Choose or Lose

Has anyone considered that this may be an inclusive disjunction?
Meanwhile, P. Diddy is attempting to stir the nation's youth to action with his “Vote or Die” campaign. Now, Diddy, being a master logician, has had the foresight to pick a disjunction that is certainly true, if only contingently so. Everyone will eventually die, while it is perfectly possible (because actual) to neither choose nor lose.
Now it may be that Diddy intends an exclusive disjunction. (Either one or the other, but not both.) But I don't think he really wants to say that people who die didn't vote. He only wants to say that if you don't vote, then you'll die. Right? Well, we do know that only about half of the registered voters, to say nothing of eligible voters, failed to exercise their rights of citizenship in the last election. But Diddy's conditional entails that the non-dead voted, yet many non-dead non-voters are among us. So that can't be right. So he must be saying that if you don't vote, the probability of dying will increase. How about that? Well, we can check the death rates among voters and non-voters from the last election. My hunch is that the rate of death among voters is probably higher than among non-voters, since the elderly vote more reliably than the young, and the elderly tend to die more. So what is Mr. Combs trying to say?
Wonkette, takes it as a threat, “Vote or I'll wave a gun in your face in a midtown nightclub,” which is frightening, but can't quite capture it, because waving a gun in someone's face doesn't entail their death. So it needs to be a bit stronger: Vote or I'll make you dead (whether with a pistol, a machete, a tank of water and a cinder block, a mortally frightening clown, whatever). I don't think this is the intended message, however.
Perhaps it is something like “There is someone such that if you don't vote, they will make you dead.” This is a good possibility. But who could “someone” be? An avenging Democracy Fairy who slays non-voters? Well, the Democracy Fairy would have to be new, since we guessed that voters are in fact more likely to die than non-voters. Maybe the intention instead is “In a contest between A and B, if you don't vote, then A or B will make you dead.” I think we're getting very close, and that this is entailed by the correct interpretation. I think it's more like, “In a contest between A and B, if A wins, then A will not make you dead, and if B wins, then B will make you dead, and if you vote, then you vote for A, and A wins, and if you don't vote, then B wins.”
I wonder if Puffy knows something we don't. For my part, I suspect that B is . . . Michael Badnarik!
Or that the Diddy is subversively highlighting the majoritarian coercion implicit in democracy.

Author: Will Wilkinson

Vice President for Research at the Niskanen Center