Politics and why it sucks to talk about
John David Back
31

Dear John… lol

(Or, how I learned to just chill out and stop giving a shit about politics so much)

I’m not going to attack you, or your point of view using any political arguments whatsoever, I am going to attack you on pure, indisputable fact. Here is my first fact:

Politics is not a system that can be tweaked and tinkered with until it satisfies all problems or even a majority of problems. For every policy solution, there are going to be unintended consequences. There is a very simple reason for this. Life is extraordinarily complex. Here are just a few of the trillions of confounding complexities of life that will likely render your (or your uncles) political solutions worthless, or at least futile.

  • People do what is in their personal best interest, and not every action is going to reflect their best interest, but they believe it will and they will do it anyway.
  • The needs of any large population is bound to change with technology, information, events and any number of unpredictable things.
  • Political solutions can only be deployed by threat of force, or some form of coercion. You cant make everyone get health insurance without having a penalty for not doing so, just as you cant ban pot if there is no penalty for owning it or distributing it.
  • Even if you have an enforcement mechanism, people will always find a way around your political solution if it suits their needs and then the government will have to spend time, money and human resources to track these people down.
  • Since any political solution is likely to cause problems for a certain subset of the population, you can bet that population will fight your solution tooth and nail, while those who benefit will fight for the solution tooth and nail. Thus political division is further baked into the cake so to speak.
  • Now, voting becomes an act of aggression against your political enemies. Everybody is not going to just have a moment of zen or something and just decide to get along, it just doesn’t work like that, so, you get animosity.
  • Politicians have a strong desire to obtain and maintain their political offices and they all use your animosity to get you to come out and vote. Come on out and lets hammer team red or blue!
  • This means that politics is always in flux and nobody ever gets to have a perfect solution. And even when we think a solution is perfect, one or more unpredictable factors confounds the whole goddamn thing and turns it into shit almost instantly.

Fact two: Because of human nature, we are incapable of eliminating bias from our political calculations and opinions. Look at the polls. Most of the polls done by media groups, most of whom supported Clinton, unsurprisingly predicted a huge win for Clinton. You see, even though many of these people are very smart, they are also human. They made models so they could extrapolate data from say a thousand responses to several million. The models were made based on measurements and assumptions about people in certain areas and of certain demographics. Well, guess what, these assumptions were all colored by the biases of the individuals making the models, so is it any wonder that the models spit out what the modelers wanted to see? Nope. The same problem happens all over the place, in science, in economics and in politics. Politicians send a bill to the CBO so the CBO can “score” it and the CBO uses models that have assumptions about thousands of potential variables. But these people have biases, either in favor of or against a particular party, policy or political concept and so these biases make their way into the models and eventually spit out something somebody hoped to see. I’m not saying they are always wrong, because thats not true, but many times, the results don’t live up to the eventual reality. When a political solution fails to live up to the predictions, then people get upset, if the predictions say a policy will fail and it does, people get upset and you get… say it with me… ANIMOSITY.

Which brings me to fact three. Even if both you and your uncle spent 100% of your time immersed in political data and policy details, you would both still have a wildly inaccurate understanding of the information, because of fact one: the world is complex and nobody can honestly know how the person next to them will act, let alone how hundreds of millions of people will act. Also, since you are both human beings with all the flaws and biases that come with being human, your analysis of political policies and data will be tainted, you will build models that are terribly imperfect and continue to speak past each other for this reason.

So, now, I hope you see that you cant lay the problems of the world on your political rivals any more than they can lay the problems of the world on you and your ilk.

My advice, as always: Live life freely and allow others to do the same.

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