Don't Just Vote, Do Something!

The convention provides a welcome occasion to reflect on the ways in which politics distorts our identity, sours our relations to others, and makes our lives generally lousier. Brian Doherty's lovely essay sounds a lot of themes I've been harping on. I especially like the point of the opportunity costs of political activism. Since electoral political activity has almost zero impact, why not spend that time just trying to live the way you think everyone ought to? The point of thinking you know how you ought to live is that you live that way, not that you waste your life trying to get other people to live that way, since wasting your time telling other people how to live probably isn't part of what it is you think you know about how to live.

Author: Will Wilkinson

Vice President for Research at the Niskanen Center

One thought

  1. thesoftpath – Luke Lea is a retired landscape gardener and part-time writer. He was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1942 and grew up in Ferger Place, a planned neighborhood development not unlike the ones proposed in these pages. He attended Johns Hopkins University and the University of Tubingen before graduating from Reed College with a liberal arts degree in 1966. By then he had already begun researching some of the ideas described in this book, working on assembly lines both here and abroad, as a professional carpenter building houses, and as a professional gardener in partnership with his wife Pat, a garden designer. They have two grown children and live in Walden, Tennessee, a small town on Signal Mountain near Chattanooga. The Soft Path is his first book.
    lukelea says:

    Hi! I am from a working-class background (made my living doing manual labor). Do you discuss in your paper the issue of changes in real disposable income per hour worked for various classes? I.e., income after taxes (and transfer payments to for food and housing), health care expenses, and expenses directly associated with holding a job: transportation to and from work, childcare, etc.? If so then I will definitely read your paper.

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