Politics

The most important thing to understand about politics is that it has no content.

That is a radical statement, so I will explain.

Policy is about doing the right thing: enacting useful and just laws, consistently enforcing the laws, providing necessary government services, creating a peaceful and prosperous community. Ordinary people care about policy.

Politics is about power, animal dominance behavior: gorillas beating their chests, dogs sniffing each others' privates. Politicians care about power.

Politicians, of course, range in attitude from power freaks to policy wonks, and gradations in between. However, even policy wonks have to put getting and keeping power first, because they have to deal with so many power freaks and, above all, they have to get elected. If you are so fortunate as to be represented by a politician who actually tries to think, who actually tries to do the right thing, cleave to them and help them, for they are a precious pearl embedded in corruption.

The mind-set of the power freak -- the urge of the few to manipulate and use the many -- has been the single greatest source of human suffering throughout history. It is inherent to the animal mind that competes with and undermines our reasoning mind. Also inherent to the animal mind is the mind-set of the sucker -- the urge of the many to submit to being used, because it is easier to go along with the power freak than to rely upon themselves. We can tell when a power freak is trying to use the sucker when he or she avoids rational arguments, facts, and figures and instead concentrates on emotional arguments, name-calling, cheap shots, and disinformation.

You and I, ordinary persons, are confronted every day with a choice. Will we cleave to the animal mind and submit to being used like a sucker? Or will we cleave to the reasoning mind and rely upon ourselves? Only by relying upon ourselves can we protect our interests, for power freaks who are out of power are primarily interested in changes that will bring them into power, and power freaks who are in power have a vested interest in maintaining the conditions that brought them into power. In neither case do our interests come first.

No power freak ever got or kept power without the support of ordinary people like ourselves, and no real change in real policy ever happened except at the insistance of ordinary people like ourselves. We, personally, must be involved in making policy, because we, personally, are responsible for the way things are.

In short, we get the government we personally deserve.

31-Jan-2006