Monday, 18 April 2016

How to say No to Extreme Political Views

I understand that extreme political views are pretty appealing when you are a young man aged 20-35, who spends all his spare time on the internet or watching My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. I know that when you live for online forums, Anarcho-Capitalism and Neo-Feudalism have a lot of appeal. We could all believe that absolute monarchy is a viable political system in the Twenty-first century and that the Illuminati are still around rigging every election to their satisfaction. I'm sure in an alternate history discussion thread, Gregor Strasser could have been the greatest political figure of the Twentieth Century.

The problem is that you are immersing yourself in unreality. The people on those discussion forums may sound really clever, but they are people just like you, working on an IT helpdesk during the day and spending the rest of their time on the net and watching My Little Pony. The more you spend indulging these extremist fantasies, the more you will lose touch with the real world. You may ask, 'What's wrong with that?' It is wrong because man is a political animal by nature. We all have a part to play in the politics of our city, of our nation.

I want therefore to suggest some exercises which will help to re-orient you towards real world politics.

1. Buy a newspaper. Read about some policy that is being debated by the government and their opposition. Come to a firm opinion on whether you agree or disagree with that policy.

2. Find out all you can about one mainstream politician such as Angela Merkel or Francois Hollande (Please don't choose Vladimir Putin). Write down three things about that politician which are worthy of admiration.

3. Find out all you can about one international organisation such as NATO or the IMF. Write down three good things which that organisation does.

4. Write a letter to a member of parliament or congress about an issue which is of concern to you. Not an angry, ranting letter, but a polite, respectfully worded letter. Await his or her reply and read it.

5. Now this one is really radical. Join a mainstream political party, like the Republicans or the Labour Party. Attend their meetings. Volunteer to get involved in their campaigns.

Do you think you could try those things?

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