There are a couple of reasons why, as stated on my badly-needs-to-be-updated profile, “Although I have certain extreme political opinions, I won’t usually vent them here.”
One reason is that I object to the politicization of everything, which was one of the most pernicious consequences of the “culture wars” of recent decades. People who care about politics have the right, even the obligation, to passionately pursue political questions. But there are other things in life: astronomy and pizza and zeppelins and zither-music and cows and tea and verbs and sandwiches and so on. One should be able to discuss any of these topics, even argue about them, without it turning into a shouting match about who-you-voted-for-in-the-last-election-and-who-you’re-voting-for-in-the-next-and-why-that-makes-you-the-devil. The personal may be political, but that’s not all that it is, and the political is awfully damn impersonal. There is a merit in meeting (literally or virtually) with people as people, not the grinning caricatures one finds in a political cartoon.
Another reason, which may really be the same reason, is that partisan politics seems to give many people license to speak and act in stupid and dishonest ways. A classic is when Person A attributes a fallacious assertion to Person B. Then Person B has the triple task of refuting the fallacious assertion, disassociating it from himself and making whatever his real point was. It can’t usually be done.
This ploy may appear cunning, as opposed to stupid, but I think the two traits often overlap. Person A will usually lose more than he can gain in this type of exchange. At best, the mud thrown will splash back and no one will look very good.
In any case, this is not the sound of me taking the pledge to never touch a drop of that politics stuff again. (I certainly plan to keep tabs on Bob “Crazy Eyes” Fletcher, who seems intent on using police powers to enforce political orthodoxy in my hometown.) I just wanted to reassure my reader(s) that this blog is not going to become BowDownBeforeMyPoliticalOpinionsOrFleeMyDogmaticWrath.com. On the other hand, if people do want to argue politics with me, they shouldn’t be surprised that I’m willing to articulate and defend my own positions. To disagree, even strenuously, (over politics, or zither-music, or even more important matters) is not, in my view, an offense nor a justifiable pretext for being offensive.