A Political Lesson Finances Can Teach Us

I believe there is one very important lesson that can be taken from what finances have taught many of us and be extended in the political world. That lesson is that we are no better at predicting the outcome of political and legislative action than we are of predicting the direction of the stock market.

I have only been involved and aware of the political discourse in our country for the past decade and a half, but I am blown away by the hyper-political atmosphere of the United States of America. Has it always been this way? Have we all been political prognosticators and zealots about our positions forever? Why do we think we have the ability to predict the future in politics when we recognize we cannot predict it anywhere else?

I realize I am treading on dangerous ground with this discussion. I tend to stay away from political discussions and work very hard to be politically agnostic, but thought this a worthwhile discussion. I was raised in a very liberal household and find myself agreeing with liberal ideals and rhetoric. However, upon reflection this attachment to liberalism has little to do with knowledge that these policies will work out better, but more with a deep faith akin to religious faith. Without proof or factual basis, I am generally sure liberal policies plot the correct course and are the most likely to benefit citizens the greatest. I predict the future about these positions based on emotion and a limited belief-set. I am likely often incorrect and believe this to be true of many others, as well.

Many people I like and respect and believe to be very intelligent act in similar manners. They realize they are unable to predict the future of the stock market or anything else, but lose this knowledge when it comes to politics and legislation. They are certain of their political position and seem to know the result simply by the position it takes. When they make their arguments for a position, they cite history and statistics and analyses which can provide insight to an issue, but really offer no long-term predictive value. I contend that they are no better about telling the future of legislation than they are about anything else.

Why are we so certain about ourselves in this arena? I think we need to extend the lesson finances have taught us and recognize that we really have no idea how legislation will turn out. We cannot predict the future. We don't know which politicians will act in our interest most. 

I'd love to hear your reaction and feedback in the comments. Am I way off base...do I need to hold a position? Are we more politically vocal than in the past? Are we more partisan? Is political agnosticism taking a position?


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