Work sucks. Wouldn’t it be nice to somehow take the edge off and relax?
For those of us currently living in America, there are two ways to do this: there is the anachronism of getting drunk in a bar (before the creation of the weekend and the eight hour workday), and there is the modern hobby. (A little bit of both never hurt anyone.)
Alcohol may drain health from the body, but it feels good and doesn’t burden the brain with thought. The bar still creates an atmosphere of camaraderie among people with no similar interests—besides the preference to be accompanied drunk—abut after a 12+ hour workday there’s only time for a drink before bed anyway. But time becomes precious and plentiful after the creation of the internet and an eight hour workday; there is just enough for it to be used constructively: in the building of model boats for instance.
Softcore hobbyists might find that drugs and alcohol enhance their hobby, like drinking a beer while building their model boat in the garage. (It all depends on whether the hobby is competitive and the drug an impediment.) But hardcore hobbyists have replaced drugs and alcohol entirely. Their drug becomes their hobby. Overindulgence in a hobby could lead to alienation from non-hobbyists, but to hardcore hobbyists, ‘others’ are a sensible sacrifice. Ultimately, hobbies are a creative and constructive pursuit that will satisfy a life in the way a dull career and ugly children never could.
Alcohol will be fine in moderation and bars will remain a harmless and proper place to relax the mind. But bars and alcohol as a past time should never be combined with the hobby that is already terrible on its own: politics.
In varying shades and degrees, we are all alive and we are all governed. We are also all unique, and therefore we have different experiences and ideas about who should govern and how…and because nobody can agree on everything, we dispute over who should govern us and how, all based on dissimilar beliefs that everyone arrives at for personal, religious, business, philosophical etc. reasons.
Non-sports fans like to criticize sports fans as tribal brutes with two emotions: rage and joy. No amount of love or energy they pour into the game will ever allow them to directly influence it; the best they can do is fantasy draft and buy merchandise. But political hobbyists are more tribal and less reasonable than sports fans.
In America, everyone gets a vote, no matter how ill informed they are, so as a political hobbyist it doesn’t matter how much you know about history, the issues, or the effects of economic policies on small business owners–someone else can vote based on a politician’s genitalia. (More on that later.)
In the years of the presidential election, seemingly everyone becomes a political hobbyist, which makes it worse for those that actually care about politics more than once every four years.
Even the apolitical mention of a presidential candidate is enough to provoke an emotional response. A discussion might begin civilly, but rarely ends that way in a bar, talking to a drunken stranger.
The presidential election cycles brings out every opinion, which must be aggravating for those full time political junkies whose minds have been reshaped dozens of times, finally taking the shape of a moderate opinion. In this way, politics cannot be savored as an insular community in the same way that a good hobby can. Since the election will absolutely effect everybody differently, everybody has the most important opinion and rarely values the opinions of those most informed. In superior hobbies newbs never give advice.
The majority of political hobbyists never transition into a career in politics. Their interest in politics is a sliding scale of action/inaction: they might attend rallies, they might donate to campaigns, they might protest, or write blogs, do research into their elected officials or attend town hall meetings. Ok! So now they are finally informed. They care about politics. They know more than the next guy. What is the final result of being informed?
- Having no impact on those opinions you find disagreeable.
- Being disappointed when your politician was not elected.
- Being disappointed when the politician you wanted elected enacts terrible economic policies.
- Watching the country you only started caring about six months prior to the election get destroyed from the outside.
- Watching the country you only started caring about six months prior to the election get destroyed from the inside.
Everyone must live within the limits the government imposes, whether or not they agree, so the battleground is inside the minds of others, and the stakes are everyone’s livelihood. Influencing the mind’s of others is a losing battle, because everyone changes/doesn’t change their own mind for their own deep seeded reasons. Some political hobbyists feel very personally about the opinions of others. Opinions, all of which have only one vote each, are constantly imposed upon by those with less knowledge.
The best hobbies allow ideas to be shared without any fear than it may be offensive because there are no offensive ideas. In politics, everyone could be an opponent, the sensitivity of which cannot be measured until the argument turns ugly. Friendly conversations become difficult conversations, or worse, sermons. Difficult conversations, normally celebrated between two philosophical hobbyists, are now personally divisive. It used to be in good fun: “We all only have one vote anyway lol” or “I’ll drink to that!”
What is the purpose of becoming informed if you become afraid to voice your opinion and express what you have learned? Isn’t a hobby supposed to relieve stress? Is the stress of changing someone else’s mind worth the very precious time spent outside of the work place? Some people enjoy the adrenaline of disagreement when it is with friends or strangers because they:
- Find friends and strangers expendable (unlike family)
- They don’t take the opinions of others personally
- Believe their cause is worth the stress and aggravation it causes them.
At least in a normal hobby, like fishing, even if two fishermen disagree on the merits of their fishing rods they can still find common ground while admiring the big fish that their fellow hobbyist caught. Even drinking in a bar receives admiration from other alcoholics for the amount of alcohol consumed.
In politics there is no similar accomplishment unless you find someone that agrees with you politically. And what happens when you finally find someone that shares your politics? Do you fuck them or do you shake their hand? Do you feel relief that you are not alone? Do you feel like you’ve created something because you have found someone who only disagrees with you on one or two fundamentals? Have you accomplished anything from the marches or the lectures? Not unless you are a politician that has successfully passed the law that the constituents have voted for you to pass have you accomplished anything political. Not unless politics is your career.
But if politics is the hobby that anybody can have an opinion about, what makes one opinion more valid than another? Usually it is facts. But for identity politicians, practitioners of the worst hobby, it is the opinion owner’s skin color and genitals.
Political hobbyists will calm down or even change their opinion when confronted with facts, however long it takes. In the meantime, even if the argument gets heated, it is just conversation, pretty harmless. Getting angry over policy is understandable since it is something that people in a republic have some control over. But getting angry over someone else’s opinions because of their skin color or genitals is wrong because those physical attributes are uncontrollable.
Identity politicians do not care though. Somehow, they rationalize their cause as a right to be angry all of the time. They convene to talk about injustice and feel mad about it. They write articles and try to change “society” from inside the minds of those around them by trying to convince them that they are wrong and need to repent. This is a lost cause; other people are busy enjoying their spare time with a constructive hobby and do not feel guilty for their skin color.
Imagine a life where everyday that you wake up, you feel that you need to change the minds of the people around you.You cannot relax because most people are ignorant and need enlightenment. This gnaws at you. Injustice is literally everywhere, and you are one of the special few who can see it. Therefore it is your duty to make change happen. This effort takes a lifetime and even when you think you are carefree, this injustice will continue to exist in the background…
Replace these angry thoughts that others might have with a hobby that allows actual enjoyment. What identity politicians “enjoy” as “helping the marginalized” is actually pitying and demonizing people for their race/sex. To each his own, but personal progress comes from creation, not oppression.
Identity politics is the only hobby that would be acceptably replaced with drugs and alcohol exclusively. Whether to replace knowledge with a chemical enlightenment, or simply for your own hedonism, it is better to do what makes you happy rather than what makes you angry, even at the cost of alienation from others. Or avoid alienation completely by being moderate in your hobbies and considerate of your loved ones.