Electing Gods: Politics and Identity in the Aftermath of 2016

Sadly, I was wrong. One person died before the polls even closed. And I was right about the rioting, though I’d be more than happy to have been wrong about that.

I’m not here to gloat or to point fingers. The guy I voted for best the other person. Okay. Can we get on with life now?

Remember: This is not a political blog. There’s PLENTY of that out there elsewhere, believe me. 

But politics is interesting because of how it relates to two things I find fascinating: Human nature and God. 

Politics and Human Nature

As I recently discussed with my friend Lloyd of Business and Bullets, human beings, for whatever reasons, evolved to like people on their group, or tribe, and dislike those out of it:


This is plain to see in politics. We like our political tribe to the exclusion of others, or even to fact. And we’re all guilty of this. All of us. 

What separates us is our various levels of self-awareness and or desire to mitigate this tendency when necessary. 

As I discussed in my post “Everybody Must Be Right“:

…I can only conclude that there are only two types of people:

  1. Those who have some objective standard against which they measure their behavior in reality.
  2. Those who think that they create their own objective standard.

Why does this matter?

If the only standard is what you feel is right at the time, you will rationalize whatever you feel to be right, and to hell with anybody that gets in your way.

Nothing is concrete, and who are you to say that anyone’s morality is better than anybody else’s?
This amounts to giving in to human nature, something that civilization tries to prevent us from doing. 

Being relativistic or feelings-centric is actually an intense form of self-worship: We become our own god. And you know what they say about gods: they are jealous and they are angry…

If you worship yourself and you are your own god, then there is quite literally nothing that will ever make you change your mind. If there is no such thing as objective truth, then whatever you feel is reality. 

You will never change your mind, because your worth as a human being will be inexteicably linked with your feelings.

Doesn’t this sound familiar? Doesn’t this help explain why we see such violent reactions–tears, literally shaking–as the result of the loss of one’s preferred political candidate?

I know politics have huge implications and that elections matter, but these reactions are more akin to learning that your nation lost a war rather than the person you voted for lost an election

It’s irrational, but then again, aren’t we all?

So politics becomes bound up with identity. This leads nicely into our next topic of discussion. 

Politics and God (or the Absence Thereof)

I’ve already advocated that people not be afraid to discuss politics and religion, when appropriate, with family and friends. But this discussion goes a little deeper as to why politics replaces religion for many. 

That’s right: The state is God to a lot of people. Even those who are not self-professed atheists and who might even be practicing members of a church. 

I’ve identified three worldviews, two of which can be grouped together and one which is clearly distinct. 

  1. Those who believe that cleansing or mitigating the stain on human nature can only be achieved by the Divine.
  2. Those who believe that cleansing or mitigating the stain on human nature can only be achieved by the Self.
  3. Those who believe that cleansing or mitigating the stain on human nature can only be achieved by the State. 

Those in categories 1 and 2 share many commonalities, the main one being that control over base impulses and passions is an individual effort

Whether through the grace of God or ones own will, mastery comes from within. One becomes a master of themselves. And every master needs a slave, don’t they? The slave becomes one’s passions.

The big difference here is that the religious ask God to help carry them those extra few inches, while the others, who may be also be religious but are typically not, believe that they can do it themselves. 

This leads us to group 3: Statists. This will explain why I personally am not a fan of expansive, intrusive, activist government.

By what we’ve already discussed, I think you can see where I’m going with this. 

If only government can “fix” human nature and reign in our basic impulses, then government needs to have the power to control us. 

Government has to take the place of God and one’s own will. 

This will have to be one mighty large government. 

What you end up with is religion without any of the self-sacrifice or accountability. Big Brother will fix everything, not the individual. If there’s a fault, it’s because we haven’t yet devised the right mix of legislation and policy. The person is not to blame. “Society” or “the system” is. 

Laws, then, are not a way to ensure that government or our fellow citizens do not take away our inalienable rights, but instead are the source of all of our rights. No government, no right.

Therefore, the master is the State, and the slave is you. 

This further explains, then, why so many tie their worth as human beings to their political candidates of choice. 

They are not electing representatives whose job it is to be good stewards of this great nation for a limited time in accordance with Constitutional checks and balances, reflecting the will of the citizenry who elected them. 

They are electing gods. 

Follow me on Twitter @DaytimeRenegade and Gab.ai @DaytimeRenegade

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5 thoughts on “Electing Gods: Politics and Identity in the Aftermath of 2016

  1. Erik says:

    In addition, the group 3 position is probably false.

    Government can never “fix” human nature and reign in our basic impulses, because it is composed of *people.*

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Daytime Renegade says:

      I couldn’t agree more. And to a certain extent, depending on one’d religious proclivities, you could say the same thing about group 2.

      Thanks for commenting!

      Like

      1. Erik says:

        I meant to say “provably false.” I’ll blame it on autocorrect.
        The logic being since it is composed of flawed humans it is impossible fix something that is broken with that very same broken thing.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for the link.

    When you spoke of the three world views, I’d like to offer a reason why group 3 sees differently than groups 1 and 2.

    Authority bias attributes greater validity to the opinion of authority figures, regardless of how much water that opinion holds.

    Internalizing this authority figure’s opinion leads to individuals in group 3 to suffer from illusory superiority. Their thoughts matter more than their peers because the authority agrees with them and disagrees with their peers – which ties back into intergroup bias.

    Great, thought provoking work Alex.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Daytime Renegade says:

      Void, thanks for the comment man! I’m glad you like the post.

      This is all really interesting stuff, and that’s a great point you raise about authority figures. That’s a very particular logical fallacy–appeal to authority–that I neglected to mention in the post.

      Your point stands to reason though, because in my experience and observation folks who believe in the power of a big state by definition are less individualistic than others look to themselves for improvement and change.

      It’s all about worldview. You either like being told what to do, or you don’t. Of course there are variations, but this is a pretty big dividing line.

      And you are more than welcome for the link! Lots of good stuff over at Business and Bullets people: you should check it out.

      Like

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