We Washingtonians rightly get criticized for being hyper focused on politics. While D.C. natives gossip about the ups and downs of the powerful elite, most Americans are worrying about their marriages and mortgages. The disjuncture is even greater when it comes to foreign policy, an area in which public interest and knowledge are particularly limited. As many scholars have pointed out, to some degree this dynamic is the result of “rational ignorance” on the part of the public. Given the many other priorities citizens have in their private lives, the benefits of following policy debates closely is quite limited so long as people are generally confident that more knowledgeable people are paying attention.

Taken too far, however, public apathy toward foreign affairs could become a problem for a democratic system…

Read the full post at Cato.org.

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About Trevor Thrall

I am a professor at George Mason University and Director of the Biodefense Graduate Program.

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