We have seen the future, and it sucks.

Politics Isn’t About Policy

6th April 2012

Economist Robin Hanson explains some unpleasant facts of life.

Food isn’t about Nutrition
Clothes aren’t about Comfort
Bedrooms aren’t about Sleep
Marriage isn’t about Romance
Talk isn’t about Info
Laughter isn’t about Jokes
Charity isn’t about Helping
Church isn’t about God
Art isn’t about Insight
Medicine isn’t about Health
Consulting isn’t about Advice
School isn’t about Learning
Research isn’t about Progress
Politics isn’t about Policy

When I say “X is not about Y,” I mean that while Y is the function commonly said to drive most X behavior, in fact some other function Z drives X behavior more.

There’s more to most things than meets the eye … or the brain, when you get right down to it.

For example, we want nationalized medicine so poor sick folks will feel cared for, military actions so foreigners will treat us with respect, business deregulation as a sign of respect for hardworking businessfolk, official gay marriage as a sign we accept gays, and so on.

This is why I’ve always said that ‘gay marriage’ isn’t about marriage, it’s about the attempt by homosexuals to have their sexual activities accepted as somehow normal by the wider society when it’s as plain as the nose on your face that their sexual activities are not normal, if normal means anything. Which is why ‘progressives’ attempt to destroy the whole concept of ‘normal’ — the closer they can get to having people accept the DoubleSpeak notion that ‘normal is whatever you want’, then the closer they can get to keeping the sheep quiet while they destroy any aspect of the common culture that they find inconvenient.

This perspective explains why voters tend to prefer proportional representation, why many refuse to vote for any candidate when none have earned their respect, and why so few are interested in institutional reforms that would plausibly give more informed policies.

Hence the resistance in the current Republican primary process to ‘settling’ — I won’t vote for Santorum because he’s a bigot, I won’t vote for Gingrich because he’s a flake, I won’t vote for Romney because he’s a rich white guy and I’ve been raised to believe that rich white guys are the Enemy.

The same process works on the Democrat side: I’ll vote for Obama because he’s a black guy (ignoring the non-black parts) and black guys are oppressed, even though it’s plain as the nose on your face that he’s an incompetent amateur who’s never had an oppressed day in his life. This is why an notorious simpleminded moron like Joe Biden can spend a lifetime getting elected to public office (by people who appear to be even stupider than he is), and wind up a heartbeat away from the Presidency.

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