We Should All Calm Down About Politics

In his May 4, 2010  New York Times Op-Ed Column entitled The Limits of Policy, David Brooks concludes that we should all calm down about the importance of politics in our lives. Most of the proposals we argue about so ferociously will have only marginal effects on how we live…What matters are historical experiences, cultural attitudes, child-rearing practices, family formation patterns, expectations about the future, work ethics and the quality of social bonds.

Although Mr. Brooks is correct that politics is not the answer, the following questions remain unanswered: Why do so many people persist in holding on to politics for solutions and why does practically every social issue turn into a political battle between the Left and the Right ? These are some of the questions that my upcoming book, Neither Left nor Right addresses. The answer, in part, is that throughout the ages people have always looked outward to external sources for answers to their individual and social problems blaming this or that group or institution. In the past people looked to religion. Today, many people have given up religion and have turned to politics. The Left blames the Right and the Right blames the Left. Neither Left nor Right explains that the presence of human armor (see glossary) operating within people prevents them from seeing that many of the problems that people are faced with in their lives are the result not of external but of internal forces operating within them.

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