Even though I disagree with so many people, my attitude is not one of, “Never discuss philosophy or politics.” Instead my attitude is one of, “If you want to go there — I’ll go there.” I’m not afraid to acknowledge I’m an atheist, for example. Of course, I’m only an atheist because I don’t believe in superstitious or supernatural thinking. People generally expect and want a psychotherapist to be rational — just not that rational. I am an atheist, however, and if you ask me you’re going to find out. The same applies to viewpoints more commonly discussed, such as politics. I find it helpful to tell people that my fondest hope is for divided government, since neither Democrats nor Republicans can be counted on to support individual rights. This opens the door to discussion with anyone interested in “going there.”
It’s interesting to find a large number of people sympathetic to the idea that neither political party is worth anything. When I “go there” and explain why I think this is the case, it’s common (in my experience) to at least find sympathy with the viewpoint that government is too involved in both private affairs and economic ones. In fact, if you think about it: Aren’t economic affairs private? They used to be. Today, especially since the rise of the current crop of political figures in America (the worst ever, by far), all wealth is considered public property to be seized and redistributed as the government sees fit. Imagine the cries from most of those same liberals if people’s sexual or reproductive behaviors were exposed to a policy of government regulation. Imagine, for example, if government were to determine what the appropriate number of marriages and children were for a society — and proceeded to determine for people (based on where they live or other demographic and political factors) whom they should marry, when they should marry, where they should live and how many children they should have. After all, if government is responsible for subsidizing medical care and buying people’s homes and automobiles, isn’t a corresponding management of these other decisions the responsible thing to do?
Of course, no such thing should ever, ever happen. But it’s already happening in the arenas of taxation, profit, health care, real estate, ‘climate control,’ and much more. What’s the difference? There is no end to what these power-lusting, “do-gooder” politicians will do to a population that continues to allow it. These are just some of the points you can get into with interested and (hopefully) rational people about politics and society. It’s sometimes worth “going there” and it does not have to involve fights. And it’s always interesting.