Saturday, March 13, 2010

Everything is Still Vanity When It Comes to Politics

In a comment on my last post, Travis Grant suggested that he’d like to see me do a political post again. In December, I wrote that I would be taking a break from political blogging for an indeterminate time.

During my hiatus from overtly political posts at this site, I have continued to be politically informed. On occasion I have made comments on other political blogs. But my commentary has followed more of a sniper pattern. I fire off a comment and then leave.

Over the past three months, I have spent more time doing things with my family. I have dedicated more time to family history work than in the past. And it has been pretty pleasant.

It takes time and dedication to write a decently researched political post. It is much easier to spout stuff off the top of my head while concerning myself little with referential linking. But such posts are less fulfilling. Besides, psychologists know that we all tend to use logic to support what we already think anyway.

As I noted in my December post, an important part of blogging is maintaining the comment stream. I just don’t presently have as much time for that as I used to. And frankly, I don’t care to respond to some comments. Taking time to respond to certain comments seems to cross the line of absurdity, as it often leads to meaningless pro-forma debates. And yet, it doesn’t seem quite right to leave such comments unrefuted. Ah, the dilemma.

Actually, I have written a handful of political posts over the past three months, only to end up tossing them. Most often, I have ended up muddling around when attempting to drive to a conclusion. Other times I have written conclusions, but on reflection have found them unconvincing even to me. It would be ridiculous to post such dreck.

Perhaps the root of the problem is my growing political cynicism. Rather than basing my thoughts on political arguments and posturing, I have started to pay closer attention to what politicians actually do. The result has been a drastic lowering of expectations of politicians and of the whole political system.

Since lowering my expectations, I have rarely been disappointed by a politician or by a political outcome. There has been an abundant supply of politicians that live down to my abysmal expectations. If I wait long enough, the seemingly rare exceptions to this rule often end up proving the rule correct.

But I have become aware that there is a healthy market for political saviors. Vast swaths of people exhibit with deep religious ferver their faith in salvation through politics, despite the abundant evidence that such a belief is based in something other than reality.

Of course, supply always pops up to meet demand. Thus, there is no shortage of political entrepreneurs that are eager to play the demanded role of savior. This would all be comical if the consequences weren’t so serious.

I suppose you could say that I have lost my faith in the religion of politics. I still observe politics and formulate theories about what is happening and why. But I feel as if I am outside of the congregation of political believers.

Still, I hold certain political principles to be true. But I am also aware of others that are deeply devoted to opposing principles. And I am aware that some of the principles that I cherish most dearly are broadly ignored — something that calls into question the validity of my beliefs. Or perhaps, it makes public statements of these beliefs seem like a futile exercise.

I don’t really have anything to tie all of this rambling together. But that is where I am with respect to politics at the moment. Maybe this helps explain my current aversion to writing political posts.


Anonymous said...

I didn't mean my comments as a call for a political post. I respect you desire not to post. Usually, when I go through a dry spell, it is for very similar reasons you stated. But I don't write much about my personal life on my blog, so I just don't write.

As for the well researched posts. That is what I have always enjoyed about your posts. They are always well researched. Unlike my blog, which is usually just my opinion, with little fact to support it. After all, I have to be right, because I can't be wrong. ;)

I just want you to know that I am still reading, and enjoying all that you write.

Scott Hinrichs said...