Pathetic Human Politics16 Jan 2017 4 mins read (800 words)
Following all the political turmoil that occurred during the US presidential election, and a few days before the inauguration of Donald Trump, I decided to take moment to reflect and define my political views and explore what politics is in general, and how it can be viewed from a more rational perspective.
But before I go into that, I will try to recount my feelings about the U.S. election that occurred on November 10, 2016.
First of all, I believe I have done a service in the name of common sense by voting for Jill Stein, a candidate who ran for the Green Party. My vote was casted and resulted became part of 1’316’040 of votes that where casted for the Green Party (which is about 1% from all the votes casted during the US election).
The reason I decided to cast my vote for a candidate that had no chances of winning, was because I didn’t find it compelling to vote for the least harmful candidate. You see, when you have two guns pointed at your head; one pointed from the left side, and the other from the right side, and your realize that the outcome is a bullet going through your skull either way, any form of consolation you find at such a moment is irrelevant to the outcome. I decided to exit the gun fight, which stunk of irrationality, and play it safe; in a my own place, where I can escape from populism and make decisions that are most rational in my opinion. And so I did by voting for the Green Party, this was my consolation.
I firmly believe that the circumstance in which the U.S. political system found itself in, was pathetic. I am not particularly prone to being persuaded otherwise since the outcomes to the election, would have been catastrophic in different ways, disregarding the outcome. The fact that U.S. population staged such two candidates for the final election, leads me to conclude that such a population is apolitical in numerous ways and can be easily persuaded through media, populistic ideas, and gullibility. Both of the candidates where dishonest, and both had agendas that they wanted to fulfill secretly once they take office. Dishonest politicians is not something new, I agree, but…
I will say that I’m just disappointed in humans that they don’t see how far away the US political system is from its ideal. Most individuals choose to enjoy this setting and find their own confinement in consumerism, entertainment, and pursuing various symbols of status. And I’m not entirely sure if these are prerequisites for a healthy democracy.
But I find it sometimes necessary to reflect on political views and philosophies more generally by observing human activities from a perspective where I pretend to have no stake in the future of humanity. In such a position, I frequently come to very pessimistic conclusions, but its entertaining since I see no fear in envisioning likely outcomes.
But what are political views, and how have humans come up with these social constructs? Political views and ideologies are formulations that where mostly broken down into formulated during the 17th century, and especially during the 19th century following Marx’s insights. Hobbes in his introduction to the Leviathan published in 1651, stated how political philosophies “make an artificial animal … called a Commonwealth, or State.” We rely on political views and ideas in order to from societies than are beyond our sociological, animalistic limits. Sociological research shows that humans struggle to maintain groups consisting of more than 150 individuals and the way humans overcome this, is by forming societies that have a common belief or idea; whether it is as deity, a country flag, a corporation, or an ideology.1 And today, humans function according to these same rules that are woven into increasingly complex systems, and mediated through new technology and manipulation such as social media.
These systems are the foundations of our modern democratic governments that we supposedly see in United Sates, and more assuredly see in Northern European countries. But we frequently fall into the state of human exceptionalism, and forget that there is room for improvement. As Winston Churchill once said:
Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.
Also, I believe that nobody should but a political system that is designed to “last an eternity”. As Cicero once said, the death of such a political system is a reward for the sins committed by a community that was designed to last for eternity. Political systems should be iterative, and be prone to non-violent revolutions.
But if those who revolt are poorly educated and have very contradictory ideologic views, then an “iterative political system” could turn into barbarism, or Nazi Germany. Everything must be put in place very reasonably, but as far as I’m concerned, humanity has always struggled with this process and this is very much reflected in the outcome of the US election. This makes me go back to my previous point, where I mentioned how humans are being easily distracted thought the fulfillment of irrational activities.
Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. sec. 2 ↩