Don’t Put Your Trust in Politics

by Nathan Kreider

” To be sure, under present, all-pervasively politicized conditions an involvement in politics and party politics cannot be entirely avoided. However, in any such involvement one must be keenly aware of and guard against the corrupting influence of power and the lure of money and perks that comes with it. And to minimize this risk and temptation, it is advisable to concentrate one’s efforts on the level of regional and local rather than national politics.”

Hans Hermann Hoppe

You’re likely aware of the stereotype of the man devoting his life to “winning” arguments within Facebook comments sections day after day. He prepares for such debates by watching his favorite political news channels and listening to his favorite political podcasts. He may occasionally read a book, but only if its by his favorite political pundit and solely covers how terrible his ideological opponents are.

Truly a man of virtue

He might complain about tech censorship, corruption in academia, media bias, cultural decline, lack of small business, and the terrible education system.

Or he might complain about the wage gap and lack of minority representation in society, as well as climate change low wages, lack of quality healthcare and education, and institutional racism.

If he is complaining in the latter sense, he is in luck: loads of people with societal influence both politically and culturally are working to solve these problems in the way he wants. If he is complaining about the first set of topics, he is in much more trouble.

Either way, the problem here is not that he is complaining, (that would make this article quite hypocritical) but that complaining is all he does.

Granted, complaining online isn’t entirely unproductive. Being one of many to leave a negative or positive comment on an article or video tells the producer and others what the people want, and leaving a comment on a bad article debunking its contents can alert other readers.

But it can also be a net negative. It provides a false sense of achievement, and displaces what could be actual action. It makes one feel that they are actually helping to save the world when, let’s be honest, the truth is much sadder than that. If one is generally concerned about certain problems in society, there will naturally be an urge to take action and do something about it. There are several methods of action, all better than complaining to other complainers online. And almost all of these take place outside the political realm.

A key part of this problem is viewing society’s problems as something that can only be solved politically. Those complaining online are often doing so because there is little else that can be done. If the only people capable of solving this problem are politicians, there is little else one can do besides complain, run for office, or donate to political campaigns in the hopes that you’ll get your way.

This is not to dismiss the political method entirely. Some issues, like immigration and Brexit, can only be solved politically and on a national level. And in many countries, government is subsidizing many of society’s ills. As Hoppe stated in the earlier quote, this is not a call to ignore politics entirely. The nature of the system forces involvement in politics.

But politics does not have to be the solution to everything, nor should it be. And relying on politicians to solve our problems means we’re not working to solve these problems ourselves. This is essentially a restatement of the overused phrase “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Or, Jordan Peterson’s sixth rule: “Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world.”

Complaining takes very little actual effort. And a society of complainers does not accomplish anything.

Want to save the environment? Reduce your own carbon footprint first. Then encourage others to reduce their carbon footprint. Start (or improve) a recycling program in your local community. Invest in energy-saving technology, or join an organization that works to clean up waste or preserve a part of the environment.

Want to stop tech censorship? Actively use and promote the alternatives. Make the normies aware that alternative platforms exist, and encourage them to try them out. Spread the news and promote the names of each person that is banned and censored. 

Want to combat fake news? Improve your writing and speaking skills, and contribute quality content to decent media organizations, or start your own podcast or YouTube channel. Provide an alternative that people want to support.

Want to improve a society’s culture and art? Live your values and lead by example. Nowadays it is easier than ever to produce, fundraise, and market your own book, film, or other kind of creative work. 

The list goes on, of course. Critics will point out how the cards are clearly stacked against them, that the problem is systemic, that change needs to happen on a much larger scale to achieve success, and that they are only one person, with other obligations and duties. They point out how their problems could easily be solved if politicians acted exactly the way they advocate.

But is it realistic or practical to sit around and complain, trying our hardest to influence politicians in the direction we want, as so many others with more power influence politicians in the opposite direction? Again, with certain innately political issues, that is all we can do. But on most other issues, it would be far more pragmatic to take a hands-on approach and change the world through culture and markets, rather than waiting on politicians. The radical left works tactically through all three of these, while many centrists, classical liberals, and conservatives (#NotAll) appear to focus primarily on political means.

Political means are ultimately reliant on someone else to solve the world’s problems. Each person’s own actions can directly affect the market and culture around them. Take advantage of this, as your ideological opponents have been doing for quite some time.

“[W]e must speak out whenever and wherever, whether in formal or informal gatherings, against anyone affronting us with by now only all-too-familiar “politically correct” drivel and left-egalitarian balderdash and unmistakably say: “No. Hell no. You must be kidding.” In the meantime, given the almost complete mind-control exercised by the ruling elites, academia and the MSM, it already requires a good portion of courage to do so. But if we are not brave enough to do so now and thus set an example for others to follow, matters will become increasingly worse and more dangerous in the future, and we, Western civilization and the Western ideas of freedom and liberty will be wiped out and vanish.”

Hans Hermann Hoppe

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