On practising politics
As a student and scholar of political science, I had – for a very long period of time (relative to my age, that is) – found it only natural that I pontificated and mused about political processes, perched atop a pedestal. Politics is simple – it is merely the application of theories, through rigorous and careful calculation, to real-life contexts. Unfamiliar with how it's going to play out? That's alright, there's modelling, there's also statistics and quantitative analysis: all is well.
Real politics isn't theory. Realpolitik isn't kind. It lacks the innate cogency and predictability that we enjoy ascribing to theoretical frameworks. It is amoral: there aren't any 'bad guys', 'good guys', 'good', or 'evil'. It is also counter-intuitive: the most surprising results often turn out to be the most routine outcomes. It is anodyne at its core, filled to the brim by inane careerists and hacks who are more bent on securing self-interested gains than servicing the so-called public. Those who enter into politics – bushy-eyed and with a romanticised worldview that is clearly at odds with reality – inevitably find themselves disillusioned and jaded by the process. ...