The Temptation to Politicize


It's impossible to keep up with politics unless one adopts an either/or relationship with representative government. Choosing a side allows one to follow a specific trajectory, gives one a sense of purpose and mission or a clearly definable goal. But there are two things one must remember: 1) this is a full-time job and 2) what you hope to get from your favored side is never going to happen in the way that it is presented.

If you've read many of the articles on this site, you'll notice that I tend to find the distinction between Left and Right useful in very limited contexts which become exhausted very quickly; especially when politics on a global scale enters the picture. If anything, isolating issues to the Left or the Right ultimately accelerates this either/or relationship with politics to such a degree that it really only serves to distinguish value sets, not necessarily in the service of the goals implied by the projects said value sets would dare to take on, but in the service of developing identity groups. 

This is where the Right is often accidentally correct: they recognize that identity is important; they simply isolate identity to a few meager domains and deny the Left any identity save that of a parasitic relationship with some truer, unseen world (when, ironically, the Right would seem, historically, to be a parasitic force in relation to the Left, constantly in need of its capitalist, commercial complex in order to buy a seat at the table of values). 

We are, inevitably, heading toward social capital, I believe. Identity will engage in a relationship with the economy which is no less symbiotic than it is now, though the plastic nature of our identities and institutions will lead to a further market schizophrenia which people will then posit can be fixed through technology. This will ultimately cause more splits between peoples representing various value sets - perhaps a new version of Left and Right? 

I believe this will ultimately come about, at least partially, as a result of the failure of any one of our current politicized value systems to take the reigns of power. Some vehicle of mutual differentiation is inevitable. Sadly, I suspect it will get far more violent before it gets better.

In the meantime, one should avoid politicizing life. Rather, politics should be looked at constantly from the outside, with the hope someday, perhaps, of pulling that which doesn't belong in the polis out of it.