This Election Day, Don’t Let Anyone Tell You How to Act

Come November 6th, this political theorist is going Galt. I’m the only effective advocate for my interests. No voice but mine can adequately represent them. To make a conciliatory choice and vote for a political representative whose ideology departs from mine is an act of self-alienation. Coercion is generally perceived as a negative, especially any time government is concerned. Except, apparently, when it comes to the choosing of political representatives. Then, not only is at…

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Voting Is Selfish. Which Is Why Get-Out-The-Vote Drives Are Unseemly.

In terms of public actions, there are few more selfish acts than voting. Voting is an individual act: a vote for or against a candidate or a ballot question is ultimately a reflection of that voters’ interests and value-judgments. And a reflection of that voters’ interests and value-judgments alone. The voting booth asks citizens to grade politicians. The metric for this evaluation? The individual’s interests and the degree to which they have been protected by…

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American Party Culture, Part 3: Purging Substance

A party which does not stand on substance, which does not appeal to voters on the merits of ideals but instead panders to vaguely defined social needs, cannot govern. Consensus, which is ultimately defined by the ever-shifting goalposts of public opinions, is worth more than demonstrably workable ideas. Modern politics defines morality by the numbers: the more people who approve of a policy, the more political capital is possesses. This attitude goes hand-in-hand with the…

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National Elections Don’t Occur in a Vacuum

Today, all eyes are on the presidential race, and understandably so. But national elections don’t occur in a vacuum. Understanding the results at the top of the ticket requires interpreting the result in the context of state and local races which occur simultaneously. Elections with huge margins of victory at the top of the ticket are immediately branded as “mandates” or interpreted as a “referendum” on a particularly exigent national issue. However, all elections are…

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The problem with vote-shaming elected officials

Anytime an office-holding politician expresses doubt in some other member of their party or an individual seeking to become a member of the party, the floodgates of rationalism instantly crumble and a deluge of outrage pours forth. In some regards, this is understandable. Party officials do cede some of their individual autonomy when they gain office as their power is contingent on the party’s resources and credibility with its constituents; it is only fair that,…

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Politicians attempting to vote shame are authoritarians

The 2016 election has engendered upheaval of the traditional methods of politicking and obliterated normal partisan identities. It is unsurprising that the dominant hegemons should push back, shamelessly advancing the trite and obviously fallacious bromide of binary party choice. In the wake of the first debate, which only underscored how pathetic the results of long-entrenched didactic thinking are, the powers-that-be doubled down. In a testament to how serious the devolvement of the establishment is, President…

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The difference between voting on rationale and for party

The most pervasive interpretation of the electoral system which pervades social discourse paints politics as a binary choice in a zero-sum system. A vote for one candidate is not just a philosophical act of repudiation of their opponent’s ideas, but simultaneously an act which substantively detracts from their ability to win. Such an interpretation is only possible in some abstract world of quantum politics, where the voter exists in a dual state of simultaneous support…

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