A highlight from Passion Isn't Enough

Hidden Brain


On his bed at night and watch cable news on now. Political scientists found this puzzling. I've never really gotten into cable news. Never been something. I've enjoyed i ask him. I was doing and he said you know. It's our duty to be informed. And i said you you already are informed. You know you've already read the newspaper. You've already listened to all the radio. What possibly more could you be getting from this. I think in the end. It was pretty clear that he just likes politics. A lot of people like politics and to decompress at night. You know more than the food network. The kardashians whatever else is on tv. He likes watching cable news. Millions of americans are like eight onstad. The eagerly followed television personalities and the ups and downs of the latest scandal in washington after the house passed to teach more star. Kim kodak thanks washington tonight. Don lemon starts now. They knew who testified on capitol hill tense moments in the room between democrats the at least perceived rivalry within the white house checking out and they know what the rumor mills are saying about the people in power at the white house. If you ask them why they funded the new so closely they will tell you what avon's father told him. It's an act of civic. Chew to stay informed on hirsch is skeptical. He argues provocatively. What his dad is doing. isn't really about politics or policy or elections. It's really just about his dad. It seemed to me that the way that people are doing politics is much more similar to a hobby than to when i think of politics which is acquiring power. Today we bring you a favorite episode from two thousand twenty about a strange twist of modern politics in the united states. We live in a twenty four seven cycle of political news. That saturates every corner of our culture. It seems like this has led to increased engagement in politics but avon says that engagement with politics for many of us has actually become more shallow. The paradox of passion for politics this week on hidden brain support for head and brain comes from capital one auto navigator where you can find a car get prequalified instantly and see your monthly payment without impacting your credit score capital one. What's in your wallet. Terms and conditions apply. Find out more at capital. One dot com slash auto navigator. Eight hundred hirsch is a political scientist at tufts university. He studies voting elections and how we participate in politics in his book. Politics is for power eight on makes the case that millions of americans are engaging in politics in ways that are emotionally satisfying but ultimately self-defeating. They're there to serve their own emotional and intellectual needs. They're not trying to move anyone. They're not trying to empower anything. They're really just trying to to learn and engage in pretty frivolous way. So i would imagine that a lot of people listening to you would disagree with your assessment of them I think a lot of people would say. I derive no entertainment from the shenanigans of the republicans or the intransigence of the democrats. In fact i feel exhausted and dispirited by the state our politics all the time. I think that's right. I some people probably would agree that. Yeah you know being on twitter all the time or sharing a meam about some silly new story is entertainment but the feelings that they bring to politics are much deeper. They care And and they feel hurt. That politics isn't going the way they want it and they feel joy when politics does go the way they want it. The thing is that what they're actually doing is not participating themselves in an active way. They're really just following the news following the ups and downs of a presidential primary cycle. And so they themselves are not participating. You introduce a word that i hadn't actually heard in the context of politics You sat people are really pursuing a hobby. They're in it for the feels the thrill of debates scoring points. And you call these people hobbyists. What do you mean by the term. Yes so i was kind of reading through some of the sociology literature on on hobbies and what our hobbies they're things that are people doing to their learning facts. They learn facts about history. They learn facts about Birds whatever they want or they're engaging in in collecting materials there or they're you know engaged in kind of craft and it seemed to me that the way that people are doing hob politics is much more similar to a hobby than to what i think of politics which is acquiring power so they will learn a lot of facts and talk about those facts They will participate in the kind of craft. Like go online and share memes Have a discussion very similar to how sports fans you know. Listen to sports radio. Talk about the gossip of you know what this quarterback or that quarterback is doing and that's sort of the end of it pa in politics. I think that's exactly what people are doing to. If we define political participation as a form of engagement where you are trying to move public policy or electoral politics in a direction you care about you know you have your one vote and your convincing another person to to vote the way you want or to advocate the way you want. That really doesn't describe the behavior of what most people are doing when they're doing politics. It looks much more. Like what they're doing is is similar to a sports fanatic. Engaged in sports or a foodie watching food shows reading restaurant reviews. It seems much more in that category of life that in the category of power acquisition. So when i think about a or i think about being a sports fan. I think about people who derive great satisfaction or great frustration. From what's happening the engage in it passionately but ultimately they'd have to acknowledge that their involvement has little consequence. That's right if they wanted to actually participate in politics seriously they would go about this all differently instead of hating the other side instead of hating a random person who says the republican says there are democrat. They would say Is this a neighbor that i can convince to move in my direction. And when we talked to organizers who are out every day in the trenches trying to convince other people to come along with them they don't hate the other side. it's like totally the wrong frame of reference for them. they're thinking about. How do i move person. There might be a person on the other side who says the republican and i'm a democrat says the democrat and i'm republican and my first reaction is a they believe all these things i think are despicable but my second reaction if i really care about moving them is what do they care about that. I care about that. I can leverage to move them my direction and in sports fandom and in the kind of shallow way that people engaged in partisan phantom that second step is never made. There's never a goal to convince a yankee fan to come to the red sox it doesn't matter and if you're online or you know only talking about politics that people who are exactly like you. There's no point of thinking of a person on the other political party as someone need to convince anything

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