Noted “moderate conservative” Megan McArdle writes that we should never lose friends to politics, because:
Politics is not the most important thing in the world. It’s just the one people talk about the most.
So keep some perspective about politics. It doesn’t matter as much as the real people around you, and the real things you can do in the world. If you have to choose between politics and a friendship, choose the friendship every time.
This tells me three very important things:
- Her family looks very different than mine. My family fled the Nazis, my family is immigrants from poor third world countries, and “chain migration” is why the elders of my family did not live out their old age alone in India. Politics is about whether people can move here from poor brown countries, and whether citizens can bring their parents: it is a question about my family.
- Her friends look very different than mine. I’ve taught hundreds of not-so-rich students in Texas and California, and I take their well-being personally. I don’t ask which of them are DACA recipients, or whose parents check in regularly with ICE, but no doubt some do. Politics is about whether some of my students and their families will be dragged from their homes in the middle of the night.
- She is selfish. Right now politics is about who gets to be American. Her Americanness is secured by her light skin and birth certificate, and so she is willing to write the whole thing off as a secondary concern.
*Yes, we are sure Megan McArdle is aware of the presence of Richard Spencer and David Duke in politics.
**There is an argument to be made about changing minds by maintaining friendships with people who have problematic views. That’s not what she’s saying, she’s just saying politics don’t matter all that much.