Ballot Box Blues

Posted on 2016 November 27


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I’m starting to think that this is the last season of America and the writers are just going nuts. — Jake Flores

What the hell is happening in the U.S.? Bitter anger between citizens, candidates nobody likes, garish negativity in the media.

We’ve gotten so touchy with each other, it’s as easy to disrupt our harmony as it is to move one letter in “United States” so it becomes “Untied States”.

Let’s poll the pundits for perspective:

One of the great tragedies of politics is that it can take people who in real life would be peaceful and loyal and loving friends and turn them into bitter enemies. — Jeffrey Tucker

We are made for a tribal existence, and people are still not used to the idea of encountering a stranger who is not an enemy. — Evolve

Our brains are partisan. While we are quick to seize on the misstatements of other candidates, we give them a pass when it’s our own. — Rick Shenkman

When I look at voters, I see human beings at their hysterical, innumerate worst. When I look at politicians, I see mendacious, callous bullies. — Bryan Caplan

Anger gives the illusion of empowerment. — Kristin Kobes Du Mez

The message that politics beats into our heads hourly is that your neighbor might be your enemy, and that the realization of your values requires the crushing of someone else’s. — Jeffrey Tucker

Whenever we become dissatisfied with anything, we enact a statute on the subject. — George Sutherland

I at least get really scared when somebody pushes for regulation today and promises to check whether it will have bad consequences tomorrow. — Scott Alexander

The more complicated the law the more opportunity for scoundrels. — Robert Heinlein

An unjust law is no law at all. — St. Augustine

You can’t lift up a group without pushing down someone else. — Roosh

Democracy is war by other means. Superficially, it is waged with ballots instead of bullets. At the end of the day, those ballots become bullets. Elections load real guns and aim them at real people. If you disobey the commandments handed down by elected officials, beefy men with shaved heads and Ray-Ban sunglasses will come to take you away. If you resist them, hot lead will fly. Elections are scrambles for control over the service weapons that propel those rounds. In such contests, every faction is trying to point the gun barrels at someone else. — Dan Sanchez

Citizens leave their state of dependence just long enough to choose their masters and then they return to it. — Alexis de Tocqueville

Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard. — H. L. Mencken

When small men begin to cast big shadows, it means that the sun is about to set. — Lin Yutang

Regardless of the election’s outcome, the republic established by America’s Founders is probably gone. — Angelo Codevilla


There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man. True nobility is being superior to your former self. — W.L. Sheldon

All human progress, even in morals, has been the work of men who have doubted the current moral values, not of men who have whooped them up and tried to enforce them. The truly civilized man is always skeptical and tolerant, in this field as in all others. His culture is based on “I am not too sure.” — H.L. Mencken

You’re going to be wrong a lot in life. In fact, you’re going to be wrong pretty much all of the time. And in many ways, your ability to succeed and learn over the long-term is directly proportional to your ability to change what you believe in response to your ignorance and mistakes. — Mark Manson

Strong opinions, weakly held. — Marc Andreessen

Replacing your own ideology is a lot like do-it-yourself brain surgery. It requires patience, tolerance, a high pain threshold, and very steady hands. Whoever you are, you already have an ideology in there, and if it wanted to come out it would have done so on its own. — Mencius Moldbug

Seeing your friend as an artist rather than as a progressive or a conservative fosters less contempt, resentment, and frustration. — Zachary Slayback

Everyone thinks they are seeing the world logically, and only by addressing their beliefs with respect will they ever change their mind. — Barry Brownstein

I pray we may all challenge ourselves to delve into the deepest resources of our hearts to cultivate an atmosphere of understanding, acceptance, tolerance, and compassion. We are all in this life together. — Linda Thompson

… And there you have it — the experts have spoken: we’re too tribal for the urban age, and our efforts worsen, rather than resolve, political problems. Instead of trying to dominate each other, we can see ourselves as fellow citizens, each with legitimate concerns, and sit down together to do the hard work of fixing what’s broken.

I know, Ugh! But rather than holding your nose against the stink of the enemy next door, try thinking of them as eccentric cousins in your extended family. Listen to their concerns and see if you and they can come up with solutions that work fairly well — more or less — for everybody.

It’s like one of those buddy movies where the heroes are thrown together by their commanding officer and hate each other on sight. After a few adventures fighting criminals or alien invaders, they come to a grudging respect, and by the end of the film they’re fast friends. What if we treated our political opponents that way?

Maybe we need an alien invasion to clear up our differences.

Regardless, the more we can respect our neighbors as fellow citizens instead of enemies, the less we’ll feel compelled to use politics as a “war by other means.”

And wouldn’t that be nice.


Posted in: Politics