Politics: Q&A

Here, the blogger responds to questions, comments, and catcalls from the peanut gallery.

GC44:

Starting here, I want to contest your idea that “politics is always bad”, which is an idea that’s become central to everything you write. “Politics is always bad” is not some overly broad generalization that you now make. No, “politics is always bad” is everywhere with you now.

OK, maybe there’s some solipsism on my part. I should say, “Politics is bad for me, but it’s good for people who are more virtuous and capable than me.” In other words, if someone virtuous enough were to be capable of achieving a good end, then he might well use politics to achieve it, and that would be good.

It’s everywhere. These days, I talk about links, or whatever, and because I’m trying to do battle on some level, it’s all politics to you. Well then, fighting the good fight of faith? It must be that the Bible is nothing but politics, because doing battle is a huge theme in the Bible.

Sure, doing battle is all over the place in the Bible. Is that what you’re doing–fighting for the Lord with weblinks? That could work, but it has to involve more than manipulation and self-promotion. There has to be some specific, God-anointed objective. And then, after doing what God wants you to do, there is the requirement to step back and let the Lord fight for you.

Politics is a waste of time, like blogging.

Don’t tune me out if I use words like “idiotic”, but this is an idiotic statement. Blogging is an extremely valuable method of publishing in spite of all the noise. There’s a good chance you don’t mean blogging is “always” a waste of time, but you do mean politics is “always” a waste. If you don’t, you’ve wasted a whole lot of my brain waves by having repeatedly made similar statements in multiple posts over a period of time.

I’ll make the same concession here and say that blogging is a waste of time for me, at this time, in this place, with this persona. It does not help in achieving any short- or long-term objective other than exercising my mind, which could be done in a way that doesn’t tend to make me think polemically and superficially.

Just because blogging is a waste of time for me does not mean that reading it is a waste of time for you. Make of it what you will.

Also, because of my general ineptitude and lack of discernment, politics has always been a waste of time for me. For people with nobler goals and better skills, maybe it’s very useful. That is, if someone had nobler goals than I and they had the ability to achieve them using politics, then it would not be a waste of time for them. However, I don’t know any of those people personally.

Even if it were not a waste of time for such a person, that would not make politics good.

But I detest politics and I think that people who obsess over it are fools,….

It’s very common for people to make sweeping generalizations, and then concede that there are exceptions, but, for you, it’s obvious “all politics” means “all politics”.

Me and Ted. It’s all just politics, and all politics is bad.

My statement above does not require qualification. I’m not sure whether I have actually written that “all politics is bad” or if that is just your conclusion. However, I will accept it as a proposition.

Politics as a means could be good in an instrumental sense; that is, it could be good for something. It could be effective in achieving an end, given a competent user. However, if that end were not a noble ideal, I suggest it would be a waste of time to try to achieve it.

Politics could also be good as a good thing to be doing. However, I think it would only be a good thing for a virtuous person to be doing, and then only if he were capable of using it effectively.

Would this make politics good as an end in itself? No.

The goal of virtuous character is virtuous action, which may have political consequences. However, seeking the acquisition and exercise of power over others is, I maintain, not in itself virtuous. It is good for a virtuous person to influence others, but not to make control over them his object.

Politics makes people dumber and more desperate.

Me and Ted. Dumb and desperate because we strategize on how to get a bigger voice on the web.

Er, no. Excessively thinking about politics or engaging in politics, if one does not meet the conditions previously stated, will make one dumber and more desperate. Dumber, because it leads to more maneuvering with less wisdom; desperate, because the maneuvering will be ineffective, and consequently you will redouble your efforts.

I analyze the mechanics of the web publically; he’s less transparent on his thoughts. But to you, it couldn’t be anything more than politics and ego.

Yes. If you do not state your ideal ends and demonstrate your character, then it appears you are just trying to manipulate other people or just stroking yourself.

Here you presume to know the motive behind all political actions.

No, your motives may be pure, for all I know. However, the logic of politics will corrupt your results.

Me and Ted. If we engage in the mechanics of politics, you know that every word and deed of ours is a political act to try and marshal one group of forces against another group of forces as part of a global war to make the perfect human society.

For everyone whose life revolves around making sure they get just the right political results from all their actions, their trust is in the perfection of humanity, not in God.

Much of the message of the Bible is extremely adversarial, with an enormous part of the message being to pursuade people, so what else could it be but politics? Therefore, it must be that the Bible will rot your brain.

Being adversarial is not the problem. In particular, if God seems adversarial to someone, that is not God’s problem; that is their problem.

It’s true that climbing the blog ladder higher will stroke the ego, but that’s just one of many types of success in life. So that means success is always bad?

No, I wouldn’t say so. But does success always require the manipulation of others? I suppose it does, in some sense. Success is dependent on leveraging some kind of social advantage, which may express itself in a more subtle way than class status. For example, education and technology are social advantages that are mostly acquired at very little cost. I don’t think the problem is success; I think it has more to do with placing hope in political maneuvering instead of intrinsic ethical, intellectual, and spiritual principles. It’s about making unprincipled choices to achieve purportedly good ends.

I have made reciprocal linking agreements occasionally, and occasionally it has just happened, through some kind of netiquette. Right now I don’t care about it, though I know that both you and Ted think about it a lot.

Me and Ted. It’s a sin that we’ve thought about the mechanics of getting heard. Thinking? A sin. Ultimate actions? What we’ve ended up doing? Meaningless, of course.

Did I suggest some kind of condemnation there? Maybe condescension, but not condemnation. Regarding what you and Ted have ended up doing–are you serious?

Ted, by his own account, is a successful video game designer and entrepreneur. However, I know nothing about any of that, because it has nothing to do with his online persona. As an author, he is interesting, but mediocre. I can’t evaluate his grasp of economics. None of this has anything to do with his blogging or his politics.

And the fruit of your online activity? I guess you’ve bullied a few people regarding your pet peeves. Otherwise, I don’t see any good effects.

Now for my proof by contradiction that “politics” is not always bad.

I do not define “politics”, and I do not need to. First, assume that all politics is bad.

If all politics is bad, then all political parties are all bad. Because it is impossible to have republican forms of government without political parties, then if all political parties are all bad, then all republican forms of government are all bad.

Here, I require that you agree that all republican forms of government cannot all be bad. If you claim that all republican forms of government are all bad, then I cannot continue with my proof.

However, you will not make such a claim. Thus, because all republican forms of government cannot all be bad, then all political parties cannot all be bad, so politics cannot always be bad.

Consequently, we have a contradiction.

We’re not willing to accept that all republican forms of government are all bad, therefore “all politics is bad” is false.

OK. I already clarified my position above.

Politics is intrinsic to human society. However, it is bad to trust in it; and thinking about it constantly corrupts principled thought.

 

 

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