When I was young, I felt a need to understand politics, and I spent time studying. But as time progressed, I received diminishing returns on that investment. And in the past few years, I have given it up altogether.
These days, my concern with politics is limited to things like these:
- Who is making war, and where?
- Where is the crime occurring in my area?
- Are there laws that will force me to move my businesses offshore?
Beyond that, I’m really not interested. I see the headlines, but I seldom read the stories. And I’m very happy saying, “I haven’t looked into it,” when people ask my opinion on the day’s ‘news.’
#5: It eats up a horrifying amount of time and energy
Seriously, start counting the number of hours you spend on this stuff. How many hours listening to political radio, watching political TV, and reading political newspapers?
Then start thinking about the intense energy you spend on it. We all have limited reserves of energy; do you really believe that politics is the highest and best use for yours? What about using your energy to build your business? Or to nurture your children? Or to help a neighbor? There must be a dozen things that are more important than obsessing over the votes of congressmen or Supreme Court judges.
#4: It’s an addiction
If imagining yourself dumping politics makes you feel bad, you probably should dump it.
Try it: Imagine your life, devoid of all politics. How does it make you feel? Empty? Forsaken?
The truth is that millions of us are addicted to politics. People can’t pull themselves away from it – it’s the script that runs in the back of their minds 24/7.
The political addiction is so bad that even strongly religious people spend more time on politics than they do on God. Politics is the obsession of the age.
#3: It doesn’t change anything
There was a popular bumper sticker in the 60s that read: If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.
Let’s be honest and admit that the bumper sticker was true. Even the best examples – such as Reagan on the right or Obama on the left – have failed to change much. Government is bigger than ever, the US government is involved in more wars than ever, and the Constitution is being trashed in more ways than ever before. This is progress?
And what of the vaunted elections that they always promote? Personally, I think Alvin Toffler was right when he called them “reassurance rituals.” But, that aside, it is certain that elections are tightly controlled. In the US, two parties firmly control who gets on a ballot and who doesn’t. Everything is scripted; everything requires approval of the party. (The situation is slightly less bad in Europe.)
And please understand that ‘the government’ is far more than 600 faces in DC – it is millions of people in thousands of offices, all pulling together to get more of your money and to spend it upon themselves and their departments.
But even while politics doesn’t actually change much, it does keep everyone locked inside the system and servicing it. To illustrate, here’s a quote I never could forget, and that I hope you’ll never forget either:
Let them march all they want, so long as they continue to pay their taxes.
– Alexander Haig, 1982
So long as everyone obeys the government, why should it care about their complaints? Americans are nearly 100% obedient, so why should the government bother changing anything at all? There is no need.