thinking about campaigning and believing

Oh, wow, I am impressed, Jon Stewart.

It just sends me thinking about the non-truth-seeking nature of campaigning, of its “do whatever it takes to win” nature. Campaigning is about just that: campaigning.  It’s not about evidence, consistency, logic, truth. It’s about ideology, about already-determined belief, not about a digging deeper or exploring or continued truth-seeking. It’s about trying to implement one’s already-determined assumptions. It’s critical of others, not of self. By its own definition, it CAN’T be critical of self — that would weaken the belief, and the belief is everything.

The belief is everything, the particular circumstance (e.g., the VP candidate) is nothing. Or the particular circumstance (e.g., the VP candidate) is always used in service of the belief, BENT or SPUN in service of the belief.

It’s belief as a Rock of Gibraltar, as something you just don’t try to move or change.

Sometimes it seems as if if we can only get people to think critically of their own political (and religious) views — about ALL their already-decided views — then we’ve accomplished something really needed.

Hmmm, reminds me of George Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language.” He talks about how ideology manipulates language, takes particulars and makes them so abstract and meaningless that they lose their particularity, and thus their power. Particulars, details, concrete details, vivid reality — these things all by their nature stand up against ideology. Particulars, specific people, specific events… these all are like thorns in the hand, things that make it hard to squeeze down, things that force the hand (and mind) to stay open.

Not that I’ve said anything new here. :) But this is just one of those points that I’ll probably harp on my whole life. I’ve had my point of view changed significantly quite a few times in my life. It’s a powerful experience. It’s a “set you free” kind of experience — realizing you see things almost-completely differently than you did before. It’s a little disorienting for a while… but after that it’s just a lot of fun. Life will never be boring. And besides, stability, security, and all that is not in one’s beliefs. It is in what one believes in. So the beliefs can change, and OUGHT to change, if the object of the belief is found to need to change.


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