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Should Referendums Be Abolished?
The average citizen, unlike a professional politician, is not able to make well-grounded decisions about complex political subject matters.
Voters behave irrationally.
Politicians are held responsible for their decisions and thus have an incentive to be well-informed. Conversely, it
has been argued
that most voters are ignorant or misinformed as they pay no price for it, and as there is no direct benefit for making an effort at educating themselves.
Compared to professional politicians, citizens have a narrow political perspective. As a result, they are often not aware of the consequences their decisions cause.
Societies that require a certain level of money for even basic living standards, while also allowing underpayment of employees and not providing support systems to offset this, lead to overworked citizens with little time or inclination to consider the complexities around referendum questions.
A significant share of the population doesn't care a bit about politics or policy and is not willing to even spend time to make a well-grounded decision
Politicians have access to research and information services that ordinary citizens do not have.
Voters are chronically misinformed.
The content of political subject matters and referendum proposals overburden citizens.
Citizens are easily manipulated and controlled.
While individual citizens might not be well-informed, referendum decisions benefit from the
wisdom of the crowds
through which individual deficiencies are cancelled out.
Even if politicians were more educated than voters, they would still have to appeal to them and presumably act in their interest in order to keep their job. Hence, concerns of voters influence politicians, even if they happen to be based on a lack of understanding or information.
Democracy comes with the freedom to be uninformed and to make bad or wrong decisions.
The problem is more that the voters aren't given the full information as opposed to a lack of capacity.
If this were true, the same would count for all kind of elections.
There is little reason to assume that politicians' opinions are necessarily more informed than those of average voters.
Regardless of policy outcomes, the fundamental principle of democracy is not to have those who are best informed decide, but to have everyone participate in the political process on an equal basis.
In many cases, there is no obvious right or wrong in political decision making.