Politics and Religion
Matt Yglesias observes,
There’s I guess a convention in America that it’s impolite to talk about politics. That’s a convention that, I think, ultimately grows the level of ignorance in the country and advantages those who would take advantage of the public’s ignorance. People who are well-informed ought to discuss the issues with friends, family, and colleagues who may not be so well-positioned.
Doing that, especially when starting with the premise that you’re much better informed than your conversation partners, is likely to annoy them. Still, Matt’s right that talking politics among friends and family shouldn’t be taboo.
The conventional norm against talking about “politics and religion” applies to casual acquaitances or situations where avoiding controversy is desirable. One shouldn’t foist one’s political views on associates at the workplace — unless one works at, say, New America’s Foundation or Atlantic Monthly or The American Prospect and discussing politics is the focus of the job — because doing so makes people uncomfortable and creates friction. People should be able to go to work without being harrangued about why they’re idiots for liking Sarah Palin or unpatriotic for supporting Barack Obama.