Is paying so much attention to politics hurting us societally and emotionally?, with Chris Freiman

If you pay a lot of attention to politics, but doing so makes you miserable, this might be one you want to listen to. I talk with Christopher Freiman (Twitter @cafreiman), political philosopher and author of the book Why It’s OK to Ignore Politics. For many people, voting and paying attention to politics is a moral duty, a responsibility you have as a citizen of a democracy. But Freiman makes a strong case for why paying attention to politics is not a good use of our time, if our goal is to maximize the good we do in the world. And we talk about how our collective anger about politics makes us miserable and also drives us-versus-them polarization, which may be the root cause of our societal and governmental dysfunction.

Chris sometimes writes at and he teaches at William and Mary College.

Topics discussed:

  • Addressing common objects to political abstention, such as: it’s a privileged, entitled stance to ignore politics; that it’s dangerous to encourage people to not vote, and more.
  • How the act of voting, due to how unlikely your vote is to matter, may be perceived as a lost opportunity compared to doing other charitable acts.
  • How us-versus-them in-group-versus-out-group dynamics tend to give us distorted views of political issues and of our political opponents.
  • How effective altruism concepts encourage people to think more about maximizing their effect for the time or money they donate.