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Sul dovere civico di votare

Esiste un dovere civico di votare?

Il buon cittadino è tenuto a recarsi alle urne quando viene indetta un’elezione?

Risponde Jason Brennan nel saggio “Arguments for a Duty to Vote”.

La cultura repubblicana ha sviluppato alcuni argomenti per sostenere che esiste un dovere di voto. Il primo suona così:

… The Agency Argument held that citizens should bear some causal responsibility in helping to produce and maintain a just social order with adequate levels of welfare. The Agency Argument asserts that voting is necessary to do this…

Il secondo:

… The Public Goods Argument holds that nonvoters unfairly free-ride on the provision of good governance. Failing to vote is like failing to pay taxes…

Il terzo:

… The Civic Virtue Argument holds that voting is an essential way to exercise civic virtue, and civic virtue is an important moral virtue…

La tesi del saggio si contrappone frontalmente ai tre argomenti, eccola: l’esercizio delle virtù civiche non implicherebbe alcun impegno politico, nemmeno il dovere di votare.

… The most popular views of civic virtue hold that active political participation and community-based volunteering are essential to civic virtue. In this chapter, I argue instead that a person of exceptional civic virtue can exercise civic virtue through stereotypically private activities…

Per invalidare i tre argomenti “repubblicani” si è tenuti a difendere l’esistenza di una teoria extrapolitica delle virtù civiche.

… We should distinguish between the political virtues and the civic virtues more generally…

Insomma, ci sono attività private che se esercitate consapevolemnte ci rendono buoni cittadini a tutto tondo…

… many activities stereotypically considered private, such as being a conscientious employee, making art, running a for-profit business, or pursuing scientific discoveries, can also be exercises of civic virtue. For many people, in fact, these are better ways to exercise civic virtue…

A chi considera che l’individuo abbia un debito verso la società si puo’ rispondere che ci sono molti modi per pagarlo.

Non solo: si puo’ adempiere all’obbligo guadagnandoci.

Perché mai se faccio una cosa a cui sono tenuto e la faccio guadagnandoci, allora è come se non l’avessi fatta?

Un dovere non è tale solo se comporta necessariamente sacrificio.

Ma cos’è esattamente una “virtù civica”?

… civic virtue makes one a good member of a community… Shelley Burtt defines “civic virtue” as the “disposition to further public over private good in action and deliberation.” Richard Dagger uses this same definition in his defense of republican liberalism… William Galston defines a civic virtue as “a trait that disposes its possessors to contribute to the well-being of the community and enhances their ability to do so.”… Jack Crittenden says that to be “civic-minded” is to “care about the welfare of the community (the commonweal or civitas) and not simply about [one’s] own individual well-being.”… Geoffrey Brennan and Alan Hamlin analyze civic virtue as being able to determine the common good and having the motivation to act appropriately toward it…

La tradizione sembra quindi scorgere un solido legame tra civismo e impegno politico…

… many seem just to assume that civic virtue requires political participation. For instance, almost immediately after Dagger says that civic virtue is the disposition to further public over private good, he concludes that a person of civic virtue will want to participate in government in order to help maintain the liberties needed for a good society… Similarly, Crittenden says, “Civic education, whenever and however undertaken, prepares people of a country, especially the young, to carry out their roles as citizens. Civic education is, therefore, political education or, as Amy Gutmann describes it, ‘the cultivation of the virtues, knowledge, and skills necessary for political participation.”…

In realtà, il solido legame unisce civismo e bene comune. Ma quali attività promuovono il bene comune? Tesi:

… I argue instead that the common good is often best promoted through extrapolitical means, through activities that do not fit the stereotype of civic virtue. Exercising civic virtue need not involve politics… In my view, something is presumed to be in the common good if it promotes the interests of most people either without harming others’ interests or, if it does harm them, without exploiting them.21 I do not assume there is some common good over and apart from the interests of individuals in society…

A questo punto è bene liberarsi della compagnia di chi riduce la questione alla terminologia, costoro ritengono che civismo implichi “per definizione” impegno politico. Un simile interlocutore è sterile.

… Suppose one pounds that table and insists that to exercise civic virtue, by definition, requires significant political engagement… A public-spirited person who promotes the common good through nonpolitical means might lack civic virtue but instead have “schlivic” virtue. Schlivic virtue is the disposition and ability to promote the common good by nonpolitical activity. So, not much is gained by insisting that civic virtue requires political engagement as a matter of logic…

La risposta più adeguata a chi si fissa sulle parole è: “se non vuoi chiamarle virtù civiche” chiamale “svirtù civiche”. Chi non vuole chiamare il matrimonio gay “matrimonio” puo’ sempre chiamarlo “smatrimonio”, tutti sono più contenti, la sostanza non cambia e si continua a discutere.

Per illustrare una concezione extrapolitica delle virtù civiche partiamo da un noto esempio di Schmidtz:

… Schmidtz says that “any decent car mechanic does more for society by fixing cars than by paying taxes.”… By extension, we can add that a decent mechanic typically does more for society by fixing cars than by voting or writing senators. By fixing cars, she is helping to create and sustain the cooperative networks that promote the common good…

In soldoni: poiché in molti casi la società si giova del tuo lavoro molto più che delle tasse che paghi, allo stesso modo si puo’ dire che la società tragga più benefici dal tuo impegno lavorativo che dal tuo impegno politico (in cui rientra anche l’andare a votare).

… My point is not to deny that governments help promote and sustain the common good or to assert that extended cooperative networks do not need governmental support. Rather, just as it would be mistake to discount the role of politics in promoting the common good, it would be a mistake to discount the role of nonpolitical activities in promoting the common good…

D’altronde,  se il mondo fosse solo politica sarebbe un mondo miserrimo, questo ci fa capire l’importanza delle attività private nel rendere la società umana un posto migliore…

… However, we can also imagine an “inverse state of nature”—a political society that lacks private, nonpolitical activity. In the inverse state of nature, people try to gather together for public deliberation, voting, and law creation, but no one engages in private actions. In the inverse state of nature, life would also be nasty, poor, brutish, and short, because there would be no food, music, science, shelter, or art…

Per comprendere il grado di socialità che contengono le attività private basterebbe una scorsa al famoso saggio “I, pencil” (qui un video riassuntivo): migliaia di lavoratori che collaborano senza conoscersi per servire a puntino le esigenze di un consumatore sconosciuto. Una collaborazione sociale che ha del miracoloso. Più “sociale” di così!

… When you write with a pencil, you benefit from the input of millions of people around the world. Most of them have no idea that they have helped produced a pencil and that, in virtue of doing so, they are helping you write or draw… A citizen of a liberal society receives a bundle of goods: economic, cultural, social, political, and the like. Most liberal citizens contribute to the bundle others receive, but they do it in different ways. Liberalism encourages a division of labor in how citizens contribute to creating this bundle…

Anche nella produzione del “bene comune”, come nella produzione di qualsiasi bene, si realizza una fruttuosa divisione del lavoro

… Some citizens provide political goods by voting, rallying, supporting causes, fighting in just wars, writing to senators, writing letters to editors, running for office, and so on. Others attempt to provide for the public welfare by volunteering or community organizing. These sorts of activities more or less exhaust the republican conception of civic virtue. However, one can also contribute to the social surplus by working at a productive job that provides goods and services others want. One makes society more interesting, more worthwhile, by creating culture or counterculture. One promotes the common good by raising one’s children well (and not just by instilling in them the democratic or political virtues). And so on. Consider artists, entrepreneurs, small-business owners, venture capitalists, teachers, physicians, intellectuals, stock traders, stay-at-home parents, working parents, chefs, janitors, grocery clerks, and others. Each of these kinds of people in one way or another contributes to fostering a worthwhile society….

Ora si capisce bene cosa voglia dire che “ci sono più modi per pagare il proprio debito con la società”… 

… Suppose for the sake of argument that citizens have debts to pay to society for the goods they receive. Even if so, there are many ways of paying those debts. Some citizens pay by providing good governance, others by providing good culture, and others by providing economic opportunity. Citizens who provide these other kinds of goods are not free-riding…

Forse che Michelangelo non ha contribuito al bene comune per il solo fatto che non partecipava alla vita politica del paese in cui risiedeva? Assurdo…

… Suppose Michelangelo, Louis Pasteur, or Thomas Edison never voted, never participated in politics, never volunteered, and, by clerical error, never paid any taxes. This alone would not imply he failed to contribute to the common good. On the contrary, each contributed far more to the common good than the average political officeholder or active, participatory democrat… In his famous funeral oration, Pericles says that private actions can be harmful to the polity, but one can compensate by performing useful public service. If so, there seems to be little reason not to accept something like the inverse…

Ci sono poi cittadini che si impegnano in politica combinando solo guai. Vogliamo parlarne?

Ebbene, nella concezione repubblicana, per il solo fatto di essere in buona fede, costoro possiedono ugualmente meriti civici!

Sarebbe assurdo accusare – che ne so – un genio della medicina di non contribuire al bene comune per il fatto che non vota…

… Citizens’ investing time and effort into political activities can potentially come at the expense of the common good. Consider, as a hypothetical case, Phyllis the Physician. Phyllis is a genius. She produces new medical breakthroughs hourly. Society may want Phyllis to contribute to the common good but not by taking time away from medicine—not even by volunteering at the local free clinic… Engaging in politics always has some opportunity cost, and sometimes this opportunity cost will mean that engagement produces a net loss for the common good…

C’è poi una via indiretta di contribuire, una via attraverso la quale chi non si occupa di politica in realtà se ne occupa rendendo la vita più facile a chi lo fa direttamente…

… Someone stubbornly clinging to the republican conception of civic virtue could, perhaps, insist that civic virtue is about promoting not merely the common good but the political part of the common good. Suppose we grant this claim. It still would not follow that citizens should promote the political part of the common good directly through political means…

E qui torniamo al concetto di specializzazione… 

… Peter’s specializing in apple growing enables Quentin to specialize in fish catching, and vice versa. Peter produces apples directly, but he indirectly contributes to the production of fish. Quentin produces fish directly, but he indirectly contributes to the production of apples…

Facciamo l’esempio di Martin Luther King, uno spirito civico di prim’ordine…

… Those who focus on directly producing good governance receive assistance from those who provide the goods that make this focus possible (and vice versa). Martin Luther King Jr. had exceptional civic virtue. But he could not have rallied for political reform if others had not provided food, clothing, shelter, transportation, and even much of the basic philosophy underlying his movement…

Quand’anche avessi un debito verso la società, ci sono molte monete con cui posso ripagarlo…

… That said, I am not arguing that you can make up for murder by raising the GDP… I am discussing what it takes, in general, to avoid free-riding… This is not a theory about rectificatory justice…

Ma puo’ esistere un bene pubblico la cui produzione danneggi di fatto l’interesse delle persone che compongono quella società?

… For instance, perhaps ancient Sparta’s exceptional military prowess was a strongly irreducible common good. Maintaining its military prowess impoverished the city and stunted the moral development of its citizens, but perhaps it was good for Sparta, if not for any of the Spartans. Liberals tend to think that no such strongly irreducible common goods exist…

Ma anche in un caso così estremo puo’ essere fatta valere l’argomento indiretto: occupandomi del mio privato mi metto al servizio di chi si occupa del bene pubblico contribuendo così indirettamente alla sua realizzazione…

… However, suppose one believes (I think mistakenly) that there are strongly irreducible common goods, that these goods ought to be pursued, and that these goods can be achieved only through politics. Even this would not imply that an extrapolitical conception of civic virtue is incorrect or that the republican conception is correct. As I have already argued, citizens who engage in nonpolitical activities can thereby indirectly promote political goods…

Alcuni trovano scandaloso che si possa contribuire al bene comune guadagnandoci: un autentico contributo richiede  sacrificio!

… One reason it is easy to overlook private contributions to the common good is that such contributions are often very obviously profitable, or at least of low cost, to the contributors. Yet, there is a difference between the benefit conferred by an activity and the cost the agent bears for that activity…

Tuttavia, è scorretto quantificare il valore del contributo equiparandolo al costo sopportato per realizzarlo…

… One cannot measure the value of a contribution by the cost of making it. Jane might spend $100 to buy a gift for Kelly that Kelly values at only $40. Or Jane might spend $10 for a gift that Kelly values at $40. Jane might spend $10 making a gift that Kelly values at $40, but Jane might have so enjoyed making the gift that she would gladly have paid $80 for the experience of making it. In each case, the value of the gift to the receiver is $40, though the cost to the giver varies. If Luke decides to contribute to society by becoming a policeman rather than an investment banker, he will probably bear higher personal costs, given the differences in pay and risk. However, it does not follow that society gains more from Luke’s choosing to become a policeman, or even that the average policeman does more good for society than the average investment banker…

Il caso estremo del soldato è lampante: massimo sacrificio, zero contributo…

… At the extreme, consider the soldier who “dies in vain.” This soldier has sacrificed everything for his country, but that does not mean his country benefited from the sacrifice…

Equiparare il valore del contributo dato al costo sopportato ha effetti perversi: chi ama la politica dovrebbe contribuire in modo spropositato…

… There is a possible view that holds that whether citizens have paid their debts is determined not by the value of their contributions but by the costs they incur in making contributions. This view leads to some perverse results. It implies that an altruistic, ambitious, motivated person who enjoys politics, volunteering, working a productive job, and being a good neighbor would have to do a lot to repay her debts…

C’è chi afferma che senza una motivazione adeguata non puo’ esistere “virtù civica”.

… Civic virtue has a motivational component. One can greatly contribute to the common good but still lack civic virtue… For instance, a person who helps others merely out a desire for personal profit is not benevolen… So, if Michelangelo turns out to have been indifferent to making the world better for others and cared about art only for art’s sake or only about getting paid, then his artistic endeavors, however valuable, would not be exercises of civic virtue…

Se accogliamo questa istanza dobbiamo chiedere solo “consapevolezza” a chi si disinteressa di politica badando ai fatti propri,  non di cambiare questo suo atteggiamento materiale: bisogna sapere che “badare ai fatti propri” arricchisce la società…

… Thus, the extrapolitical conception of civic virtue implies that a wide array of publicly beneficial private activities could be exercises of civic virtue provided that people have the right motivations. The extrapolitical conception does not have the silly implication that anyone who promotes the common good has civic virtue…

I repubblicani affermano che la concezione liberale richiede troppo poco al cittadino e quindi non sviluppa le virtù civiche…

… Pocock, favorably citing Polybius, says that modern liberal societies tend to undermine civic virtue by pulling people toward private ends…

Ma la risposta a questa obiezione è semplice: se abbiamo scoperto modi più economici per riconciliare bene privato e bene pubblico, sarebbe assurdo non approfittarne rettificando il concetto di “virtù civica”…

… Modern liberalism’s success is that it finds many ways of reconciling the private and common good (at least, more so than competing regimes) and so lowers the personal cost of benevolence… Michael Walzer asks, “What was citizenship?”… He says citizenship was possible only in classical republican societies. He contends that contemporary hand-wringing over citizenship comes from the feeling that something has been lost, because citizens seem to care so little about politics. He says this feeling of loss inspires many to try to resurrect the republican conception.43 However, he adds that citizenship so described was not really lost, because it never really could find a home in liberal societies… Rather, it may be that liberalism encourages a different, more diverse, and better kind of citizenship than republican societies ever could…

Ora abbiamo le armi necessarie per confutare le teorie che vedono il voto come un dovere. Riassumiamo la prima di queste teorie:

… Recall the Agency Argument: 1. You should be a good citizen. 2. In order for you to be a good citizen, it is not enough that other citizens obtain adequate levels of welfare and live under a reasonably just social order. Rather, in addition, you need to be an agent who helps to cause other citizens to have these adequate levels of welfare, etc. 3. In order to do this, you must vote. 4. Therefore, you must vote…

Ebbene, per quanto detto sopra la premessa 3 è falsa.

Vediamo la seconda:

… Recall the Public Goods Argument: 1. Good governance is a public good. 2. No one should free-ride on the provision of such goods. Those who benefit from such goods should reciprocate. 3. Citizens who abstain from voting free-ride on the provision of good governance. 4. Therefore, each citizen should vote…

Anche qui la premessa 3 è falsa.

Vediamo la terza:

… Consider again the Civic Virtue Argument: 1. Civic virtue is a moral virtue. 2. Civic virtue requires voting. 3. Therefore, citizens who do not vote thereby exhibit a lack of civic virtue and are, to that extent, morally vicious…

La premessa 2 è falsa.

Si noti che la teoria esposta è compatibile con il fatto che a volte votare sia un dovere…

… It is consistent with my view to hold that, under special circumstances, a duty to vote might arise. I have not argued that there can never be a duty to vote. Instead, I have argued that a citizen in a modern democratic polity generally has no civic duty to vote, or even to participate in politics…

E anche col fatto che spesso chi non vota non è un buon cittadino, per quanto non sia un suo dovere farlo. Così come potrebbe essere un buon cittadino chi ritiene erroneamente che votare sia un dovere

… Even if a person in fact lacks a duty to X, if she believes she has a duty to do X but does not do it, this can be evidence of bad character. Even though I think there is no duty to vote, I suspect that most people who abstain do so either because it is too costly for them, given their circumstances, or because they have somewhat deficient character… It is also consistent with my view to hold that for some citizens, voting, even if it is not obligatory, is at least a good idea, morally speaking…

bene comune

Una risposta a “Sul dovere civico di votare

  1. Pingback:Tu. Lo sai che potresti avere il dovere di non votare? | fahreunblog

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