27 September 2008

A Prisoner's Dilemma for Voters

Bloggers everywhere are writing about strategic voting.

Some argue that progressives should vote strategically. Others argue against, making the compelling case that it is never right to vote for the lesser of evils rather than for a party which best accords with one's values.

This will be my last post on this topic.

As I responded in a comment on another blog, I think people of good conscience can take different sides on strategic voting and both be right.

I've weighed back and forth whether voting strategically is the ethical thing to do - for me - and I don't pretend to know what's right for anyone else.

But after thinking hard about it, having for a moment thought that, for the first time in all my voting years, it was right that I vote against one party and not for the party whose values most reflect mine, I just can't do it.

For me, a vote for a party I don't support goes against everything I believe in, and the principles and values which have guided me throughout my life. But I do understand someone arguing that to uphold their own values - which could be very similar to mine -, they must do exactly opposite to what I've decided.

It may be that the tension between the two positions is really that captured between two levels of thought or discourse, between the philosophically ethical and the specifically moral. Which is why each position can be both right and wrong.

From this point on in this election and for several months beyond to the May 2009 BC election, I'll be spending my time working toward democratic reform.

That must start with a change to our voting system, to proportional representation.

Had PR been in place for this election, no voter would be confronted with the dilemma of choosing to vote other than what's in their heart.

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