What even is the point of politics

Posted on December 18, 2016 by Richard Goulter

What even is the point of politics?
The arguing-with-acquaintances-about-the-news kind of politics.

It seems to be just for expressing anger.. – but moreover, to express tribal affiliation. (Meaningness’s “Ethics is Advertising” post does a good job of arguing this point: that so much of what we do is to signal that we are good people).

But it seems to me all the kinds of articles which get shared about say the same thing: “Here’s something which happened; here’s why it shows my political viewpoint is correct”.
– I’m trying really hard to internalize that people don’t discuss politics in search of truth; that “reason is slave to the passions”. – Surely it’s at least a little pathetic that all the anger expressed has no more purpose, no more impact than a disguised way of saying “hey I’m correct?”.

Perhaps it’s the INTJ in me, but I guess there’s more hope in trying to understand politics in terms of ‘incentives’, then it’s easier to find a model to describe the world; easier to discuss policies in terms of which better suits whatever set of ideals/priorities.
– That, if politics is about satisfying incentives, then we can discuss the politics of history. (“in this case, this happened; in that case, that happened, so what does that mean this time”).

– That righteous-expression-of-anger has dominated the political discussion I see … I guess in order to think that this is a bad thing (compared to, say, a fantastic disinterested discussion of policies), you’d still be clinging to the idea that people intend to seek truth.
– Seeking out the drama of all the hypocrisies inherent in arguing over moral values, & shitposting about this; that’s fun.
– But in terms of modelling & making sense of politics, “righteousness” is a way better model.

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