Do the Apolitical Exist?

 

I often wonder what it’s like to be to be apolitical. You know, you’ve heard the rumors. There are allegedly people out there that could not care less about politics, current events, and the like. Who are these people, and what is their secret? How do they manage to avoid the morass of every hyperventilating hypothesis huffed by hypocritical hacks?

Hi, my name is Jim, and I’m an information junkie. (Hi, Jim). I succumbed to the siren of civilizational science back in college, during the run-up to the first Gulf War, and have been hooked ever since. I like to know things. I like to know about things, important things. And for these things, I have opinions – don’t always share them, but I have them. News, current events, politics, sports, science – I consume and am consumed. Yes, there are times I have tried to escape, even for a short while, but it’s Hotel California, baby – you can’t really ever leave.

Still, a part of me believes it’s possible, if only because I’ve found moderate success over the years in tuning out Hollywood celebrity culture. Doesn’t mean I’m totally ignorant of the entertainment world, just more successful in dismissing it with a roll of the eyes as appropriate.

Is there a super-secret enclave of apolitical refugees in our hyperpolitical nation? Short of going completely off the grid, how it is possible for one to go on happily not consuming news and politics? Can one really manage to avoid it, despite being joined at the social-media hip with so many people we know and only think we know, many of whom can shill with the best of them?

How do the apolitical vote, assuming they do? Do they align to a party, or do they vote incumbent until such time as there comes a reason to choose the challenger? Do they lean left, or reach right? I’ve known a few who really don’t give a rip about Washington shenanigans, but are most certainly in what some elites would consider the “deplorables” camp. I do think the apolitical conservative exists, if that’s not an oxymoron. Yet the apolitical progressive seems to make up a significant percentage, based on nothing empirical whatsoever.

So then. Men are from Mars. Women are from Venus. The Apolitical are from Alpha Centauri? Is it just their way? I don’t understand that way.

Yes, this is all in fun. But I do wonder what it would be like to not care about the news, about politics, about the events that seem far away but are in truth much closer than they appear. No, I’m not wired that way, but with increasing frequency I almost wish I was.

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There are 29 comments.

  1. Stina Member

    Simply, they fill their time with and expend their energy on everything else but politics.

    Reading a novel is a sign of intelligence to them. They don’t see a need to read the latest political commentary poli-sci best-seller to prove intellectual chops. They go hunting, fishing, biking, gyming, crafting, volunteering at church, hanging with kids or grandkids, etc.

    Just speaking of those closest to me that aren’t political.

    • #1
    • October 1, 2019, at 10:45 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  2. Jim Chase Member
    Jim Chase Post author

    Stina (View Comment):

    Simply, they fill their time with and expend their energy on everything else but politics.

    Reading a novel is a sign of intelligence to them. They don’t see a need to read the latest political commentary poli-sci best-seller to prove intellectual chops. They go hunting, fishing, biking, gyming, crafting, volunteering at church, hanging with kids or grandkids, etc.

    Just speaking of those closest to me that aren’t political.

    And I do a bunch of those things too, but I still come back to check headlines and catch up on the goings-on. Maybe I should just do more of those things.

     

    • #2
    • October 1, 2019, at 10:50 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  3. Stina Member

    Jim Chase (View Comment):
    And I do a bunch of those things too, but I still come back to check headlines and catch up on the goings-on. Maybe I should just do more of those things.

    Yeah… at the end of the day, they are playing board games or watching movies. Maybe texting with friends or researching on a hobby.

    They seem to manage to avoid the political commentary and news cycles like it’s their job. I admire it. I’m largely attempting it myself. My time here has seriously shrunk.

    • #3
    • October 1, 2019, at 10:57 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  4. Aaron Miller Member

    I rarely get worked up about politics, despite its importance, because there’s nothing I can do about it except occasionally engage in conversation.

    Those conversations are usually with conservatives of one stripe or another because Democrats have their own facts and assumptions, making reasonable debate impossible. Even political conversations with Republican voters usually boil down to each person stating one’s views and moving on, rather than debating, because the topic gets them too angry to do otherwise. 

    Anyway, that’s life. Contrary to the modern Western mythos, citizens do not rule themselves. I can say “This far and no further” by saying what I want, keeping a gun, and so on. But I will never be heeded by politicians or bureaucrats. 

    So I read about politics via Ricochet and chat about it casually. But it’s not a passion. 

    Most people are less philosophical about it but, I think, feel much the same way. What is within their power lies mostly beyond politics, so they focus on that… until politics takes a bite out of them specifically.

    • #4
    • October 1, 2019, at 11:44 AM PDT
    • 11 likes
  5. John H. Member

    Bought a plane ticket to Anchorage (and back) for November. Doesn’t look like I can take the MCAT until January at the earliest. Last week I worked all week at my mother’s, which she liked and which gave my sister a chance to get away on a vacation of her own. The weekend before that, my nephew visited me, and I gave him a couple of lessons in driving a stickshift and I also took him shooting, which he’d never before done. He couldn’t tag along on a helicopter lesson because my instructor had a family emergency of his own, but that was successfully dealt with and this Saturday I should be back in the air. I weeded my vegetable beds, and planted new things in my backyard and also by my front porch.

    I’m working on two posts, one on the pronunciation and use of the Who-whom locution in Russian, the other on the confirmation of a memory of Brazilian shoppers’ behavior in the 1980s. Which might verge on politics, as anything having to do with Latin American economics must also have to do with Latin American governance, but I promise not to get carried away.

    I’ve nearly finished a book by a guy who’d immigrated to Texas in the 1820s and left for California in 1861. Also, my cat is well, after two operations.

    • #5
    • October 1, 2019, at 12:08 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  6. Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw Member

    Jim Chase (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):

    Simply, they fill their time with and expend their energy on everything else but politics.

    Reading a novel is a sign of intelligence to them. They don’t see a need to read the latest political commentary poli-sci best-seller to prove intellectual chops. They go hunting, fishing, biking, gyming, crafting, volunteering at church, hanging with kids or grandkids, etc.

    Just speaking of those closest to me that aren’t political.

    And I do a bunch of those things too, but I still come back to check headlines and catch up on the goings-on. Maybe I should just do more of those things.

     

    I dunno. It’s weird, but I sort of come here to not be political. Mostly because in general, I know that the people here are generally in alignment with my worldview and thus I don’t have to worry about it. Plus I spend most of my time in the PIT anyway.

    • #6
    • October 1, 2019, at 12:14 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  7. Jim Chase Member
    Jim Chase Post author

    Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw (View Comment):

    Jim Chase (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):

    Simply, they fill their time with and expend their energy on everything else but politics.

    Reading a novel is a sign of intelligence to them. They don’t see a need to read the latest political commentary poli-sci best-seller to prove intellectual chops. They go hunting, fishing, biking, gyming, crafting, volunteering at church, hanging with kids or grandkids, etc.

    Just speaking of those closest to me that aren’t political.

    And I do a bunch of those things too, but I still come back to check headlines and catch up on the goings-on. Maybe I should just do more of those things.

     

    I dunno. It’s weird, but I sort of come here to not be political. Mostly because in general, I know that the people here are generally in alignment with my worldview and thus I don’t have to worry about it. Plus I spend most of my time in the PIT anyway.

    Oh, don’t get me wrong, I don’t deep dive into every political post or article out there (or here), much less engage. And I rarely touch on politics here in what I write (so this is a bit of a departure for me). The genesis of this post came from a comment in the PIT actually, and the fact that I know people in the real world who are absolutely oblivious to the ongoing political circus – I just can’t quite figure out how. But it comes back to the undeniable fact that I like to know what’s going on in current events, and therefore choose to at least try to stay informed. Some choose otherwise. 

    This is really just a tongue-in-cheek way for me to say that I ain’t like that. I like to be aware of things.

    • #7
    • October 1, 2019, at 12:54 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  8. RightAngles Member

    It’s hard to imagine as many non-political people as there were in the past, since the Left injects it into every single little area of our lives.

    • #8
    • October 1, 2019, at 1:04 PM PDT
    • 18 likes
  9. Jim Chase Member
    Jim Chase Post author

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    It’s hard to imagine as many non-political people as there were in the past, since the Left injects it into every single little area of our lives.

    Exactly. And the unfortunate side effect is that the rest of us come to expect it, and therefore we are likewise conditioned, if not to the same extreme.

    • #9
    • October 1, 2019, at 1:11 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  10. Aaron Miller Member

    As a gaming enthusiast, I sometimes consider starting a gaming news site for conservatives. I wouldn’t make it about politics and few would want me to. But it would be nice if just one news site wasn’t run by hippies who can’t help but get political. 

    What stops me, aside from the time investment for something that wouldn’t pay, is knowing how intolerant hippies are and knowing what harrassment the site would attract, even if I disabled reader comments.

    • #10
    • October 1, 2019, at 1:13 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  11. E. Kent Golding Member

    The Trump era has taken the Joy out of politics for me ( to be sure, Joy of Politics has been on the decline since Gingrich was speaker of the house ). I will vote, but I find both the MAGA people and the Anti-Maga people to be tiresome. Trump has been very good on policy, but tends to have Americans at each others throats. Tiresome.

    • #11
    • October 1, 2019, at 4:11 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  12. RightAngles Member

    E. Kent Golding (View Comment):

    The Trump era has taken the Joy out of politics for me ( to be sure, Joy of Politics has been on the decline since Gingrich was speaker of the house ). I will vote, but I find both the MAGA people and the Anti-Maga people to be tiresome. Trump has been very good on policy, but tends to have Americans at each others throats. Tiresome.

    He isn’t the one putting people at each other’s throats.

    • #12
    • October 1, 2019, at 4:27 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  13. Kay of MT Member

    We have to pay attention this coming election, if we don’t vote Republican, the Democrats will turn this nation into a socialist/communist country. This coming election is going to be dangerous for keeping our freedom. People who have never voted, need to be awakened.

    • #13
    • October 1, 2019, at 4:58 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  14. Clifford A. Brown Contributor

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    E. Kent Golding (View Comment):

    The Trump era has taken the Joy out of politics for me ( to be sure, Joy of Politics has been on the decline since Gingrich was speaker of the house ). I will vote, but I find both the MAGA people and the Anti-Maga people to be tiresome. Trump has been very good on policy, but tends to have Americans at each others throats. Tiresome.

    He isn’t the one putting people at each other’s throats.

    Unlike President Divide-and-Rule Obama.

    • #14
    • October 1, 2019, at 5:16 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  15. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge

    The folk I know that are apolitical seem to view politics as corrupt and beyond them. Nothing they can do has any change, the powers are going to do what they want no matter what so why sweat it or waste time on it.

    they may be right.

    • #15
    • October 1, 2019, at 6:24 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  16. Stad Thatcher

    Jim Chase: Yes, there are times I have tried to escape, even for a short while, but it’s Hotel California, baby – you can’t really ever leave.

    I’m not apolitical, but you can leave and return only when you want. The first step is to turn off the TV, especially the news. When you go to other sources such as online, read the news but do not watch the videos. I learned the world did not come to an end when Carter was President, Clinton was President, even when Obama was President (but it got a lot worse under the One We Were Waiting For). Hillary? Probably the end of civilation as we know it, but who knows?

    People who never take a break – liberals and now Never-Trumpers – are risking their physical and mental health with their non-stop diatribe against Orange Man. Heck, I wonder if Bernie’s latest health scare was due to hate of conservatives more than a bad diet or genes . . .

    • #16
    • October 2, 2019, at 9:01 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  17. Jager Member

    Jim Chase: There are allegedly people out there that could not care less about politics, current events, and the like.

    Something like 55% of the voting age population voted in Trump v Hillary. So like half the people don’t care enough to vote in a major election. Some of that may have been a protest (they both are awful) but this is reasonably in keeping with the historical trend. 

    • #17
    • October 2, 2019, at 9:41 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  18. Jim Chase Member
    Jim Chase Post author

    Jager (View Comment):

    Jim Chase: There are allegedly people out there that could not care less about politics, current events, and the like.

    Something like 55% of the voting age population voted in Trump v Hillary. So like half the people don’t care enough to vote in a major election. Some of that may have been a protest (they both are awful) but this is reasonably in keeping with the historical trend.

    Fair enough, although refusal or apathy toward the vote doesn’t necessarily serve as a definitive indicator that one is apolitical. Could be a predictor though of one who is less political, I’ll give you that. We would need some data that sheds some light on why people don’t bother to vote in these elections.

    • #18
    • October 2, 2019, at 10:15 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  19. Aaron Miller Member

    Jager (View Comment):

    Jim Chase: There are allegedly people out there that could not care less about politics, current events, and the like.

    Something like 55% of the voting age population voted in Trump v Hillary. So like half the people don’t care enough to vote in a major election. Some of that may have been a protest (they both are awful) but this is reasonably in keeping with the historical trend.

    5% voted twice… while dead… without ever having been a citizen.

    • #19
    • October 2, 2019, at 10:58 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  20. Suspira Member

    I said something to my husband about Greta Thunberg just this morning. He said “Who?”

    It used to bother me that he was so unplugged. Now I envy him. I know I can’t achieve his level of serenity, but I do so wish I could.

    • #20
    • October 2, 2019, at 2:16 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  21. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge

    Jager (View Comment):

    Jim Chase: There are allegedly people out there that could not care less about politics, current events, and the like.

    Something like 55% of the voting age population voted in Trump v Hillary. So like half the people don’t care enough to vote in a major election. Some of that may have been a protest (they both are awful) but this is reasonably in keeping with the historical trend.

    Don’t you read the news? Those that don’t vote are Democrats that were disenfranchised by the GOP via voter fraud. They just can not find driver licenses or utility bills.

    • #21
    • October 2, 2019, at 2:23 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  22. Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw Member

    Suspira (View Comment):

    I said something to my husband about Greta Thunberg just this morning. He said “Who?”

    It used to bother me that he was so unplugged. Now I envy him. I know I can’t achieve his level of serenity, but I do so wish I could.

    I know who she is, I just don’t care. So I think I’m on stage 2.

    • #22
    • October 2, 2019, at 3:31 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  23. John H. Member

    John H. (View Comment):

    I’ve nearly finished a book by a guy who’d immigrated to Texas in the 1820s and left for California in 1861.

    And yet, coming to the end of this book, as the author describes his difficult journey from Texas to California just as the Civil War is breaking out: I cannot say I am totally apolitical. The route of Noah Smithwick interested me because in June of 2001 I happened to have bicycled quite a bit of it myself. That was a good ride, for me. And nothing would ever be the same after it, because 9/11 poisoned everything, and still does. I have since then taken many other great trips, and done many other satisfying things. But they must all count as escapism. In the end, I am still in a country where quite a lot of people, quite a lot of them silly citizens or residents of it, want it to ail and die. I can’t ignore this. And even worse, I see no end at all to this defeatism.

    All the same, I still always vote! Might get lucky!

    • #23
    • October 2, 2019, at 4:06 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  24. Yudansha Member

    I’m drifting toward being apolitical. I don’t have a home in either party, so the daily back and forth of partisan spokesmen is of very little interest to me. The biggest key to cultivating what serenity you can, is tuning out cable news. The contempt I feel for both sides is certainly no good for my soul.

    A pox on the orange buffoon and his froth-mouthed foes! “The only winning move is not to play.”

    • #24
    • October 3, 2019, at 9:51 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  25. Phil Turmel Coolidge

    Yudansha (View Comment):
    A pox on the orange buffoon and his froth-mouthed foes! “The only winning move is not to play.”

    This is disheartening. Not “playing” is how we end with politicians [expletive]ing the people. If you don’t like your choices, pick and promote more choices. Even yourself, perhaps. Pouting on the sidelines makes matters worse.

    • #25
    • October 3, 2019, at 1:40 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  26. Man With the Axe Member

    When I used to teach college students I would start each class with a single quiz question about the assigned reading, and once in a while the question would come from current events that I expected any sentient person to know. 

    About a week after Hurrican Katrina hit my question was, “What happened in New Orleans last week?” Would you believe that out of 35 students 3 did not have a clue?

    • #26
    • October 3, 2019, at 3:49 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  27. Yudansha Member

    Phil Turmel (View Comment):

    Yudansha (View Comment):
    A pox on the orange buffoon and his froth-mouthed foes! “The only winning move is not to play.”

    This is disheartening. Not “playing” is how we end with politicians [expletive]ing the people. If you don’t like your choices, pick and promote more choices. Even yourself, perhaps. Pouting on the sidelines makes matters worse.

    Meh. Since time immemorial, politicians of all cultures and philosophies have been [expletive]ing the people. My participation, or lack thereof, won’t effect that.

    As to picking and promoting other choices… I clearly have no understanding of the way Republican voters think. In 2016 the GOP had a slate of 16 qualified, generally effective, ideologically acceptable candidates and one wealthy, loud-mouthed cretin. Voters chose the cretin. We are emphatically NOT on the same page; my input is of no value.

    • #27
    • October 4, 2019, at 9:55 AM PDT
    • Like
  28. Kay of MT Member

    Yudansha (View Comment):
    wealthy, loud-mouthed cretin.

    That wealthy, loud-mouthed cretin? has done more for this country in 3 years than any of the so called qualified people on the stage with him. I am a Republican, I voted for our president, I am not a cretin, I am well acquainted with the politics of the last 60 years. I love my country and want what is best for most of the inhabits, and I suspect you may not be paying attention to what is going on. We are one election away from going socialist/communist. If that happens, I pray you are one of the elite chosen to rule over those of us left alive. Grab a history book and find out what happened to the people when the communist took over Russia, and what happened when the communist took over China. Calling our president names is no excuse for your ignorance of history.

    • #28
    • October 4, 2019, at 10:27 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  29. Yudansha Member

    Kay of MT (View Comment):

    Yudansha (View Comment):
    wealthy, loud-mouthed cretin.

    That wealthy, loud-mouthed cretin? has done more for this country in 3 years than any of the so called qualified people on the stage with him. I am a Republican, I voted for our president, I am not a cretin, I am well acquainted with the politics of the last 60 years. I love my country and want what is best for most of the inhabits, and I suspect you may not be paying attention to what is going on. We are one election away from going socialist/communist. If that happens, I pray you are one of the elite chosen to rule over those of us left alive. Grab a history book and find out what happened to the people when the communist took over Russia, and what happened when the communist took over China. Calling our president names is no excuse for your ignorance of history.

    This is precisely why I’m disengaging from politics. The only thing we can agree on is that communist revolutions tend to be a bloody business — and we’re putatively on the same side.

    Incidentally, I called Trump a cretin; I did not imply his voters are. Well, not all of them. I’m sure there are a few.

    • #29
    • October 4, 2019, at 11:11 AM PDT
    • Like