The 2016 electoral season is upon us and with it the headaches of petty tribalism, friendships being defined based on which candidate you (or you do not) back, and a 24-hour news cycle devoted to the every move of every political contender and what this means for America in 2016.
If you are like me, you find these stories draining, and you may even ask yourself, "why even devote my energy to this? It's like devoting my energy to the outcome of the lottery -- my one ticket isn't going to make much of an impact."
If you do, then you may be what I call the apolitical realist! The apolitical realist may have political beliefs and even a broad philosophy behind it. You may believe that a certain set of policies are better than others, but you recognize that your time is better spent elsewhere than on the humdrum of the political realm. You can go start a company, get a promotion, raise a family, paint a painting, read a book -- all of these things will have a greater impact on your life than devoting the time and energy necessary to become "an educated voter."
The apolitical realist isn't "apathetic" about the world around him -- in fact, he finds it far too important to devote his time to politics, where he has minimal impact. Even gathering 10, 20, or 30 friends to vote for "his" candidate -- an astonishingly difficult task in itself -- has less of an impact of significance on the world than him going out and creating value through his job, his family, or his hobbies.
These are just a few of my favorite short essays, books, and videos that inspire my own apolitical realism. Whatever you find your inspiration in, go spend the next year and a half making an impact by living a life that makes you happy, whatever that may be!
- Essay: On Doing Something About it (Frank Chodorov)
- Essay: If We Quit Voting (Frank Chodorov)
- Essay: How The World Will Change (Isaac Morehouse)
- Video: Voting Schmoting (with Gordon Tullock)
- Book: None of the Above (Sy Leon)
- Book: Notes on Democracy (H.L. Mencken)
If one wanted to learn more about why it makes perfect sense for people to devote their time and energy elsewhere (rather than at politics), I recommend familiarizing oneself with rational choice theory and public choice theory (this is a good primer).