There’s too much pollution because the cost of producing it isn’t born by the producer. Bryan Caplan thinks there’s too much voter irrationality for the same reason:
In a sense, then, there is a method to the average voter’s madness. Even when his views are completely wrong, he gets the psychological benefit of emotionally appealing political beliefs at a bargain price. No wonder he buys in bulk.
For example, our tribal ancestors’ brains evolved to distrust strangers. Today there remains emotional resonance to that distrust and as a result people are more likely to support limitations on immigration. Bryan argues people bare no cost for this belief as they benefit, if even slightly, from the primordial emotional feedback. The result is people vote for irrational things like immigration restrictions.
Bryan goes on to claim that voters have systematic biases such as this on many other subjects. In the end, democracy creates a lot of pollution.