What's the Right Amount to Care About Politics?

Intended for constructive conversations. Exhibits of polarizing tribalism will be deleted.
ZAFCorrection
Posts: 427
Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:49 pm

What's the Right Amount to Care About Politics?

Post by ZAFCorrection »

It's the middle of the night and I have been running low on sleep generally, so the great ideas are coming non-stop. The current great idea, never before postulated anywhere, is that the One True Problem with politics is that a huge fraction of the population does not care about politics the correct amount. For instance, on the zero-fucks-given end of the spectrum, you got the memers and other snarky individuals who propagate garbage because it is more fun than having a serious discussion or effort at becoming more educated. On the other end of the spectrum, you got people who are cutting off family members for voting the wrong way and hardliners in Congress who won't budge an inch on a large number of issues.

My attitude is that both regions of the spectrum are less awesome than my own, which sitting quietly with my [infrequently] justified opinions. I'm not adding to the noise, being an asshole to people around me, or wasting my time trying to engage in a process which is already being watered down with the votes of 100 million randos who got their opinions from some media echo chamber (my chamber is too small to echo at a noticeable phase shift). Thus, I am not helping the political process, but I am also not hurting it like the aforementioned groups. Additionally, I get to feel morally superior while doing absolutely nothing.

I assume that since it is advantageous that our current system of government continues at least into the medium-term, some people at some time do need to put in some intelligent, good-faith effort at doing their civic duty. That civic duty seems to include getting educated, voting, evangelizing Good Political Beliefs, and running for office. Since there are multiple areas in which to participate in politics, it seems like "caring" can be decomposed into different dimensions, but what is the appropriate level of caring about each? Does it depend on how closely your life is touched by politics? Are there any morality brownie points on the table?

User avatar
fiby41
Posts: 1357
Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2015 8:09 am
Location: India
Contact:

Re: What's the Right Amount to Care About Politics?

Post by fiby41 »

In proportion to the amount of taxes I paid last year.

2Birds1Stone
Posts: 1160
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2015 11:20 am
Location: Earth

Re: What's the Right Amount to Care About Politics?

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

I don't really have a great answer, but as someone who is on a very low information diet, and generally doesn't care about political banter, I from my own opinions on issues, and could care less which party supports them. Personally I penciled in a dead gorilla during our last presidential election thanks to the two party system and the state I currently live in. I feel like politics is one of those things that will drive you mad once you go down the rabbit hole. So while I'm far from a meme flinging instigator, I live and let live. Only vote at the more local levels of government with any truly informed conviction, because it effects things like funding for shit I care about (multi use bike paths, recycling programs, etc).

Maybe this discussion will influence me to care more....

Mister Imperceptible
Posts: 1457
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2017 4:18 pm

Re: What's the Right Amount to Care About Politics?

Post by Mister Imperceptible »

The Fourth Turning is close at hand.

I am unable to post longer at this time but I have not been sleeping either, Dr. Z. Perhaps an omen.

ffj
Posts: 2261
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: What's the Right Amount to Care About Politics?

Post by ffj »

That's a tricky question.

The sane way to do this is to remain low-key and vote policy.

IlliniDave
Posts: 3067
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2014 7:46 pm

Re: What's the Right Amount to Care About Politics?

Post by IlliniDave »

I'm increasingly of the belief that regarding politics per se, it's best to not "care" (i.e., get emotionally invested therein) at all. Better to focus apolitically on issues behind the politics (and some that don't get pinged at all by the political radar). Politics is distortion. That's not to say completely ignoring politics is wise either. Politics can be a threat one should beware of.

zocab
Posts: 34
Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2019 1:04 pm

Re: What's the Right Amount to Care About Politics?

Post by zocab »

Enough to know how to vote on referendums (a few pro/con articles per topic from newspapers are enough for this), and a little more to know who to vote at election time (just check voting records and legislative proposals of candidates or their parties shortly prior to election time), but no more since there's no point spending time on things I can't affect anyway (beyond what comes to referendum and/or beyond elections).

User avatar
Lemur
Posts: 817
Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2016 1:40 am

Re: What's the Right Amount to Care About Politics?

Post by Lemur »

Well one thing I thought about recently (as someone who never voted before but voted for the first-time in the recent mid-terms) is to pick a few issues that mean a lot to you ...as in very high up the priority list. As an example, I am very pro "climate change" is real camp. So, therefore, I will not be voting anyone who is going to further the problem. That deduction eliminates a lot of people who I would otherwise vote for on other issues. Outside of voting by my own belief system, I rarely if ever talk about politics to co-workers, family, or anyone else really...I usually avoid these discussions online as well. So I just vote...at least I can say I'm invested to some degree and maybe time will tell if I'm on the right side of history.

User avatar
unemployable
Posts: 547
Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:36 am
Location: Homeless

Re: What's the Right Amount to Care About Politics?

Post by unemployable »

Lemur wrote:
Sun Sep 22, 2019 8:17 pm
I am very pro "climate change" is real camp. So, therefore, I will not be voting anyone who is going to further the problem.
So no one who has kids?

Back to the topic, politics is like any other endeavor. It's not worth doing if you're unable to have fun at it. Unless you live in Chicago you only have one vote, quit being so serious.

Toska2
Posts: 325
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2015 8:51 pm

Re: What's the Right Amount to Care About Politics?

Post by Toska2 »

So,

In proportion to the amount of taxes I paid last year, minus what I would pay for this entertainment?

The effort politicians put into gerrymandering makes the whole process strictly entertainment. The amount of entertainment I get depends on how much ribbing and jest my social group does. I dont bring it up, both sides have been trainwrecks. My train of thought doesn't bother with those tracks much.

User avatar
Lemur
Posts: 817
Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2016 1:40 am

Re: What's the Right Amount to Care About Politics?

Post by Lemur »

unemployable wrote:
Sun Sep 22, 2019 10:22 pm
So no one who has kids?

Back to the topic, politics is like any other endeavor. It's not worth doing if you're unable to have fun at it. Unless you live in Chicago you only have one vote, quit being so serious.
Did not make that claim....this is a bit of a red herring. Yes overpopulation is an issue and bad for climate but I would not end the human race. Why the tendency to immediately target the extreme?

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 12841
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73
Contact:

Re: What's the Right Amount to Care About Politics?

Post by jacob »

Let's not pursue this particular tangent... [warning: shitstorm hazard ahead]

chenda
Posts: 1511
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2011 1:17 pm

Re: What's the Right Amount to Care About Politics?

Post by chenda »

There seems to be a fine line between a healthy detachment from the world's suffering and an unhealthy indifference to suffering in the world. That line will vary between person to person.

Anecdotally, I've noticed that lots of people who get heavily involved with politics are mentally ill or become mentally ill. This is not a snide remark, its something to be aware of. All that mental anguish and tension can't be good for anyone in the long term.

User avatar
Dream of Freedom
Posts: 570
Joined: Wed Aug 29, 2012 5:58 pm
Location: Nebraska, US

Re: What's the Right Amount to Care About Politics?

Post by Dream of Freedom »

Politics exposes you to toxic people. In fact the word politics comes from the Greek word poly meaning many and tick a blood sucking insect.*

*Before someone corrects me, it is a joke. Besides, if that's not where it came from that is where it should have.

ZAFCorrection
Posts: 427
Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:49 pm

Re: What's the Right Amount to Care About Politics?

Post by ZAFCorrection »

Using taxes as a measure of how much government affects you and thus how much you should concern yourself seems to be going in the right direction of a good approximation for optimizing self-interest. Though, it does seem to miss out on a number of other obvious interactions such as how much you interact with government services and how much government affects things related to you such as the economy. Though, that is pretty hard to quantify.

For the one(or few)-issue voters out there, what process did you go through to hang your hat on that particular issue? And how much force do you put behind it, ranging from "can't be bothered to vote" to "must fight the unbelievers"?

@iDave

Not necessarily disagreeing with you, but the emotional response cannot be decoupled entirely. My recollection is the latest science indicates that disabling the emotional centers of the brain makes it nearly impossible for individuals to make decisions as they can only analyze, not add value judgments to reach an actual conclusion on what they want.

@Chenda

In my limited experience dealing with those with mental illness and healthcare providers, one of the results of having a mental illness is reaching out for something with which to fix yourself in place. Those with mental illness occasionally have a tendency to get all anal about something such as a religion or politics because they need that feeling of control or certainty. But maybe it goes the other way as well.

chenda
Posts: 1511
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2011 1:17 pm

Re: What's the Right Amount to Care About Politics?

Post by chenda »

@zafcorrection - you mean reaching out for something to fix in place of yourself ? In the sense that someone with an underlying mental health issue might manifest in an obsessive fear or focus on a political or religious issue beyond what would be considered healthy or normal ? That certainly sounds plausible.

ZAFCorrection
Posts: 427
Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:49 pm

Re: What's the Right Amount to Care About Politics?

Post by ZAFCorrection »

I don't know much about it in that level of detail, but my guess is the sub-conscious narrative is either "if I follow these directives coming from the true ordered system, then I am now an ordered person" or "I am part of an ordered system so I am now an ordered person." In both cases, the ordered system must be defended to justify its position as the one truth or at least to maintain membership.

I'm sure my understanding of the phenomenon is significantly influenced by the specific people I have known.

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 12841
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73
Contact:

Re: What's the Right Amount to Care About Politics?

Post by jacob »

One should care in proportion to the degree on desires to live alongside other humans in a free society.

Ultimately, a people don't get the kind of government they want but the kind of government they deserve. Imposing some Rawlsian justice(*), there's more to freedom than minimizing one's tax bill. Even if justice is not a guiding principle, there's still the personal risk that one's contact with the government might include something else than just paying taxes... such as getting arrested for a traffic violation (due process?).

Some countries and people certainly care less about freedom than others. Indeed, a reduction in freedom-to do things such as voting, working, moving, talking also comes with freedom-from things such as responsibility. In recent years, freedom has been in decline in many countries #thanksfacebook?

Freedom House does an annual list of how free societies are measured along multiple dimensions. Here's the US:
https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom ... ted-states

You might find several aspects where your freedoms are not a full 4/4, but as mentioned above, you might also not care about those freedoms until the lack of them hit you in the ass personally. This would be in line with most humans.

(*) In terms of civic duties, it's perhaps also worthwhile to ponder where someone who votes only their personal interest; doesn't vote at all; treats voting as a sporting competition, adopts a low-information diet, ... falls on this scale: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_ ... evelopment ... or this one: https://qz.com/967554/the-five-universa ... stupidity/ .

chenda
Posts: 1511
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2011 1:17 pm

Re: What's the Right Amount to Care About Politics?

Post by chenda »

@zafcorrection - ah ok I think that's a bit different, but it may well explain the possible higher rates of mental illness amongst those involved in politics.

@jacob - Indeed people don't need freedom and democracy, they need security and stability. People flee famine and war en masse, they don't flee oppression and dictatorships. It's obvious but lots of westerners seem to forget this, especially wrt China.

IlliniDave
Posts: 3067
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2014 7:46 pm

Re: What's the Right Amount to Care About Politics?

Post by IlliniDave »

ZAFCorrection wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 2:09 pm
@iDave

Not necessarily disagreeing with you, but the emotional response cannot be decoupled entirely. My recollection is the latest science indicates that disabling the emotional centers of the brain makes it nearly impossible for individuals to make decisions as they can only analyze, not add value judgments to reach an actual conclusion on what they want.
For me it's a matter of not conflating the politics with the issues. Politics are distortions of issues crafted to concentrate power. IMO

Post Reply