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Stupid political opinions (5) Mon, Oct 23, 2006
Whenever people bring up any type of politics in a discussion, I usually keep my mouth shut and refuse to share my opinion.  It's not that I don't have an opinion.  Sometimes I do, and sometimes I don't.  The reason I don't talk is because I don't want to add anything to a conversation that's doomed from the start.  Based on my experience, the overwhelmingly vast majority of people are not only unqualified to give their opinion on politics, but they're also completely biased and usually just plain wrong. 

Let me explain.  I'm an engineer.  When I hear people talking about math and physics, I'm at least slightly qualified to give my input.  But when I hear people talking about brain surgery, I'm unqualified to speak on the subject because I don't know enough about it to give an intelligent opinion.  It's the same with the average person and politics.  Sure, it's quite possible to have a working knowledge of politics based on watching the news and reading some newspapers.  But overall, the average person doesn't know enough about politics and the way the world works to give an intelligent opinion (me included). 

Politics is a biased field.  That's the nature of the beast.  Nothing's neutral.  It can't be.  That's why politics was (were?) invented (huh?).  So any subject that's discussed and any topic that's mentioned has an opinion attached to it.  It's hard to have an intelligent discussion about George W. Bush when a supporter can see no wrong and an opponent can see no right.  It would be different if people didn't make up their minds based on a small amount of information.  But that's the way it happens, so most political discussions (or arguments, depending on how loud they are) are deadlocked from the start. 

Since most people don't do much research on political topics and their opinions are affected by their preconceptions, they're often just plain wrong.  This is another reason why I don't spew out my opinions in the midst of political discussions:  I don't know the whole story and I'm not completely sure of my facts.  (This is also why I usually don't talk much about creation vs. evolution.  There's a lot of information out there, but it's hard to get reliable information when it's biased by either religion or science.  Plus, I just don't have the desire to sift through information sometimes.)  So in this murky lack-of-information pond, people are all too willing to spread false information and argue half-truths. 

In the end, I get a little annoyed whenever people give their stupid political opinions.  My purpose in these conversations is to change the topic as soon as possible.  Nothing good can come from a political discussion.  Except maybe a fist fight. #politics

Dave Brown Tue, Oct 24, 2006
I'd be interested to hear how your observation about people being unqualified to speak about politics affects voting. After all, the citizens are the kings of this country. The king may be dumb, but that's who God has put in power over us.

Personally I'm against all the vitriol in political discussions, but I think that the old adage not to talk about religion or politics has hurt more than helped overall. That's why no one knows anything about either. Not speaking about our beliefs and speaking too argumentatively are both things that divide people.

Dave Tue, Oct 24, 2006
Excellent point.  Not talking about things makes the problem worse.  But what am I supposed to do about it?  I'd like to be a steady, simple voice of reason in political discussions, but I get just as mad about people's ignorance as people get about opposing political beliefs.  I'd also like to give unbiased, informed input to discussions, but I'm often just not interested enough to learn about it.  So I'm not sure what the solution is. 

Concerning voting, God puts in power who he wants to put in power.  I believe God can accomplish his purposes no matter how improbable they may seem to us.  So even if 90% of voters are dumb and they vote for the best-looking candidate, I think God can still do what he was planning on doing.  But this is why I don't assign much significance to voting.  I would estimate that a large percentage of voters don't do their homework before they vote.  So they end up voting for the party they voted for last time, which in turn is the same party their parents or their friends voted for.  And then when I show up and vote, my vote is added to the pool of votes coming from my district.  My vote doesn't determine the winner of the election; it determines the stance of my district.  A lot of districts are full of a certain type of people.  I'm pretty much never one of those types of people, so my vote is lost in a sea of opposing votes.  So essentially, voting is meaningless.

Dave Brown Tue, Oct 24, 2006
Then why vote?

Dave Tue, Oct 24, 2006
I usually don't.  I only vote in presidential elections, and it's only because I would feel bad if I didn't.  I feel the need to take advantage of my right to vote because I understand that the right wasn't always there for some Americans, and it's not there for people in most other countries around the world.  But most of the time, I'm not pleased with either of the two main candidates, and I don't want to throw my vote away by voting for a third-party candidate.  In the smaller elections, I don't believe in a politician's ability to change things.  You can't legislate moral change.  And even the small changes that are made are only temporary.  One guy lowers taxes, the next guy raises them.  One guy spends money on schools, the next guy cuts school spending.  It's tricky business, and I usually feel that my say in these matters is pretty much negligible.

Dave Wed, May 23, 2007

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