The problem with politics
March 11, 2014 by Thomas Wictor
I never discuss politics publicly. Unfortunately, everything in American culture is now politicized, so my statements are viewed as political even when they’re not. That’s the problem with politics. Too many people personalize their political views, so having a different opinion from them is seen as a repudiation of their entire being.
But facts don’t care about politics. A lot of what you hear or read is factually incorrect. When I’m asked, I’ll inform you of the reality. I’ve been told that’s “condescending.”
Well, facts aren’t condescending. But to clarify once again, I don’t dislike people for holding different views than the ones I have. I’m functionally apolitical. Though I vote, I have no loyalty to any party nor any politician. Every politician I’ve liked has let me down.
Groucho Marx famously said that he wouldn’t belong to a club that would have him as a member. I think wanting to be a politician automatically disqualifies you from holding political office. I think we need conscription for politics. The US military went to an all-volunteer force in 1973, but this was purely a political move.
By 1973 American culture had already become so politicized that even the people subject to the draft couldn’t be bothered to learn basic facts. They parroted bumper-sticker slogans, they got hysterical, or they wrote The Anarchist Cookbook. The author of that tome said the following.
At the time, I was 19 years old and the Vietnam War and the so-called “counter culture movement” were at their height. I was involved in the anti-war movement and attended numerous peace rallies and demonstrations. The book, in many respects, was a misguided product of my adolescent anger at the prospect of being drafted and sent to Vietnam to fight in a war that I did not believe in.
Despite his passion, anger, and fear, he was unaware that that only 25 percent of draftees were sent to Vietnam. Of those 25 percent, 30 percent comprised the combat deaths of American troops. Therefore, at the height of the Vietnam War, you had a 7.5 percent chance of being drafted and killed in combat.
Conscription was stopped because the public was uninformed, and politicians saw ending the draft as a way to secure election or reelection. The merits of the issue at hand were not a consideration.
Recently several people I considered friends have begun attacking me over my positions. Factually, these people are incorrect, but they don’t care. They want me to think like they do. They’re the ones who bring up politics, again and again and again, in the hopes that this time I’ll agree. Now they’re accusing me of “hate speech” because I’m a dissenter. Classic fascist behavior: demonize the opposition.
Nothing is stupider than fighting with your friends over politics, especially when the position being debated is distorted beyond all recognition. Even though I’m apolitical, I always tell the truth. That makes people angry. And everybody needs to understand that I’m now entirely self-sufficient. I view friends as bonuses, not necessities. Friends don’t act like fascists. If your politics drive you to treat me with disrespect, then fuck off. Is that clear enough for you?
I got this e-mail today, which is illustrative of our current politics.
“Why don’t you like me?” Are you eight years old, Senator Harvey? This sort of ad makes me sick. It’s for idiots. State senator Ted Harvey of the Colorado General Assembly and I have no personal connection, and I don’t want one with him. I’m not his friend. Also, he wears asshole glasses.
It’s been my experience that people with glasses like that are belligerent, unreachable alcoholics. You might wear glasses like that and think I’m an asshole for calling them asshole glasses. Fair enough. You’re right.
Even without those glasses, politicians tend to be disgusting, foul, corrupt, lying sacks of poo. They let themselves engage in insider trading, they exempt themselves from laws that they impose on us, they sell their votes, and they try to convince their supporters that the opposition is evil.
Yet behind the scenes, they love each other. They go out to lunch together, get drunk together, visit escort services together, and wink and nod at all the ethical and legal violations they commit. Once upon a time they served us. Now they see themselves as our superiors, entitled to their forty-year careers and our money. Government doesn’t produce capital. It consumes capital and prevents capital from being created.
Like the publishing industry that hates authors, politicians hate the the very people whose money they depend on for their lives in the golden pigsty.
In the last presidential election, exit polling showed that the main influence on peoples’ votes was their feeling of whether or not the candidate cared about them. I can’t imagine a more childish reason to vote.
The only thing worse than thinking a politician cares about you is letting the likes of Senator Ted Harvey convince you that I’m not a friend worth having because I don’t share your views.
If you want to argue with me about politics and geopolitics, be prepared to defend your positions with facts. I have facts at my fingertips. Emotion and reductionism won’t fly with me. Here’s what too many of you believe.
All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.
Four legs good, two legs better.
Go ahead and be a simpleminded follower. I understand your motivations. However, your approach is not for me. I don’t “question authority”; I research it. Doing my own research on every single political hot-button issue has made me into a responsible voter. The answers are readily available. You and I don’t have to agree on the answers, but if you know nothing about the issues, don’t waste my time.
Tim’s triumvirate of thinkers are George Orwell, Sigmund Freud, and Aldous Huxley. He says that those three explain all the dysfunctions that hold us back. For this post I did some research on Huxley, and I found a quote that expresses my ethos.
There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.
I don’t look to politicians for guidance. And as I keep saying, I don’t like discussing politics. I’d much rather discuss the truth behind another Huxley quote.
After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.
Here’s a song that’s absolute genius. What makes it genius? I could tell you why I think so, but I’d rather let you listen to it without me yakking.
Jerry Scheff is the bassist. He’s still performing at the age of seventy-three. Good for you, Jerry, regardless of your politics.
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