Miscellaneous Thoughts

Election season has officially started. The advertising season started a bit earlier than the Labor Day weekend opening of "election season." You probably know that if you watch television or read the newspaper. This seems like a good time to remind people of a few important facts about politics.

1. Politicians lie.

2. Politicians want to get in office and stay in office.

3. One can be sure that some politicians believe their own stories

4. Politicians generally traffic in slogans and stories that pander to one side or another, rather than coming up with reasonable ideas and showing us why the ideas are reasonable.

Politicians can lie and tell us meaningless stories because we are all distracted. We hear facts and anecdotes that support our liberal or conservative view of the world. We don’t take much time to reflect, so we tend to believe the stories and facts that support our own worldview. We vote accordingly.

Sociological consequences: Public policy is created that has no significant effect or that makes things worse. The government vomits money all over the place. We elect people who have grandiose ideas about their places in the world. That grandiosity, to the extent that its contradicted by facts, makes us waste money and energy.

One could argue that our current conservative leadership is motivated by a fantasy that centers on leading an epic struggle of Christianity against fundamentalist Islam.  I am not arguing that the war on terror is pointless, only that we are overreaching to say this is an epic struggle between Christianity and fundamentalist Islam. How much money and energy are being wasted on a conflict that, while serious, is definitely not in the same league as World War II.

Maybe I can explain these ideas in more detail. I’ll just have to pay attention to political advertising. I think everyone else should do the same. Everyone should also reread my posts on social pollution so politicians’ ideas are easier to evaluate.

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~ by chetdavis on September 5, 2006.

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