You know, I find politics hard to reconcile, you have a bunch of folk that, lets face it, we all know are dishonest and self serving, slagging each other off in an effort to prove there's a meaningful distinction between them. It's a kind of pantomime, except that half the audience are shouting, he's behind you! the other half are yelling, get him! All politicians are dishonest, although not all of 'em are completely without any integrity but that dubious honour is ubiquitous amongst the ascendancy of their number. What makes politics and politicians so intrinsically perfidious? That's a tricky one but I think I have a clue, it's because of their collective identity and the need to distinguish that identity from competing ones. You can witness this in action, when politicians and those members of the public who express a partisan preference, take sides on issues. They always tow the party line, well almost always, there's a degree of fluctuation but their adherence is related to the fervency with they align themselves. Witnessing what seems for some, to be the magic that can turn black into white, night into day, failure into success, can be quite spectacular but raises disturbing questions about the nature of the human condition. I'm just wondering, if there is any way out of this insanity, because as the divisions between the political factions have become less and less profound, the intransigence with which the faithful deny reality has become more and more rigorous.
I'm pondering this subject, not just because of the election looming here but I read a post on a blog recently, where the author saw fit to offer up an apologia for living in a particular location with a prevalent political affiliation. What? I mean what? yeah I suppose that might be understandable if you were living in a town where they shoot grandma for fun but it seems a mite queer, not to say presumptuous, to do that over the largely inconsequential standard political divisions. It kinda implies that he holds the notion, that anyone who votes a certain way is evil. Yeah I'm sure that's true for some of 'em but the rest, they're just ordinary people, like you, me even him. So how do people get like that, is that what he really thinks or does the apologetic tone suggest he said it just to cosset his readers' prejudices? Now just imagine what might happen if I called him out, pointed out the not inconspicuous fact, that this attitude was completely barmy, do you suppose he would make the assumption I was acting through political impetus? I think there's a good chance there would be, do you see how that works to instil division where previously none existed? What I think that demonstrates is the exponential nature, of the expansion of needless divisiveness, it just needs one teeny particle of contention for affiliations to coalesce around, then it grows like a snowball, pretty soon you've got an avalanche thundering down the mountain.
I said all politicians are dishonest, that may not be true because I have spied the occasional member (very occasional) of that fraternity make a stand in the face of the broader consensus. The broader consensus isn't always the product of cabalistic intercession into democratic process, it's just that we're in a place in history where that has become a dominant factor. No that doesn't mean there's a conspiracy, it just that means policy is generally not formulated in the democratic forums that were intended for that purpose. Instead it's agreed through Institutions like the G7/8, The EU, Nato even the UN and other supernational institutions, then implemented through treaty or a lesser commitment. The point is, that these arrangements circumvent democratic process, or at least they do when such decisions are expedited by democratic institutions with no meaningful discussion. That case would the prevalent condition in this country although it's not always true for every nation, the more powerful ones get to form or modify the agendas imposed though these supernational processes and generally ignore any decisions they find inconvenient. What's interesting about the supernational processes is that the tribalism of domestic political division has become reflected in analogous divisions throughout the supernational forum. This, unfortunately, is where things start to get dangerous, indeed in one particular instance, fostering needless division has become very, very dangerous. Not only has this placed us in very real peril, it has destroyed a valuable accord between two erstwhile foes, rewinding the clock a couple of decades.
If that particular snowball were to become an avalanche, we would all be in very serious trouble, heading for the new stone age I would imagine. This would be one of the reasons, I'm not at all keen on people stoking trivial and meaningless division with inflammatory or pejorative rhetoric, like the guy going on about those terrible people in the place he lived, who voted a certain way. In certain contexts the awareness has arisen that divisiveness has a negative impact, it's even become antisocial to express divisive ideas pertaining to those contexts. Good, but does the concept that meaningless division is wrong have to remain discreet to these contexts? Very few people seem to be able to make the leap of generalising that principle. That's nothing new, most of us can't grasp the universality of concepts like mutual respect, rights/liberties and equitable treatment either, so what's the surprise? Quite a while ago, I wrote a not particularly good short story that tackled this subject, so this issue must've been playing on my mind for some while, I wonder how many other people ponder the issue?