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Everything here is my opinion. I do not speak for your employer.
February 2011
March 2011

2011-02-03 »

Template for apenwarr's political opinions

It's that time of year again apparently. Rather than fill in the template for you this time, I'll just give you the general outline of what I always think of your pointless and uninformed politically-motivated petition. That way you can guess, in the future, what I will say, and I won't have to actually say it.

First of all, cut it out with the ad-hominem attacks. Stick to the actual issues. If you don't like the other guy's TV ads, and you loudly say so, then you are the one not talking about the issues, and it's your fault. Be better than that. When you rise above the sludge, people will notice. You won't have to tell them.

Pay attention to people's biases. If there's a web site lobbying for something, figure out who runs it. If you agree with a web site lobbying for something, be especially suspicious, because while you agree with their main point, they might be using your general agreeableness to slip by some absolute lies. They're lobbyists! Lobbyists lie! If you don't see any lies on that lobbyist site, YOU ARE A VICTIM OF MANIPULATION.

Remember that most branches of the government are not directly controlled by elected officials. Elected figureheads are at the top of the pyramid, but they swap out frequently and rarely have time to learn every detail. Thus, when an unelected regulator makes a decision, it's rarely motivated by re-election or party sponsors or whatever, because the person making the decision usually doesn't care about those things. The decision might still be wrong for many reasons, but it almost always isn't political reasons. Thus, never trust someone who simplistically tells you otherwise. Find out the real reasons a decision was made.

Try to imagine that the person making a law or regulation is actually a good person who is trying to do the right thing for everyone. Why would a good person have decided to do what you're angry about? Remember, it's a hypothetical honest person, doing what they honestly think is right. Why do they think that? Could someone reach such a high level of office and be that dumb? Imagine you were that dumb; what would you do to achieve that level of power? Or are you perhaps missing something? Can you figure out what you've missed?

Try to remember that Canada is not the United States. We have a vastly, vastly lower degree of corruption, for many reasons. To skip the idealism, one theory is simply that, at 1/10th the size, it's just not worth infiltrating us. Maybe the person making the decision really is a good person.

Note that at least one of the big political parties has policies that aim to make the rich richer. The funny thing is, virtually everyone reading this article is rich, by the literal definition average people use, or they will be rich before they retire. You might not agree with this party's policies, but if you're surprised when a lot of those policies end up directly benefitting you, then you are much less objective than you think you are. You hate them, but you've forgotten why. If you're honest with yourself, you'll find that you're in the uncomfortable position of disagreeing with policies that are really, really good for you personally. That can be a form of high virtue. Does it feel like hating them is virtuous, or reflexive? There's a big difference.

Most of all:

Do your own research. We have the Internet. We can just look stuff up. Government policies and decisions are published in the open, with tonnes of public review. Yet almost nobody ever actually goes to the primary sources before forming an opinion; they trust what their friends tell them. Ask your friends: did you actually read the primary sources? If they say no, they just heard it from their friends, STOP THEM BEFORE THEY HURT SOMEONE.

The only cure for mob mentality is thinking for yourself.

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