Why don't we like politics? - Macleans.ca

Why don’t we like politics?

Have we lost trust or is it just not entertaining enough?


Noting Samara’s latest research, Alex Himelfarb links social trust and inequality with our disinterest in politics.

A growing body of international research, most notably by Sweden’s Bo Rothstein and, in the US, Jong-Sung You, points us to what may be the underlying factor we’ll need to address if we are to turn things around: the decline of social trust. By “social trust” is meant something more than whether we trust our neighbour or others in our community or in similar circumstance. It is rather the generalized belief that most people in a society can be trusted, including those quite different from ourselves.

Social trust is not the same as political trust, but where it is high people are readier to trust their democracy, more willing to give the benefit of the doubt to government when something goes wrong, and less likely to see the latest scandal as indicative of the entire class of politicians. Even when governments perform so badly as to make political trust impossible, where social trust is high, citizens still participate, still try to make things better. Because they trust the future and their ability to influence it, they are still capable of outrage rather than the indifference or fatalism of the jaded.

High social trust implies solidarity, the sense that the members of a society share a common fate and mutual responsibility and this is reflected in greater commitment to helping others. Individuals take responsibility not only for themselves and those in their social milieu, but also for the stranger, and for the direction of their society.

Conversely, there is a theory John Ivison relays from a new biography of Disraeli.

As the authors suggest: “In truth, it is boredom, rather than cynicism which most accurately explains the present disillusionment with politics.”


Why don’t we like politics?

  1. I’ve asked people that all my life…..and the answer is always the same. It doesn’t affect their daily life. Not in any meaningful way. Taxes and trivia.

    Buncha people arguing in far-off Ottawa, and not ever getting anything useful done.

    Politicians are always going to do ‘X’, except X never gets done. Going to stop doing Y, except they continue on with it. Going to change Z, except nothing ever changes.

    And we have no vision, no goals, no plans….nobody even knows what the govt will be doing next week….beyond more arguing and mud wrassling.

    • Agreed. I got a kick out of Ralph Kliens funeral and how they allw anted Ralph’s lime light. But Ralph Klien was one of those few politicians that was honest and he ran governemtn for the people. Todays politicians is typically a career government employee deceiving and managing the people to get their money. Only solutions they know is more of other peoples money from the productive and diminish tax slave class.

      And we don’t have democracy as no options on the rigged ballot for less governemtn and less taxes. Just parties, unions and idle looking for more of other peoples money.

      • Politicians are not some alien species invading earth…..they are your friends and neighbours. Your fellow-citizens. They have Canadian families, Canadian educations, Canadian experience and Canadian culture.

        Don’t blame the politicians …..blame the voters for what they’re electing.

        • tweet @dfatdCanada. they are your ticket to having a say in foreign policy and the human development

          • Well, you can comment there. You’ll probably be ignored.

          • Department of fisheries replies… they read all their mentions and the accounts that get enough, they’ll run analytics on. Unfortunately, press has a huge effect on the prioritization of law making and they feed off emotional issues and less the lawmaking needed to help tech, science, various other sectors. The speaker Andrew Scheer (i’m friends with his chief of staff) reads all his tweets and the speakers of the world still, ultimately, set the legislative agendas. Just ask Boehner. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Boehner#Gang_of_Seven_and_Contract_with_America

        • Funny, while I have multiple options on my ballot, they all give the same results of more government and less left in my wallet. Politics is a rigged game and democracy a ruse. Its all about brainwashing the people out of their money and do as little as possible.

          No party represents non government middle class taxpayers unless of course the come with union lobby groups.

          Politicians lie as they are really puppets to back room lobby groups who want the tax system to get your money for their uses. Our votes do not really mater at all.

          • Then don’t vote. Please.

    • I agree with – and when voters feel the result ay affect their daily life they show up and vote – like the 1995 QC referendum where 93,5% of the eligible voters registered their vote.

      • Yeah, that got through to people that it mattered.

  2. strangely enough I have to disagree : political apathy, mild cynical driven dissatisfaction and not trusting your leadership are a direct conseuqence of the system actually doing it’s job right! What is Wayne saying? – makes no sense? – here is what I mean – when times are relatively good in representative democracies the citizenry has the luxury and opportunity to vent it’s jealousies and frustartions and social unhappiness with whatever partisan viewpoint they have – the true test is when the Barbarians are at the gate and make no mistake about it sooner or later the barbarians do come – then when the system has a real challenge the real test of democracy happens – many times it fails and gives way to fascism by surrendering to the gov’t and thinking that someone up there will solve your problems and a saviour will come forth all of this is of course a form of denial, avoidance and cowardice – of course this never happens what happens is that when the collective decides it no longer values personal liberty instead signing it’s power over to the gov’t tyranny should be no surprise – this is a direct consequence of the immature mind that falls into the class liberal diseases of moral relativism and lack of integrity.

    • This is partisan bunkum again….the very thing that puts people off.

  3. Why don’t we like politics is simple. They lie, deceive and do back room deals to bilk us out of our money. We really elect term dictators on a rigged ballot, so conditioned with brainwashing the government always wins and the people always lose as government bloat, waste corruption and stage show pandering with other peopels money, our money.

    Me, I am disenchanted and very cynical about governemtn. Ever since I took this attitude, even my investment go better as I now factor in government negative interferences with the economy. Even realize the whole scale fraud on people with debt, pensions and print money for debt enslaving our kids like Trudeau Sr did with us.

    Our governetmns cost us too much and it isn’t just income taxes. Its property, utility, hidden spend taxes too. You can live at the poverty level income, phave to pay income taxes, EI/CPP, propertry, and 384% cartel tariffs on cheese, 232% on beef, yes, I just said many foods are taxed and get poor too. So tax greedy governments have become. As they line union pockets, bailout banks, buy defective F35s we don’t need…..

    Get the peoples money than reduce CPP to below inflationa nd below CPP increases. Mismanaged the fund is in arrears too.

    Yep, promise a lot, justify high taxes and then don’t deliver. Willing to ccut heath care but not the 93% other spend-waste Ottawa does.

    Politics is no about deceiving people out of their money for a very low value return to the people. Politicians lobbied by unions, cattle producers, dairy, media and telecommunications cartels, bankers bonuses and bailouts, all on the backs of non-government producers. Even have lots of money for idle while disabled live in poverty. But we have corporate welfare CBC saying big government and other peoples money is good.

    Sorry, politicians have to be sociopaths or highly delusional types. They just bicker about how to waste ore of our money on government bloat. Only solution they know is more of other peoples money.

    And that is the only options on my ballot. More government and less for productive people.

    • Oh do stop.

      • I know, I ran out of space listing big ticket items that tax us like slaves. But I made the point that our government has become too big for our own good.

        • We live in the second largest country on the planet. We can’t run it like a village.

          And we are not remotely slaves. Canada is a very wealthy country.

  4. Solution: a Rob Anders “Mic’d Up” segment on a political news show.

  5. If you want to know what’s wrong with the political system look around you at your fellow citizens, then look in the mirror. It’s our indifference that allows the dishonest and greedy among the politicos to prosper. If we truly paid attention to what they’re doing they’d do a better job in an effort to get re-elected. As it is, they trust our ignorance and indifference to let them run a misdirect and mislead campaign at election time.

    • Yep, but kids are trained starting in grade one to have blind faith in government, makes us easier to lead. It is thought programming really. Takes intelligence and independant thought to unwind it.

  6. How do you distinguish boredom and disgust in our present political climate? It’s boring because the politicians all say the same thing; it’s disgusting because nobody could honestly believe the boring crap they peddle so passionately.

    And yet if a politician were to speak the truth for even five seconds at a stretch, about anything, he or she would be torn to shreds by the oh-so-moral oh-so-good Canadian media. Thanks, Canadian media! Thanks for the lifetime of boredom and disgust!

    • Ford is getting away with it. It is why I would vote Ford before some greasy career polticician thinking tax greed for statism.

      • Yeah, well, you do have to hand it to him for speaking his mind, even if it’s the mind of a crackhead with the mental age of 14.