Posted by PintofStout on May 15, 2006
Regardless of what political ideology one subscribes to, with the possible exception of the One-in-Power-Makes-the-Rules ideology (though the Democrats are likely getting pretty tired), there almost always comes a time of fatigue where one really couldn’t give a shit if they had to. When reading in the news about different events that are contradictory to said ideology, it takes energy to work up a good outrage and is just plain exhausting to be constantly exasperated. So what are we to do to prevent burnout?
If one subscribes to a political party-centric ideology (falling under the larger umbrella of the One-in-Power-Makes-the-Rules ideology) and is of a Republican or Democratic slant, then fatigue is less of a problem than if one subscribes to, say, a libertarian or socialist ideology (true ideologies, not the political parties of the same name, though affiliated). Yet, just the statistical possibility of achieving the goal of obtaining power (or keeping power), makes the outrages and exasperations that much more acute for the party-centric quasi-ideologues. Frankly, I have no sympathy for the followers of this ideology; they deserve every misery they bring upon themselves (and others, unfortunately).
Pragmatists usually fall into neither camp wholly, but they act as double agents with no real loyalties to ideology or the Party-in-Power quasi-ideology. These people are too naïve to recognize failure in the quasi-ideological utilitarian solutions to loss of power disguised as real problem solving, and at the same time too jaded from witnessing the failure of quasi-solutions to subscribe to something resembling an ideology. Pragmatists are the fuel expended in trying to drive the machines of power preservation and power procurement. As double-agents, though, they always start out one side or another and are basically flipped at a certain point. They also serve a vital purpose to both sides (ideologues and quasi-ideologues), them being the only form of communication between the sides to exchange terms. They then are promptly expelled from both camps, never to be trusted again.
The people I have sympathy for are the real ideologues; the ones who hold to a principal – right or wrong (always right, of course) – and never see any hope of anything beyond a minor
victory compromise. The events occurring around them and popular opinion are mostly all antithetical to their desired view. In light of such depressing circumstances, the endurance of ideologues diminishes fast, forcing them to retreat from discussion and the evening news to recover. It would be the metaphorical equivalent of being completely immersed in an ocean of saltwater but having no fresh water to quench a deadly thirst; it doesn’t take long for despair to set in and be tempted to drink in the saltwater, with the fatigue worsening the longer one treads the water.
A viable strategy for ideologues to avoid burn-out is to focus on smaller, personal issues rather than focusing on large, national issues with quixotic effort. Some ideologies start out with such a focus being a large part of the ideology itself. Eventually, though, the scope is expanded as attention is drawn to the largest, most visible enemy to the ideology. Once expanded, the focus is hard to shift back, but then again, ideologies aren’t exactly known for their flexibility; one must look to the quasi-ideologies to find that flexibility common to wet noodles.