important message for Americans: don't bother voting.

Celine Ryan Washington, D.C.
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Just 10 days before the 2020 presidential election, Reason Magazine – the choice publication of the particular brand of libertarian intellectualism that brought you a full-throated defense of the child exploitation that occurred during the filming of the controversial film Cuties – has an important message for Americans: don't bother voting.

Reason's top headline in its "Election 2020" coverage on Saturday is a video explaining to Americans that their vote doesn't count, and that "It might be better to find something else you'd rather do on Election Day."

Reason Editor in Chief Katherine Mangu-Ward explains that "the reasons people give for why they vote and why everyone else should too are flawed, unconvincing, and occasionally dangerous," asserting that "the case for voting relies on factual errors, misunderstandings about the duties of citizenship, and overinflated perceptions of self-worth."

Mangu-ward concedes that there are "some good reasons for some people to vote some of the time," but contends that "there are a lot more bad reasons to vote, and the bad ones are more popular."

"Your vote is wildly unlikely to determine the outcome of an election. It's pure math," she continues before delving into an explanation that a single vote is highly unlikely to sway an election. She then poses the question "So are people who vote irrational, evil, or stupid?"

"Not necessarily. At least not all of those things," she answers.

Although Mangu-Ward begins by making the case that one shouldn't vote because individual votes simply don't matter, she soon contradicts herself, citing philosophy that suggests that "ill-informed" or "uneducated" voters "have a civic duty not to vote" because "even though no particular vote is likely to be decisive," doing so while also being "ignorant" might be an "immoral act."

"If you believe your vote is likely to be ill-informed or that a particular race is likely to yield an unfair, unjust, or otherwise bad outcome, you should refrain from participating," Mangu-Ward explains.

"If you like, you could say the rule is don't vote unless your vote is likely to substantially influence the outcome of the election," Mangu-Ward says, after having just provided multiple figures to back up her assertion that nobody's vote has the power to do so.

Mangu-Ward calls voting the "cheapest form of altruism," and in perfect libertarian fashion, suggests that "Complaining is another way to make good on our civic duty to be engaged, if such a thing exists."

"Ignorant expressive voters, even rationally ignorant ones, may be committing immoral acts. All of which is a pretty steep price to pay for an 'I Voted' sticker," she concludes.

Although Mangu-Ward contends that "one person's decision not to vote, or even to make a video about not voting, is unlikely to substantially influence the tens of millions of people who already vote," she knows that if anybody is likely to be swayed by her video, it is Reason's target audience of the libertarian community, almost half of which is leaning toward voting for Trump, according to an ongoing poll from

Results from libertarian voters to the question "If the 2020 Presidential election were held today, which potential candidate would you vote for?" currently show 45 percent answering that they would vote for Trump, followed closely by 41 percent choosing Libertarian Party candidate Jo Jorgenson. Only 10 percent have said that they would vote for Biden.

This comes on the same day that Reason Senior Editor Elizabeth Nolan Brown decried libertarians who are likely to vote for Trump.

"A whole lotta 'Ron Paul libertarians' were never libertarian in the first place," said Brown in response to a tweet from Austin Peterson asserting that "Ron Paul libertarians prefer Trump."

"Ron Paul brought libertarians a wave of racist dingbats who like liberty in only a few areas, from which we are still digging ourselves out. Good the f**k riddance," said Brown.

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