Political life no longer has to do with healthy debates about long-term plans to improve people’s lives

The best way to dominate and gain control over people is to spread despair and discouragement, even under the guise of defending certain values. Today, in many countries, hyperbole, extremism and polarization have become political tools. Employing a strategy of ridicule, suspicion and relentless criticism, in a variety of ways one denies the right of others to exist or to have an opinion. Their share of the truth and their values are rejected and, as a result, the life of society is impoverished and subjected to the hubris of the powerful. Political life no longer has to do with healthy debates about long-term plans to improve people’s lives and to advance the common good, but only with slick marketing techniques primarily aimed at discrediting others. In this craven exchange of charges and counter-charges, debate degenerates into a permanent state of disagreement and confrontation.

Pope Francis, Fratelli Tutti n. 15

Pope Francis is right on the money here. No doubt this issue is worse in some countries than in others, and no doubt it has been bad in the past too, but it does feel like politics is generally degenerating. In the USA there is this current election, and here in the UK there was the Brexit campaign. No doubt, this problem is all over the globe (I don’t believe Pope Francis is that obsessed with the USA, and certainly not the UK).

I haven’t read far enough to know what Pope Francis proposes as a solution. My own modest proposal is we all a) chill out, and b) actually listen to our supposed opponents. We’ll then discover that they’re not the monsters we’ve made them out to be, and usually we can actually learn something.

The point of government and politics is for people to come together for a common cause. When politics works to divide people, it is working against its own true purpose. At that point, it is already corrupt, and seeking power alone.

What’s really ugly is when you see this kind of attitude with regards to the Church. People who don’t discuss things or deal with people respectfully, but just attack and slander every little thing, without taking the time to hear the person out. This is a grave sin. We should give all people a charitable hearing and look for the good in all they say and do as much as possible, but especially our brothers and sisters in the faith, and especially especially priests, Bishops and the Pope.

God bless you

Philosophical reason I won’t vote

[As a personal aside, I‘d rather Romney win over Obama in the U.S. election. Not because of policies or personalities. Just out of curiousity. I know where Obama was a liar and where not; now I‘m curious about Romney. They’re both such liars, I have no reasonable way of seeing who will be worse anyway.]

I‘m very keen on living by logical principles. I‘m so keen, I stopped peeing in the shower (gross, I know), because that logically leads to having to accept standing/washing in a urinal. So here is why I won’t vote for any coercion, ever.
If you vote, you attempt to direct government coercion using paper, and must acknowledge the validity of others doing the same even if they disagree with you (or be a hypocrite). So if you vote, you are held to all votes, because they are doing to you, what you tried to do to them. The only exception to this is if the winner does something unconstitutional (unless they change the constitution first).
You therefore lose the right to complain about election results. You must accept whoever is elected according to the system you try to use.
It doesn’t matter if you think the “majority“ made the wrong choice. You accept the same method of control, you must live by the logic of your methods.
You can’t bet on a game, lose, and refuse to pay. If you had won the election, you would want your opponents to give up their freedom, so if you lose, you have given up yours.
I want the principle of my freedom to be upheld by all my actions, even if it can’t be practically upheld. I need to at least allow myself to disobey, even if others never will.
If your man (or party) wins the election, you cannot complain. You gave him whatever authority you had. You planned for him to take the authority of the entire population.
And don’t complain when the winners are liars. You knew they would be. If they weren’t supposed to be liars, the system wouldn’t have representatives. There would either be a vote on everything, or a vote for a policy package.
So if you want to be able to protest or complain without being a hypocrite, you must repent of voting. Then, you are no longer held (by principle) to the votes of others.
I’m also against it in principle, because I don’t support violence or the threat of violence in any form. Clearly, government is a form of violence.
God bless you.

P.S. I have no philosophical issue with non-violent protests or civil disobedience against government. If there is any place for rebellion against authority (and Jesus did clear the temple) this is the way to do it.

P.P.S. I‘m not a US citizen anyway, so their election doesn’t much affect me, unless they declare war or do secret stuff in my country (by “my country“, I mean home in the larger sense) or the countries of friends and family.

God bless you.

Sand castle democracy

This current system of democracy is truly terrible. What strikes me is the amount that voting gives the great illusion of participating in change.
I‘d like us to imagine, if rather than pieces of paper being put into boxes, votes were cast by placing a single grain of sand upon a castle, and whoever‘s castle ends up greater, wins power. The castles may get magnificent, but your grain is forever lost. Did your grain ever increase its grandeur? Is placing the grain worth your trouble?
And then the castle that would be built would function as a symbol of the new government, that would quite surely crumble away, like the hopes of the voters in the party, as its lies are gradually revealed.
The greater the castle, the more tragic the mound of sand left at the end of the day.

Ahh, dreaming of a system designed to reveal its own faults. Pointless to plan, but crucial to imagine.
My point is, if you want something good to be done, don’t try to convince politicians through paper (or sand). Instead, do good things directly, and when necessary, actively protest against the government.
It is people, not institutions, and certainly not governments, that will make the world truly better.

God bless you.