Tuesday, May 15, 2012

An American Idol Nation

I have often heard people talking about politics and they refer to others as being dumb, out of touch, or apathetic.  Then they say something like, "some Americans just want to watch American Idol while they let their nation get destroyed."  You can substitute "American Idol" for other activities like reading celebrity gossip, watching football, playing video games, etc.

I use American Idol here because I happen to watch American Idol.  I am not at all ashamed to admit it and I don't think there is anything wrong with that.  I don't really care for people who like to pass judgement on others in such a way.  Just because someone likes to watch American Idol or do some other activity, doesn't mean they necessarily don't care about the political system or the world we live in.

Of course, some people who watch American Idol may not take any interest in politics or anything related.  They may be apathetic when it comes to discussing the latest legislation or the latest scandal with a politician.  In some ways, who can blame them?

But here is the most ironic thing.  Oftentimes, when I hear someone talk about our "American Idol nation of people who don't care" (or something like that), it is usually the accuser who is way off base.  This person, instead of watching American Idol, listens to Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh and is mostly backwards in their thinking.  They may understand a few things and know current events better than the average American Idol watcher, yet I think I would prefer the American Idol watcher.

The American Idol watcher is oftentimes less brainwashed than the accuser of others being ignorant.  The American Idol watcher does less damage, in at least not explicitly consenting to big government and empire.  It is often the accuser who is more ignorant in many ways.

I have also heard libertarians make comments like this and I don't really like to hear it.  They are perhaps correct that people should not be so apathetic.  Yet, from an economist's point of view, the person watching American Idol may actually be making a rational decision.  He may derive more benefit from that than spending his time trying to get the "right" people elected, which never seems to matter anyway.

People are always going to have their hobbies and their interests.  If reading celebrity gossip or watching certain television shows is part of that, then it is no big deal.  You can watch American Idol and still understand the political process and current events.  For those listening to Sean Hannity, I would actually say that you are better of watching American Idol.  At least you won't get brainwashed into promoting big government policies.

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