Not everyone is sold on using politics as a filter for love. Janis Spindel, the legendary matchmaker known for searching nationwide for bachelorettes on behalf of her upscale, all-male clientele, balked when told about political online dating.
“Oh my gawd! What next?” she exclaimed in her signature New York accent. Asked why she doesn’t approve, she responded with a question of her own: “Are people looking to fall in love or are they looking to find a political match?” ~Samantha Slater, The Politico
Wasn’t it the old rule that one of the things you don’t talk about on the first few dates was politics? Now it’s practically an entry requirement. Count me as a confirmed skeptic of this entire trend. As if our political associations haven’t become clannish and insular enough, we need to subject our social relationships to a political pre-screening! What a depressing thought. It may satisfy a very small niche market of political operatives, for whom this sort of match may really be a top priority, but for most people who use these services I suspect it will prove unsatisfying and unsuccessful.
There is a certain logic to the idea of matching people according to their descriptions of their personalities, preferences and even politics. For some very political people, there is some kind of logic for focusing especially on finding the right political match. It just happens to be astonishingly bad logic. First of all, and you don’t need me to tell you this, many people are unusually bad at characterising themselves. It is also the case that many of the things that people think they prefer or actually do prefer are not at all the things they actually need to be happy. Finally, people who place great value on the politics of their prospective dates ahead of other considerations are people who don’t even know what the question is.
Most people prioritise the wrong things all the time–such is the comedy and tragedy of man–and nothing could better demonstrate this habit than the rising popularity of services geared towards people convinced that they must find their political match in order to even contemplate the possibility of a committed relationship. I understand how bitterly unsatisfying this habit is because I used to be quite given over to it.
It is one of those hazardous side-effects of being a political junkie that some of us can fall into without thinking about it, and as political junkies we can cook up all sorts of plausible arguments why this preoccupation with finding reasonably similar politics is not the dreary, abstract dance of death that it is. “It’s important to find someone who shares your view of the world!” the political junkie will say to his bewildered friends, who place such a low, low priority on their mates’ politics that he, in turn, is baffled. “How can you love someone who supports NATO expansion?” he yells at no one in particular. (Of course, most sane people don’t spend their time worrying about NATO expansion one way or the other, so it isn’t one of those burning questions that fills the lovers with anxiety.) More likely it will be something like, “How can she like Hagel? Doesn’t she understand that he isn’t really antiwar?” And so on. For the record, this is often fairly stupid.
As an Orthodox reactionary who admires the cause of the Confederacy, lauds Bolingbroke and waits for the day when the Greeks reclaim Constantinople, I hold out little hope of finding such a match, so I may be either the worst person to comment on this trend or one of the best-prepared. The absurdity of these political match services becomes more obvious to people on what I suppose must be called the political “extremes,” especially when it is actually only too common to find many personal and political affinities between far-left greens and far-right traditionalists or even reactionary “blacks.” These are people who would, according to the rubrics of these services, supposedly be completely incompatible with one another–they are on “opposite ends” of the spectrum.
There are cases where you have two people with diametrically opposed and mutually exclusive worldviews that make any sort of sane and stable relationship impossible, but then you would think they would usually recognise this conflict fairly early on. The communist and the monarchist will run out of things to talk about pretty quickly. So I suppose the only virtue of these matching services would have to be in eliminating the possibility of accidentally getting set up with a Satanist. Otherwise they just endorse a rather weird and sad idea that enduring love can only exist between people who are in agreement about virtually everything.
As the wise Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn reminded us in Leftism Revisited, love is the embrace of the radically Other (most powerfully expressed in mystical love for God); as the Fathers might put it, true love is kenotic and desires the good of the beloved even to the complete sacrifice of the self. When people invoke the famous citation from Ephesians in which the Apostle commands women to be subject to their husbands, they often forget the other half of the citation, which is that the husbands should be willing to sacrifice themselves for their wives as Christ did for the Church. (This would be the passage that some radicals think prove that Christianity is hostile to women, when it seems clear that it is men who are called upon to live up to a perfect example in this particular way.) Inasmuch as this preoccupation with finding political mirror images of ourselves is simply self-obsession, it has nothing to do with love and so will not satisfy the natural yearning for love that the people subscribing to these services believe they will find.