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Is it bad that I'm apathetic about politics? - Printable Version

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Is it bad that I'm apathetic about politics? - Desu - 05-26-2014 03:10 PM

I don't keep up with current events really. I have other things I want to focus on. Consuming mass media, keeping up with the affairs of politicians, writing my congressman... it just seems incredibly pointless.

I feel like unless I devote my life to politics, my contribution is insignificant, therefore I might as well spend my time and energy on other things.

Never voted, don't plan to.


Is it bad that I'm apathetic about politics? - James Comey - 05-26-2014 03:11 PM

Nah, not really.

Some people aren't into that stuff. I've always been into geopolitics, but that's just something I'm into.


RE: Is it bad that I'm apathetic about politics? - TheCancer - 05-26-2014 03:28 PM

It's more than ok to be apathetic. You cannot make a difference anyway. No election in your lifetime will ever be settled by one vote so the outcomes will all be the same if you vote or not. Trying to follow the news is worse than ignoring it because it gives you an illusion you understand things that you don't and can't. If you're apathetic at least you don't hurt yourself worrying about the world.


RE: Is it bad that I'm apathetic about politics? - Ky - 05-26-2014 03:47 PM

Not really. Politics isn't for everyone.

(05-26-2014 03:28 PM)TheCancer Wrote:  It's more than ok to be apathetic. You cannot make a difference anyway. No election in your lifetime will ever be settled by one vote so the outcomes will all be the same if you vote or not. Trying to follow the news is worse than ignoring it because it gives you an illusion you understand things that you don't and can't. If you're apathetic at least you don't hurt yourself worrying about the world.

This sentiment is different. Indeed, one vote rarely changes the outcome, but one voice can accomplish a lot more. If you are so inclined, you can make a difference.

There might be more to politics that can be understood, but there is no virtue in not understanding any of it.

Apathy is not to be justified or encouraged, nor is political activism to be demonized or belittled; both are inherently neutral, and it is a matter of preference.


Is it bad that I'm apathetic about politics? - thewake - 05-26-2014 03:50 PM

Nah, I'm pretty sure those of use (myself included) who actually care about politics are mentally ill.


Is it bad that I'm apathetic about politics? - Trar - 05-26-2014 03:54 PM

Politics, legislature, and governance have an important impact on everyone. It's how things are run. I suggest you make a bit of time to start learning. I can understand if people don't have much of a stomach for it, but it really is important. A bit of effort certainly doesn't hurt. Apathy only hurts in the long run; it's what the very corrupt, self-serving interests who have supposedly soured democracy for TheCancer depend on. Even if they try and discount your vote, you still have a voice.


RE: Is it bad that I'm apathetic about politics? - TheCancer - 05-26-2014 04:39 PM

If you WANT to try to follow politics and influence the process then fine. But given the choice I still maintain that apathy is preferable, especially if you're already convinced it's pointless. Because it really is pointless.


Is it bad that I'm apathetic about politics? - thewake - 05-26-2014 05:04 PM

The real truth about the political process:


Watch on YouTube


RE: Is it bad that I'm apathetic about politics? - Desu - 05-26-2014 05:22 PM

(05-26-2014 03:54 PM)Trar Wrote:  Politics, legislature, and governance have an important impact on everyone. It's how things are run. I suggest you make a bit of time to start learning. I can understand if people don't have much of a stomach for it, but it really is important. A bit of effort certainly doesn't hurt. Apathy only hurts in the long run; it's what the very corrupt, self-serving interests who have supposedly soured democracy for TheCancer depend on. Even if they try and discount your vote, you still have a voice.

I don't disagree with anything you're saying.

I guess I'm being selfish, but I sort of don't give a fuck that I'm selfish, and I'm also a hypocrite. I agree with what you said, and I might even advise that to someone else, but I wouldn't follow my own advice.

If everyone thought to themselves, "Welp, this is pointless." we would have no democracy whatsoever. People would just put themselves in power and we would bend over and deal with it.

However, not everyone will think like that. Therefore, FOR ME, I decide it's not worth it, because I'm mostly satisfied and accepting of the current state of affairs, and while I would like things to be different, I feel it's not worth the effort.

I'm wondering if this is a fallacy of some kind.


Is it bad that I'm apathetic about politics? - thewake - 05-26-2014 06:01 PM

It's actually not a fallacy. Most people who take the time to go out and vote are seldom well-informed. They're either single-issue voters or vote with a party. They accept a prepackaged ideology colored red or blue and don't think it out very much. From an economic standpoint, there is no rational reason an average citizen would care about politics if they don't derive more benefit from it than it costs to be informed and go vote. So people who don't like politics don't vote, and people who do vote generally go in with as little effort expended as possible because expending more effort would increase their costs of voting over their benefits.

Of course, the measurable benefits of voting are rather small. The chance one person's vote will affect the outcome of an election is practically nothing. If any one person who didn't vote in the last presidential election had voted, the outcome would have been exactly the same. This is the same for if an ignorant person who did vote changed their vote because they did more research. The democratic process relies on collective action and getting broad hunks of the populace to swing a certain way, not individuals.

So, people who aren't delusional go vote for reasons other than impacting the outcome of the race. They may go for social reasons, to look good to other people. They may go because they enjoy politics, and voting is a fun part of their hobby. They may feel they have a civic duty to vote, to be heard. They may vote because they like to feel superiority over people who don't vote. They may vote because masturbating is getting a little old and they want to do something else with their time.

And being informed about your vote? Hell, that take more time than just voting, and requiring people to be informed when they vote is certainly likely to reduce the number of voters. How many people would just quit voting if they had to demonstrate in some way that they were informed about the political system, the issues, and the people they were voting for? So people pick one issue to swing on that is most important to them, they listen to talking heads, or just vote for their party. It's just not worth it to actually be informed for most people. They don't derive enough benefit from it to outweigh the costs of time and effort they could spend on things they enjoy more.

And is it selfish to act this way? Well, yes it is. But I wouldn't argue it's harmful from the individual standpoint either, because your lack of vote doesn't actually impact the outcome. And if you do vote but you're uninformed (and vote for the "wrong" candidate), your one bad vote won't impact the outcome either. This system isn't harmed because you didn't voted or voted for the wrong guy, because you individually don't matter to the process. However, this behavior is harmful when taken in aggregate. The fact that the vast majority of society acts like this is definitely a bad thing, and if there was a mass shift toward informed voting it would have good consequences. The people who are actually motivated to vote and and be informed, rather by duty, personal enjoyment, or some drive to look like a good citizen, are not the majority of people.

And I don't see it changing, really. High school civics classes aren't getting people to be interested because politics isn't exciting for the average Joe. Most people just don't care, and it's rather rational for them not to care. In fact, I'd argue that a mass get out the vote drive that gets large numbers of ignorant people to vote would be worse than these people not voting at all, since they might be more likely to vote for the worse candidate.

Look up rational ignorance. I think this problem is just one of those things that is wrong with the democratic system that can't be fixed due to the fact that people are self-interested. No system is perfect.


Is it bad that I'm apathetic about politics? - I Must Enter a Username - 05-26-2014 06:04 PM

Some people here are continuing to confuse non-participation in bourgeois parliamentary democracy as "political apathy".

The impossibilist Marxists (Notably consisting of council communists, ultra-lefts) and anarchists have refused parliamentary representation, and that wasn't because they were bored or uninterested. It's as if we are coming to a consensus that their numerous analyses on bourgeois democracy always came to the fast-coming conclusion that, "Gee, X becoming president sure is boring, and that's because we are too politically apathetic to call our local congressmen, right? We're totally not interested in politics, mannn."

In other words, tell me that Anton Pannekoek or Paul Mattick weren't interested in politics.


RE: Is it bad that I'm apathetic about politics? - thewake - 05-26-2014 06:16 PM

(05-26-2014 06:04 PM)I Must Enter a Username Wrote:  Some people here are continuing to confuse non-participation in bourgeois parliamentary democracy as "political apathy".

The impossibilist Marxists (Notably consisting of council communists, ultra-lefts) and anarchists have refused parliamentary representation, and that wasn't because they were bored or uninterested. It's as if we are coming to a consensus that their numerous analyses on bourgeois democracy always came to the fast-coming conclusion that, "Gee, X becoming president sure is boring, and that's because we are too politically apathetic to call our local congressmen, right? We're totally not interested in politics, mannn."

In other words, tell me that Anton Pannekoek wasn't interested in politics.
Anton Pannekoek was interested in politics, but the vast majority of the people really aren't, whether it's "bourgeois" democracy or it's Marxist dialectics. Any mass movement suffers a free rider problem. Let me demonstrate with a thought experiment:

Let us suppose there is a political movement that is advocating for Pannekoek's council communism in a country. The rank and file of this movement may number in the thousands, or even the millions, depending on how successful it is. Will one person's participation or non-participation in this movement (provided they aren't an important leader) actually bring about a shift in society from its previous political and economic organization to council communism?

I would think it is highly unlikely.

So, provided council communism is a desirable mode of political and economic organization (which, while it may not be a stretch for you, is for me) people would be individually rational to reap the benefits of the council communism movement without actually expending the energy of participating in it, or maybe just participating in it minimally to look good by going to a few meetings or putting out a "Pannekoek rocks!" yard sign.

Only people who derive some sort of benefit from the camaraderie of the movement, the intellectual discussion in the movement, or the thrill of participating in a movement that seeks to transform society will be avid participants. The other people will be apathetic, even in revolutionary movements.


RE: Is it bad that I'm apathetic about politics? - I Must Enter a Username - 05-26-2014 06:29 PM

(05-26-2014 06:16 PM)W Kuts Wrote:  
(05-26-2014 06:04 PM)I Must Enter a Username Wrote:  Some people here are continuing to confuse non-participation in bourgeois parliamentary democracy as "political apathy".

The impossibilist Marxists (Notably consisting of council communists, ultra-lefts) and anarchists have refused parliamentary representation, and that wasn't because they were bored or uninterested. It's as if we are coming to a consensus that their numerous analyses on bourgeois democracy always came to the fast-coming conclusion that, "Gee, X becoming president sure is boring, and that's because we are too politically apathetic to call our local congressmen, right? We're totally not interested in politics, mannn."

In other words, tell me that Anton Pannekoek wasn't interested in politics.
Anton Pannekoek was interested in politics, but the vast majority of the people really aren't, whether it's "bourgeois" democracy or it's Marxist dialectics. Any mass movement suffers a free rider problem. Let me demonstrate with a thought experiment:

Let us suppose there is a political movement that is advocating for Pannekoek's council communism in a country. The rank and file of this movement may number in the thousands, or even the millions, depending on how successful it is. Will one person's participation or non-participation in this movement (provided they aren't an important leader) actually bring about a shift in society from its previous political and economic organization to council communism?

I would think it is highly unlikely.

So, provided council communism is a desirable mode of political and economic organization (which, while it may not be a stretch for you, is for me) people would be individually rational to reap the benefits of the council communism movement without actually expending the energy of participating in it, or maybe just participating in it minimally to look good by going to a few meetings or putting out a "Pannekoek rocks!" yard sign.

Only people who derive some sort of benefit from the camaraderie of the movement, the intellectual discussion in the movement, or the thrill of participating in a movement that seeks to transform society will be avid participants. The other people will be apathetic, even in revolutionary movements.

This reminds me a lot of a critique provided by a fellow communist (Possibly Bordiga?) on council communism, that "not everyone (proletarian) is revolutionary" (and etc..) therefore invalidating the necessity of Councilist methods.


Is it bad that I'm apathetic about politics? - SoulRiser - 05-26-2014 09:36 PM

Thinking about politics makes me depressed or angry, and I prefer not to be depressed or angry, so I avoid thinking about it. Also never voted, probably never will.

I just want them to leave me alone to live my life, basically. Mostly they do. I think the less people give a damn about politics, the less politics can control them... so in a way, more people should stop giving a damn. Especially uninformed people... I really wish they would stop caring.

I want to make a difference to people, directly... not to some political system that controls people. Because it really is more about controlling people than about providing services to make their lives better.


Is it bad that I'm apathetic about politics? - Ky - 05-27-2014 12:55 AM

I can understand that, but from what little I know of politics these days, it turns out apathy is the new appeasement.

If you're smart and in power these days, you'll want the people you're "representing" (ruling over) to care as little as possible; if they don't notice you grabbing more power, they won't call you out on it and can't keep you in check.

That's the problem, these days.


RE: Is it bad that I'm apathetic about politics? - thewake - 05-27-2014 04:25 AM

(05-26-2014 06:29 PM)I Must Enter a Username Wrote:  
(05-26-2014 06:16 PM)W Kuts Wrote:  
(05-26-2014 06:04 PM)I Must Enter a Username Wrote:  Some people here are continuing to confuse non-participation in bourgeois parliamentary democracy as "political apathy".

The impossibilist Marxists (Notably consisting of council communists, ultra-lefts) and anarchists have refused parliamentary representation, and that wasn't because they were bored or uninterested. It's as if we are coming to a consensus that their numerous analyses on bourgeois democracy always came to the fast-coming conclusion that, "Gee, X becoming president sure is boring, and that's because we are too politically apathetic to call our local congressmen, right? We're totally not interested in politics, mannn."

In other words, tell me that Anton Pannekoek wasn't interested in politics.
Anton Pannekoek was interested in politics, but the vast majority of the people really aren't, whether it's "bourgeois" democracy or it's Marxist dialectics. Any mass movement suffers a free rider problem. Let me demonstrate with a thought experiment:

Let us suppose there is a political movement that is advocating for Pannekoek's council communism in a country. The rank and file of this movement may number in the thousands, or even the millions, depending on how successful it is. Will one person's participation or non-participation in this movement (provided they aren't an important leader) actually bring about a shift in society from its previous political and economic organization to council communism?

I would think it is highly unlikely.

So, provided council communism is a desirable mode of political and economic organization (which, while it may not be a stretch for you, is for me) people would be individually rational to reap the benefits of the council communism movement without actually expending the energy of participating in it, or maybe just participating in it minimally to look good by going to a few meetings or putting out a "Pannekoek rocks!" yard sign.

Only people who derive some sort of benefit from the camaraderie of the movement, the intellectual discussion in the movement, or the thrill of participating in a movement that seeks to transform society will be avid participants. The other people will be apathetic, even in revolutionary movements.

This reminds me a lot of a critique provided by a fellow communist (Possibly Bordiga?) on council communism, that "not everyone (proletarian) is revolutionary" (and etc..) therefore invalidating the necessity of Councilist methods.

I think they're on the right track, as far as getting participation goes. A more local democracy surely encourages participation. If you have a smaller number of people, you can influence the outcome of votes by being active in the politics of the small group much more easily than in entire nations or large cities. Even if your one vote doesn't count all the time, it is more likely to matter and (more importantly) your political activities may have more impact on the voting of others. And in smaller groups, social pressure to become involved is probably stronger.


RE: Is it bad that I'm apathetic about politics? - Vatman - 05-27-2014 06:01 AM

Hmm I think I responded to this at some point! http://forums.school-survival.net/showthread.php?tid=11206


Is it bad that I'm apathetic about politics? - brainiac3397 - 05-27-2014 07:24 AM

I like politics more than I like war. I like war more than I like economics.

Too many people are apathetic though. The idea that "It won't matter" gets pretty annoying, especially when you're trying to get something done and muster up the masses to aid in your revolution of the proletariat to overthrow the ineffecient tyranny run by the corporations to subject the many under the rule of the few for selfish gains!

Seriously though, history has generally proven that the masses can steam roll most obstacles. Throwing money at a problem doesn't work if the problem runs on the burning passions of the masses. People keep saying "lobby groups/corporations have so much power we can't do anything!"

Well guess what you bastards! THEY;VE WON. Every time you think that, you just solidify the influence of their illusory ability to defeat any attempt at political combat. It's all psychological warfare. People are overestimating the power of the opponent. YOU COWARDS MUST BE SHOT!

Wait...Ignore that last statement.

REMEMBER how those hippy scums influenced government. REMEMBER how black people got rights by getting beat by the white man. Regardless is the fact that both just led to crappier conditions(because hippies fail to understand the reality of the inability of establishing a utopia in world managed by balances that don't have moral opinions)

Course you can all stop caring about politics when I become ruler of this planet. Apathy is good.


RE: Is it bad that I'm apathetic about politics? - Trar - 05-27-2014 05:57 PM

(05-26-2014 04:39 PM)TheCancer Wrote:  Because it really is pointless.

Gee, why do anything?

(05-26-2014 05:22 PM)Desu Wrote:  I guess I'm being selfish, but I sort of don't give a fuck that I'm selfish, and I'm also a hypocrite. I agree with what you said, and I might even advise that to someone else, but I wouldn't follow my own advice.Therefore, FOR ME, I decide it's not worth it, because I'm mostly satisfied and accepting of the current state of affairs, and while I would like things to be different, I feel it's not worth the effort.

"Political debate is only considered optional by those so obliviously content with the privileges afforded them by the status quo as to not understand how any further social change could constitute an improvement, on the basis that it either fails to benefit them directly or appears to diminish their power." -- Foz Meadows

I used to be like Desu, to an extent. I can sympathize with him, to an extent. It is an amount of effort, sometimes. But it's our right, and we'd be foolish to squander it when it is afforded to us.

(05-27-2014 12:55 AM)DoA Wrote:  [...] it turns out apathy is the new appeasement.

If you're smart and in power these days, you'll want the people you're "representing" (ruling over) to care as little as possible; if they don't notice you grabbing more power, they won't call you out on it and can't keep you in check.

Unfortunately, this is at least partway true.


RE: Is it bad that I'm apathetic about politics? - Trar - 05-27-2014 06:34 PM

(05-26-2014 06:01 PM)W Kuts Wrote:  It's actually not a fallacy. Most people who take the time to go out and vote are seldom well-informed. They're either single-issue voters or vote with a party. They accept a prepackaged ideology colored red or blue and don't think it out very much. From an economic standpoint, there is no rational reason an average citizen would care about politics if they don't derive more benefit from it than it costs to be informed and go vote. So people who don't like politics don't vote, and people who do vote generally go in with as little effort expended as possible because expending more effort would increase their costs of voting over their benefits.

How much of this is due to ill-informing lightweight corporate media? How much of this is due to overwork leaving people with little time or inclination to study politics? I also like how you assume independents and progressives are at best insignificant, and that it's not rational to be interested in the welfare of others.

(05-26-2014 06:01 PM)W Kuts Wrote:  Of course, the measurable benefits of voting are rather small. The chance one person's vote will affect the outcome of an election is practically nothing.

It's happened before.

(05-26-2014 06:01 PM)W Kuts Wrote:  If any one person who didn't vote in the last presidential election had voted, the outcome would have been exactly the same. This is the same for if an ignorant person who did vote changed their vote because they did more research. The democratic process relies on collective action and getting broad hunks of the populace to swing a certain way, not individuals.

My God! Those broad hunks of populace are made of individuals! The theoretical concept of every potential voter thinking their vote doesn't count is something we want to avoid.

(05-26-2014 06:01 PM)W Kuts Wrote:  And being informed about your vote? Hell, that take more time than just voting, and requiring people to be informed when they vote is certainly likely to reduce the number of voters. How many people would just quit voting if they had to demonstrate in some way that they were informed about the political system, the issues, and the people they were voting for? So people pick one issue to swing on that is most important to them, they listen to talking heads, or just vote for their party. It's just not worth it to actually be informed for most people. They don't derive enough benefit from it to outweigh the costs of time and effort they could spend on things they enjoy more.

I'm not saying everyone should vote, but really? Benefit ratios? People vote not just because of their needs, but of other peoples' needs as well. I find it very hard to believe it's only old people who pay attention to Social Security and Medicare. And that's just one situation off the top of my head.

(05-26-2014 06:01 PM)W Kuts Wrote:  And is it selfish to act this way? Well, yes it is. But I wouldn't argue it's harmful from the individual standpoint either, because your lack of vote doesn't actually impact the outcome. And if you do vote but you're uninformed (and vote for the "wrong" candidate), your one bad vote won't impact the outcome either. This system isn't harmed because you didn't voted or voted for the wrong guy, because you individually don't matter to the process. However, this behavior is harmful when taken in aggregate. The fact that the vast majority of society acts like this is definitely a bad thing, and if there was a mass shift toward informed voting it would have good consequences.

Vast majority? You sure about that? And about the 'wrong guy': these progressive candidates that have been popping up have been for the most part not only supported by public opinion and demands, but they're honestly supported by what's right.

And, hey, that aggregate is comprised of individuals. Hate to repeat myself, but it is. I also like how you believe the very same crap you say is harmful overall.

(05-26-2014 06:01 PM)W Kuts Wrote:  The people who are actually motivated to vote and and be informed, rather by duty, personal enjoyment, or some drive to look like a good citizen, are not the majority of people.

You know this for sure? You know for sure this can't change?

(05-26-2014 06:01 PM)W Kuts Wrote:  High school civics classes aren't getting people to be interested because politics isn't exciting for the average Joe.

High school isn't exciting for the average Joe. This makes me wonder how much else of the forum you've read.

(05-26-2014 06:01 PM)W Kuts Wrote:  Most people just don't care, and it's rather rational for them not to care.

I've already covered why seeing political action purely through the lens of Le Rationalsim is a shit point of view: it's too damn self-centered. Yes, a part of politics is to try and improve one's own quality of life. But I'd be damned if nobody else cared about the other people. Honestly.

(05-26-2014 06:01 PM)W Kuts Wrote:  In fact, I'd argue that a mass get out the vote drive that gets large numbers of ignorant people to vote would be worse than these people not voting at all, since they might be more likely to vote for the worse candidate.

I'd agree that mass voting drives would be better served by mass information drives, but, again, these recent progressive candidates would probably have less of a problem being the 'wrong' candidate.

(05-26-2014 06:01 PM)W Kuts Wrote:  I think this problem is just one of those things that is wrong with the democratic system that can't be fixed due to the fact that people are self-interested.

I really do beg to differ.


Is it bad that I'm apathetic about politics? - Ky - 05-28-2014 03:24 AM

W Kuts, I'm frankly amazed that someone so zealously supportive of capitalism to a degree greater than even I am would be so quick to downplay the positive aspect of self-interest. Self-interest is what gets people into politics, and it can bring better people into the fold. Self-interest can compel people to see an injustice against themselves, take action, and in doing so remove what might actually have been a major problem from everyone else's lives as well.

Personal interest in politics is what brought us the civil rights movements of history, the implementation of democracy and republicanism into what were formerly statist monarchies, and the ability to state our opinions now. The world could be a lot better, and for that we have politics. The world could be a lot worse, but some people decided to make it better, often using politics to accomplish this goal.

Is it bad for you, as an individual, Desu, to be apathetic? In the grand scheme of things, no - that's your choice, even if we feel you're squandering your rights and ignoring your civic duties. But is it bad for a large portion of a free people to be apathetic? Hell yes it is, because in time they won't be free anymore.


RE: Is it bad that I'm apathetic about politics? - thewake - 05-28-2014 05:13 AM

(05-27-2014 06:34 PM)Trar Wrote:  How much of this is due to ill-informing lightweight corporate media? How much of this is due to overwork leaving people with little time or inclination to study politics? I also like how you assume independents and progressives are at best insignificant, and that it's not rational to be interested in the welfare of others.
I didn't assume independents and progressives are insignificant, but there are a large bloc of voters who vote the party line and/or are very uninformed. I don't think it's the fault of the "lightweight corporate media," at least not in the internet age. People can find stuff out if they're motivated to. And sure, some people may not have enough time to study politics, but quite a few people have more than enough time to watch American Idol or Keeping Up With the Kardashians that they could, conceivably, use to become more informed voters.

Quote:It's happened before.
Certainly, but it is an exceedingly rare occurrence. If you think that chance, which I'd imagine is tantamount to the chance of being struck by lightning, is enough of a chance to make you want to vote, then you're being perfectly rational with respect to your own personal preferences.

Quote:My God! Those broad hunks of populace are made of individuals! The theoretical concept of every potential voter thinking their vote doesn't count is something we want to avoid.
Yes, but it's actually true. The odds are very, very low. People vote for reasons other than affecting the outcome of a race, or they are voting under the false impression that every vote matters. Of course, every vote may matter in some other way than affecting the outcome.

Quote:I'm not saying everyone should vote, but really? Benefit ratios? People vote not just because of their needs, but of other peoples' needs as well. I find it very hard to believe it's only old people who pay attention to Social Security and Medicare. And that's just one situation off the top of my head.
People may vote to help other people because they feel it benefits them in some way. Maybe they think that it will make their neighborhoods better places if others are helped. Maybe they have a religious belief that tells them helping others will give them eternal bliss. Maybe they just enjoy seeing other people happy, or knowing others are being helped.

Quote:Vast majority? You sure about that?
Yes, most people are not well-informed.

Quote:And about the 'wrong guy': these progressive candidates that have been popping up have been for the most part not only supported by public opinion and demands, but they're honestly supported by what's right.
I've made no statement concerning who is right and who is wrong in this thread. I think that's an aside to the main argument. However, popular support does not necessarily equate to correct. Public demands do not necessarily equate to beneficial demands.

Although, I have implicitly made the assumption that informed voters will (or, at least, are more likely to) pick the best candidate.

Quote:And, hey, that aggregate is comprised of individuals. Hate to repeat myself, but it is. I also like how you believe the very same crap you say is harmful overall.
It would be crazy for me to lie to myself and think my vote could actually decide any election beyond (although this is still unlikely) a local election.

Quote:You know this for sure? You know for sure this can't change?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voter_turnout_in_the_United_States_presidential_elections
In the 2012 presidential election, 57.5% of eligible voter voted. If we assume that 8% of eligible voters voted AND were uninformed, then only 49.5% of eligible voters voted and were informed.

Of course, it's hard to quantify informed and uninformed. But some people have tried, like economist Bryan Caplan:

Quote:To see if the average voter’s beliefs about the economic effects of immigration are right, for example, you can ask the general public and professional economists, and see if, on average, they agree. Is this an infallible test? No; experts have been wrong before. But it is hard to get around the strong presumption that if experts and laymen disagree, the experts are probably right, and the laymen are probably wrong....

This was precisely the approach that I used to analyze the best available data set on economic beliefs, the Survey of Americans and Economists on the Economy. The overarching finding: Economists and the public hold radically different beliefs about the economy. Compared to the experts, laymen are much more skeptical of markets, especially international and labor markets, and much more pessimistic about the past, present, and future of the economy.... When laymen see decline, economists see progress.

While critics of the economics profession like to attribute these patterns to economists’ affluence, job security, and/or right-wing ideology, the facts are not with them. Controlling for income, income growth, job security, gender, and race only mildly reduces the size of the lay-expert belief gap. And, since the typical economist is actually a moderate Democrat, controlling for party identification and ideology makes the lay-expert belief gap get a little bigger..

Quote:High school isn't exciting for the average Joe. This makes me wonder how much else of the forum you've read.
I've been here, on and off, for about a year longer than you have. I think I've read quite a bit of the stuff on these forums. I also was not prescribing high school civics classes as a solution, by any means. I was merely making the point that, if someone is not interested in something, then a class on that subject won't be interesting to them. In fact, a great many people here are completely bored by math, and therefore uninterested in math classes. Some people don't like sports, and therefore loathe P.E. classes. It's a similar concept.

Quote:I've already covered why seeing political action purely through the lens of Le Rationalsim is a shit point of view: it's too damn self-centered. Yes, a part of politics is to try and improve one's own quality of life. But I'd be damned if nobody else cared about the other people. Honestly.
People can care about other people for self-interested reasons. In fact, I'd argue that all altruism is really self-interested because people derive joy from altruistic actions, and this joy benefits them.

It is not my position that people never take altruistic concerns into account. I did not state this explicitly in my earlier post, but maybe I should have because of this misunderstanding. However, it is my assertion that only people who derive some sort of benefit greater than the costs to them of doing an altruistic action will do said altruistic action. This includes voting, if people are voting for altruistic reasons. They vote to feel like they did their duty, helped their country, etc. This feeling brings them a benefit, or as we call it in economics parlance: utility.

Quote:I'd agree that mass voting drives would be better served by mass information drives, but, again, these recent progressive candidates would probably have less of a problem being the 'wrong' candidate.
I think this phenomenon isn't of the sort that mass drives can change. Some people, I do believe, just don't gain any sort of enjoyment or benefit from participating in politics and voting.

Quote:I really do beg to differ.
You may be right. I don't think so, though.

(05-28-2014 03:24 AM)DoA Wrote:  W Kuts, I'm frankly amazed that someone so zealously supportive of capitalism to a degree greater than even I am would be so quick to downplay the positive aspect of self-interest. Self-interest is what gets people into politics, and it can bring better people into the fold. Self-interest can compel people to see an injustice against themselves, take action, and in doing so remove what might actually have been a major problem from everyone else's lives as well.
Yes, self-interest gets people into politics, but only if they benefit from engaging in politics. Some people, I would argue many people, derive little or no benefit, and thus are uninvolved.

If there is a great enough injustice, it may compel more people to do something because there is now a much greater cost associated with not doing anything (i.e. the continued existence of the injustice).


Is it bad that I'm apathetic about politics? - Ky - 05-28-2014 08:07 AM

Everyone derives benefit from politics; they get the system they're living in now, as opposed to a more despotic, freedom-suppressing system that would exist were no one to get involved.


RE: Is it bad that I'm apathetic about politics? - thewake - 05-28-2014 09:22 AM

(05-28-2014 08:07 AM)DoA Wrote:  Everyone derives benefit from politics; they get the system they're living in now, as opposed to a more despotic, freedom-suppressing system that would exist were no one to get involved.

I realize that, but that actually helps support my point. There's a free rider problem. While you have a substantial group who uses the political process to increase freedoms, you also have a group who is uninvolved but still derives benefits from the system in place.

It's like if there was a box of donuts delivered to an office every day, and 12 people eat them but only 6 people pay for them. There's an incentive for the 6 nonpayers to free ride on the payment of the other six, and there's also an incentive for one or two of the payers to stop paying as long as everyone who does pay still takes up the slack.

Individuals can benefit from the free(ish) society offered by liberal democracy without actually participating much in the workings of it.


Is it bad that I'm apathetic about politics? - Gwedin - 06-02-2014 08:15 PM

(06-02-2014 07:23 PM)Ario Wrote:  Where did the Philosophy and Psychology part of this subforum go?

Wut. This post is in it.