Sunday, October 16, 2005

This is Why I Despise Politics

Politics is the opiate of the masses which is no more important than other day-after water-cooler topics such as sports, celebrity lives, and the happenings on the latest TV show.

Politics is about stirring up emotions, and encouraging people to take an active stance on different issues. So perhaps the most dangerous aspect of politics is that it fosters the dangerous human conditioning that any perceived problem automatically justifies an action of some sort to effect a perceived solution.

For example, one local rabbi was the topic of a recent family conversation. A family member complained how this rabbi has no regard for his congregants time, and is oft to spontaneously launch into long-winded sermons between services, during which some congregants nervously glance at their watches.

The rabbi brazenly justifies his take-all-prisoners approach; he announces that a little Jewish education would be time better spent than just lazing around in one's home. Recently, he made an announcement during Yom Kippur prayer services, that a time-sensitive* prayer called Ne'ilah could "wait a while" until he was done speaking. Not only did they miss the correct time for the prayers, this particular congregation finished what is supposed to be a 24-hour fast over an hour later than most synagogues. Perhaps the fasting condition exacerbated this annoyance, but regardless it was certainly inconsiderate of the rabbi to keep them waiting.

Now while I certainly can feel sorry for these congregants, I can not bring myself to condemn the rabbi or join others making demands that he apologize, or some other remedy of the like. The reason for my non-stance is because this rabbi owns and controls this synagogue, and that those who attend do so upon his rules and conditions, however repugnant you may find it. Of course I may bear some personal dislike for his egregious slights, but like opinion holding, that's all I am entitled to.

However, the politically active members of society (who may pride themselves on this wonderful "virtue") are typically the ones who immediately call for heads to roll, or solutions to be enacted. Therein lies the danger of the politico -- he unquestionably assumes that something ought be done, consequences or the trampled individual rights be damned (sometimes without even considering either!)

The politician is also at fault to mistake the outcome desired by those who hold opposing viewpoints. For instance, one can choose to oppose public education, but that does not mean that he opposes the outcome of education, only the state running or funding thereof- and his means might consist of a totally private proposal, a voucher initiative, etc.

This lesson is apparently wasted upon people who produce T-shirts like these:

The faulty assumption is that those who oppose initiatives called "universal healthcare" or "affordable housing" oppose the desired outcomes. While that might even be the case, it is more like that the opponents of those initiatives also desire those outcomes but disagree on the specific means to this end. If they're anarchists of the libertarian bent, they will certainly object to the means being employed (even if it successfully brings about the ends!) since the ends can never justify the means.

The anarchocapitalist/libertarian/voluntarism solution is usually the same in any situation that I can imagine; the respect for the sanctity of property. Example after countless example, the results of this one golden rule will yield the equitable outcome politicians promise but are unable to deliver (or won't for concern of their job security.)

Murray Rothbard's treatment of "Yelling Fire in a Crowded Theatre" is an example par excellence of the golden rule delivering the desired outcome without the obliteration of individual or property rights.

*The prayer service called Ne'ilah is performed only once a year on Yom Kippur, and literally means "closing", referring to the gates of heaven being closed so that no further atonement prayers will be accepted that day. Traditionally, the time of this closing is at sunset, so congregations take special care to pray this service before then.

No comments: