On Politics

I don’t often talk about politics, but when I do, here’s what I usually say. My apologies to those close friends who’ve heard this spiel before.

I believe in existence of multiple systems of truth. By this, I mean that I believe that each person creates a framework of beliefs that forms the basis for their behavior. No two frameworks are alike and some are radically different from others. It is impossible to convince someone of anything if your basic tenets are too different. Each of you will look at a “fact” and interpret it differently. This applies even to matters of science. It is why the scientific community relies on peer-review and emergent consensus as the mechanism for deciding what’s “generally recognized as true” (mind you, not True, just “recognized as true.”)  There may be scientists that argue that climate change is a hoax, but they are arguing against the consensus view. The consensus may occasionally be wrong, but I’d never bet too heavily against it.  Alas, politics is not science and has no mechanism for consensus.

I believe that both the liberals and conservatives in America are still suffering from the mindset of their Puritan ancestry. Rather than spiritual self-flagellation, however, these modern day Puritan descendants seek their personal punishment elsewhere. Liberals hate wealth; Conservatives hate sex. When I see Liberals spouting off about “corporate greed”, or the evils of globalization or why we must all move into small houses and start riding bicycles to work, I see the same pathology as that suffered by Conservatives who rally against sex education, abortion rights and gay marriage. Liberals like the idea of global warming because it means that we will all have to be poor. The guys who end up working as social workers after getting their PhDs in English will feel better about themselves if their MBA-earning friends have to sell their BMWs and buy Priuses. Conservatives have sex, of course, but with the lights off and they’re still embarassed about it. They don’t want sex education or birth control because they think their daughters will immediately go out and start having indiscrimate sex.  They don’t like welfare, because they know that all those poor people are having indiscriminate sex and getting abortions all the time.   Liberals and conservatives in the US are still suffering from the religious silliness of their ancestors.  They need counseling. All of them.

I believe that anyone who wants to gain elected office should, by decree, be considered ineligible for the job due to evident personality disorder. Rather than electing officials, they should be chosen randomly, like jurors. One day, you might get a postcard informing you that you have to be a Senator for the next six years.  Of course, you won’t want to do it, you’ll try to weasel out of it, but the second time you get the card, you’ll be forced to take the job (for $18/day). Seriously, I can’t see how this system would be any worse than what we have now.

In spite of my cynicism, I still vote. I generally vote Democrat although, once, I did vote for a Republican city council member.

I vote Democrat in spite of being relatively wealthy and not likely to buy a Prius any time soon. I vote Democrat because I like sex more than I hate wealth. I’ve met many wealthy people who are good folk, doing good things and often voting Democrat, too. On the other hand, I’ve never met a Celibate with whom I could enjoy a beer.

I vote Democrat because conservatives are too often driven by fear. Fear of the government, fear of immigrants, fear of Muslims, and, of course, fear of daughters having too much sex. There’s a very thin line between fear and hate.

Democrats, perhaps, may have too much faith in government, be too willing to open our borders and be too tolerant of burqas. Perhaps their daughters are guilty of wantonness. If I have to chose between naive optimism and excessive fear, however, I will always choose the former.