Friday, March 05, 2021

My Withdrawal from Political Advocacy

Part of the problem this blog faces is my lack of engagement in the world around me. Back in 2006 when I started blogging, I was quite earnest in my politics. I thought there was a "good" side, or at least a "better" side, and I advocated for that side. But somewhere along the way, I realized that all of our focus on what's wrong with "them" is really just a distraction from what's wrong with "us." More specifically, what's wrong with me?

Society isn't going to be saved as a unit. Salvation is an individual enterprise. We like to think about how society needs to change because it buys us time; I can say, "Yeah, I'll get better, right after this terrible part of society is cleaned up." As long as there's something going on that's worse than my worst, I can campaign against that bad thing and ignore my own shortcomings.

The problem is that I can only control me. Cleaning up society requires me to control others. Naturally, others aren't going to take that lying down. Then we lose the plot, struggling for control and freedom from control, and not actually improving anything.

Compare how earnestly I wrote about the elections of 2008 and 2020. In 2008 I thought there was an outcome that would be better than another. By 2020, I learned that the only better outcome I can control is my own improvement. There is no electoral outcome that can compensate for individual Americans' improvement.

So political posts aren't really a thing anymore. I used to get a lot of traction out of "here's an idiot I had to deal with" stories, but two different things have stopped that. Firstly, I don't interact with that many people anymore. And secondly, I have tried to see the world less as "smart me and dumb them." I'm about as dumb as they come, and anyone truly worse than me is probably the result of unfortunate circumstances. Very few people are naturally sociopathic; it takes years of observing sociopaths to learn how to be one.

You could say I replaced my effort to bring about Zion with an effort to qualify for Zion. Zion will come, and I know that--how I am right now--I'll be on the outside, pleading for entry, and they'll be kindly explaining that letting me in to Zion will make it no longer be Zion. So I've got work to do, and it doesn't have anything to do with changing your mind about anything.

No comments: