Voting against one’s interest

People on the right and on the left like to complain, in different ways, about how folks often vote against their own interests.

I probably hear it more often from a leftist standpoint. They see conservatism as the ideology of helping out the wealthy. But lots of people who aren’t at all wealthy vote for it, and argue for it with great fervour.

The right makes the same sort of point. There are lots of people who vote for progressive parties who are white and/or male and/or cis and/or Christian etc. “Don’t they know they’re voting for people who forthrightly hate them? Don’t they know they’re supporting people who want to make the world worse for their children?”

Every time I hear this sort of thing, it aggravates me.

I get that you disagree with the other side. I get that anyone who agrees with the other side is automatically assumed to be unvirtuous or unintelligent or both.

But someone might actually vote for something that is against their own interest without being unintelligent or unvirtuous. In fact, it could very easily show admirable traits and keen insight.

The people who get lumped in with the oppressors, who feel pain for the injustice visible in the world and vote for a progressive party even knowing it might leave them worse off – they are voting against their own interests, and they deserve respect. The people who vote for the party that they truly believe will do best for the economic and military and moral wellbeing of the country, even with the knowledge that they and their loved ones may well end up worse off as a result – they are voting against their interests too. And I think they deserve respect for it as well.

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