I promised a good mate of mine I'd talk about electoral bribery and an understanding of what it actually means. The concept ties in quite neatly with this, which was what I'd intended to put down at some point in time anyway.
Perhaps I should 'buy a saddle' or something similar, but I've been accused on several occasions of, through things that I have said and written, occupying a space which is "not in the real world", wherever that puts you. I think I get what at least some of those people might have been saying (a few were undeniably idiots and best not dignified with a response, but that's for another night). I've spoken to like-minded individuals previously, who have described themselves as being in the ideas market, a space principally concerned not solely with describing what is happening in front of your eyes, or suggesting remedies which deal with the way in which something might manifest itself, but drilling through all the shit, the conventional wisdom, the factoids and the urban myths, getting as close to the root cause of the problem as you can. I know what the man on the street and the mainstream media are saying, but why did xyz really happen?
This doesn't sit terribly comfortably with the notion of democratic politics, which, unless I'm missing something very profound, is about telling as many voters as you can that you agree with them, saying you love and hate all of the same things and people that they do, while finding a new and unique way to bribe them with their own or, even better if you can manage it, someone else's money. It's basically a ponzi scheme with a nasty thread of mob rule running through its rather rotten core. Karl Marx once described democracy as 'the road to socialism' and he may well have been right on that score - perhaps fifty shades of red is exactly what you're looking for, in which case keep spinning the dice every five years or so. However, those of us who recognise that you can't run an economic tyranny without a political one recognise the inherent danger of democracy without genuine limits, checks and balances.
I've said this before - just because fifty one per cent of people voted for a piece of state action does not confer any greater sense of moral rectitude on that action whatsoever. It may involve the imprisonment and slaughter of the other forty nine per cent for no apparent reason, followed by the widespread looting of their possessions, but plenty of people will tell you that, if that's what a clear majority votes for then it must, must be okay. That's how democracy works, right? Where this ties in neatly with recent 'real world' events is the calls you will have heard for wealthy people and companies to 'do the right thing' and pay more tax than they are legally obliged to. In reality, all we have is the law and beyond that morality is fluid, succeptible as it is to mood swings, a feeling of perhaps being hard up and/or over-taxed to start with. Someone feeling desparate enough will turn to someone, anyone offering easy solutions at the ballot box, someone to blame who doesn't look back at them from a mirror.
Your life is shit and it's not your fault - and, you hear that? It's the sound of morality being flushed down the toilet. You don't have to look very far back in history to see examples of how mass democracy enabled hitherto reasonable people to indulge in viciousness en masse. Ask any German. Or the people who had to flee Zimbabwe in fear for their lives. The electoral bribes for some, be they material, or the re-assurance of simply being told they weren't to blame, came at an enormous, and sometimes fatal, cost to others. That only 'an ideas man' could lead us down this train of thought was an idea re-enforced, confirmed as not having been built on conceit, when I asked one of the 'real world' specialists exactly what he meant by his criticism a few years ago (I remember it because he was supporting the invasion of Libya and I was warning him and another guy that we might end up unleashing something worse).
"Y'know, mortgage, kids, fill the car, that stuff" was his response.
I keep hearing that politicians are out of touch with the 'real world' of 'ordinary people' and I'm strongly inclined to disagree. In many cases, they have probably lived lives that would appear somewhat detached from that of the people they are asking to vote for them. But in terms of what the Great British Sheeple expect from the democratic process, the political class either already have their fingers on the pulse, or the advisers and pollsters recruited to answer this question for them are coming up with the right answer. Sheeple, to put it simply want stuff, and preferably at the expense of someone else. That might be preferential treatment under the tax system (i.e. for being married), some sort of 'protected' status giving them special consideration under the law (numerous and various minorities) or a quite blatant and shameless pre-election giveaway (the recent subsidised pension bonds to buy off the 'grey vote' at the expense of the young).
Take a step back and it quite obviously stinks to high heaven - but here's the tragic and rather unsettling thing. For both the tribal left and the tribal right, it fucking works. If the conversation is always going to come back to 'sweeties for me', regardless of the genuine moral question around the circumstances of who else was asked to pay for them, or the issue of whether or not this was a responsible thing for government to do, then nobody will have time for 'an ideas man' on the doorstep, will they? Not in my real world? If not, then why should I vote for you when the other guy has promised me all this free stuff? Then the same sheeple sulk when it turns out that the same charlatans made the same promises to someone else, this time promising that they would be picking up the tab. Then they ask why politicians don't believe in anything anymore and complain that they've lost faith in the process (snigger).
Talk about answering your own question...and getting the politicians you fucking deserve. Shithead.
Everyone, the candidates and the voters, know that these are the rules of the game, and the only way in which you have any chance whatsoever of getting elected. I asked on social media recently who would stand up on the doorstep for unfashionable causes worth fighting for like civil liberties, a robust defence of the contribution made my immigrants in the face of frightening hysteria and those who are frequently asked to put their hand in their pockets to fund the largesse showered on others - like the unmarried (now subsidising the married) the childless (paying for the Mick Philipotts of this world) and anyone else who 'misses out' at the expense of someone who is rather frequently and rather obviously not more deserving of that money than the person who earned it. As everyone chases the holy grail of fifty one per cent, who speaks up for the forty nine? Or are they expected to just cough up and then shut up?
I'm going to come back to this at a later date, but hope to have given my mate and anyone else who has read this something which, at the very least, they can argue with. Does mass democracy, minus checks and balances, invariably descend into a pathetic game of mass bribery? And/or is it the case that there ain't no sheeple quite like British Sheeple - with the possible exception of American Sheeple...and European Sheeple? Is blaming politicians for the state of politics a tad rich coming from the very sheeple who put them in power in the first place? Perhaps I'm developing an unhealthy contempt for humanity in middle age, I dunno, but these seem like very valid questions with another round of bribery, sorry, an election, on the horizon. I didn't get 'knocked' last time and had better get my responses ready for when they start harassing me in April - let's hope for the sake of all involved that they aren't required.
Thoughts and disagreements appreciated as always. Take care and I'll catch you soon.