Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Thoughts on Politics

This post is not something I'm going to be sharing on public social media when it's published. It's not going to be super in-depth. It's not an apology or a justification of anything I've said or done. It's not really related to anything in particular or in response to anything specific. It's simply a few observations and then the reasoning for which I'm not really politically active at the moment. I'm still friends with people in groups or communities that are politically active and this isn't meant to condemn or advise or praise or distance or bring myself closer to them. It's simply a bit of personal perspective.

Simply put, I don't really see politics as all that productive or beneficial in my current personal situation. This is not to condemn political activities done by other people, they should do their own self appraisal as to if the energy they're putting into politics is having an overall positive or negative impact on themselves and others. I have my beliefs, some that people agree with and some that people don't agree with, depending on the people, and I'm comfortable with those beliefs, but I've also come to realize that I'm comfortable living and letting live other people who have different beliefs or value systems.

I can make a positive impact by making stuff that is a benefit for people while pretty much ignoring the people who I disagree with or find distasteful. My general outlook has not changed with regards to where things are headed, but my outlook on what I can do and how I fit into a bigger picture has definitely shifted. I've also come to the conclusion that while I don't really agree with the liberal view of reality (my personal worldview actually is very leftist in certain regards), it would be crazy for me to think I could change that on a large scale. So, while I'm not changing my point of view, I've made my peace with letting the current experiment run its course while still talking about it to whoever wants to listen but not being a hassle to people who fully believe in the experiment. If it works, then I'll be wrong but I'll be happy I'm wrong. In the meantime though, I will be living my life based on the values that I think are work, which are not left wing and don't fall in line with most of today's value system. Outside of my personal circle and sphere of influence, I will just let people do what they want to, and if they ask for my advice I will be as honest as I think is appropriate and then continue not to care if they take my advice or not.

I've never really been political in an ideological sense. One of the earliest little things I wrote was that strong nationalism seemed to stem from a lack of personal achievements, and while I don't believe that to a full extent, I think there is some truth to the fact that the extremes of both the left and the right (or really extremes of anything) are populated by a large percentage of people who might not have been dealt the best deck of cards in life and are reacting to that in the best way they can. This is not to insult them or to say they're all like that, I know a lot of people with lots of different fringe beliefs and they're all extremely interesting people that I'm fond of in one way or another. It's just that in my personal experience, the more political people are, the less they seem to have going for them in the tangible world. Once again this is not a knock against people in this situation or a judgment about them, it's just an observation that seems to me to generally ring true. There are a lot of exceptions to this general trend, so please don't think that it's a blanket statement.

If I could go back to 2014-2015 with the perspective and life experience that I have now, I would definitely do a lot of things differently. But that's just a given. I don't have any regrets about how things have gone over the past few years. Through all the mistakes I've made, I've met so many interesting people and learned so many interesting lessons and points of view that I definitely wouldn't have ever been exposed to if I didn't go about things the way I did. Luckily, my mistakes, mishaps, and experiences have served as building blocks that have made me a more well rounded individual, and everybody I have formed relationships with have been exceedingly understanding and patient with my youthful excesses and sometimes puzzlingly irrational or insane escapades, and I am extremely grateful for that. Unfortunately, I've seen the leeway and understanding that has been given to me not extended to a lot of people I'm quite fond of on a personal level. Politics has genuinely ruined the lives of a lot of people I know. That's not that surprising and I don't really worry about it because worrying doesn't change anything. Politics is a blood sport and I don't really see the upside to it unless you're willing to hurt a lot of good people, which I don't have any desire to do.

Seeing how politics screws with lots of people close to me has given me a more sober perspective on my influence with regards to how younger people who look up to me or take cues from me behave. I have a sort of luck that allows me to recover from mistakes or poor choices in a very good way where it almost ends up benefiting me no matter what I do, but most people do not have that sort of luck. Because of that, I've been increasingly aware of who is being influenced by what I say and do, and try to do and say things that will at least not negatively influence the people who might stumble across it. Obviously this limits what I say or do quite a bit, but my belief is that long term is will work out better for myself as well as everybody who isn't influenced in a negative manner.

This isn't an altruistic decision to limit my involvement in politics. I'm not being a nice person or a good person. I'm simply trying my best to do an objective appraisal of what I can do and can't do, and at the moment it looks like I can make stuff that I enjoy and find a benefit in that whoever wants to can also enjoy and can't really fix things outside of my personal circle of influence. All that said, I want to reiterate that I'm not distancing myself from any of my friends or acquaintances or condemning people on the left or the right. They are all acting in the way they think is best and makes the most sense, and I don't hold that against any of them or demand they change. If anything, I think more non political people should try to be friends with people who might hold fringe positions, and hear them out and treat them well even though you disagree with them. For me personally, I have become good friends with lots of different people all across the political spectrum as well as people from different cultures and has given me an appreciation and empathy for lots of points of view that I wouldn't have otherwise been exposed to, as well as giving those people some perspective that also helped them in how they understood the world. Most people in politics aren't bad people, they're just desperate or misguided and have been screwed over repeatedly so they're trying to make sense of their world.

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