Apolitical people: How do you explain to the Politicised that you don't care?

I am- largely- apolitical. I really don’t care what Politician A said to Politician B or what the Silly Party’s views on Carbon Trading are when contrasted with the Serious Party’s views on the subject.

Nor do I care that the Tree Hugging Party want to promote land rights for gay whales, or that the Tinfoil Hat Party want to remove all taxes and tarrifs on metal-based cooking foils, helmets, and headgear.

For the most part, it really doesn’t interest me. Yes, I vote, and I make sure I’m aware of the major policies of the candidates in my electorate- but I don’t caaare in the way that the passionately politicised do.

The thing is, being a university student, I run into a fair number of Student Activists (usually of the Greenie or Socialist variety) and many of them just cannot comprehend that I really, honestly, genuinely do not care if the Tasmanian Government wants to build a paper mill in some backwater part of the state, or that the Member For Somewhere I’ve Never Heard Of is alleged to drive a 4WD fuelled by the tears of orphaned puppies despite the “fact” most of their constituents can (allegedly) barely afford electricity or something.

So, I’ve been wondering: How do the other apolitical members (both of you) deal with the prevalence of politics in society at large, and explain to people that you really don’t care about their political causes?

Most of politics, to me, is a cross between a soap-opera and the chimpansee power games. What really interests me are the back stories of long-running issues, and the practical solutions the government implements. Usaully I have an opinion on those.

However lately, I try to save my mental energy to have only opinions that are well informed on stuff that actually falls in my own circle of influence. So, I try to direct my energy to where I can make a positive difference.

So, I’m a member of a thinktank for my political party, the Animal Rights party. Yet I can do that without following the political soap-opera of who backstabbed/outraged/befriended/courted whom in the political arena.

I am very politically aware but oddly disinterested in day to day politics as well just like I am with celebrity news.

The best best response, no matter what the topic is “Sounds Good.” :o

I predict this too will pass. I’ve voted in two general elections, against Nixon in '72 and for Obama, just recently. Never again!

Essentially tell them to get a life and move on. But nicely,tho.:slight_smile:

My main talking point (which tends to minimize political discussion) is that (put your favorite cause here) is like pissing on a forest fire. The true cause of the human condition and what we inflict on the planet is simply legally entrenched greed and corruption in contol of the media, the military and the electoral system. Specific criminal instances are mere whack-a-moles.

At universities, most of the politicised students are doing it as a hobby. It isn’t any different to the other clubs and societies you run into. SCA, wargamers, LAN party enthusiasts, all the evangelical religious groups, alternative lifestyle, and so on. People of that age like to feel passionate about something. And they have just discovered it, so they are even more passionate. So you run into political geeks. Better than the geeks that have just discovered Ayn Rand or Anne Rice. Those can be really painful. Mostly everybody eventually graduates, gets a job, and moves on. A few (a very few) become politicians. How do you cope with the politicised? Same as any of the other geeks. With polite condescension.

It is a lot easier on campuses now than years ago. You don’t get the rabid leftists haranging you to buy a copy of Socialist Worker. (They changed its name to Green Left, and the sellers are not nearly so rabid.) But don’t make yourself too unpopular. You never know where one or two of them might end up. Our illustrious deputy PM went through at the same time I did. (She was remarkably sane it should be said.)

As an Aussie most of what I hear is pro Liberal or pro Labor. I explain that whichever party is being lauded does not appear to have my interests at heart and nor do their opponents. Therefore until there is an alternative to 2 party politics I am not buying in to any discussions.

Human society has evolved to favor bell-shaped curves of involvement.

In non-crisis situations, a few people will care passionately about a certain type of issue, a few won’t care at all, and most people will be mildly interested.

If a crisis develops then more people will get interested.

It’s not a perfect system, but it’s the one Mother Nature has settled on. Too much passion can be as bad as too little.

So, you can tell yor crusading friends that while you appreciate the function they’re serving, it is not the right one for you.

I am apolitical and I don’t explain that I don’t care. I usually remain mute and look away.

If brute honesty doesn’t work (and it doesn’t for football, so why should it work for politics?), you might try saying that for your Psych seminar you are doing a social experiment that requires you to refrain from any political discussions whatsoever. Then put your fingers in your ears and squeal “I’m not listening, I’m not listening.”

This is usually my approach, but I’ve found Liberal and Labour supporters can at least comprehend the idea of “Not interested in politics” (although I think they classify them as “Swinging voters”). The Greenies, however, seem to have a hard time appreciating that there are people who really, really, REALLY don’t care about their cause.

I just explain to people that I cover my eyes when I vote.

Usually a hearty and well meant, “F*** off”, seems to get the point across. It works for panhandlers, kids on the lawn, and the occasional Mormon who shows up at the door, too.

My entire life pretty much revolves around politics, but I for one wish that a lot more people had the perspective of the OP. At least that way we’d have less BS like we got at town halls this summer, the system would run a lot smoother if everyone regardless of intelligence or dedication didn’t think they had to have an opinion on everything. Also, if only the truly engaged are playing, that leaves more influence for someone like myself.

You say that you are generally aware of things, which is good because then you can just chime in whenever politics intersect directly with your life, we don’t all need to be experts.

It would be nice if Americans were more engaged in their communities, but political involvement only needs to be one option in how to go about that.

I usually bluntly, but nicely tell the enthusiast that since so called democracy is in reality an elective junta - with a brief explanation why if asked - my interest is limited to which junta mob is more managerially and economically competent and the least dangerous to everyone’s liberty. And, no thank you, I won’t sign your effing petition or join your midnight vigil, or whatever.

This occasionally provokes a surprising amount of anger from some of the party faithful, some of whom call my stance stupid and ill informed, but so far the insults have never reached a level where I felt the need to punch the offender’s lights out.

On the plus side I’ve had several people raise the issue with me again, sometimes years later, who say they now agreed with my views on so-called democracy.

I’m with you on this too. A few weeks ago as I was driving to work I was listening to the radio (ABC) and they were talking about global warming, Copenhagen, Hu’s arrest in China, Dennis Ferguson’s home in Ryde, Malcolm Turnbull’s tenuous grasp on the leadership, some stuff about US politics and on and on and on. It occurred to me that I could not remember one of those subjects ever being a talking point in a conversation at work or with friends.

I went to work and at a break began to rant on about how the media spend huge amounts of time and effort covering things that no-one cares about. Utegate was never discussed but went on for months in the media. No-one ever mentions in conversation what the politicians say about each other but it is all lovingly written up and played on TV.

Every day the front papers of the papers feature stories that everyone ignores. For example today we heard more about “balloon boy” but no-one I know cares about him, his family or the story, certainly not enough to mention it.

But for wasted column inches the undisputed winner is “the environment”. I know plenty of people who have done what they can to be “green” but largely as a subject of interest to the average person it is a non-event.

These are excellent points that bear repeating, and it’s a big concern for the media.

On one hand, as you say, no-one gives a shit. Really, they don’t. If you were to pull out your patented Careometer and apply it to most news stories (especially the stuff like Utegate or Anna Bligh being on Masterchef or some building project in another state blowing out by astronomical sums of money) then you’d find it displaying negative carefactor readings before it stopped caring enough to operate properly.

So, what if the media give the public news they might care about?

Well, most of the major daily newspapers could probably be reduced to a photocopied A4 piece of paper with “Nothing Newsworthy Today” on one side and the weather, Calvin & Hobbes, and the TV listings on the other.

Or you’d have even more Psuedolebrity and Entertainment “news” (neaux?) than we do now, which is even less important than… well, pretty much everything.

Personally, I’d rather excessive coverage of things that are “Important” but of limited interest to the average punter, than excessive coverage of things that are not “Important” but of great interest to the average punter.

It’s a tough balancing act and I don’t think there’s a happy medium, unfortunately.

I’ve often been baffled by how everyone in the US seems to have a political opinion on issues that, well, they probably either shouldn’t have an opinion or, or shouldn’t be so keen to share with all and sundry at every opportunity and insist everyone share their worldview on the subject.

Even here, I often get people harping on about being “Carbon Neutral” but very, very few of them actually seem to know what “Carbon Neutral” means. My own (extremely) limited research into the subject seems to indicate it involves paying someone else to plant lots of trees and everyone then congratulating themselves for loving the Environment so much.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all in favour of tree planting. But there’s a huge difference between actually doing something to help the environment (like physically cleaning up a beach or resettling displaced woodland creatures) and throwing money at a ill-defined “Good Cause” and then feeling all smug and upper-middle-class about the whole thing.

In almost any other civilised country, a proposal to introduce Universal Health Care would be greeted with enthusiasm and the support of almost everyone. But in the US, people show up at meetings at town halls with guns because… Universal Health Care is somehow linked with International Communism? That would mean undocumented immigrants- “Dey Tuk Er Jobs!”- could have healthcare too? Gay people would have healthcare? I don’t understand where the problem is.

As Sir Winston Churchill famously said: “The best argument against Democracy is a five minute chat with the average voter”. But- as he also pointed out- “Democracy is the worst form of Government- except for all the others that have been tried.”

“I don’t care” usually sums it up nicely.

IMHO politics is largely about trying to inspire masses of barely informed people to believe you are actually working for their benefit so they will let you keep your job.

The news is not there to inform people. It is there to entertain so companies can sell soap and feminine hygene products and whatnot.

That’s the problem with Democracy. Every uninformed idiot with access to a message board has an opinion on everything. It eventually just becomes a cacophony of noise. But people need that in order to feel like they have some input in the way their government is run.

I find it interesting that many people come into this thread describe themselves as ‘apolitical’ but are totally ready to offer statements such as:

All of these things are totally, utterly political. Dejected and disenchanted and disengaged though some of you may be, or even repulsed and revolted with the standard practice of politics and how it’s crooked, skewed or biased and totally against what YOU want - you’re still political, and you DO care about something. You just seem not to agree with someone on something (one might say that pretty much sums up politics), whether it’s liberals, labor, the basic philosophy underlying representative democracy or environmentalists. But you’re all political. Deal with it.

No, we aren’t. The point is that we don’t care about the goings-on of politics and are uninvolved in the political field.

There’s a huge difference between “knowing the major policies of the political parties running in elections” (voting is compulsory in Australia so you should have at least some idea whose box you are putting a “1” next to) and hanging around Speaker’s Corner flogging issues of Socialist Worker or getting really involved in politics the way people in the US seem to. I don’t think many Australians could name their representative Senator (in the Federal Parliament) for example.

if Politics is bullshit why do you have to have any idea whose box you are putting a “1” next to? Are there exams?