Matt Yglesias again

This serves as kind of an expansion/reinforcement of the last post, for me. It’s a theme Matt returns to pretty regularly, and one I completely agree with.

The mechanism by which we decide what to do is called “politics” and it exists so that individuals and organizations with somewhat divergent interests and ideas can make collective decisions about how to tackle common problems. The rhetoric of anti-politics isn’t just an analytic mistake, it’s part of the problem. A public that doesn’t believe divergent interests can be reconciled and common solutions devised for common problems — a public that doesn’t believe in politics — is going to be a public that doesn’t believe there’s anything that can or should be done to prevent catastrophic climate change.

The demonization of “politics” functions as a demonization of the practical methods of our system of governance. The only way you get government without politics is in a utopia or a dictatorship, I think – and utopias, as we know, don’t exist. I think it’s legitimate to criticize someone for practicing politics in bad faith, but that’s different from scorning the process of politics as a whole, which is often the form that criticism takes in our superficial political discourse.

One thought on “Matt Yglesias again

  1. Eric

    Enter Obama. I liked the guy’s book, and people like him because he seems like less of a wishy-washy chump than most. However, he’s certainly not the most impressive politician (in the best sense of the word). And ironically, I think his (premature) bid for President is going to strip him of his ability to not get caught up in the current shitty dynamic before he understands it well enough to have any hope of transcending it.

    Back to the topic in general, I think your lunch conversation post the other day summed it up nicely (ie- the democrats won back congress? really? then explain how not a damn thing the democrats “believe” has changed).

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