The problem with Stamp Collecting is …the People.
Postal Administrations. Dealers….but mostly Stamp Collectors. Although there are clearly collectors that I like….I just don’t like them as a group.
According to my wife…who is usually right about these things…intelligent people have fewer friends than stupid people. This is probably true. I am so intelligent that it is a surprise that I have any friends at all.
Apparently intelligent people are more selective and have higher standards. Who am I to argue with my wife over something she read on Facebook.
I will be 66 years old and most stamp collectors are older than me. We are a dying breed.
The unfortunate thing is that many have attitudes to life and politics that were already out-of-date by the 1960s. Most are very conservative, some to the point of being to the right of Attila the Hun. This is of course a generalisation but the group-think is one where conservative values are the norm.
I rarely feel comfortable with other collectors. My politics is in the mainstream of western European democratic socialism. The United States is of course to the political right of western Europe. So for someone who watches a lot of Fux (sic) News, I must appear like their worst nightmare…a pinko commie liberal.
I would certainly like to be the worst nightmare for anyone who watches Fux News.
Why are stamp collectors so “conservative”? Well it is tempting to say that people get more conservative as they get older but I am actually getting more socialist as I get older. I think the main problem is that all “collecting” hobbies value some form of Nostalgia. This means that any gathering of stamp collectors, particularly those who collect stamps from British, French or Portuguese colonies are celebrating a world that has not existed for several decades.
And the postal administrations and dealers feed into that. That is why stamps featuring the English Royal Family, their births, marriages and deaths are so popular.
And it is also true that stamp collectors tend to come from secure professional backgrounds, the sons (it is hardly ever daughters) of lawyers, doctors, businessmen etc. I am proudly from a working class background.
Another gross over-simplification on my part but I have difficulty in being social with people who prefer the 19th century to 21st century. Actually I prefer the 20th century…1966-1974 was pretty good.
The bottom line is that I have fifty duplicate stamps that I don’t need. And I can exchange them. There is no real need to know that the guy in Arkansas voted for Donald Trump or that the guy in Connecticut voted for Hillary Clinton.
In many ways it is irrelevant.
But is it relevant if the guy in Arkansas or the guy in Connecticut make it relevant?
If I look at a profile on social media and see a man with a “Make America Great Again” baseball hat, posing with an assault rifle, “liking” the National Rifle Association and pledging allegiance to the racist Confederacy and re-posting crap about migrants and refugees…well that’s not really the kinda person that I want to trade stamps with.
You might say that it is irrelevant.
I think that it is perfectly possible to trade stamps or postcards or whatever all around the world, without having to agonise that the other trader in Chile supported Pinochet. Or that the guy in Israel voted Netanyahu. Or that the guy in Russia supports Putin.
They are just wanting to trade stamps……..no big deal. We are all probably (socialist, liberal or conservative) in a bi-partisan mainstream of mutual respect.
We are not intending to see each others vision of the world.
But when someone steps outside the mainstream and reveals their vision of the world to be a narrow, hate-driven world, then I reserve my right to have nothing to do with such a person.