Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

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July 28, 2009

The Horse Race

by Brad Warbiany

Curunir over at The Distributed Republic has a point, related to many politicos obsession prior to the election with 538.com, that resonates with me:

Am I the only one who finds the popularity of horse-race style election coverage negative and bad for society, certainly not something to be subsidized?

To be sure, I don’t care if some people find political races thrilling, in the same way I find the ACC standings interesting. But I wish people wouldn’t confuse caring about issues with caring about elections.

Politics is a sport. There is a certain level of fandom associated with it, and I’m not going to disparage those who follow it for its sporting aspects (I think a few co-contributors here [coughDougcough] fit that profile) as if it’s somehow more irrelevant than my following of Purdue football or MotoGP. But when it comes to tracking polls and day-to-day changes in public opinion, I’m not going to elevate it above the sports I follow either.

Often, people I know are surprised when I tell them how much I hate politics. After all, I run The Liberty Papers. I follow politics. I can speak at greater length on many political issues than most people who follow politics, and to the “eyes-glaze-over” level for non-politicos. But I hate politics. If these assholes in Washington didn’t have the (improper) legal authority to tell me what to do and lock me in a cage if I don’t comply, I’d pay about as much attention to them as I do to soccer.

I blog mainly because I’m not about horse racing (except, of course, when I go to the actual horse track), but because I’m about ideas. There are principles here, and the politics involved (to the extent they move beyond Team A vs Team B) are an outgrowth of those principles. I want to change peoples minds and let them realize how that might change their votes.

Elections matter — you know, the whole lock me in a cage thing. But at the start and end of the day, I’m far more interested in drawing people towards individualism and freedom. I know that my co-contributors — even those who enjoy the sporting aspects — are here to do the same. The motto over at Reason is “Free Minds and Free Markets”. I think if you take care of the former, you’ll get the latter. I’m here to free minds. The occupants of the White House or Congress are not critical to that task.

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2 Comments

  1. “But I hate politics. If these assholes in Washington didn’t have the (improper) legal authority to tell me what to do and lock me in a cage if I don’t comply, I’d pay about as much attention to them as I do to soccer.”

    I could not agree more. Then maybe we could all find something more interesting to blog about, like fishing or something.

    Comment by Greg — July 30, 2009 @ 8:48 am
  2. Elections do matter. The problem is that the election system is 1st past the post (plurality) just like a horse race. This is the lynch pin of the two party lead from the top system. Change from a plurality to a ranked ballot system would eliminate the spoiler effect and totally change the dynamics away from the top down two party system that sucks.

    Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome. As long as we use the same system we will get the same outcome. Until we change the system 3rd parties are dead. Even Ralph Nader is smart enough to figure that one out!!!

    Comment by Norm — July 30, 2009 @ 1:33 pm

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