American Consequences - April 2021

problem is as absurd as (and identical to) resorting to firearms. “Grab your shootin’ iron, Pa! Ma’s got bunions!” It’s safer to rely on people (a podiatrist, for example) than it is to rely on politics. Politics is a zero-sum game... Only one side can win. Individual people compete too. Only one person can be CEO. But there are plenty of different types and kinds of CEOs you can be. And how often do you apply for a job as CEO? Most of the time, when people are competing, it’s a game like golf or Little League, not a matter of life and death and parking tickets like politics. Individual people spend most of their time cooperating... the way a family does. Imagine if a family were a political entity where the decision about who had which domestic duties and financial responsibilities was made by the group that could muster the largest ballot majority or the most physical power to lay down the law. The poor old family dog would be holding down two jobs, raising the children, taking

care of the cleaning and housework, and – here’s where politics can go so wrong – the dog would be cooking all the meals. “Roadkill for dinner, again ?!” Politics is famously bad at allocating resources. Using the force of family politics you can make the dog do all the work. But this will leave your kids chewing shoes and peeing on the carpet and you and your spouse burying bones in the yard. Also, sooner or later, that dog will bite you. Politics is famously good at creating divisions. To bolster support, politics depends on a feeling of “Us.” But every “us” needs a “Them.” Encouraging an “us versus them” mentality is an experiment that has been tried hundreds of thousands of times since the beginning of political history. The results of the experiment Politics is famously good at creating divisions. To bolster support politics depends on a feeling of “Us.” Every us needs a “Them.”



April 2021

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