Politics Makes Life Ugly

political ideologiesWe all know people, probably a lot of them, who are decent and well-meaning in most aspects of their lives but whose brains switch into an ugly mode of operation once politics comes up. They are fine neighbors or coworkers until you say something that goes against their ideology, and then they turn into bitter adversaries.

This abrupt change from Ms. Nice to Ms. Nasty can be rather troubling when you see it up close. And for good reason: it’s like a sci-fi movie where an alien takes over one of the crew.

The truth is that political ideologies are a devolutionary influence on us. They make us harsher, angrier, easier to manipulate, and almost impossible to reason with. In almost every way that can be examined, they’re bad for us.

The great problem is that people think they’re required to have political stances. This is a tremendously damaging and false belief, but the Western world is currently addicted to it. In our time, Politics is Almighty.

The truth, however, is that we are more than capable of examining the world and coming to conclusions without the mental partnership of a political ideology.

Ideologies Are Mind Parasites

People usually get pulled into one ideology or another at an early age. Very often they will be raised in an ideology and will slowly adopt it. Other times, teachers will lead them into an ideology or simply force it upon them. This is more or less standard at universities, where holding the wrong ideology takes a point or more off your GPA.

And beyond this, many people will routinely push you into one category or another without even meaning to: “Which party do you like?” “Who are you voting for?” and so on. Once you make a choice, they identify you as being within a specific ideology and will treat you that way. And unless you strenuously defy their categorization, that’s where they’ll keep you.

Once you come to see yourself inside of an ideology, there are emotional benefits. If you align with the Blue Party, you will be continually furnished with reasons why the Reds are to blame for all the ills of the world… and vice versa. The emotional benefit is that by being in the right party, you are absolved from all responsibility – the enemy party is always guilty.

This mind parasite shortcuts your thoughts and pays you off with some fake self-esteem and pats on the back.

People stay inside ideologies for the emotional protection they gain. And if they’re not careful, their identity will merge with their ideology. From that point onward, all political questions become blood feuds.

Politics turns your naturally limber thinking process into an animalistic and angry “us versus them.” The ideology – the parasite – shapes your thoughts to serve itself.

Ugly by Nature

Politics is ugly by nature. Think about what a political process really involves.

Once a political process is completed, people have a binary choice: either obey or be punished.

At the end of every political process are armed men, violently enforcing it. That’s barbaric, and it’s ugly.

The truth is that we really don’t need those embittering ideologies. And if we ever really did need them, we’ve outgrown them.

Most People Are Better than Their Ideologies

Consider your otherwise good neighbor who turns ugly over political opinions. He or she is better than their ideology. In daily life, they are considerate and cooperative. But when politics comes up, they instantly turn confrontational, oppositional… barbaric.

It’s politics that changes your neighbor from a nice person into an angry, hazardous person.

Most people are far better than their ideologies, and I think it’s a good idea to tell them so. You’ll have to wait for a good time, of course, but you might consider saying something like this:

Ron, you’re a good neighbor and a nice guy… except when you talk about politics; then, you’re scary. It’s not your opinions – I may disagree, but I can understand how you’d reach those conclusions – it’s that you change, and you defend them like you’re at war. As a friend, I’d really like for you to step away from that kind of political identity – it diminishes you.

I’m not promising that this will always work, but it is the right thing to do and you are at least likely to plant a good seed in this person. And if you say it at the right time, with genuine concern, it’s unlikely to cause a real problem.

As best I can see it, the truth is that political ideologies make people consistently barbaric and ugly. They make them worse. Our lives would be improved if we dropped them.

Paul Rosenberg

8 thoughts on “Politics Makes Life Ugly”

  1. Strongly agree, Paul. Have a couple of thoughts:

    . One could argue that it’s not so much the having of a political ideology that’s bad, as having an ideology that does not respect property rights (i.e. having any mainstream ideology in today’s world). I suppose one could respond that the word “politics” is synonymous with “lack of respect for property rights”.

    . This is more or less standard at universities, where holding the wrong ideology takes a point or more off your GPA. This is true only for touchy-feely subjects. In math, science, and engineering, political ideology is irrelevant.

    . Politics is ugly by nature. It sure is. It attracts the corrupt and corrupts the virtuous. It is the opposite of voluntarism, and ultimately, the opposite of freedom. Unchecked, it will swallow this or any nation, and eventually, civilization itself.

    1. Not only is politics synonymous with a lack of respect for property rights, it entails a total disregard for property rights and all other rights that would be considered property rights only under the broadest definition. For example, just the most basic right of all – the right to be simply left alone.

      I don’t believe that politics will swallow this nation. It already has consumed it, turning average people into beasts undiscernible from zombies. It is already very ugly.

  2. I could not say it better than Paul or JdL. This is why we must get rid of politicians and political system.

    New Value-based Democracy – NVD – Imagine world without politicians!

    We want to create a new model of government in Finland and around the world; New Value-based Democracy. Democracy which is not based on any political or religious ideology or any other harmful -ism, but common sense and basic human values. It’s a totally neutral governance. Its main principle is to serve Finland and its citizens, not the political parties, the power elite or big money.

    IT can be done very easily. Read more here: http://suomenystavat.org/hp-highlights/summary/

    1. Would this new entity have a legal monopoly on the use of force? If so, I fear it would quickly race down the same path to corruption as any other government. If not, then what purpose does it serve that can’t be served by the marketplace?

      1. governments do not have a legal monopoly on the use of force.
        governments use force to get a legal monopoly on whatever they want.

  3. Paul, this is one of your best articles that I have read. I’d just like to comment on your statement, “political ideologies are a devolutionary influence on us.” That may very well be–only time will tell. However, humans evolved as a social and political species, like most other primates. Whether one accepts the theory of evolution by natural selection or not, this idea is widely accepted among anthropologists and primatologists. Humans will stop being ideological when it’s no longer advantageous (or we cause our own extinction). Fortunately, we have big brains to help us along that path–but only if we use them.

  4. I’m afraid I may be perceived as becoming ugly myself.

    If I had to label myself it would be anarchist/voluntaryist. I am so passionate about freedom that I tend to get emotional. Most people NEVER want to discuss politics or social issues with me.

    I’m desperate to GENTLY show people the fallacies of the State, but I tend to beat them over the head with it. :

    Good article!

  5. You’re correct, of course, Paul.
    However, I have a slight modification. Attitudes of which you describe may or may not come from early indoctrination. In many cases, such comes from ancestor memory. If we were talking about animals, we would say “instinct”, but humans are above being directed by animal-like instincts. So, it’s ancestor memory.

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