Why does this election seem more contentious than ever?

And what does it mean?

This election was very important for some policy reasons...

But also because it reveals the incoherent mess that morality has become
A coherent vision of the good life has collapse and as a result we've been left with the moral shambles of a lost past...

Both sides will have a hard time coming to terms with the election results no matter what happens because of the moral islands each side lives on.
A functioning principality requires shared axiomatic assumptions.

You can have disagreement, but you need to first agree on what game you're playing.

For instance, two football teammates can disagree on what play to run but still come to terms after what the coach calls
Whereas a soccer player and a football player can't possibly agree on if they should run with the ball or kick it....

Their starting premises are mutually exclusive and incoherent.
In 2020 we saw a massive increase in polarization and protests...

The internet has definitely contributed.

But the biggest factor by far is the destruction of morality and shared vision of what a good life is
What does this shared vision need to be?

In Aristotelian terms it needs to be a shared telos -- or vision of the good.

Without a shared vision of the good life, politics has devolved to a quasi civil war that never truly gets resolved
Without appealing to a shared vision, the only way to reconcile debates is screaming, protest and violence...

And what we're seeing is a direct consequence and reflection of past philosophical debates.
For instance, taxation:

One side takes a John Rawlsian approach and advocates for redistribution based on a veil of ignorance.

The other takes a Nozickian approach to natural liberties and argues that taxation is theft.

These two are mutually exclusive
Neither argues from objective, rationality but simply taxes an axiom for granted.

As Nietszche pointed out, each side is simply exerting its own WILL to convince others to do what is best for them.

This happens with regard to every political debate...
When somebody says they want more liberty it's not because they think it'll bring a shared good...it's because they want more liberty for themselves and their loved ones.
The ancients reconciled this with an Aristotletelian telos: a vision for what a good human and good society looked like, that people could cohere under.

They then separated into city state factions each with different visions
But modernity has destroyed the notion of a telos.

People have split off into their own moral islands of red vs blue and each side starts from INCOMPATIBLE premises...

There is absolutely no way to reconcile the vision of the left and the right today because of this fracture
There is no shared vision of a good life that unifies the two.

Thus, instead of politics being a practice to develop good human beings and to help sustain a good life, it's devolved into a power grab.
The government is its own separate entity that has expanded for its own sake.

It is not a unifying force to help individuals it governs live a good life.

It's a force to help its own officials live a good life at the expense of others.
The only thing it's effective at is providing bread and circuses -- distractions from what are the real issues.

So this brings me to the major problem with politics today.
When it comes to politics the most fundamental issue CANNOT be discussed: what does a good life and good society look like?

Politics instead asserts that every individual has the right to choose what a good life is on their own
But all this has yielded is an individualistic, atomic, dog eat dog civil war.

The more we continue down this path, the more that assumption will become ingrained in society.
All political discussion stems from a presupposition that I reject. Both sides of all debates presuppose that money is the root of happiness and almost every single issue is under the shadow of this assumption.

Trade. Immigration. Big tech growth. Pandemic response.
All of these debates assume that more income is objectively better in all cases.

Money is a means to an end. It cannot be an end in itself. You cannot eat money (although it's high in fiber which some vegans may like).
You need real ends to direct it towards -- which is why defining your telos is so important.

As a direct result, politics has devolved and degenerated into intergroup competition towards a fictitious end....
Undoubtedly money is an important part of the good life.

But a life spent single mindedly pursuing money is a wasted one. It gives a false promise for human happiness. It merely defers to an individuals preference for what is good.
The reason trump had so much appeal is because he shattered this assumption.

GDP and stock markets are higher than ever, but people are also sicker and more depressed than ever too...

Maybe the stock market shouldn't be the north star
This isn't necessarily an endorsement for Trump.

But he revealed something very important:
The west is sick and dying. Literally and figuratively.

Depression, obesity, diabetes, cancer rates, alzheimers are all on the rise. Families are disappearing. Birth rates have collapsed. People are saddled with more debt than ever with no way out.
And unfortunately, most of the things discussed at the political level will not change most of those things for the better.

Without any meaning in life and with ubiquitous nihilism, people will turn to politics EVEN MORE despite its inability to solve real problems.
Your political party cannot give you enduring happiness

Yes, who wins the election will affect your life

But that doesn't mean that is what you should be orienting your life around.
The larger this ineffectual politics grows the more it will suffocate what is good in humans.

Because the tacit assumption of politics today is that there is no such thing as a vision of the good.
Instead politics just encourages hedonism and a consumerist individualistic culture.

But this too is bound to fail.
Without the proper training & correct community, you do not know what you truly want and instead will defer to culture's values.
Instead, we need to start discussing the real issues:

- why do we need income growth? What is it good for?
- What does human flourishing truly look like?
- How can we truly revitalize people's lives (and not just increase people's incomes by 10%)?
In some ways this election is momentous.

But in many ways it is not at all because it further ingrains all the most destructive tenets of our society and the problems it solves will only be very superficial.
We need a new vision for society...not just a new tax policy.

Change starts with a small community of people...
And the more I think about it, the more I think it will require withdrawing from traditional structures and institutions and setting up our own.

Communities that have a shared vision of what is good and that focus on practices to cultivate virtues & a human telos.
I don't think this is going to come out of the electoral college unfortunately.

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