Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Formula for My Ignorance

Went to a meeting recently night to hear from Provo's mayoral and city council candidates. That may be all I hear about them: the more likely my vote is to affect the outcome of a race, the less likely I am to really have any idea what's going on. This may explain why I follow Iranian politics so carefully: my vote wouldn’t make a difference there even if I had one, as should be clear from the following formula:

Where K is knowledge, i is potential influence, and a an apathetic constant.

While many Americans are not bound by this formula, we tend to follow national politics far more closely than local politics in this country. Maybe it has to do with the advent of television and mass media; maybe it has to do with levels of duplicity in national politics that make it hard to differentiate from pulp fiction (and thus too popular for local events to compete); maybe it has to do with a globalized economy--or maybe we’re just lazy and those other things are only excuses. In any case, dozens of my friends wanted to know what I thought of last year’s Presidential Election; no has asked me anything about this year’s election yet.

Is our apathy about local politics greater, even, than our cynicism about national politics?

Does our loss of faith in politics correspond to a loss of faith in community?

What new myths can we find that let us keep faith in our institutions even in the face of reality?


  1. Apathy could be the new Ecstasy but you lost me at math.

  2. According to Hitler, "Through clever and constant application of propaganda, people can be made to see paradise as hell, and also the other way round, to consider the most wretched sort of life as paradise."
    Or, in other words, it's all about the media (at least for Hitler), but only if the people are apathetic.


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