Friday, 26 October 2012

It's That Time Again


I hear you're having one of your four-yearly democracy fests, where everyone troops out and puts their tick in the box of their choice. Well, have fun. Over on this side of the Pond we get to vote every five years, which means, I guess, that you have 20% more democracy than we do.

For a long time as a kid I was confused about politics. I heard a varied lot of stuff pouring out of radios and TV sets, and I jig-saw puzzled the parts together as kids do. I also, on rainy Sundays, liked to watch old black and white movies on TV -- it would have been useless attempting to watch color movies because the TV was in black and white. One of the movies I saw was called "Duck Soup," which showcased the Marx Brothers.

It was then that my young mind made the vital connection: these men were Russians! And they were the ones the TV said were trying to bring down Western civilization!

The thing was: they didn't seem much of a threat, so I blithely forgot about politics for a few years and played with my train set. When I came back to it (politics, not the train set) I was old enough to realize that politics is a reflection of the power urge in human beings, and an arena of competition. Some men (and it is usually men)  seem to have this urge to power in a very serious way. It's hard for me to understand, noble readers, because I have very little urge to have others do my bidding. Hitler, Stalin and Mao, on the other hand, had it in spades. History is full of these peculiarly insane characters who invariably cause other people a lot of pain and suffering before they finally melt away.

As maturity slowly crept over me I eventually decided that the noblest aim of politics should be the discouraging of people who wanted to have power over others. This, of course would leave poltics with a dilemma: how do we design a system to detect and marginalise those pushy devils who are best at getting to the tops of hierarchies? As voters we must refuse to vote for anyone who puts himself forward as a candidate. Perhaps we could introduce a candidate lottery, whereby our representatives are chosen at random. Think how dismissive the political classes would be over that suggestion.

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