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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Between apathy and paranoia

Michael Johnson, in the blog post I recommended yesterday, quotes Norman Mailer as writing, "we have been marooned in one of two equally intolerable spiritual states, apathy or paranoia."

Michael comments, "The key, as I see it, is to find a ground between Mailer's apathy and paranoia, to be creative, have a good time, get high, do good for someone else, get paid, and get home in time for dinner."

This relates closely, I think, to Bryan Caplan's advice to live in a bubble and to carefully choose the issues that you are going to campaign for.

It seems to me that everyone who pays attention to politics has to avoid paying too much attention, to the point where you get in a state of rage, and you waste time that could be spent on more useful pursuits. I spent quite a bit of time on Twitter last night, Tweeting about the NSA stuff and following the duels between the Obamabots and the civil libertarians, before I finally put my damn device down and resumed work on a new RAW series that will start Monday on this blog.

My wife has a younger sister in Pennsylvania who is married and has two boys; lovely folks. They don't follow politics and they don't vote. They just live their lives. My wife thinks they should be more engaged, but they seem pretty smart to  me.

My way of trying to "find a ground" is to work for civil liberties and peace, focusing on the Internet, and let everything else kind of slide. Those issues seem pretty hot right now, so I'm called to politics more than I'd like. (Speaking of peace, here's an excellent Andrew Sullivan piece on Obama's stupid decision to jump into Syria's civil war.)

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