02 July 2021

Political declaration of independence

Update/clarification -- I got e-mails from a couple of people who interpreted this post as meaning I'm giving up blogging entirely.  That's not the case and I didn't intend to give that impression.  Politics is already down to around 10% or 20% of the content of the blog and it's now going to be close to 0%, that's all I'm saying.  I'll still be posting about science, technology, religion, social and cultural issues, etc.

o o o o o

I've talked about this before, but this time I mean it.  I find it necessary to dissociate from the world of politics as much as possible.

To begin with, it is pointlessly stressful.  A lot of political writing is meant to goad people into activism.  As such, it's an endless barrage of "Look how bad this is!  You need to worry about this!  You need to be upset about this!  You need to get angry about this!"  Sorry, no I don't.  I have enough issues of my own to deal with.  This is just making me stress out over things I can't do anything about.  If that would actually do anybody any good, I might consider doing it, but it doesn't.  It's just pointless masochism.

Yes, very occasionally I see a chance to write something like this that might make an actual difference, however small.  But that's rare.  And yes, I do care about the final outcome of the government's efforts to make things better.  But following the blow-by-blow minutiae of exactly how the infrastructure bill is faring on a given day, or of Manchin's latest hints about what he might or might not support?  I don't see any point in fretting about it.  If you want to do so yourself, fine -- that's just not me.

(Incidentally, as part of this, I recently notified Crooks and Liars that I can't keep doing the morning "Mike's blog round-up" feature.  I regret causing them the problem of finding a replacement, but I've been a reliable contributor for a decade and they were very understanding about it.  To any politics-focused blogger who would be interested in doing it and is confident that you could keep the commitment of doing it every day for a week, once a month or so, I can help you contact the relevant person.)

Next, the nature of politics itself has changed.

I can't deal with the stupidity and hypocrisy and evasion and reality-denial and name-calling any more.  I originally intended this blog to focus on attacking religion (note that the blog name is Infidel753, not Liberal753).  I took an interest in politics because I care about things like individual freedom and the class struggle and abortion rights and church-state separation and gay liberation, and I still do care about those things and think they're worth writing about.  But I never signed on for all this other ridiculous crap which has saturated the political scene now.

People seem to think they can get away with pushing bullshit like men in women's sports and men in women's prisons (and bathrooms) and defunding the police and "cancel culture doesn't exist" (while countless innocent people's lives are being ruined by it) and puberty blockers for kids and "silence is violence but vandalism isn't" and Israel-bashing and gun-grabbing and Karen-calling and "reparations" and 847 fake gender identities and negativity about "whiteness" and eroding support for free speech, because the Republicans are supposedly "doomed by demographics", and that "doom" keeps not happening.  In 2020, in an ultra-high-turnout election (so vote suppression wasn't a big factor), we lost pretty much everything except the presidency and the Arizona and Georgia Senate elections (and the latter were knife-edge close), against a Republican party engulfed in utter lunacy and headed by the most grotesquely unfit leader of a superpower since Caligula, and women and minorities voted Republican in greater numbers than in 2016, and you still don't get it.  You run away and hand-wave and won't address the issues when I or anyone else brings them up.  Sticking your fingers in your ears and chanting "they're all racist everything is racist" is not going to cut it.  You refuse to look at or read anything that might un-deceive you or prick your alternate-reality bubble, like the wingnuts who refuse to watch anything but Fox or OAN.  This reality-denial is not yet as bad as the anti-vaxism and global-warming denialism and "stolen election" bullshit on the right, but it's getting there.

I'm convinced now that nothing will wake up the political left except repeated, massive election defeats -- and we as a nation can't afford that, since it would mean giving the whole government back to the Republicans, who are utterly crazed totalitarian bigots.

Maybe we can keep (barely) winning elections based purely on the Republicans being so repulsive.  Maybe.  But that's a damn weak reed to base the survival of democracy on.  And if they ever get their act together and become even slightly less evil and disgusting in the eyes of normal voters, we are fucked, and so is the country.

I signed up to support things like a higher minimum wage and same-sex marriage.  I did not sign up for support and excuse-making for some creep who walks into the women's area of a spa and wags his dick at underage girls.  I remember when everyone was disgusted at Trump walking into the dressing room at a teenage beauty pageant, and even he at least kept his clothes on when he did that.  We're defending this kind of shit now?  How did that happen?  If that's the left today, you can do it without me.

I no longer just worry about losing elections.  I worry about deserving to lose them.

I'm faced with a choice between a right wing that has gone completely insane over the last decade or two, and a left wing which is heading that way right now.  I choose -- neither.  I choose to drop out of the political bullshit entirely.


For years I've emphasized that this is a blog and not a debating forum and I hate arguing with people and refuse to do it.  I've repeated this to the point of tedium if not outright nausea.  Yes, I have sometimes been rather aggressive or even rude about it, for which I hereby apologize to anyone who has felt singled out.  It's not about you personally, it's exasperation that some people simply will not listen or they think I don't really mean it or something.  I sometimes make exceptions to my non-debating rule, especially if the person challenging me is a long-established reader whose comment I'm not comfortable just deleting and ignoring, but more often than not, this turns out to be a mistake.  Most recently, I replied to someone who challenged a couple of links I'd posted on transgenderism.  I wrote a substantive response addressing the specifics of what the reader had said, since otherwise there's little point in responding at all.  For this, I was immediately accused of "mansplaining".  This is unforgivable.  Almost all my references to transgenderism have consisted of linking to posts written by other people (almost always women), not writing about it myself.  When I'm responding to a specific comment addressed to me, I have no choice but to express my response in my own words.  You don't get to insult me for answering a question while male when you were the one who addressed the question to me in the first place.

And some people wonder why I regard debating as miserable drudgery to be avoided as much as possible?  It's not like I've ever been unclear about any of this.  It has long been right there above the comment box on every post.  What part of "my permaban-on-the-first-offense issues are....." is difficult to understand?  What part of "I am not obligated to provide a platform for views I find morally abhorrent" is difficult to understand?  So -- fair warning.  No more exceptions.  Not if I just get insulted for writing an honest answer to an honest question.  And no more even bothering to read the endless troll comments (which readers never see anyway, due to moderation) before deleting them.  It all just goads me into a defensive and irritable state which probably repels the readers I do want to keep -- as in this very post.

I'm not getting paid to blog.  There's no point in doing it if it's not fun and entertaining, and dealing with politics is now anything but.