More and more, I find myself defaulting to "I need more information to draw a conclusion" or "I just think that the affected parties should decide" on various political and personal issues. I could easily form an opinion by combining by morals and values with the information that I am given, but I am always wary that I might not be forming a well-informed opinion (a sin I consider greater than not having an opinion). I would like to know, in terms of civic duty, is it better for the voter in a democratic society to form the most logical conclusion possible from whatever information he or she is given (still treating each bit of information with rational scrutiny), or to form no opinion until enough information becomes available?
An excellent question! I think that the answer lies in terms of the urgency of the relevant decision-making. Insofar as some issue (take energy policy) is being determined in the next election, and your vote or not voting will give an advantage to one policy over the other, I think you have a duty to form as sound an opinion on the topic as possible. If you honestly think you lack the competency to vote either way, perhaps you should refrain from voting (even if that has the foreseen consequence of giving one side an advantage), but insofar as you can form a responsible (though fallible) judgement, I think you should act on that basis. In matters that are not urgent (e.g. should the USA seek to colonize Mars) I suggest there is no civic duty to become informed on the topic.