Reasons to Hate Politics

Bryan Caplan gives a number of apolitical reasons to hate politics.  I agree with them all, but want to add one more.  Here are his:

I hate the hyperbole of politics.  People should speak literal, measured truth or be silent.

I hate the Social Desirability Bias of politics.  People should describe reality as it is, not pander to wishful thinking.

I hate the innumeracy of politics.  People should focus on what's quantitatively important, not what thrills the masses.

I hate the overconfidence of politics.  People shouldn't make claims they won't bet on, and shouldn't assert certainty unless they're willing to bet everything they own against a penny.

I hate the myside bias of politics.  People should strive to be fair to out-groups, and scrupulously monitor in-groups, to counteract our natural human inclination to do the opposite.

I hate the "winning proves I'm right" mentality of politics.  Winning only proves your views are popular, and popular views are often wrong.

Last but not least:

I hate the excuses people make for each of the preceding evils.

To these I would add:  I hate how people treat politicians as personal saviors.  I can't even understand how people can permanently glue a politician's name to the bumper of their car.

  • ErikTheRed

    I love politics. One of my basic rules of life is "Always allow (or possibly even encourage) idiots to self-identify."

  • Matthew Slyfield

    In general I agree with most of the main points, but a few quibbles.

    "People should speak literal, measured truth or be silent."

    There are vast oceans between hyperbole and literal, measured truth. And in many important areas, there is no literal, measured truth to be had.

    "People should describe reality as it is, not pander to wishful thinking."

    Agreed in principle. In practice, it's not so easy to tell who's describing reality as it is and who is engaging in wishful thinking. There is also at least some gap in the middle where it's not quite reality as it is and not so far from reality as it is as to be wishful thinking.

    "I hate the innumeracy of politics. People should focus on what's quantitatively important, not what thrills the masses."

    I agree on the first sentence, but it's also important to avoid hypernumeracy. Hypernumeracy is a false belief that everything is quantifiable.

    Not everything that matters is quantifiable and qualitative differences can also matter without amounting to "what thrills the masses".

  • ErikTheRed

    "I agree on the first sentence, but it's also important to avoid hypernumeracy. Hypernumeracy is a false belief that everything is quantifiable.

    Not everything that matters is quantifiable and qualitative differences can also matter without amounting to 'what thrills the masses.'"

    Yup. The acknowledgement of this is what sets Austrian Economics apart from the other schools of thought. A better way of putting it would be that all value is subjective, and it seems that the main goal of politics is to impose the values of one group (because their values are "obviously right" and everyone who disagrees with them is an inbred hillbilly moron or a useless academic or whatever) on the "wrong" people in order to "save" them.

  • morganovich

    i hate the coercive, collectivist nature of politics.

    once, a government was deemed just in the US if its goal was preventing people and government alike from doing thing to the citizens that the citizens did not want.. this mattered at the individual level, not the collective one. no matter how much 3 people wanted to take your money and spend it, absent your permission, they could not do so.

    now, a self described "just government" panders to the collective by coercively taking from a few to give to the rest. gone is any notion of justice stemming from protecting the individual. it's now about satiating the thirst of the majority to, as mencken so aptly put it, turn each election into "an advance auction on stolen goods" or in many cases, good to be stolen later.

    the politics of calling such "legal plunder" (in the bastiat sense) "social justice" is just misnaming tyranny of the majority service to society.

  • Orion Henderson

    Many, many people live a state centered life.

    Everything in their world revolves around the state-by their own choice.

    If everything in a persons life revolves around the state-then everything the state does takes on the air of a moral crusade. That, to me, is dangerous and disgusting. And that is what makes politics so gross.

  • kidmugsy

    Whenever I have advocated voting for the lesser evil I have been disparaged as a disgraceful cynic. But only, as far as I can tell, by Americans. Is this because the office of President elevates a politician to a demigod?

  • ErikTheRed

    The sad thing is that it's usually not even a majority - just some group that wormed its way into the halls of power and managed to drag its agenda through. I think Ayn Rand nailed it with "the aristocracy of pull."

  • John Moore

    Personal savior? You are overinterpreting the meaning of a bumper sticker! I have been known to put a sticker with the name of a favorite candidate on my car, to show support. That means nothing other than the fact that I prefer that candidate over the alternative.

  • John O.

    I have a Gary Johnson bumper sticker and a Libertarian Party bumper sticker in the back window of my car. It's not attached because things and people change and should that time come can reach in and throw them away.

  • johnbr
  • johnbr

    You can remove the Obi Wan Kenobi 2012 bumper sticker from my cold, dead car. Oh wait, it's already cold and dead. Well, you'll have to come through me, I'm never throwing it away

  • BobSykes

    Politics are built in to all brains, human and animal. Politics are how animals interact. You might reread Aristotle on this.

    Lying, cheating, stealing, nepotism, favoritism ... are all part of the process, and it is simply delusional to think a human society is possible without them. Even animals try to deceive one another.

    It is somewhat like bureaucracy. A bureaucracy is simply civilization itself.

  • J_W_W

    Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercises for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. .... those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end because they do so with the approval of their own conscience. -- CS Lewis

  • Not Sure

    "Lying, cheating, stealing, nepotism, favoritism ... are all part of the process, and it is simply delusional to think a human society is possible without them."

    The people who created our government appear to have understood this, which is why they attempted to limit the power the government was able to exercise over the people. Turns out, they weren't all that successful.

  • David Curtis

    Excellent. My feelings exactly.

  • d wall

    Totally amazed no one is talking about Obama's UN speech. How could we not? Followed the long term Open Society agenda.

    -reduced national sovereignty
    -defense must be approved by an international group
    -reduced military
    -international control of evil capitalists

    Open borders changed to global integration.