Friday, September 23, 2016

Misplaced Selfishness

Democracy is supposed to work out as the best system of government, or at least a system that is better than others, by achieving the greatest overall good for the greatest possible number of voters, based on input in the form of votes, whereby people vote are supposed to vote for what is best for them personally, producing an accumulated effect that results in the candidate who can provide the most total return of what voters say they want. There're a billion reasons why it doesn't actually work that way, and one of the more significant ones is that modern humans seem incapable of being intelligently selfish. Rather, the act of voting seems to involve not the selfish best interests of the voter in question, but the voter's satisfaction of various forms of emotional reward schema and image posturing, both external (easy) and internal (less clear).

Sheltered white people who vote for theoretically violent immigrants aren't at issue here. That's an easy thing to point out. Think instead about a different kind of massive disconnect in the ways people choose their candidates, and what they focus on as important. For this exercise, imagine that you're a voter, and that an election is being held. Think about the candidate whom you do not wish to vote for, and as regards that candidate, ask yourself which issues are the most important to you (and/or to people you care about):

Issue: The candidate's likelihood of implementing tax policies which will extract more money from you than is currently extracted, in return for government services equal to or less desirable than those you now receive.

Issue: The candidate's likelihood of starting wars which will increase the likelihood of you personally experiencing blowback from foreign enemies.

Issue: The candidate's likelihood of starting wars which will increase the likelihood of the end of civilization and you starving to death in a nuclear wasteland.

Issue: The candidate's on-camera temperament.

Issue: The candidate's off-camera temperament.

Issue: The candidate's health.

Now, rank all of the above Issues. Maybe they're all important, but which ones are most important to you--which ones might actually affect your daily life, in terms of either causing you to have less money, causing you to be killed, causing civilization to end, or causing you to feel annoyed and vindictive? And, which ones are more troubling to you, in a logical sense?

Then, take that list and ask yourself the question, "Which of those Issues occupy most of my thought regarding [Candidate/Election]?" Rank the Issues by the attention that you've paid to them. Have you discussed these Issues with other people? Have you read about these issues? Which have you read about more, or less? Which ones make you more likely to flip to that article, turn up the volume, click on a link, or apprise your friends or acquaintances of, and in which ones are you less interested?

...If those lists don't match up exactly, what does that say about you? How good are you at being (A) selfish, or (B) personally moral, or (C) socially moral, or (D) psychologically consistent, if those lists don't actually match up?

For example, if Candidate A's tax policy will cost you an extra $5,400 a year, but you spend more time worrying about Candidate A's temperament, what does that tell you about yourself? What does it say about your financial savvy, or your financial priorities? Would you be willing to pay $5,400 to Candidate in exchange for different behavior alongside the same policies? No? Then why would your focus be adjusted as it is? (For the same reason people are more likely to buy a new car when the salesman is wearing a _____ shirt, that's why. Modern economics has retarded our brains in ways far more profound than in dealing with transactions that are expressly and literally financial. Some of us are so neurologically mangled that we see "marketplaces" in all parts of existence; in the very constellations.)

Similarly, if Candidate A is both (1) very rude, and (2) more likely to threaten apocalyptic nuclear warfare, what does it tell you about yourself if you have spent more time discussing and considering (1) instead of (2)?

Democracy is as democracy does, of course. To go a step further, what will it mean when a majority of people--the same people who probably don't match up their "Issues' importance" lists with their "time spent having concern about" lists from above--decide that, in their minds, democracy is ineffective, and therefore, they now claim to want a monarch? Whoever they are, they'll probably be quite convinced that this time they've figured something out.

Ah, Terra!

3 comments:

  1. And this is why I don't have any friends (nor want to have any).

    Fuck everybody.

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  2. I am a one person sovereign country. (It's a dictatorship).

    Oh, and let's not forget the benevolet smug douches yapping about how important and great "our democracy" is, even though it is 'not perfect"

    I have this aquaintance who is a political science professor (!). It actually scares me when he talks like that - it feels like somebody is completely turning off his brain, and instead standard media cliches start to come out in his speech or writing.

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  3. The liberal benevolence disappears the second it is challenged. I don't think I will be invited to any dinner parties ever again. Whew.

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