There is no right to a competent electorate

Originally published in Inquiry

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This paper addresses the debate surrounding epistocracy. While many discussions of epistocracy focus on its instrumental defenses, this paper aims to critically examine the non-instrumental jury argument offered by Jason Brennan. Brennan’s argument equates the rights of individuals in political decisions to their rights in jury decisions, asserting that just as individuals have a right to a competent jury, they likewise have a right to a competent electorate. We disagree. By juxtaposing the costs of enforcing such rights and the severity of the harm prevented by their enforcement, this paper argues in favor of maintaining the right to a competent jury while denying the existence of a right to a competent electorate. The central claim is that while securing a competent jury is feasible and vital, attempting to secure a competent electorate poses significant challenges and may prevent less significant harm than perceived.