Politics is not a team sport

When you follow a team sport, you root
for your favorite team to win and you
root for other teams to lose. Politics
is not like that. Winning in politics
should mean following a policy that is
supported by most of the people and
tolerated by most of the rest. When
one group successfully implements its
policy in a way that hurts and humiliates
others, we shouldn’t think of that as a win
for one side and a loss for the other side.
We should think of it as a failure of the
system and look for ways to get a better result.
Losing in politics means a situiation has
happened where a narrow interest is able
to prevail and the result is a policy that hurts
many more people than it helps.

Whichever “side” you think you are on, it would
help if you try to carefully study the other “side”
and see if there are any positions on that side
that you do agree with. That’s not like you
are betraying your “team” as it would be if you
were playing a game and deliberately tried to
score in the wrong goal or the wrong endzone.
Although labels sometimes are useful, attaching
a label to an idea is not the same as thinking
about it. If you tend to always base your opinions
on whatever label is attached to an idea, maybe
try thinking for yourself for a change.

An advantage of studying economics is you learn
to think of choices in terms of tradeoffs.
In economics you’re less likely to think of one
policy as perfect and another policy as terrible.
There usually are some advantages and disadvantages
you can find to a proposed policy. This doesn’t
mean that all policies are equally good, but
it does mean that deciding on the best policy
is usually complicated.

–Douglas Downing
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This blog is part of the

Seattle Pacific University Political Economy blog group
(click here for index).

Click here for the index of topics for the blog

note: the previous two web addresses have changed;
the old version should still redirect to the new version

New postings will resume in mid-September.


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