Evil Rant #52- Why I Don't Care About Politics
"Being in politics is like being a football coach. You have to be smart enough to understand the game, and dumb enough to think it's important."
I almost never address the subject of politics in my writing, especially not in any real depth. I do refer to myself as a "Capitalist", but that's as far as I go in assigning any political designation to myself. While I do sometimes write about other aspects of general society and culture, I only vaguely mention anything political and it's almost always in the context of another topic. There are two very good reasons for this; I know relatively little about politics and I'm not interested in the subject at all.
Dealing with Politics
The subject of politics is one that inspires as much irrational fervor as religion. However, unlike religion, politics cannot be simply written off as fantasy. Whereas spiritual religion is about belief and doesn't necessarily apply to anyone who does not hold that belief (and therefore can be easily deemed useless and discarded by many people); the practical application of politics could be described as being more of a social plan of action or widespread approach to things. It can have practical relevance and this is exactly why I find it very tricky to deal with.
The way that I see it, politics shouldn't be about "beliefs", but rather making decisions about courses of action based on a rational and qualified assessment of the society, the country or whatever region that must be factored in. Of course, one of these things that must be factored in is the irrational beliefs and opinions of many different people, which makes this issue even more complicated. And obviously, my opinion of how things should be done has absolutely no bearing on how things are actually being done.
The point that I'm trying to get at here, is that I feel that politics should be viewed in the same way as any other specialized field. To put it bluntly, these things should be left to the professionals and people who know what they're doing. The reason that I say this is because it seems like almost everyone wants to view themselves as qualified to discuss, judge and otherwise somehow participate in politics. It's very clear to me that the vast majority of people are not qualified to do this. I prefer to leave it to those individuals who have chosen to dedicate their lives to immersing themselves in, and researching this topic.
In my opinion, that's the whole point of society. Society is made up of individuals who specialize in different fields and contribute their own interests, time and expertise about their chosen topic (preferably in exchange for money or something else of significance). This is why I find society valuable (it sure as hell isn't because I crave the social interaction). I can be an "expert" in the things that interest me and when I need help with something that falls out of that realm of endeavor, I can benefit from someone else's expertise. If you think about it, this kind of collaboration is the basis for all civilization and ultimately makes all of our lives more pleasant (I certainly wouldn't want to have to master every discipline that would be required to create all of the things that allow me to survive and live comfortably).
It should be noted that when I say "political professionals", I'm not just talking about politicians themselves but any number of political activists, commentators and others who have dedicated their lives to this topic.
Some people would argue that it's dumb to leave politics to the professionals. After all, politics affect your life and so you should try and get involved yourself. But there are many other things which can have a great impact on your life which are almost always left to the professionals. For instance, would you second guess your surgeon when he tells you that a certain procedure is the best course of action for saving your life? You may get a second opinion, but that opinion is coming from a yet another professional. Chances are you're probably not going to assume that you are qualified to handle your own diagnosis and subsequent surgery yourself (and if you are assuming that, you may want to consider consulting a professional psychiatrist, in addition to the surgeon).
You could argue that surgeons have less motivation to be corrupt, but then again the tactics of political professionals tend to be much less invasive; in the literal sense. It seems to me that if you're willing to allow one type of professional to cut you open and expose your insides as you're laying there unconscious in what is very much a life and death situation, it's not such a stretch to rely on another type of professional to make decisions about various social policy matters that may or may not directly affect you at all.
There are many more examples that I could give of how we are completely dependent on professionals in various fields and willingly allow them to handle our affairs in certain instances. I think that the reason that people react differently to politics is that, since politics tends to be more abstract, people who don't understand its complexity assume that their opinion must be just as good as the next person's (opinions, like people, are not created equal). This kind of attitude is common in relation to many professional fields (industries such as graphic design and advertising come to mind). When it's not painfully obvious that the layperson doesn't understand it, they sometimes blindly assume that they do and that it is simpler than it actually is. This kind of thinking is very irresponsible (especially if you believe that politics are important).
Of course the fact that certain countries also promote the idea of democracy and "everyone having a voice" so fervently; doesn't help either. And politics do have a certain entertainment value to many people, allowing for what amounts to petty gossip on a national scale.
Many people simply don't trust politicians and other people who are heavily involved in politics. However, this abuse of power that they fear also tends to exist in any professional situation in which a relatively unknowledgeable person must put their faith in someone who presumably knows more than they do. Many of these types of professions, from lawyers to auto mechanics, have a cliché reputation for taking advantage of their customers. This is why a certain amount of caution and skepticism is important to have, but things seem to go far beyond this in regards to politics; to the extent that many people assume the position of the professional in their own minds, regardless of whether or not they have the knowledge and experience to accurately form an opinion or course of action about anything relating to politics.
Lack of Interest and Other People
The next suggestion might be "if you don't feel that you have enough knowledge about politics to responsibly come to any decisions about it or engage in any course of action; then why not study it and get that information?" My answer to that is that I'm simply not interested. You see, the biggest problem that I have with politics is that, by definition, it's always about other people. Politics always concerns what groups of people are doing or want to do and I'm only interested in myself. Do political decisions affect me personally? Yes, they can and almost certainly do. So why wouldn't I want to do something about it? Because doing something about it would inevitably mean jumping in and "getting involved". This idea is sickening to me.
In order to involve oneself in politics or in any kind of political movement that would matter in a practical way, you have to be willing to deal with people on many different levels. I don't want to force myself to compromise with people, or empathize with people or debate with people or stand with or against a group of people based solely on any type of political issue. In truth, I don't want to have to think about other people in that way or on that scale, at all.
In this way, the very foundation of what politics is all about is completely antithetical to my own standards of well being and personal preference. In truth, I'd like to be as socially autonomous as I possibly can. I don't necessarily mind working with others for financial benefit or if it's in relation to a topic that I am particularly interested in. But since the whole point of politics is that it's literally about what other people or what large portions of society are doing, it really doesn't hold any interest for me at all. This is why, even on an academic level; I don't find politics very interesting.
It all comes down to the fact that any concept or activity involving politics, will also involve the masses in some way. It's unavoidable. And whether it's about managing them, pretending to do what they want, actually trying to do what's best for them or just plain ruling over them; anything having to do with the masses is more trouble than it's worth. Having to factor the great masses of people, with all of their diverse but equally annoying views and tendencies, into any decision or planned course of action or pragmatic discussion; is something that I'd rather not deal with. I find it complex, but in a very dull and frustrating sort of way.
(Death)Ray of Hope
One last thing that I will say about this topic is that I don't think that what the general public believes is going on in politics, legislative decision-making and political elections, is actually what's really happening. Aside from obvious ideas about shadow conspiracies and publicly recognized politicians simply being puppets who are controlled by unseen masterminds (which I certainly wouldn't completely rule out); I think it's impossible for us to know what's actually going on behind closed doors, how certain decisions are being made and what's actually motivating our elected officials and movements in our political system in general (aside from money, I mean). The fact that we don't really know what's going on in people's heads and private conversations actually provides me with a certain amount of hope about our world.
It means that there's a possibility that there is something more intelligent happening than the retarded rodeo show that is observable politics. I'd take calculated "evil" over well intentioned stupidity; any day.
It's funny how there are so many people out there who always try to encourage others to participate more in politics or political movements. This often seems to be motivated by the idea that more participation will somehow equal more fairness or ethical decision-making and less corruption. It's even funnier when individuals with these kinds of ideals try to convince people like me to show more interest.
My apolitical apathy should be considered a blessing from virtually everyone else's standpoint. You do not want to convince someone like me to suddenly "get involved" or to "try and make a difference" and become passionate about politics. Trust me...