Tag: democracy

  • Democracy and the Good Life: The Politicization of the Self

    Democracy and the Good Life: The Politicization of the Self

    Modern political ideologies are nothing more (nor less) than lifestyle brands built to capture votes in the democratic marketplace. They are the shallow, intellectually incoherent two-buck chuck of the political world: sweet, deeply addictive, and very cheap to acquire. These ideologies have already exacted a terrible toll on our democracy and they may or may…

  • Democracy and the Good Life: Saving Democracy from Ideology

    Democracy and the Good Life: Saving Democracy from Ideology

    In my past four posts, I argued that democracy (like capitalism) has significant benefits if you’re trying to build an ethical life, but that many of those benefits are squandered due to the exploitation of political marketplaces and the growth of what I’ve called Consumer Packaged Ideology. In the economic sphere, we are marketed to by…

  • Democracy and the Good Life Part 4: Ideology and Polarization

    Democracy and the Good Life Part 4: Ideology and Polarization

    Democratic government is a marketplace with the same disincentives with respect to your beliefs as economic markets have to your desires. Worse, and as an inevitable outcome of that fact, the ideology industry has become something more than a simple mechanism for harvesting votes. The ideology industry has succeeded in creating massive belief change; we…

  • Democracy and Good Life Part 3: Consumer Packaged Ideology

    Democracy and Good Life Part 3: Consumer Packaged Ideology

    We think of an ideology as being a coherent set of principles encompassing a system of values and based on some fundamental set of assumptions and principles. But that’s not at all what modern political ideologies are. From a philosophical perspective, they are an incoherent mass of contradictory policy positions bundled in a giant, nicely…

  • Democracy and the Good Life: Part 2

    Democracy and the Good Life: Part 2

    The Democratic Marketplace “To the somber warfare of creeds and sects there succeeded the squalid but far less irrational or uncontrollable strife of parties” Winston Churchill on the aftermath of the English Civil War If free markets are the arena and engine of capitalism, democracy also involves a free (though sometimes carefully designed) marketplace in which…

  • Democracy and the Good Life: Part 1

    Democracy and the Good Life: Part 1

    The temptation of stuff is not the only hard challenge of modern Western culture. The intellectual and political culture of our society reflects many of the same challenges as materialism: overabundance and temptation, aggressive niche filling, and strong forces taking advantage of our cognitive limitations and foundational desires. Democracy creates its own form of market…

  • The Open Society as the Enemy

    The Open Society as the Enemy

    The interaction of our embodied selves with the world creates cognitive structures that instantiate preferences, values, dispositions, and skills. Much of this requires neither thought nor justification. One can choose to attach reasons to liking steak more than pork, or blackjack more than poker, but the exercise is post-hoc and unnecessary. This isn’t to say…