Greg Goelzhauser has returned from haïtus at Crescat Sententia with some thoughts in response to Dan Herzog on whether or not the public is “incurably ignorant” about politics. My general thought on such matters, oft-repeated here, is that any democratic society in which it might be rational for the public at large* to not be ignorant about anything beyond the most trivial of political matters would be incredibly unstable politically.
That said, Greg’s point about social norms is well-taken; knowing things about politics is excellent fodder for cocktail-party discussion, even if the details don’t matter for voting behavior one whit.† Clearly the answer, then, is to invite more people to attend cocktail parties, a program I’d fully support.
* As opposed to journalists, high school civics teachers, political science professors (at least those who teach American politics courses), and politicians, who have various incentives to know and care who the Secretary of Veterans Affairs is.
† It is hard to conceive of how knowledge of current political events in Darfur or the Ukraine, for example, might impact one’s voting decisions or other forms of meaningful political participation.