I often try to picture myself as my opponent. If I can get inside his head, I can understand enough that perhaps we don’t have to fight each other. Or at least, we can correctly identify where the fight really is and so keep ourselves fighting over what truly matters rather than being distracted by unimportant things.
I had this experience recently at work, when some engineers decided that we should switch from a dynamically typed language to a statically typed language. The argument they presented was full of air and I was able to easily point them out, because I understand why they wanted static types and I understand what the weaknesses of dynamic typing really are.
When it comes to politics, though, I am not so successful at understanding my opponents. To be honest, I have a hard time understanding my allies.
At the top level, politics is a sort of “Red vs. Blue” game. In the Byzantine Empire, the city of Constantinople was caught up in this sort of mentality. The Reds and Blues were pretty evenly matched, and the political elite were using that to their advantage.
If you’re this sort of republican or democrat, I beg you, please stop. Politics is not a sport. Your lives are at stake. If you let the “Red vs. Blue” argument influence you, you’re being manipulated and there is only sadness at the end of that road.
What do I mean by “Red vs. Blue”? I mean the pointless “us vs. them” type arguments. “Don’t vote for him — he’s a democrat!” or vice-versa. If you identify with a party simply because you’ve always identified with that party and your ancestors identified with that party, you need to stop that right now.
See, it’s not an “us vs. them” game. Either we all win, or we all lose together. The worst sort of system is one where one of the groups of elite control everything, rewarding their allies and punishing their enemies. This is how you divide a country and weaken it and set it up for failure. Sure, you may be living the life while you’re getting benefits for being on the right team, but in all cases, this sort of system collapses under its own weight. When too many people are on the take and not enough people are on the give, the takers start wars.
So, I am going to ignore all those people who let the “Red vs. Blue” argument persuade them to vote one way or the other. They’re a lost cause, the real source of our problems, and they won’t like what I have to hear anyway. So begone!
There are those who are ideologues. By that, I mean people with an ideology they think is superior. Now, I can’t consider every ideology that people might adhere to, but I can classify them when it comes to government. In short, there are the “statists” and the “anti-statists”. By “statist”, I mean those who want to use government to do something positive. such as feeding the poor or sheltering the homeless or clothing the naked. The anti-statists, on the other hand, don’t want government involved in these things, but want to keep it constrained to a minimum set of well-defined jobs.
If I were to argue with a statist, the argument would go something like this.
First, they would accuse me of misanthropy. That is, that I didn’t care about the poor or the needy. I disarm this argument by saying that I give a lot of money and time and effort to help the poor in my own community, and I think others should do the same.
They might argue about scale and efficiency, in which case, I would point out that sending your money to a group of bureaucrats who are far removed from the actual problems of poverty is worse than just giving the money directly to the poor. We know that the poor will likely spend the money on things like alcohol or worse, but the bureaucrats will do something even more insidious: They will run propaganda campaigns to protect their jobs, they will expand their role, and they will grow the bureaucracy, all the while doing the absolute bare minimum to convince people that they are helping the poor. The people they need to convince, however, are not the poor. They can complain all they like, they have no power to change things since they are poor.
They might argue that people won’t voluntarily help the poor, that we are all misanthropes and we need government to force us to be good. This argument is exactly the same as the arguments we used to make in favor of state religion. I could expand upon this idea until its logical conclusion, a state where there is no freedom because the government forces everyone to do good all the time, free-will be damned.
As you can see, I understand pretty well all the arguments people make to grow the government in a misguided attempt to help the poor. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of ideologues around, and on the left, they are hopelessly morally bankrupt and illogical beyond repair. So there’s little point in explaining to them again and again why they are wrong when they can’t even do basic logic.
I want to address one more type of person who chooses to support a party. This is the greedy, the morally bankrupt, the tyrant-in-waiting. Take, for example, someone like Bill Clinton. It’s clear by watching his behavior that Bill Clinton does what Bill Clinton wants, and he’s a democrat because that maximizes his power and freedom to sleep with whatever creature he likes, whenever he wants to. Bill Clinton isn’t the only one. I suspect Donald Trump as well as pretty much any politician you have ever heard of (especially Hillary Clinton) fall into this camp as well.
Now, consider what happens if two Bill Clinton clones ran into each other. There are only two possible results of such an encounter. Either they discover that they both want the same things, and begin the process of waging war against each other to get what they want and to keep the other from having it first, or they (by happenstance or agreement) come to a truce where they draw a line they won’t cross. The benefit of the truce is they can eventually become allies and help each other get what each other wants at the cost of others.
It is this sort of person that has a choice when it comes to government. They either treat government as a tool to get what they want at the cost of others, or they use it as a tool to enforce a treaty line between other powerful entities like themselves. They can also use government as the clearinghouse for alliances.
Which gets me to my point. Hillary Clinton is a power-hungry mobster who is using the first option. She is openly attacking her political opponents, and even waging intra-party warfare. She’s been doing this for years and years. The primaries where Obama was first nominated was some of the worst sort of intra-party warfare I’ve ever seen. People at this level know exactly who Hillary is and how she works, and they have either fallen into an alliance with her or they have her marked as an enemy.
What about Donald Trump? Suppose Donald Trump is entirely selfish. (I do.) Donald Trump has proven time and again to be a powerful ally. He is the sort of person you don’t cross because you really don’t need to. He has ambitions, of course, but his ambitions generally don’t contradict yours. But from what I hear, people are loyal to him because he is loyal to them.
If this election were comparable to what happened in the Middle Ages when two powerful factions argued over which child gets to be the next king, then Donald Trump would be the one choosing the king, and Hillary Clinton and her allies would of necessity be in hiding. Sure, they may have their power for a day, but eventually, the cost of being mean adds up and you find you have fewer allies than you thought.
And also brings me to this point: When you have people waging war through our American government, they have a choice. Either they can use the government to hurt or they can limit government’s power. The only type of person who would limit government is the type of person who doesn’t like the people in government. That’s Donald Trump to a T. I don’t have to know what his political ideology is, I know that he is going to clean house and either replace or remove entire departments in the federal government.
The bureaucracy has to face this fact and that’s why they are pushing Hillary. They know they are going to lose their jobs and their power if America elects Trump.