But it’s not “their” fault; it’s politics’ fault—specifically, the politicization of more and more important and irreconcilable values. America is a deeply divided nation of clashing values partially because politics has made us this way. No matter what side of the political spectrum you’re on, it’s time to stop hating the players and start hating the game.
This is your brain on politics, and these are the people that an overly politicized world creates. And it’s inevitable if politics continues to take over more of our deepest, most divergent values.Why political arguments ruin family holiday parties:
Classical liberal and libertarian principles are about providing an operating system for free and diverse people to thrive cooperatively rather than combatively, creating a Minecraft for human ingenuity and flourishing rather than a Call of Duty fight to the death. Limiting the scope of political decision-making creates a type of mutual disarmament—“I won’t try to control your education or health care if you don’t try to control mine.”
Minimal government has virtues beyond lower debt, less crowded prisons, and less militarized police. It might even save your family.
I would add that the structure of political decision-making also gives most people strong incentives to be ignorant about political issues, and illogical and biased in their evaluation of the information they do know. Because the chance that your vote will make a difference to the outcome of an election is so small, there is little motivation to either acquire knowledge about competing policy options, or to give fair consideration to viewpoints opposed to your own.
The unpleasant and unedifying political arguments at many holiday parties are just one small manifestation of a decision-making system where a combination of zero-sum conflicts and incentives for ignorance and irrational thinking lead most voters to do a poor job of evaluating opposing views on the issues before them.
That does not by itself prove that we should radically diminish the role of government in society. But it does strengthen the case for limiting and decentralizing government government power relative to what we might support in a world where voters do a better job of reasoning about political issues.