Political Action and the Call to “Do Something”

Every time we have a tragedy or catastrophe happen, there are calls to “do something.” Often, the “something” we’re supposed to do isn’t specified. In fact, politicians rarely get specific so we cannot hold them accountable. But, is reactive political action good? Should we continue to react to problems at the surface level or dig into the roots instead? Grayson Quay and I discussed this and much more in this episode.

Here’s what we discuss:

  • Problems with the call to “do something” in reaction to a terrible event
  • Politicians’ perverse incentive to “do something” rather than nothing, even if the something is counterproductive
  • Whether reacting to catastrophes or tragedies makes good policy
  • Times that government action exacerbated problems
  • Some of our favorite literature, including Notes From Underground and C.S. Lewis

Reactive Political Action

When we take political action after a tragedy, we are normally not thinking straight. If emotions are high, we act irrationally, which makes for policy that feels good in the moment, but doesn't fix the issue. Plus, acting quickly can mean we aren't taking into account all of the factors that lead to a problem. National issues rarely can be solved by policy, and can never be solved with a quick piece of legislation.

Better Political Action

Political action that makes sense is proactive. Instead of waiting for a tragedy to respond to, we ought to look for negative trends in our society and the causes. We know we have issues with mass shootings, drugs, mental illness and more, so why don't we respond? We ought to be able to take political action to prevent these problems from getting worse. Furthermore, each of us can play our part in fixing the issues. Don't wait for politicians in Washington D.C. to fix our issues, but solve your own problems as best you can. Politics should be a last resort.

About Grayson Quay

Grayson Quay is a freelance writer based in Arlington, VA. He earned his MA in English literature from Georgetown University in 2019. Grayson's work has been published in The American Conservative, Reason, The National Interest, and the Spectator US. You can find him on Twitter here. Here's the link to the article we discussed.

236. Materialism & The Human Person | The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly - Conversation of Our Generation

According to Wikepedia, "Materialism is a form of philosophical monism that holds that matter is the fundamental substance in nature, and that all things, including mental states and consciousness, are results of material interactions. According to philosophical materialism, mind and consciousness are by-products or epiphenomena of material processes (such as the biochemistry of the human brain and nervous system), without which they cannot exist. This concept directly contrasts with idealism, where mind and consciousness are first-order realities to which matter is subject and material interactions are secondary." Valid Concerns and Good Points At first, it seems to make sense. Much of what we encounter is material. Our food, light, furniture, etc. is all material. It would be easy at first glance to think everything boils down to what is material. But, does that really comport with what we experience and know? Errors of Materialism Materialism leaves out a large chunk of the human experience. First, it fails, like naturalism, to fully account for the supernatural and the spiritual. And, in doing so, it denies free will and many other parts of our experience that are products of the spirit. Also, materialism doesn't allow for the abstract truths we know to be. Moral truths, natural laws, beauty, and even some mathematical truths can't exist if everything is material. So, materialism fails to explain all that we know about the world. Corrections There is more to the world than just the material. It doesn't fit with our understanding of the world. We experience more than just the material in art and music, as well as abstract concepts. We also experience the phenomenon of free will, which is impossible in a materialist world. In order to fully comport with reality, we need to take into account more than material things. In order to fully experience the world, we have to take account for the non-material parts of our lives. Related Episodes in this Series What is Objective Reality? What is Subjective Reality? Unity of Subject and Object The Golden Mean for Understanding Objective and Subjective Reality Naturalism & The Human Person | The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/conofourgen/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/conofourgen/support
  1. 236. Materialism & The Human Person | The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly
  2. 235. Naturalism & The Human Person | The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly
  3. 234. The Golden Mean for Understanding Objective and Subjective Reality
  4. 233. Is Patriotism Good? | Reflections on the 4th of July
  5. 232. Unity of Subject and Object

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