The potential for manipulating mass opinions and feelings initially discovered by commercial advertisers is now being even more aggressively exploited by a new generation of media Machiavellis. The combination of ever more sophisticated public opinion sampling techniques and the increasing use of powerful computers to parse and subdivide the American people according to "psychographic" categories that identify their susceptibility to individually tailored appeals has further magnified the power of propagandistic electronic messaging that has created a harsh new reality for the functioning of our democracy.
As a result, our democracy is in danger of being hollowed out. In order to reclaim our birthright, we Americans must resolve to repair the systemic decay of the public forum. We must create new ways to engage in a genuine and not manipulative conversation about our future. We must stop tolerating the rejection and distortion of science. We must insist on an end to the cynical use of pseudo-studies known to be false for the purpose of intentionally clouding the public's ability to discern the truth. Americans in both parties should insist on the re-establishment of respect for the rule of reason.
along with an article on what he is doing on climate change policy with the usual political speculation thrown in.
The hounds are baying
UPDATE: Well we all have see arguments from ignorance, but it takes a libertarian to make an argument for ignorance
Since the 1950s, economists and political scientists have known that it is actually rational for voters to be ignorant, because the chance that any one voter will have a significant impact on the outcome of an election is infinitesimally small. There is little incentive to spend time and effort acquiring knowledge about politics that won't make any difference to political outcomes anyway.
Bryan, however, goes beyond the standard rational ignorance analysis. He emphasizes that it is rational for voters to not only learn very little about politics, but to do a poor job of evaluating the information they do have. Good analysis of political information - like learning the information in the first place - requires considerable time and effort that rationally ignorant voters have little incentive to undertake. Instead, voters are likely to fall prey to systematic errors in considering political information. As Bryan shows in detail, this helps explain why the majority of voters routinely fall prey to gross fallacies in their analysis of public policy - such as the belief that protectionism helps the overall economy; that the rise of modern technology is a major cause of long term unemployment; and that foreigners are beggaring the American economy (all of these are actual examples from the book).
Since libertarians are at heart solipsists it is clear that their vision of community extends to their nose, and their understanding of policy not a nanometer farther than their pocketbooks, but this argument ignores the public context in which policy is functions.
Ethon needs a new roost