Ever since Condorcet formulated his paradox, it has been impossible to believe that every (free and clean) election clearly expresses the general will. The distribution of voters’ preferences can yield incongruous results. For example, let’s suppose that a third of the voters prefers A first, B second, and C last; that another third prefers B, then C, then A; and that the last third chooses C first, then A, and
last B. One majority of two-thirds thereby chooses A over B, another B over C, while yet another of the same proportion prefers C over A. This is to say: “the” majority prefers A over B and B over C (which is not incongruous)—but also C over A (instead of A over C, as would be expected). In modern terms, the sum of “rational” wills can be “irrational.”
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