Puerile politics

Ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad reputation.

Henry Kissinger, former American National Security Advisor

Julius Evola, the Italian philosopher, captured the essence of puerile politics that assail voters’ sensibilities: “Americans do not think, yet they are puerile and primitive, and thus open to every kind of standardisation”.

The standardisation that Evola referred to is evident in some countries where litterbugs think they generate revenue. And the standard response from a puerile government agency is to do nothing about it because there are no lucrative incentives.

Another twist of the Evola standardisation occurs when politicians refuse the mandate of the people while written laws prohibit the recounting of votes after the government agencies count the votes. Josef Stalin had a point when he observed that “it’s not the votes that count, but they who count the votes”.

“There are many men in principle in both parties in America, but there is no party of principle,” observed Alexis de Tocqueville, the French politician in agreement with Niccolo Machiavelli who observed that politics have no relation to morals.

The media may go crazy without puerile politics to find fodder for constant laughter.

Puerile politics find fertile soil in nations with written constitutions that grant several freedoms punctuated with sections and sub-sections of restraints, constraints, prohibitions and caveats. “Life without liberty is like a body without a soul,” warned the Lebanese savant Khalil Gibran.

We, the people, seem to accept conditioning without question because we are waiting, wanting, wishing and willing to run afoul of the Socratic creed that “an unexamined life is not worth living”.

Cogito, ergo sum, courtesy of Rene Descartes, meaning, “I think, therefore I am,” ought to inspire and incentivise the activists in all of us. Ross Perot, an American presidential hopeful in the 1990s described an activist as one who does not complain the river is dirty, but goes all out to clean it.

“Be realistic, and do the impossible,” implored Che Guevera, the Argentinian revolutionary, but people are too comfortably complacent with their professions, assets, careers and jobs to get involved in demanding necessary reforms.

How and why did this happen? The few with questionable power controlling the many? Former American Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall warned that “our whole constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control our minds”.

How then do the voters discourage puerile politics? The presence of the Peoples’ Manifesto is acutely felt by its absence. Does the ruling party’s aspirations and expectations influenced by legislation gain more relevance? The Greek philosopher Plato predicted: “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by inferiors.”

When the people rise up as an act of caring, not daring, the demise of puerile politics is guaranteed because extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice while moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.

Courts of law and equity can and should embarrass the living daylights out of puerile politics.  Justice is psychological incest when tempered by political power, and therefore cannot be the ligament that holds civilised beings and civilised nations together.

A truly free press has always been the voice of a free people free to voice their opinions. A free press that does not create news, but allows the citizenry to express their opinions as a consequence of puerile government policies is absolutely necessary to take stock of the pressing hot-button issues.

A fearless judiciary and an equally effective legislature should not be a miracle waiting to happen. It should be the sine qua non of citizens’ expectations. If the business of government is to govern as a nation of laws, and not a nation of men and women, everybody wins.

Political campaigns never fail to offer a great reflection of puerile politics. A candidate who shuns speeches but instead waits to hear the people talk is a true leader. That is a miracle that can happen if the people prey on, and not pray for, the candidates they are forced to accept.

Millennials (Gen Y), born between 1981 and 1994 hold the keys to the kingdom of freedom and liberty within reason, care and caution provided they find it in themselves to find fruitful careers in politics with the sole aim of clearing the swamp.

“If you don’t go after politics, politics will come after you,” warned Ralph Nader, the American consumer advocate. The time is nigh.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the New Sarawak Tribune.