The problem with politics (and useful idiots)

“I drove by the fork in the road and went straight.”

Why do humans gravitate to and obsess over politics?

Simple: our brains are wired this way. It’s natural.

Specifically, a political identity gives you a default opinion, on every hotly-contested topic, without having to do the work necessary to form an opinion yourself. Super convenient.

Secondly, a political identity gives us an instant “tribe” — a social safety net that allows us to signal virtue and receive cheap praise.

Lastly, having a political identity invites confirmation bias —maybe the strongest drug known to man.

When we have a strong political identity, rarely do we seek a non-consensus view, forgetting that being right + non-consensus is really the only way to earn uncommon success or growth.

In short: we like politics because it allows for lazy thinking.

After all, why would I do the work of researching climate change, tax reform, economics, immigration, the latest Supreme Court nominee (“so what if I’ve never heard of this guy until 19 seconds ago, I hate/love him!”), or any other topic when I can simply rely on my in-group to create an opinion I can scoop up cheaply?

If you believe you are a liberal or a conservative because you are fundamentally “good” — you are mistaken.

If you believe your side has a monopoly on virtue or knowledge — you are mistaken.

Solution: drop any strong political identity completely, become independent, or be risk becoming a useful idiot. 🙂

and don’t be this guy:

One Comment

Add yours →

  1. I agree but also think there is another level. Politics can have serious consequences. A bad law can directly harm many people. So deciding who is ‘in charge’ with power to make laws is very important.

    Unfortunately, good governance, laws, and leadership are often separated from ‘politics’. Politics becomes a game to play, or an easy way to not care about who is actually in charge and what are they doing.

Comments are closed.