Popularity Contests, Politics and Psychology

I’m discovering as time goes on that, while my political convictions change, I think our problems go deeper than just a few bad policies here and there. There’s a source for them, and they begin with our inaccurate cognitions and silly assumptions.

Consider this. We in this country, for a variety of reasons, have allowed it to get to the point where people have to win a popularity contest every two, four, or six years to be elected.

Now, we keep wondering why these people don’t do the right thing. Why they pander to us.

But these politicians are human beings.

And the kind of person who would want, need, to win a popularity contest so much that they would go through the grueling, personally invasive process of an election where their darkest secrets will be aired and they will be hated and treated brutishly by the other side…

Is not the kind of person who, when push comes to shove, will be able to tell people hard truths.

We know this. It’s obvious to us when we think about it. But we’ve allowed ourselves to keep on getting into that trap.

As long as we are so concerned about if we can drink a beer with a candidate or if they’ve ever made a mistake in their life, of course our policies will be flawed. In fact, what’s remarkable is that this system, any social system, works at all. It’s a testament both to how flawed humans are…

And how radiant they are.


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